Gear Review: Exped SynMat Sleeping Pad

Comfortable for even the most sensitive backs.

Softest Pad

If you value mattresslike cush as much as electric-blanket warmth, get this super-thick pad. Its plush comfort and lifelong durability have made it a perennial favorite among our sore-backed staff. “It’s the only pad I want for every cold-weather trip,” says one fan. How plump is it? The SynMat comes in a variety of widths and lengths to suit any size sleeper, and two decadent thicknesses–2.8 and 3.5 inches.

It looks like an inflatable pool float, but it’s stuffed with a synthetic microfiber insulation that’s laminated to the top and bottom of the slip-resistant polyester shell fabric. Translation: extra warmth, no cold spots. And the built-in hand pump conveniently lets you inflate it without introducing the moist air you produce when blowing into a pad. $100; 1 lb. 15 oz. (SynMat 7, 2.8 inches thick); 5 sizes; (starting in January, go to

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