GEAR REVIEW: Exped Airmat Basic UL

EXPED AIRMAT BASIC UL 7.5: [rating=4]

Courtesy Patrick Hutchison.

$110 CAD

Reviewer: Patrick Hutchison

My Gear Style:
Hand-Me-Down Hero
Best-Bang-for-Your-Buck Buccaneer
Use It ‘Til It Disintegrates


I’ll be honest, after a long hike, I could probably fall asleep on a burlap sack filled with cans of soup. So, to tell you that I’ve been happy with Exped’s Airmat Basic over the last few months of use in the field shouldn’t convince you to get one. But here’s what should: I started writing a review of this ultra-lightweight air mat about 4.5 hours ago. As of now, 25 minutes of that has actually been spent writing, with the remainder spent enduring a fresh “test” of the mat on the hallway floor. It’s comfortable enough to drive me into a nap only hours after I’ve had a full night’s sleep on a real mattress.

As for all the other things that matter to a proper gear junkie. It is incredibly light, with the standard versions coming in just under 12 ounces, packing down smaller than the size of a Nalgene. It is not, however, for cool weather use, with an R-value of only .7 you’d want a very warm sleeping bag or added insulation if you planned on using it beyond the warmer months. But, this makes it perfect for summer camping, where more insulated mats might leave you sweating through the night.

Courtesy Patrick Hutchison.

Courtesy Patrick Hutchison.

BIG UPS: It works with Exped’s Schnozzel Pump-bag, an ingenuous bellows-style inflation system. This pump-bag doubles as a waterproof ditty bag but my personal favorite use for it is as an air filled pillow.

DOWNERS: Some friends that tried out the Airmat didn’t care for the ribbed surface. If you favor a more traditional, flat pad, this may be a deal breaker for you.

Check out this product on the Exped website!

Patrick Hutchison

Patrick is from Seattle, but has spent at least 2 of the last 5 years traveling, from living in Patagonia to trekking though China. As a youngster, Patrick fell in love with the wooded outdoors, where he would intentionally get himself lost. Now, he tries not to get lost, but investigates gear that would save him just in case he did. Patrick writes for Seattle Magazine, Seattle Health magazine, and Sea Kayaker.