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EXPED Dura 3R Sleeping Mat Review

Getting a good night sleep on the trail can make or break a hiking trip. I get a solid 7 or 8 hours at home usually but when I go hiking, it’s usually a few hours of tossing back and forth in a tight sleeping bag on a noisy mat.

EXPED have completely rebuilt their sleeping mat line with the Ultra, Dura and Versa series. The new series focus on weight, durability and value while all delivery a good night sleep.

New EXPED Mats

EXPED built the popular AirMat, SynMat and DownMat for years but they were named around what kind of insulation was inside. After finding out few people cared about what insulation was inside but more about what the mat was good for, they’ve rebuilt and renamed the entire line.

All the new EXPED mats are now aligned under the Ultra, Versa and Dura series. Ultra is superlightweight and packable. Dura is extra durable and warm. Versa is in between.

SeriesMatR-ValueMin TempInsulation TypeFabric ThicknessSizes
Ultra 1R1.310° C / 50° FAir20D top and bottomRectangle – M, MW, LW
Mummy – M, MW, LW
Duo – M, LW
Ultra3R2.9−5° C / 20 °FSynMat
60 g/m²
20D top and bottomRectangle – M, MW, LW
Mummy – M, MW, LW
Duo – M, LW
Ultra5R4.8−20° C / −5 °FSynMat
60 g/m²
20D top and bottomRectangle – M, MW, LW
Mummy – M, MW, LW
Ultra7R7.1−30° C / −20° FDownMat
700 fill RDS down
20D top and bottomRectangle – M, MW, LW
Mummy – M, MW, LW
Dura 3R2.9-5° C / 25° FSynMat
160 g/m²
75D top
170D bottom
Rectangle – M, MW, LW
Dura5R4.8-20° C / -5° FSynMat
160 g/m²
75D top
170D bottom
Rectangle – M, MW, LW
Duo – M, LW
Dura8R7.8-40° C / -40° FDownMat
700 fill RDS down
75D top
170D bottom
Rectangle – M, MW, LW
Versa2R2.40° C / 30 °FSynMat 160g/m²75D top and bottomRectangle – M, LW
Versa4R3.7-10° C / 15° FSynMat 160g/m²75D top and bottomRectangle – M, LW
All new EXPED mats in the Ultra, Dura and Versa series

Mat sizes

  • M (Medium) – 72 inches long by 20 inches wide
  • MW (Medium-Wide) – 72 inches long by 25 inches wide
  • LW (Long-Wide) – 77 inches long by 25 inches wide

Mummy sizes are the same basic dimensions but they are rounded at the top and taper at the bottom.

So those are all the EXPED mats in the line but here we’re looking at the Dura, specifically the 3R medium wide version.

What is the Dura 3R?

The EXPED Dura 3R falls into the heavier and more durable category of all the mats. It’s got 75 denier recycled polyester on top, with a beefy 170 denier on the bottom.

The 3R in the name is named for it’s 2.9 (almost 3) R-value or how warm it is. An R-value of 1 or 2 is for summer or 3-season use. 5 and 6 are shoulder and light winter. Higher is for winter and arctic use. With an R-value of 2.9, EXPED recommend the 3R be used above -5° C (25° F).

Specs

  • Size: 182 x 65 x 7.6 cm (72 x 25.6 x 3 in)
  • Packed size: 30 x 13.4 cm (10.6 x 5.3 in)
  • 839 grams (29.6 oz)
  • 2.9 R-value
  • $204 CAD ($149.95 USD)
EXPED Dura 3R

Trading weight

The Dura 3R isn’t the lightest mat but it’s not the heaviest either.

To compare let’s see a few other popular mats:

  • EXPED Dura 3R rectangle medium-wide (72 x 25 rectangle) – 839 grams (29.6 oz)
  • EXPED Ultra 1R mummy medium (72 x 20 in mummy) – 309 grams (10.9 oz)
  • Therm-a-rest Uberlite (72 x 20 in mummy) – 250 grams (8.8 oz)
  • Big Agnes Q-Core Deluxe (72 x 25 in rectangle) – 878 grams (31 oz)

Between the extra thick material on the top and bottom for durability, the warmer 160 g/m² SynMat insulation inside and the wider size, this mat ends up being on the heavy end of mats.

Thicker, wider mats usually lead to better sleep though. I get better sleep on them anyways, and sleep is becoming more and more important for me on trips. If I’m not sleeping well, I’m not enjoying the trip. The weight difference between the Dura and Big Agnes Q-Core and something like the Uberlite is considerable. So is the sleep quality.

Comfort Cradle keeps you on the mat

The EXPED mats have vertical tubes which distribute weight well and don’t end up feeling too flat and hard. Each of the outermost tubes are slightly taller than the inner tubes making a ‘Comfort Cradle’ keeping you in the middle of the mat. They don’t feel noticeably larger than the other tubes but more just don’t roll off the side as much. Having a couple extra usable inches on the mat is really nice, especially one that’s 25 inches wide. It makes it feel even wider.

