LTR - OR Exped Synmat 7 - AB
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Long Term Report: March 31, 2008
During the Long Term Test phase I was able to use this air mattress a total
of 3 additional times. All three nights were in the Land Between the Lakes
Recreational area. The land is fairly flat with an elevation average for
this area around 400 ft (122 m) above sea level. The temperatures this time
were a bit colder than before. The high for this trip was roughly 56 F (13
C) but the cold for the last night reached down to 21 F (-6 C). Luckily
there was no precipitation during this trip either.
Since no one wanted to join me on my Mammoth Cave trip, I decided that a
nice walk along the North-South trail in LBL would do me good. For 3 nights,
I was able to walk at a leisurely pace and enjoy the scenery along the lake.
I decided not to take the hammock this trip and stay in shelters instead due
to the cold temperatures and blowing wind that was forecast. Once again, the
shelters had rock floors, and were nothing more than half culverts covering
the rocks, but at least it was smooth and flat, and offered a good deal of
protection from the wind.
When packing, I decided again to leave the stuffsack at the house. While it
is nice to have while car camping or something, the fact of the matter is
it's simply too bulky and not an effective containment system for the Synmat
7. I chose the Velcro strap again to more effectively compress the air
mattress. I also decided to leave the repair kit at home this time and
figured if I did develop a leak, I could easily cut my trip short and head
home if need be. Throughout the entire testing period I have tightly rolled
the Synmat 7 trying to get it down to as little a package as possible. In
the beginning I was worried that this might cause a problem with the down
shifting, but I have yet to experience this issue.
Setup is still as easy as can be. I have found that if I let the mattress
sit with the valves open right after I unroll it there doesn't seem to be as
much back pressure when I am inflating it. I usually leave it sitting with
the valves open for 5-10 minutes and this usually does the trick. In
addition to the field testing I thought I had better try this mattress out
with a standard sleeping bag at least once since I was primarily using my
Big Agnes with the integrated air mattress pocket. I got out my 38 F
Montbell and laid it on the mattress while I took a bit of a nap one day
near the house. I found that I didn't slide off the mattress near as much as
I thought I would. I also didn't slide around on the tent floor that much
either. Keep in mind that my nap was only 2-3 hours, and thus not an entire
night of testing, but I feel confident that I will be able to stay
relatively stable on this mattress in the future.
In the end, I have found that the Synmat 7 keeps me relatively warm down to
roughly 15 F. I haven't been able to test it in temperatures below that so
I'm not really sure how low the temperature can be and still have a
comfortable sleep. In addition, I haven't really found an upper limit yet
either. Unlike my other down insulated air mattress, sleeping on the Synmat
7 in temperatures around 60 was not as hot as I thought it would be. I will
definitely be using this well into the summer months.
In all, I am very pleased with the Synmat 7. It has given me good nights of
sleep, proven to be easily packable, and durable on the rocky ground. Having
two valves allows for quicker deflation and an easier way to adjust the
firmness throughout the night. There really aren't any negatives that I can
think of as I have had wonderful nights sleep throughout the testing period.
I would like to thank BackpackGearTest.org and Outdoor Research for allowing
me to participate in testing the Exped Synmat 7.