2001: A Sleeping Mat Odyssey: Through the end of the last century, outdoor enthusiasts relied on one of two types of sleeping mats: thin closed-cell foam mats or slightly thicker self-inflating mats. Both provided some level of comfort and insulation from the cold hard ground, but neither did so with great effect. In 2001, EXPED introduced a revolutionary product - the DownMat – which created an entirely new category of sleeping mats – much warmer, lighter and more compact than previous mats. This new category necessitated a means of measuring and comparing the efficiency of the insulation, so we pioneered the use of R-value testing to determine the “warmth” of a sleeping mat. Almost 20 years later the outdoor gear companies have agreed upon an international standard method for testing the R-value of sleeping mats, based heavily on EXPED’s previous work with EMPA, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. 

Exped's famously comfortable MegaMat gets a few updates for 2017. 

 

This video covers the entire Exped sleeping mat line-up for 2016. A mat for every use and user. 

One mat for every outdoor sleep circumstance? Yes...

R-value: putting a number on warmth

 

When buying a sleeping mat, most people shop around a bit and compare the different brands and models available. Important points such as price, quality, comfort, ease of use, reliability, compressibility and warmth all enter into the equation. But it's that last one, warmth, that's a bit sticky. With all the other parameters it's pretty straightforward to compare mats. Price and quality go together and info about comfort, ease of use, reliability, and compressibility can all be culled from online reviews,  in-store poking and prodding, and manufacturer websites. But this warmth rating, R-value, isn't as easy to accurately verify across brands and deserves an explanation, so we thought we'd clarify a few points.