If your sleeping bag is a narrow mummy, you won’t be able to use this extra width. If you want to spread out more, maybe try a wider mummy, a quilt, or a system like the ZenBivy.

2 Valves and 1 Schnozzel

Air mattress valves haven’t changed much in a long time. EXPED is doing something different with theirs.

Instead of a 1 valve that has to lock, breaks easily and won’t hold air if it’s open, EXPED is doing it better.

EXPED is putting FlatValves on their mats. 1 port is for putting air in with a 1-way valve to hold the air in while you take a breath. No more panicking to try and get the valve sealed after blowing it up. For small adjustments a little plastic poking tool lets a touch of air out. The OUT valve is a big, open port that dumps air quickly. Leave this closed while you’re filling.

The FlatValves sit on the bottom of the mat and stay out of the way. They’re nearly impossible to open accidentally. You can blow it up with your mouth or the Schnozzel bag (recommended).

The Schnozzel bag is a very lightweight stuff sack with an air tube on the bottom. Connect the tube to the airmat (or pillow), scoop up some air, and squish it down to fill up the mat. After some practice it’s 4 or 5 Schnozzels and the mat is full. The smaller 20 inch mats take 3-4 Schnozzels.

Roll down the top, squish out the air and the Schnozzel makes a good waterproof dry bag for your sleeping bag.

Using the Schnozzel to add air to the Dura

Noise

One of the biggest complaints I have with some of the pads, is it sounds like you’re sleeping in tinfoil. There is literally metal foil in some of the mats to reflect heat back to your body. Another issue I’ve found some combinations of mat and tent can be extra loud. The Big Agnes Fly Creek Platinum tent I’m usually in right now is a bit crinkly with some of the mats.

The Dura is made of a softer polyester with soft synthetic insulation inside. It doesn’t make nearly as much noise as some of the other mats. It was fairly busy at the small lake I camped with it and I could hear others moving around on their mats but I doubt they could hear the Dura.

Cost

Just like the Ultra 3R, the Dura 3R is $149 USD, and about $204 CAD. The prices seemed to vary a lot in Canada.

How good is the Dura 3R for sleeping?

So the big question: is the Dura 3R medium-wide good for sleeping?

Definitely.

The ultralight crew might now want to carry, but those that will, will get a good sleep. The nights I’ve spent on it so far much nicer than tiny, crinkly sleeping mats.

The softer fabric and synthetic insulation inside make it quieter. It gives you more room being 25 inches across. The taller ‘Comfort Cradle’ rails on the outside keep you more in the middle and feel like more usable room on the sides.

Now I just need to test it with my ZenBivy quilt to really feel all that room.

Compared to the EXPED Ultra 3R

The Dura 3R is a very similar mat to the Ultra 3R. Both have SynMat synthetic insulation inside and recycled polyester the outside. The Dura 3R has 160 g/m² of the insulation, while the Ultra has 60 g/m².

The Ultra 3R is covered with 20 denier recycled polyester. The polyester is again recycled ono the Dura but is 75 denier on the top and 170 denier on the bottom, considerably thicker. The thicker polyester is more durable so you get less holes. It’s also softer and quieter moving around on it. Rolling around on the Ultra is slightly louder than the Dura. Both are quieter than mats with foil insulation inside like the Therm-a-rest Uberlite.

Other than the feel of the fabric, the feel of the tubes and the ‘Comfort Cradle’ is the same. Both have 20 and 25 inch versions. Only the Ultra has a mummy version.

Certified Climate Neutral by MyClimate

I love that the new mats are certified Climate Neutral by MyClimate. This means EXPED reduces the carbon emissions as much as they can, then pays for carbon offsets for the rest.

The whole process, including raw materials, transportation and manufacturing are all taken into account in the carbon calculations. If we are going to continue to live on this planet, every industry is going to have to do this at some point. The sooner the better.

Offsets pay for carbon reduction projects through MyClimate, a third party that can certify companies Climate Neutral. EXPED is currently supporting a project in Northern Tanzania that supports better land and forest use as well as protecting endangered animals from poaching.

EXPED made sleeping mats entirely Climate Neutral early 2022. Sleeping bags, liners, pillows and booties will all follow in 2022 and 2023. After all these changes, 70% of the EXPED line will be Climate Neutral.

Questions? Comments?

The new line of EXPED mats covers everything from ultralight to strong and durable. With a great nights sleep and every single mat certified Climate Neutral, you can’t go wrong here.

What mat do you use?

Do you actually get a good sleep on it?

How noisy is it?

Disclosure: EXPED provided the Dura 3R mat to PackandTrail.com to review for free.

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