Whiteburn's Wanderings

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

Air-mat inflator

With the purchase of an Exped Symat 7UL 2 – 3 years ago I started to look for a simple inflation mechanism; as Exped state “To prevent the accumulation of humidity from your breath in the mat, we recommend the use of the optional lightweight Mini Pump, Pillow Pump, Schnozzel Pumpbag or the Schnozzel…..”.  I saw the logic in this, moist breath into a plastic bag just sounded like an ideal breeding ground for a real gunge.  There was also the desire not to spend 1/2 hr puffing & wheezing.

I persevered for while with a simple plastic bag with a piece of PVC pipe taped into the corner, it worked but it wasn’t ideal.

I quite liked the idea of the Exped Schnozzel (25g) a neat looking little adapter that connects an Exped Compression Bag, (photo from Exped website).


I failed to find one of these, but did purchase one of the Exped Compression sacks, (19L), (photo from Exped website).


A bit heavy at 140g but a hot knife to the compression straps soon knocked this down to 75g & it’s amply sized for even my largest sleeping bag (Cumulus Panyam 600) + some spare clothes. The Exped website states that it has a ”flat purge valve to expel air….”, in fact it’s just a hole with a plug with no mushroom valve like the Synmat but it does come in handy when the bag needs to be quished a little. It worked very well as a pump sack with a short piece of PCV pipe as a connector (usually 7 ‘puffs’ fully inflates the Symat) but with the rigid pipe it was kind of awkward to use & it occasionally would pop off.

The eureka moment came when I found this is a waste skip, flexible plastic conduit.


It fits into the Exped valves well & a 15cm piece weighed 8g.

The other realisation was that it fits firmly over the outside of the Thermarest Neoair valve.


Two beds with one pump sack & a lot less wheezing.

A more recent addition to the Exped range which looked quite attractive is the Exped Schnozzel Pump Bag (Photo from Exped website)


Quite light at ~70g (a few grams lighter than the current setup) being made from 15D silicone/ PU coated nylon, large enough to inflate a Synmat with 3 ‘pumps’ & doubles as a large drybag.  I managed to resist the urge though as having handled one I was a bit concerned about the longevity, it does have a 5 year warrantee but the last thing I want is a leaky dry bag on a long trip.


7 comments on “Air-mat inflator

  1. Paul Byrne
    February 18, 2015

    Ingenious! I managed to buy the same mat with a Schnozzel and its excellent

  2. Ben
    February 22, 2015

    I’ve been looking for something like this for ages! What diameter of conduit pipe are you using?

    • Paul Atkinson
      February 22, 2015

      The piece that I found measures 20.5 OD & 16 ID. I guessed it’s ‘standard’ 20mm flexible conduit. Good hunting.

  3. Ben
    February 22, 2015

    Brilliant, thanks

    • Paul Atkinson
      February 22, 2015

      No problems, I’ve no doubts that individual manufacturers dim’s may vary a bit. Slightly smaller OD (~20mm) would probably be OK with a wrap of self amalgamating tape to suit the Exped valve, the bore would still fit the Thermarest.

  4. Ben
    February 27, 2015

    Thought I’d give you an update. I realised I needed a 20-16mm connection as I’m using the schnozzle 40l bag for a synmat 20mm flat valve, but wanting to use it for a thermarest valve which widens from 15mm.

    I came up with a perfect solution- its taken a while!

    A rubber ferrule for a 16mm or 5/8inch walking stick which broadens to around 25mm can be used. I cut the top off and cut a 21mm hole for the schnozzle valve.

    I got the ferrule from Amazon and by happenstance the 16mm side has a lip which widens to 21mm so I don’t have to take it off the schnozzle in between inflating my thermarest and synmat. Result!

    Weighs 9g.

    I got it from Concept4u 4-pack for £3.99.

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This entry was posted on February 17, 2015 by in Gear and tagged .

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