Thanks to rare visit to the forums my memory was prodded and here is a belated look at the now slightly dogeared Synmat 7.5 Basic.
I moaned about the integral pumps in Exped mats at every opportunity, they seem so pointless, if your lungs are good enough to carry it up a mountain they’ll manage to inflate it surely? Still, some folk like so what the hell do I know? Talking back then to a now ex-representative of the brand: nothing.
Fast forward to a year or more ago and I got an “Aha!” from Si at Lyon Equipment “This’ll stop your whining!”. A Synmat free of the stupid internal pump, I rejoiced. Of course if came with a pillow that also acts as a pump, and as well as it worked, and as comfy as it was, it went on a couple of trips before being safely stored, and a year on I can’t find it for the photie…
So, to get to the point finally, this is a badass mat. 3″ thickness of heat-retaining all-night comfiness. I remember the bottom of this mat being frozen to the floor of the tent in the morning in a pool of ice and the top being warm: that’s a bit of kit that’s doing it’s job. It’s rated down to to -11°C, but whether that’s air temperature, ground temperature, defrost ice cube tray now tremperature I don’t know, but it repels cold to a fine degree.
It’s just short of 700g in its stuff sack and it packs to something between a toilet roll and kitchen roll size tube, but that’s not a killer at all. The fat insulated tubes catch condensation in the gaps between them and tend keep it away from your sleeping bag, a feature I’d always worried about being a heat loss area, but a trade off is fine it turns out.
The fabric is tough, I slept on Microspikes with this at one point (you should see the floors of my tents), and should clean easily, something unpacking it made me realise it needs.
I mentioned the pillow-pump, well without carrying that, this means you have to pucker up and blow into the big belly button valve thing which is a rather amusing and not unpleasant experience, certainly heats you up at a cold camp. It inflates easy enough, deflates and rolls up much easier than the integral pump one.
The Basic has been well used and I like it. It’s a silly tag to attach to it “basic”, makes it sound like you’re getting something with corners cut rather than tuned up for a faster lap.
Good kit, recommended.