OR EXPED MULTIMAT
TEST SERIES BY BRETT HAYDIN
February 23, 2009
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bhaydin AT hotmail DOT com
Denver, Colorado, USA
5' 11" (1.80 m)
195 lb (88.50 kg)
I started backpacking in Wisconsin as a youth, being involved in the Boy Scouts programs. As a young adult, I worked at a summer camp leading backpacking, canoeing and mountain biking trips. I now generally take short weekend or day trips in rough, mountainous terrain, although I have extensive experience in the upper Midwest as well. I take one or two longer trips each year, where I typically carry about 40 lb (18 kg). I prefer to be prepared and comfortable, but I have taken lightweight trips as well.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
|Image courtesy of Exped|
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.exped.com
Listed Weight: 19.4 oz (550 g); packsack 0.7 oz (20 g)
Listed Dimensions: 79 x 39 in (200 x 100 cm)
Listed Packed Dimensions: 20 x 4 in (51 x 11 cm)
Measured Weight (with packsack): 19.5 oz (553 g)
Measured Dimensions: 79 x 39 in (200 x 100 cm)
Measured Packed Dimensions: 21 x 5.5 in (53 x 14 cm)
Temperature Rating: 46 F (8 C); R-value of 1.2 (Kalcos test by EMPA) provided by Exped
Warranty: 5 year on materials and workmanship
The Exped MultiMat is a versatile picnic mat that also doubles as a sleeping pad as well as several other possible listed uses. Exped is a Swiss division of Outdoor Research (OR) and this product is featured on OR's website as well, which is http://www.outdoorresearch.com. The MultiMat comes prepackaged in the packsack with 3 hangtags attached to the draw cord. One hangtag is a generic Exped marketing tag listing different types of products. The other two contain product information in three languages: English, German and two sides in French.
|MultiMat in packsack|
The MultiMat is constructed of closed cell and waterproof EVA foam and covered with a rip-stop nylon covering on the top. The nylon is the color of rust. The mat can be laid flat, which serves as a picnic mat or a tent carpet. When folded in half (length-wise) the mat serves as a sleeping pad for warmer conditions.
Some additional uses listed by the manufacturer are an emergency splint when rolled up as well as a canoe or car liner.
The Exped MultiMat is exactly what I expected from viewing the website. It is lightweight and appears quite useful. The craftsmanship is excellent and I found no defects. The website was helpful and easy to use and provided an accurate representation for me.
When completely laid out, the MultiMat provides an good surface for picnics as intended. Since I will be using it with my dog, I invited my dog to come and sit next to me. The MultiMat easily accommodated both of us. Best of all, there were hardly any clinging dog hairs to be found! I found it easy to roll the mat back up to place it back in the packsack. Because it folds in half, a little care is needed to make sure that the edges stay lined up, but it was still an easy experience.
I have several planned uses for the Exped MultiMat. Primarily I will use this as a tent carpet when my dogs accompany me backpacking. I always worry about the dog claws on the tent floor, but also to provide a comfortable spot for him to sleep on.
I also intend to use the MultiMat as a sleeping pad when I can. The pad is thinner than my current sleeping pad and I would like to see how comfortable it is to sleep on.
Finally, I also plan to use the pad as a sitting pad. I hope that while lounging around camp this mat can provide a decent space to sit in lieu of a camping chair. Additionally, in the winter I hope this will provide a decent workspace and insulation from the snow.
I am impressed with the apparent uses the MuliMat can provide. It is lightweight and easy to use. My hope is that I can find enough use to justify the additional weight.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
January 5, 2009
Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, Colorado - Kroenke Lake and Horn Fork Trails- September 27 - 30, 2008
Elevation: 9,950 - 12,750 ft (3,033 - 3,886 m)
High temperature: 80 F (27 C)
Low Temperature: 35 F (2 C)
Weather Conditions: occasional light rain and snow mix.
Pike National Forest Colorado - Devil's Head - November 10 - 11, 2008
Elevation: 8,950 - 9,748 ft (2,728 - 2,971 m)
High temperature: 45 F (7 C)
Low Temperature: 25 F (-4 C)
Weather Conditions: foggy turning to partly cloudy with some gusty winds at times.
Arapaho National Forest, Colorado - Warren Gulch to Chief Mountain Trail- November 23 -24, 2008
Elevation: 8,250 - 11,709 ft (2,515 - 3,569 m)
High temperature: 50 F (10 C)
Low Temperature: 30 F (-1 C)
Precipitation: sunny with moderate winds.
Bandelier Wilderness, New Mexico - Yapahi Ruins Loop- December 27 - 29, 2008
Elevation: 5,900 - 7,500 ft (1,800 - 2,290 m)
High temperature: 55 F (10 C)
Low Temperature: 20 F (-6 C)
Weather Conditions: a little rain first day, but sunny and cool.
Other Activities: Christmas tree hunting, picnic at a local park, snowshoeing, and used as dog bed in my vehicle.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
Now that I have several backpacking trips under my belt with the MultiMat, I can say that I am enjoying this piece of equipment quite well. My first experience with the MultiMat came on a four-day trek in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. Since I had one of my dogs with me, I used the pad as a tent carpet to protect my tent floor from his claws. This worked really well and I was far less concerned about his paws than I have been on previous trips. I spread out the pad in my two-person tent and there was plenty of space for Flash to roam.
On the first night, I was hard pressed to find a suitable place to set up camp and had to settle for a cleared out space with a slight grade. I did have a hard time staying put throughout the night since the nylon side of the pad is smooth and somewhat slippery. In all fairness, the pad stayed put while my personal sleeping pad slid down. Eventually, I moved the MultiMat over and my sleeping pad and I stayed where I needed to. I attribute this problem more with my site selection than with the performance of the MultiMat. On the second night, I had a much more level campsite and I was able to sleep with my sleeping pad on top of the MultiMat with no problems whatsoever.
