The Exped Ultra 5R is a sleeping pad that is 7 centimeters thick and has an R-value of 4.8 making it the ideal all round sleeping pad for summer and winter camping to -20 °C. Enjoy the review!
- Weight: 686,2 grams (585 grams claimed) / 24.2 oz
- Packsize: ø 14 x 29 cm / ø 5.5” x 11.5”.
- Sleepingsize: 183 x 52 x 7 cm / 72” x 20.5” x 3”
- Price: € 209,95
Weight and size
The Exped Ultra 5R that I am reviewing here is the Medium sized rectangular one. For me with a length of 1.69 cm and a weight of 63 kg it’s the lightest and most compact option. All measurements are done on this sleeping pad. The sleeping pad is also available in a mummy shaped and in a Large and Wide version.
I measured the total weight of the Exped Ultra 5R at 686,2 grams (24.2 oz). This can be broken down to 36,5 grams for the pouch, 55,9 grams for the pumpbag leaving the mattress at 593,8 grams. Exped claims a weight of 585 grams but does not state if this is for the whole package or just the sleeping pad. I measured the packed size ø 14 x 29 cm / ø 5.5” x 11.5” and that is a bit bigger than the size Exped claims: 12,5 x 23 cm. Inflated the sleeping mat measures 183 x 52 x 7 cm. That is one centimeter wider than Exped claims.
The weight and the packsize of the Exped Ultra 5R are not the lightest and not the smallest, but there is a bit more to this and I will tell you later. The sleeping pad is designed for 4-season use with back- and bikepackers, longer trekkings and alpinism in mind. I would add motorcyclists, people who drive a small (electric) car and everyone who goes on holiday with a trekkingbike.
Inflating the Exped Ultra 5R is simple: take it out of the stuff bag, roll it out and use the pumpbag to inflate it. I have tested sleeping pads with pump bags before and I love the ones from Exped; I use them for other sleeping pads also. The fit of the nozzle is perfect. The Schnozzel Pumpbag – as it is officially called – has a volume of 42 liters for sleeping pads with a size M. Large sleeping pads come with a 85 L Schnozzel Pumpbag.
Filling the Schnozzel Pumpbag with air is a matter of scooping air or blowing air into it or just letting the wind do its magic. Fold the top together and use the bag as a pump. It takes about 2- 2.5 times pumping to fill the sleeping pad. Since the valve is a one-way valve, I can take out the nozzle without risk (or when the sleeping pad is full, it pops out by itself), put the cap on the valve and I am done. To deflate is a matter of opening the valve marked OUT.
The Exped Ultra 5R consists of 8 air chambers that are positioned in the length direction of the sleeping pad. The mattress’s outer material is made from a 20 Denier ripstop recycled polyester. To get the insulation value of R 4.8 an insulating material – called Texpedloft – is welded to the top and the bottom of the air chambers. Of course on the inside. This is what is called the Synmat Technology by Exped. The sleeping mat is well made and hard wearing. After a year using it inside tents but also outside on grass and less forgiving surfaces, it is still 100% ok!
Like I wrote above the Exped Ultra 5R sleeping is made with recycled polyester. I also like that the mat is PFC free and that it is certified as being produced climate neutral by Myclimate. MyClimate is an organization that aims to provide insights into the CO2 emissions of companies in order to subsequently reduce emissions. This can already be done, for example, by simply replacing fossil fuel with sustainable energy from wind or hydropower. The MyClimate logo indicates that a brand or manufacturer has joined this organization and achieves the environmental objective of the organization. These objectives can vary from compensating CO2 emissions, making the company completely climate neutral or producing a product climate neutral.
This Exped Ultra 5R sleeping pad has been in my family since the summer of 2022. The other sleeping pads that we use are from Vaude, Thermarest and Exped and some are thicker and more heavy and some are lighter and more packable. In this year the Exped Ultra 5R was the sleeping mat that was always the one in between. Yes, a 9 cm tick Exped Downmat – Golden Oldy by now – is more comfortable and a ‘self-inflatable’ Thermarest Trail Lite is definitely less comfy. In the end the Exped Ultra 5R is always the sleeping mat that we bring if we can only bring one taking weight, packed size and sleeping comfort in the equation.
The Exped Ultra 5R is very comfortable. It can be inflated to your personal liking. That means letting air out once in a while and that is easy too. The length wise positioning of the air chambers makes that the beams to the side form a sort cradle around you. I love this. The outer material feels soft and nice to the skin. But the best: it is almost soundless. Turning on your sleeping mat only gives turning noise but not the noise of insulation materials inside the mattress like some others do. We also noticed that the mattress gives hardly any sound in relation to the floor of a tent. We tested several.
Exped Ultra 5R insulation
With a R-value of 4.8 the Exped Ultra 5R’s name is a bit ‘misleading’; it should be Exped Ultra 4.8R. About the insulation properties I can be pretty short. We have slept in temperatures to 0 degrees and that gave no problems whatsoever. But what about lower temperatures? I would have loved to try it at -20 °C outdoors but this year there was simply not a very cold winter trip and temperatures did not get really cold in The Netherlands. Instead of testing outdoors I found a place indoors: a deep freeze warehouse from Lineage in my neighborhood that was kind enough to help.
Testing at -20 °C
At -20 °C I got in my warmest -37 °C Mammut sleeping bag just wearing thermal underwear, socks, gloves and a hat. I spent an hour in great comfort on the Exped. Lying on my side and on my hips I could not feel any cold from the concrete floor getting to me. I stopped after half an hour – to get some extra air in the sleeping pad – and after an hour out of boredom and… because my camera’s died and I didn’t want to damage anything.
The only thing that kept going was the Cat S62 Pro smartphone that I have on loan from Cat because it has FLIR thermal imaging on board. With the phone I checked if I was putting much warmth in the concrete floor and I was not. The little heat you see on the image is the reflection of the warmth of the mattress. So would I take it with low temperatures? Yes, I would.
Deflating and packing
Deflating and packing the Exped Ultra 5R is easypeasy. Open the valve and air escapes fast. Fold the sleeping pad lengthwise in three, roll from bottom to top towards the valves and you are done. The insulating material inside hardly gives any resistance. When done put it back in its stuff bag. Tight squeeze but it fits.
Nice to know
- As mentioned above: the Exped pump bag is a very nice one and it doubles as a waterproof bag as long as you close the nozzle. The good thing about the nozzle is: put your (dirty) clothes in the pump bag and press out all the air and then place the cap on the nozzle. This makes the package really compact.
- It is possible to use the pump bag as a pillow. Put some clothing in it and use the nozzle to get a pillow that is a bit harder or softer.
- The pump bag is available as an accessory or spare part in case you break or lose it. It retails for about € 32,-.
- Positive is also that in the package Exped includes a repair set. Just in case. We did not need it; the outer material is pretty tough. A replacement set will set you back about € 20,-.
The Exped Ultra 5R won a place in the heart of our family. Weight and packsize are fine for a well insulated R4.8 rated sleeping mat. Inflating with the 42 liter Schnozzel Pumpbag is fast and easy. Deflating and packing: same. The sleeping comfort is great. The length wise positioned air beams form a cradle when lying down on it. No funny noises when turning around and it is warm for very cold days. The price of € 209,95 for the complete package is steep but fits the build quality and used materials. The fact that Exped has awareness for sustainability is sweet too. I rate the Exped Ultra 5R at 9.1 out of 10 points.
The Netherlands: www.exped-store.nl