We found the most objective tests of the DownMat 7 sleeping pad in two reviews at Backpacker magazine. Among the many owner-written reviews of the DownMat 7, the reviews at BackpackGearTest.org and LightBackpacking.com are the most detailed. Additional owner-written reviews at other sites confirm that about 11 out of 12 hikers find that the extra comfort outweighs the inconvenience of having to inflate the DownMat 7.
Reviews give the Exped DownMat 7 top ranking for cool-weather backpacking. At 28 ounces it's a bit heavy, but many hikers say a good night's sleep makes it well worth carrying, and it rolls up compactly. The regular size is only 70 inches long, so tall people will need the longer, wider DownMat 7 Deluxe (*est. $155). For car camping, the Therm-a-Rest DreamTime XL (*est. $200) is even bigger and better insulated. The main drawback of the Exped DownMat 7 is that it takes two to five minutes to inflate, using the stuff sack as a pump.
This roundup review compares six sleeping pads based on extensive field tests in varying and usually rugged conditions, finding that the Big Agnes Insulated Air Core sometimes leaks, but the Exped DownMat 7 doesn't. A 2002 comparison review at Backpacker magazine notes that the DownMat 7 can take five minutes to inflate, longer than most.
Review: Gear Guide: Sleeping Pads, Steve Howe, March 2006
The owner-written reviews here are far more detailed and structured than at most sites. The DownMat holds up well (even under a dog's paws); inflation is fast but tricky in a small tent.
Review: Exped Down Air Mattress, Contributors to BackpackGearTest.org
Most sites devoted to ultralight backpacking wouldn't consider a sleeping pad this heavy, but Bruce Lewis finds that the pad's extra insulation makes it possible to carry a lighter sleeping bag.
Review: Exped DownMat 7 Backpacking Sleeping Pad Review, Bruce Lewis, July 8, 2006
More than a dozen owners give the DownMat sleeping pad rave reviews here, confirming that it's durable and ultra-comfortable, but that you have to learn how to inflate it.
Review: Exped DownMat Sleeping Pad, Contributors to Backcountry.com
Half a dozen or so hikers give the Exped DownMat 7 glowing praise. One older hiker says it makes him feel 10 to 15 years younger.
Review: Exped DownMat 7, Contributors to Trailspace.com
A half-dozen hikers review the DownMat 7 sleeping pad here, with tips on how to inflate it. Except for one owner who complains that the sleeping pad leaked, all say getting a good night's sleep makes the weight worth carrying.
Review: Exped DownMat 7 Air Pad -- Regular, Contributors to REI.com