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Reviews > Sleep Gear > Quilts and Blankets > Outdoor Research Exped MultiMat > Test Report by Ralph Ditton

EXPED MULTIMAT SLEEPING PAD

TEST SERIES BY: RALPH DITTON

INITIAL REPORT: 15th October, 2008
FIELD REPORT: 5th January, 2009
LONG TERM REPORT: 19th February, 2009


                                                                         Exped Multimat
                                                                                    (Photo courtesy of Exped)


Personal Information

Name: Ralph Ditton
Age: 57
Height: 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight: 71 kg (156 lb)
Email: rdassetts at optusnet dot com dot au
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Bushwalking Background
I have been bushwalking for over eight years. My playgrounds are the Darling Range, Bibbulmun Track and the Coastal Plain Trail. I aim to become an end-to-end walker of the Bibbulmun Track. I am nearly there as it is 964 km (603 mi) long. Just on 200 km (124 mi) to go. My pack weight including food and water tends to hover around 18 kg (40 lb) but I am trying to get lighter. My trips range from overnighters to five days duration. My shelter of choice is a tent.

Product Information
Manufacturer: Exped
Year of Manufacturer: 2008
Manufacturer's URL: http://www.exped.com
Made in: China
Colour: Terracotta/Charcoal
Material: Ethyl-Vinyl-Azetat (EVA) foam/fast drying ripstop nylon
MSRP: USD 38.00
Listed weight: 540 g (19 oz)
Measured weight (without stuff sack): 502 g (18 oz)
Measured weight of stuff sack: 18 g (0.6 oz)
Listed dimensions: Length 200 cm x width 100 cm (79 in x 39 in)
Measured dimensions: Lengths (one side) 197 cm & (other side) 198 cm x widths (one side) 99cm & (other side) 97.5 cm. [77.5 in  & 78 in x 39 in & 38.4 in]
Listed thickness: 0.2 cm (0.079 in)
Measured thickness: 0.2 cm (0.079 in)
Listed packed size: 51 cm x 13 cm (20 in x 5 in)
Measured packed size: 53 cm x 12 cm (20. 8 in x  4.7 in)
Listed R Value (thermal resistance: 1.2
Listed comfortable-use temperature: 8 C (46 F)

Product Description
The MultiMat is a multiuse product that can be used as a picnic blanket, a light sleeping pad, tent carpet, canoe liner, dog bed, beneath a tarp, ground sheet for a self-inflating mat or a groundsheet for a tent floor. In an emergency, the manufacturer claims that it can be used as a splint when rolled up.
When doubled as a mat it is comfortable down to 8 C (46 F) according to the manufacturer.

It is made out of Ethyl-Vinyl-Azetat (known as EVA) foam with a sheet of fast drying ripstop nylon sewn to it. Hence, the mat is terracotta on one side (ripstop nylon) and charcoal (EVA) on the other. The EVA side goes face down when in use.

The MultiMat came with a stuff sack that had three hang tags. Two of the hang tags were in different languages, English, German and French on two sides. The third tag is an advertising tag on one side listing the types of products that Exped makes with the other side being specifically for the MultiMat, showing model number, bar code and colours of the product.

Initial Impression
When I lifted the box up containing the mat I thought to myself that this was one very light mat.

I found that I had a little difficulty in withdrawing the mat from the stuff sack because the mat appeared to not be tightly rolled up.

It was difficult to get the stuff sack entrance where the draw cord is located, wide enough, to allow the mat to be easily withdrawn. I had the draw cord full open. 

Finally getting the mat out of the stuff sack I noted that there was nothing wrapped around the mat to keep it in a nice tight parcel.

I then inspected and carried out various measurements.
I found no fault with any of the stitching.

As an exercise I tried rolling up the mat tightly by first folding it in half length ways. As I proceeded to roll it up I found that the top part facing me wanted to bunch up and pull off line. No matter what I did I could not overcome it.

The reason for my inability to get a perfect roll became apparent when I measured the mat. It was not perfectly rectangular.
For the length, one side was longer than the other by 1 cm (0.4 in) and the same for the width by 1.5 cm (0.6 in).

