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51920FR - Exped MultiMat - Kurt Papke

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  • Kurt Papke
    Jan 4, 2009
    • 0 Attachment
      Also due Tuesday...


      Tinyized: http://tinyurl.com/7y7lby

      FR text:

      Field Report
      Test Conditions
      I intended to carry the MultiMat with me on a 10-day October vacation
      to Utah and Colorado where I planned some dayhiking, but as I prepared
      for my departure I found that the mat does not fit into my daypack.
      It is too tall to fit, as can be seen in the picture at left. Bummer.

      After returning from Utah, I immediately left on a 4-day backpacking
      trip along the Southern end of the Superior Hiking trail in Northern
      Minnesota from October 13-16. This trail section varies in altitude
      from 650 to 1200 ft (200 to 365 m). The terrain is forested with
      granite outcroppings. Temperatures ranged from a high of 60 F (16 C)
      to a low of 28 F (-2 C) at night. A picture of my hammock set up at
      the Split Rock River is shown at right. Though it cannot be seen in
      this view, the MultiMat is inside the hammock undercover.

      I also used the MultiMat multiple nights in my backyard, from October
      19-22, also in my hammock. During this time nighttime temperatures
      ranged from 40 F (4 C) to 29 F (-2 C). Winds were light during this
      test. I did some more backyard testing on December 3rd and 4th in
      preparation for a winter backpacking trip. Nighttime lows were 7 to 9
      F (-14 to -13 C) with humidity in the 70-90% range, winds were light.
      During this testing the MultiMat was used with the SuperShelter pad
      and a "space blanket", placed beneath the SuperShelter foam pad.

      Next use was December 8-10, 2008, a 3-day trip to the Superior Hiking
      Trail along the Beaver Bay to Penn Creek section. Temperatures ranged
      from a low of -2F (-19 C) to a high of 15F (-9 C). Winds were
      generally calm, but during one night gusted to 16 mph (26 kph)
      creating a wind chill factor of approximately -20 F (-29 C).
      Elevation ranged from 750 to 1250 ft (230 to 380 m). This was clearly
      a winter camping outing, and I used the MultiMat primarily for
      under-insulation in my hammock. I thought I would use it more on
      breaks and in camp, but I found it more of a hassle to drag it out
      than to just sit on the ground or a log. The mat acts as a vapor
      barrier - note the frozen condensation in the photo above taken in the
      morning after a night under my hammock.

      During this trip the MultiMat was used in a "sandwich" configuration,
      with the MultiMat on the bottom, the SuperShelter open cell foam pad
      and space blanket on top, and other insulating materials layered
      between the two pads. These other materials included a down jacket
      and a Polarfleece pullover.
      How I used the MultiMat
      Folded MultiMatIn order to get maximum insulation I first tried
      folding the MultiMat along its long dimension, and again in the short
      dimension as shown at left. In the picture there is some rolling of
      the mat at the bottom of the picture, but this was not an issue when
      held down by my body weight or the hammock.

      These folds suggested themselves as this is how the hammock was
      packaged in the stuff sack, so that mat "wants" to be folded at these

      My position on the mat at night can be seen in the photo at right.
      With the two folds, I have four thicknesses of the mat beneath the
      upper part of my torso, two thicknesses beneath the lower part of my
      torso, and nothing below my knees, similar to a 3/4 length mattress.
      I also tried reversing the up-down orientation to get more insulation
      under my low back and butt.

      Placement in the hammock: during the Initial Report period I either
      laid directly on the MultiMat, or placed it just beneath my space
      blanket. During the Field Report period I found that I could more
      easily position the mat beneath my OCF pad and above the Undercover,
      and the Undercover held the mat sufficiently close to my body to
      provide good insulation.

      The evening of October 21 I tested the MultiMat in the bottom of my
      hammock with no folds, so only a single layer of insulation underneath
      the OCF pad. The rationale for this configuration is when I sleep on
      my side, my knees and butt get cold because they are pressed against
      the uninsulated side of the hammock. With the MultiMat fully
      unfolded, I found that it covered the entire width of my hammock
      bottom giving me full protection. From this point on I used the
      MultiMat solely completely unfolded to provide maximum coverage.

      In the early December backyard testing on the second night (December
      4th) I added a down jacket and a Garlington Insulator (garbage bag
      stuffed with light materials) between the MultiMat and the OCF pad.
      This greatly increased the warmth against my backside.

      These pictures show use of the mat with the nylon top facing up. In
      practice, I found I achieved greater warmth with the mat placed
      upside-down with the nylon on the bottom, and laying on the EVA foam
      pad. This also prevented other insulating materials from slipping
      against the pad.

      * In both my backyard and Superior Trail uses I found that my
      backside was much warmer than normal when using the MultiMat. When I
      rolled over onto my side, I could tell from the sensation in my knees
      or butt when I was off the edge of the mat.
      * With the MultiMat fully unfolded the cold problems with the
      knees and butt in a side-sleeping position was alleviated, but it
      seemed like I was not quite as warm when laying on my back due to
      fewer layers of the mat beneath me.
      * The MultiMat can be used to "sandwich" other insulation
      materials between it and the hammock bottom. When placed with the EVA
      foam facing up, I found that additional insulation items "stuck" to
      the MultiMat nicely and would not move around.
      * The MultiMat was easily deployed in my Hennessey hammock by
      slipping it into the Undercover beneath the OCF pad. I found it
      stayed nicely in place during the night despite my tossing and turning
      * Packing: though it did not fit into my daypack, I had no
      problems stowing it in my backpack. I was able to quickly remove the
      mat from its stuff sack, and quickly roll it up and re-insert it into
      the sack for packing. During winter camping I needed to strap the
      MultiMat onto the back of my pack, which worked well.

      The MultiMat is an effective adjunct to other bottom insulation for
      use in hammock camping. Used alone its temperature range is limited,
      but in conjunction with the SuperShelter it allowed me to sleep
      comfortably warm down to the freezing point. When used as a
      "sandwich" where additional insulation is placed between the
      SuperShelter pad and the MultiMat, it can be used as part of a deep
      winter sleeping system that rivals the performance of a down
      underquilt at much lower cost.

      I did not find it as useful for casual sitting and breaks as I thought
      I would. It just seemed like more of a hassle than it was worth to
      unpack it and remove it from the stuff sack, and then repack it after
      the break was over.


      1. Effective insulator and vapor/water and wind barrier.
      2. The substantial width of the MultiMat makes it an effective
      insulator of an entire hammock bottom.
      3. Easily removed and restowed in the supplied sack.
      4. Flexibility of the mat - I could easily fold into different
      configurations to get more insulation where I wanted it.
      5. The color makes it easy to see the mat at night.
      6. Nylon ripstop on one side and EVA foam on the other allowed me
      to chose whether I wanted the "sticky" side or the "slippery" side up.

      Areas for improvement:

      1. Perhaps modify the sack size and factory folding to do two folds
      along the long axis to allow the mat to fit into smaller packs. Of
      course I could fold it this way myself, but then it wouldn't fit into
      the stuff sack.

      This concludes my Field Report for the Exped MultiMat. The Long Term
      Report will follow in approximately two months.
      Many thanks to Outdoor Research and BackpackGearTest.org for the
      opportunity to test this product.