Here in Australia, foam pad style sleeping mats are far outsold by inflatables, but in the US, it’s a different story. Why is that?
Of course, there are pros and cons to both styles, but if we’re discussing weight, which we are, at 325g, Exped’s Flex Pad is actually 150g lighter than their own Synmat UL, the lightest mat in their inflatable range (comparing full-length models).
The next highest consideration is comfort, and you may not think so to look at it, but the Flex Mat’s 1.8cm of closed cell IXPE foam, moulded in a body-contouring dimple pattern, actually does a pretty good job of cushioning the body. The night I spent on it, I slept the same as normal.
The other great advantage of a foam mat? It won’t puncture, deflate, and leave you sleeping on the cold, hard ground. On a long-distance trek, that’s an inconvenience you just cannot afford.
In fact, some hikers use one as an additional layer of warmth and protection for their inflatable mat. Yes, it’s bulky (it’ll end up travelling outside your pack, so be careful not to pollute the environment by allowing crowding foliage to scratch off pieces of foam), and yes, it’s got a relatively low R-value of 1.5, but for some people the pros will outweigh the cons.
Contact: Expedition Equipment 02 94175755 or firstname.lastname@example.org