According to the hang tag there is supposed to be a packing strap with a buckle. I did not receive one.

What I saw on the website photo of the mat matched what I received so there were no surprises there.

Bonzer Points
  • Lightweight
  • Good size as a protector for a tent floor/sleeping mat
  • Multiuse and versatile
Rhubarb Points
  • No packing strap supplied
  • Mat is not cut out correctly so it won't roll up neatly
This concludes my Initial Report on the Exped MultiMat.

See my Field Report below.

FIELD REPORT: 5th January, 2009

For my very first outing with the Exped Multimat (hereinafter known as mat) was on a day walk with the Perth Bushwalking Club. The hike was in the hills of Mundaring around Lake C. Y. O'Connor.
Elevations ranged between 100 m to 240 m (328 ft to 787 ft)
. The temperature did not fluctuate much. It was around 24 C (75 F).

When we stopped for lunch on a rise overlooking the valley into the lake there was not much clear ground to place the mat on. Spotting a small granite outcrop I placed the mat there to sit on.

                                       mat on granite

It was on a bit of a slope and others were using the same rock, so I folded the mat over. When I sat on it I started to slide down the rock. By folding the mat over, I had the base of the mat (EVA foam) laying on the nylon. This made for a slippery slide. I then made sure that the EVA bottom matched up with the EVA bottom when I folded it over to prevent slipping.

By folding the mat over, it made a comfortable seat on the warm rock. I did not feel the heat from the rock on my bottom considering that the rock had been warmed up by the sun for over six hours.

As I was using a day pack of 40 L (2,441 cu in), the mat took up a good deal of space inside the pack. The standard form for the rolled up mat is 53 cm x 12 cm (20. 8 in x  4.7 in)
. The 53 cm (20.8 in) is very close to the height inside my day pack. Another 5 cm (2 in) and it would be level with the top of the pack.
I will be trying different roll up methods to see which one make better utilization of my main compartment space.

I held the rolled up mat together with two large rubber bands. One at each end because the manufacturer did not provide a strap that was supposed to be provided according to the hang tag.

The second outing was for three days and two nights at Potters Gorge  between Collie and Bunbury.
The average daytime temperature was around 26 C (79 F) and average nighttime temperature was around 3.8 C (39 F) with a Relative Humidity of 65%. (Source: Bureau of Meteorology).
Elevation was  160 metres (525 ft).

I used my two person Snowgum Storm Shelter tent and placed the mat inside the tent so that my Exped SynMat could lay on it to give it protection from the little sharp pebbles under the floor of the tent.
I am a bit like the Princess and the pea. I feel every little stone whenever I kneel on the floor inside my tent. The mat made it very comfortable to kneel on. I did not feel the little stones under the floor of the tent.
I also have a habit of letting my hands flop outside the sleeping bag if I get too hot and they rest on the floor of the tent. The mat certainly ensured that I was not losing body heat to the ground. As can be seen in the photo, the mat extended on both sides of my sleeping gear

                                        mat inside the tent

During both nights there was a very slight film of condensation on the underside of the fly but the top of my sleeping bag and where the mat was exposed there was some condensation.
I hung the sleeping bag in the sun for a short time to dry the top surface. The condensation did not appear to have penetrated the fabric thereby wetting the down.
For the mat, I just opened up the tent and let the morning heat dry out the inside of the tent. There was certainly no pools of dripping condensation to wipe up, just a fine layer.

My last outing was back to my favourite camping area, Prickly Bark on the Coastal Plain Trail. It sits at an elevation of 
roughly 80 m (262 ft). The trail from the eastern terminus to the campsite is a sandy track that is mostly flat with a steep climb up a heavily vegetated sand dune over the last half a kilometre (0.31 mi) to the campsite.
When I arrived and set up camp at 4.45 pm the temperature had dropped to 38.6 C (101.5 F) and the relative humidity was 21.5% as measured by my Kestrel 3,500 unit.

