Author Topic: Exped Airmat 12LXW  (Read 3244 times)

Kim

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Exped Airmat 12LXW
« on: August 06, 2014, 02:36:24 pm »


http://www.exped.com/germany/en/product-category/mats/airmat-12-lxw

We just bought one of these for barakta OTP, who has dislocating shoulders that are extremely sensitive to poor sleeping conditions, as well as plenty of curvy bits that don't get on well with thinner self-inflating mats.  I have an Exped DownMat 7M which I am very happy with, but barakta finds the thickness marginal, and doesn't like the ridgy structure.  I also have an original Alpkit Airic, which she likes slightly better, but at 45mm isn't thick enough to prevent hips and shoulders bottoming out.

On our last few camping trips she's been using a CampingGaz airbed (http://www.campingaz.com/uk/p-26040-quickbed-airbed-single.aspx) which has scored well on comfort, but is far too big for our lightweight tents, requires an external pump[1] and has all the durability you'd expect from a £15 airbed.  A nocturnal visit from the puncture fairy encouraged me to look for more durable alternatives.

Unfortunately, only the lightweight Exped AirMats seem to be available in the UK, so I had to order from a German supplier.


So, instant review:

As the name suggests, the AirMats use the same sort of technology as the DownMat and SynMat, but without a filling.  This means they're lighter and pack smaller than the equivalent DownMat, but have a much lower thermal insulation R-value for the same thickness.  It hopefully means there's less to go wrong, too.  It has the same 5 year warranty as the other Exped mats.

The AirMat 12 LXW is something of a luxurious beast.  It's 120mm thick, so there's no danger of hips bottoming out.  While it has the same longitudinal ridge structure as the other Exped mats, the ridges are wider and the curve is much less pronounced than on a DownMat.   It's also long and wide (about the same area as the CampingGaz airbed), which is handy if you're big or wriggly, though it's a shame they don't do a normal length version at the same thickness.  The material is the same as used in the DownMat, which has proven to be reasonably puncture-resistant in normal use (certainly orders of magnitude better than PVC airbeds), and a repair kit is included.  The R-value is a respectable 2.5, compared to the DownMat 7M's 5.9, and should be fine for fair-weather campers.

Thankfully, there's no integrated pump on this one.  The volume is about three times that of the DownMat 7M, and you'd have serious backache by the time you had it inflated.  Instead the clever Schnozzel pumpbag is included - this is basically a large drybag with a tube and valve at the bottom to attach to the mat[2]:  You hold the end of the bag closed and compress it, quickly and easily forcing several litres of air at a time into the mat.  It takes about 5 Schnozzel's worth of air to fully inflate the 12 LXW (much less for a typical DownMat).  When not in use as a pump, you can use the Schnozzel as a drybag to keep your stuff dry.  The AirMat has separate valves for inflate and deflate, with the inflate valve having a one-way action that can be overridden by poking with a finger for fine pressure adjustment.

Deflation is trivially easy: open the deflate valve, roll the mat up lengthwise to expel most of the air, then fold into thirds and roll tightly to fit the stuffsack.  This is easier than with the DownMat, because there isn't the bulk of the internal pump to fight with as you roll it up.  Unusually for an Exped mat, I had no problem getting the rolled-up mat and the Schnozzel to fit inside the stuffsack.  Packed weight is about 1.2kg, with a volume that's a little smaller that of the DownMat 7M.  This is practical for lightweight camping, in the way that a functionally similar large self-inflating mat like the Alpkit Fat Airic simply isn't, and is a good option for indoor use, where a high R-value is less desirable.

Barakta gives it a thumbs-up.  Will report back after its first night under canvas...


[1] We've been using a Wilko electric pump, powered from the battery of her electric-assist trike in the rower40 style.
[2] You can get an adaptor to make the Schnozzel (or, fortuitously, a Wilko electric air pump) fit the valves on the Exped Mats with integrated pumps.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Exped Airmat 12LXW
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2014, 11:37:19 pm »
I have the LW7 Synmat and those extra few inches do make a difference when it comes to bedtime..... ;)

You can roll over or stretch out without worrying about falling off the edge, which is a problem with my (much lighter) Neoair.     

It's a bastard to pack away though, needs several squash/roll cycles to get the air out and the stuffsack is far too small.  I ended up just rolling it down to a fairly small size & wrapping it in the Schnozzle.
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Kim

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Re: Exped Airmat 12LXW
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2014, 12:13:58 am »
Yeah, I certainly see the appeal of the extra width (indeed, it's one of the things I like about the Regular Airic), especially if there's any kind of sideways slope, which always seems to confuse my brain's subconscious staying-on-the-bed mechanism.  As usual with all things bedding, there's no wide option for people who don't need the extra length too.

I also note there's a 12 LXW version of the Synmat, which achieves a similar R-value to the Downmat 7.  Not cheap, and I'm sure it's also a git to pack.  I don't know why Exped make their stuffsacks quite so short.  It's not usually the width that's the problem, and it's not like an extra couple of centimetres of length would allow the mat to unroll.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Exped Airmat 12LXW
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2014, 08:42:35 am »
If you get the chairkit, for the sizes that have one, the bag that comes in is much bigger and if you can pack the poles in the tent bag, it's easy to get in.
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

Re: Exped Airmat 12LXW
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2014, 11:33:29 am »
I sold quite a few Airmats in the early days and everyone complained how cold they were. I didn't want the hassle of their complaints so gave up selling them.
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Kim

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Re: Exped Airmat 12LXW
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2014, 12:33:49 pm »
Makes sense.  I think any air-filled mat is only going to be good in warm weather, unless combined with some closed-cell foam or something.  I'm not expecting this to be much warmer than a cheap airbed, just a lot more practical and durable.  Barakta's not an enthusiastic cold-weather camper anyway.

As a member of the Butterfly school of keeping warm, I expect the thinner Airmats are bloody freezing.


Speaking of bigger stuffsacks, does anyone have experience of the Exped mat covers?  (It seems they come with a larger compression sack for storing the mat+cover at full width.)  They seem like a good idea from a keeping things clean perspective (in a small tent my Downmat always ends up accumulating patches of mud, crumbs, sweat, oil, hydrocortisone, minty arse lard, and so on), and was wondering if they changed the squeak properties...
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Kim

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Re: Exped Airmat 12LXW
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2014, 09:53:22 pm »
Update:

Barakta used it for three nights at the Mildenhall rally, and seems to rate it.  She particularly likes the ease of accurate pressure adjustment.

I used it myself on someone's floor the other night.  Can't comment on the thermal performance, as it was a warm room, but it was slightly more comfortable than my 7cm Downmat, with greater scope for use of lower pressure without bottoming out.  The less pronounced ridge structure was noticeable when lying on your side, and of course extra width is always welcome.  The superfluous length is awkward for fitting into tight spaces if you don't need it, though I suppose tall people don't get a choice.

A friend used it last night, and gave it a thumbs up for a guy of a chubby persuasion.  He has one of the thick Alpkit self-inflating mats, and was very impressed by the Airmat's pack size.


I'm pleased with how easy it is to pack up.  Unlike a Downmat, with the valve open it will eventually fully deflate under its own weight, though you can roll it up to hurry the process along in the usual way.  Once deflated, it consistently folds into thirds, and as I said above, is significantly easier to roll neatly than a Downmat with integrated pump.  No problems re-packing it in the stuffsack.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Exped Airmat 12LXW
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2014, 11:52:19 pm »
Really useful review. I had looked at these before but somehow missed they did a lighter one that Megamat. So now i can ditch the cheap heavy mat and footpump and do some lightweight camping