I spent my third night using the MultiMat as my primary sleeping pad for the night. The overnight temperatures did not dip below 50 F (10 C) that I was aware of and I stayed quite warm. On the flip side, it was not nearly as comfortable as my normal pad, which is a 0.75 in (1.91 cm) thick. The instructions indicate that the MultiMat can also be layered with leaves or grass to make it more comfortable. I did not try this, but I certainly wish I would have! It was just not enough to get myself out of bed to do it. I was impressed with the ability of the pad to maintain the shape after I folded in half after tossing and turning.
I also used the MultiMat as a picnic blanket with my daughter and one of her friends. It was a little cramped for three, but I found that two people could easily and comfortably sit down and relax. I also used it as a picnic blanket on a snowshoeing trip. I have also discovered that I can adjust the size of the MultiMat in its storage sleeve. I wanted to see if I could store it inside a daypack instead of strapping it to the outside. I noticed that if I fold the pad in three equal parts instead of two and carefully but tightly roll the MultiMat, it will still fit in the sleeve. It is a snug fit, but I find it useful.
Every year I take my family to the mountains to cut down our Christmas tree, and I was extremely glad to have the MultiMat with me this year. I strapped the pad to the outside of my daypack along with the saw and axe we take along. At first I was mostly grateful to have a waterproof spot to kneel on as I sawed through the tree trunk. However, as we were preparing to load the tree on our vehicle, another vehicle came up behind my wife, who was attempting to back in to the area while I was attending to the tree. My wife made the decision to drive around the one-way loop we were on so she wouldn't cause a traffic jam. Unfortunately, she did not realize that the circle was another 10 miles of moderately difficult off-road driving! My daughter and I used the pad as an emergency insulating pad to sit on and pass the time on the snow for the next hour! Again, I was impressed with the insulating properties, although we were also dressed for the cold conditions of just below freezing.
After that trip, I found that the MultiMat had accumulated a lot of dirt and pine sap; it was in need of a good cleaning. I did not find any specific cleaning directions so I used a solution of warm water and a mild detergent to wipe the nylon clean. With a little bit of elbow grease, the pine sap came off and I cannot even tell where the spots were anymore.
The Exped MultiMat has come in handy in some unexpected ways so far. It has been so easy to use I have forgotten to take pictures of it in action!
Things I Like so Far:
- Durable construction.
- Easy to clean.
- Flexibility of uses.
Things I Would Improve:
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I have continued to use the MultiMat on one additional overnight in the White River National Forest outside of Vail, Colorado. This was a 2 mi (3.2 km) snowshoe hike up to approximately 9,600 ft (2,971 m) to view Booth Falls. Temperatures ranged from 15 to 45 F (-9 to 7 C) and the sun was shining almost the whole time! I used the MultiMat as a tent pad inside the tent as well as around camp.
I also used the MultiMat on two separate snowshoe day hikes. The first was an 8 mi (12.9 km) round trip in the Rocky Mountain National Park up to Ouzal Falls, elevation 9,450 ft (2,880 m). Temperatures were between 20 and 40 F (-7 and 4 C) with clear skies. The second snowshoe hike was in the Eagles Nest Wilderness to Lily Pad Lakes, a 3 mi (4.8 km) round trip from the trailhead. The temperature was about 40 F (4 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I have continued to find a number of uses for the MultiMat over the long term testing period. While on the overnight to Booth Falls, I found the mat especially useful as a place to rest while cooking and eating as well as while relaxing. I have found that the insulating properties of the pad are good enough to serve as a place to sit while relaxing in snowy areas. The picture to the left is of several friends and I resting near Ouzal Falls. We sat and ate lunch and otherwise stayed there for over 30 minutes and not one of us complained of our rear ends getting cold.
|Gathering for lunch on the MultiMat|
The EVA foam continues to provide excellent traction for the pad. I have laid it over logs, boulders and on beaver dams. In each instance, the MultiMat has remained firmly in place. I can see no major damage to the foam, despite some of the rough surfaces it has come into contact with.
One unintentional discovery of a use for the MultiMat occurred while relaxing at Booth Falls. With the temperature over 40 F (4 F) and the heat of the afternoon sun bearing down on me and my hiking partner, we noticed that some of the snow that had collected on the mat was beginning to melt. We decided to test out the mat as a solar water collector! We spread out a layer of snow about 0.5 in (1.25 cm) thick over most of the MultiMat. We let the sun melt the snow, and slowly but surely we were able to collect a decent amount of drinkable water. There was only about 0.25 L (8.5 fl oz), but certainly worth it if I was stranded without any other method of obtaining water. After our experiment, we cleared off the MultiMat and let it dry in the sun.
The MultiMat has held up rather well over the past four months. I could find no loose threads or failing seams anywhere. There have been no other issues with staining or any problems with the craftsmanship.
I am very pleased with the performance and many functions of the Exped MultiMat. I have had the chance to use it as a sleeping pad, picnic blanket, tent pad, water collector, kneeling or sitting pad and I am certain I could find many more uses!
While it does add a bit of weight to my pack, it is much easier to bring this along than an extra blanket for a dog bed. Because I can find so many additional uses, I don't find the extra weight to be a bother.
I plan to continue to take the MultiMat on all my backcountry trips when my dogs are accompanying me. This item has also earned a permanent spot in my winter gear list because of its versatility.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
This concludes my Long Term Report on the Exped MultiMat. I would like to thank BackpackGearTest.org and Exped for allowing me to be involved in this test series.
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