My first thermarest is still going strong. I bought it on a Florida to Denver CO road trip in college to attend GSA. ‘98 or ‘99. It was a great step up from the super crappy thin closed cell foam pad. I’ve since added a second thermarest. When camping with my wife and 4 kids, the wife and I get a queen sized air mattress and the kids have stacking cot bunks. But this level of camping is reserved for the vehicle based, drive up to the campsite, pitch the tent.
The Exped has an internal easily used pump that you push on. It has down in the baffles that keeps you warm in cold weather, I used it on work trips lying on the aluminum floor of C5 and C17 aircraft as well as camping on the ground. It’s been bomb proof and comfy.
I have Thermarest Base Camp pads dating back to the early 1980s that are still going strong. I still like them but they are a bit bulky and take some time and effort to fully deflate.
I have used the non-self-inflating pads from Exped when I need something that will pack down smaller and lighter than a Thermarest. But I have now had the internal baffles blow out on two Exped pads. The most recent blow-out occurred on a multi-day downriver trip when four baffles blew out over the course of about 10 minutes making the pad impossible to sleep on. I had no recourse but to deflate the pad and sleep on it on the tent floor.
That pad was a Synmat UL. It was purchased years ago when Exped baffle blow-outs were notoriously common. Exped has replaced it and has assured me, or tried to, that this problem has been solved. The other Exped pad was a rectangular Downmat 7 with separate inflation and deflation valves. That one also was quite a few years old but had been used very lightly when it blew out. I really liked that pad and Exped did replace it, but with a mummy style pad that was severely cut and with only a single inflate/deflate valve. I hate that pad and will probably never use it. If anyone reading this has had a relatively recently purchased Exped pad blow out, please report it.
As for puncture proof self-inflating mats, I finally broke down and ordered a Paco Pad, made by Jacks Plastic Welding. These are like Thermarest pads with a tough, Hypalon skin. Rafters on the Colorado River have been using these for decades and throw them right down on the rocks. If they get wet they can be wiped off and dry much more quickly than a Thermarest pad. They are certainly not the lightest and don't have a small packed size but are not outrageous for canoe camping.
Has anyone used a Paco Pad for river tripping? I wonder about their R-value which is not reported by Jacks Plastic Welding.
Exped Megamat Lite, wide, and now coupled with an Exped Chair Kit, which I use to make it into a lounge chair for reading in the tent and a slightly raised back for sleeping (I hate sleeping totally flat on my back).