The mat was carried inside my 90 Litre (5492 cu in) backpack without any space problem. It was inserted vertically in the rolled up form inside the provided stuff sack.

I used the mat as a ground sheet for my bivy as the leaf litter was mainly of the saw tooth Banksia leaf and in addition there were small tussocks of wiry grass.

                                                     bivy on mat

I really appreciated the comfort of the mat when I kneeled on the nylon side which was cushioned by the EVA foam underlay. It was a big help as I always kneel prior to getting into the bivy sack as this makes it easier for me. Conversely, when I am getting out, it is nice to put my hand on a nice surface than a prickly ground.

The mat did not suffer any punctures from the vegetation and I had a reasonably comfortable sleep in the bivy bag on top of the mat.
The underside did get dirty though as the soil is sandy with a limestone powder mixed through it. This was easily cleaned up upon my return home.

There is no change to my Bonzer and Rhubarb points that were raised in the Initial Report.

This concludes my Field Report.

My Long Term Report is below.

LONG TERM REPORT
DATE: 19th February, 2009


Since my last report I have used the mat in a social setting as a table cloth at a picnic spot with friends.
The cement table was covered with bird droppings which we managed to clean up fairly well, but the mat covered the table very well and hid the bird's calling cards.

Our group then proceeded to prepare food on plates on top of the mat. No one suffered any ill health after the Bar-B-Q so the mat made an effective barrier between the surface of the table and the food.

During the course of the meal, some Bar-B-Q sauce was spilt on the mat. I wiped off the spilt sauce immediately. When I got home I washed the fabric to try and get the stain out but to no avail.

                                                       stain on the mat

During this test period I used the mat in a camp situation for four days and three nights at Nuyts Wilderness. The campsite sits 10 m (32 ft) and some 500 m (546 yd) from the ocean.

Temperatures ranged for a daytime high of 32 C (90 F) to a cool 15 C (59 F) of an evening when going to bed. It did get a bit cooler by a few degrees when I was in bed but I would be guessing what it was.

I carried the mat strapped vertically on the side of my pack.
The two compression straps and pocket anchored the mat. It was inside its stuff sack and no damage was done to the mat when traversing the scrub to get to camp.

On one of the nights, our group played cards and I used the mat as a seat. I folded it over a few times so that it was long enough for two of us to sit on. The mat did give us some cushioning from the hard log we were sitting on.

I was expecting the night temperatures to be relatively warm going by the weather forecast for the area before we left. Accordingly, I only took my Thermolite Reactor liner as a sleeping bag. The liner according to the manufacturer adds an extra 8 C (46 F) comfort when sleeping.

Well, maybe. It would depend on my metabolism and when I last ate. But I did get a bit cold. Thinking what to do to get warmer, I hit on the idea of using the mat as a blanket. I took it out from under my tent and placed the dark side on top of me inside the tent. The mat covered my feet and came over my head and tucked down the sides beautifully. In no time I was nice and warm.

                                                        mat under bivy

I used the mat as a blanket for all of the three nights. The other added advantage was that the mat kept the morning sunlight off my face when it shone through the hood mesh giving me an extra hour of sleep.

Another use for the mat was as a groundsheet for my bivy. It also gave me a clean area to stand/kneel when getting into and out of the bivy.
I could check for leaves etc sticking to my feet before getting into the bivy when standing on the mat.

Summary
I have used the mat on twelve occasions. Three of those occasions was as a picnic item for either sitting whilst eating or playing cards on, or placing food on it as a tablecloth. In camp, the mat has been used as a groundsheet for my bivy and tent, a groundsheet for my self inflating mattress and as a blanket.

It certainly lives up to its name as a multimat.

My favourite is the blanket aspect that the mat can be used for. This reduces my pack weight by 468 g (16.5 oz) when I do not take a sleeping bag. I always take the Thermolite Reactor liner so that weight is a constant.

Thank you Outdoor Research for making this item available for testing.

This report concluded my series of reports.


Read more reviews of Outdoor Research gear
Read more gear reviews by Ralph Ditton

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