A baffling experience
Quick gear note here: for the last couple of years we have used two Exped Synmat 7s (comparable to the newer Synmat Ultralights), which are very nicely insulated open cell air mats. We have a regular version for Bob, and a larger, wider version for me. And while they have served us very well in the past – in New Zealand, Australia, on the GR5 and the Adlerweg and many other trips – we recently had a baffling experience with them (pun intended).
On a short trip to the Müllerthal in Luxemburg (highly recommended by the way) two of the baffles on my mat ruptured. The mat retained its inflation (mostly) but I ended up lying with a large bump in my back. Not the most comfortable sleeping positions. Luckily, not the full baffle had ruptured, so simply turning the mat around meant that the bump could be placed near my feet. What could have been a very uncomfortable night luckily turned out to be a mild annoyance.
We talked to Exped and to the good people at Bever. This turns out to be a known issue of this type of mat (apparently it is resolved with the newer Ultralights: the orange ones with a dark hexagon pattern on them). After some digging my parents found the original receipt in a binder in a box on their attic, and the mat has now been sent to Exped. To be continued.