Features: At 365g, the Synmat HL is the lightest full-length insulated mat on the market. The tapered design and 20 denier nylon fabric reduce weight without sacrificing durability and comfort. The micro-fibre synthetic fill is laminated to the upper and lower sides, maximising loft when the mat is inflated. The fill and 7cm inflated thickness provide three-season warmth.
Fit: The Synmat HL’s tapered design makes it relatively easy for a sleeper’s legs to slip off during the night, so those who are less concerned about minimising weight or who wriggle during their sleep may prefer a rectangular design. At 183cm, the regular size is long enough for most to have their whole body off the deck.
Comfort: The length-ways baffles and thickness of Exped mats gives them a lilo feel. Some people don’t find baffles comfortable, but I like them as they provide insulation and protection, even on rough ground. The anti-slip Grip-Skin honeycomb patterned coating provides slightly more grip. I found the main benefit to be less squeaking than with other mattresses.
In use: The mat comes with a schnozzel pump that doubles as a lightweight dry bag. It takes a a bit to get the knack of using a schnozzel, but once you do it is quick and easy to inflate the mattress. It helps extend the life of the mat by keeping the inside dry and mould-free. Deflating and packing the mat is awkward due to the single valve design that needs to be depressed to let air out. The stuff sack comes with a puncture repair kit for on-the-go repairs.
Value: In recent years, Exped has started to provide an alternative to Therm-a-Rest, at a discounted price. The Synmat HL is an above average product for a below average price.
Verdict: With a 3.3 R-value, this mat provides the kind of insulation and warmth typically found on heavier models. Its technical features make it an ideal choice for lightweight trampers, though some may find the tapered design too narrow.