Funds vs Deluxe Automobile Tenting Pad

Many people hit a degree in our lives the place we don’t need to tough it on a closed-cell foam sleeping mat or light-weight air pad at basecamp. Which means investing in a extra deluxe sleep system. Fortunately, a number of manufacturers in the marketplace provide ultra-cush automobile tenting pads that convey you about as shut as attainable to getting the identical sort of sleep as you do at house. However deluxe automobile tenting pads may be very dear. To that finish, we pitted one of the crucial reasonably priced pads on this class, the REI Co-op Camp Dreamer XL Self-Inflating Deluxe Mattress towards one of the crucial costly, the Exped MegaMat Max 15. 

To set the stage, there are some things that didn’t issue into our comparability. Each pads have a really excessive R-Worth, or the measure of a sleeping pad’s insulation, satisfactory to maintain you comfy even on the snow. (For the file, the Exped has a considerably greater R-Worth at 10.6). The MegaMat is almost double the burden of the Camp Dreamer at simply over 13 kilos, although each are heavy sufficient that you just received’t need to carry them backpacking. They pack down to just about the identical measurement, with the MegaMat simply 3 inches thicker when rolled up. With that out of the best way, let’s get to the good things.

The Exped MegaMat Max 15 has a two-way valve that enables for exact deflation. (Photograph: courtesy)

Ease of Setup/Breakdown

MegaMat Max: Like many Exped pads, the MegaMat Max has each an inflation and deflation valve. The 2-way inflation valve additionally means that you can slowly launch air by merely urgent on it, which makes fine-tuning the firmness of your mattress extremely simple and exact. For inflation, Exped features a comically small “Mini Pump” that you could both press or step on. Even supposing this pad is “self-inflating,” we’ve by no means efficiently absolutely inflated the pad with the Mini Pump, though we estimate it will take 5-10 minutes of steady pumping. We’d suggest shopping for Exped’s USB-rechargeable Widget Pump ($49) or every other powered or guide pump with a appropriate connector. 

Camp Dreamer: The Camp Dreamer comes with a creatively-designed rotating valve, the place one aspect permits for inflation and the opposite prevents air loss. To deflate, rotate the valve midway, conserving it simply barely ajar for fine-tuning. (An idiot-proof diagram subsequent to the valve exhibits you the right way to function it.) We discovered this valve system to be unnecessarily finicky, making it tough to know when the valve is absolutely seated on the inflation aspect or sealed aspect. As soon as appropriately seated, we had no issues with leakage, nevertheless. And though we’ve learn anecdotal complaints about leaky valves, we assume it’s as a result of consumer error quite than an precise manufacturing defect. On the plus aspect, the Camp Dreamer’s massive, foam-framed pump fills the pad (additionally technically self-inflating) in a minute or two and capabilities as a really comfy, adjustable pillow.

Winner: The Camp Dreamer. Whereas REI’s valve design is annoying and imprecise, Exped’s underpowered pump left us pissed off, particularly at its $330 price ticket. Shopping for an extra $49 battery-powered pump is so much to swallow on prime of that.


MegaMat Max: An nearly obscene 6 inches of Oeko-Tex polyurethane foam is on the core of this pad. Because of all that cushioning, we had been capable of barely underinflate the pad and obtain the sensation of a real, body-hugging reminiscence foam mattress. Even inflated to maximal firmness, the thick cushioning saved our hips and shoulders from turning into sore after a full evening. A 50-denier tricot polyester end on the highest of the pad is brushed and delicate, nearly like a jersey sheet, making it additional cozy subsequent to pores and skin. Sturdy vertical sidewalls saved us from sinking or rolling, even after we inched in the direction of the tip of the pad in our sleep. 

Camp Dreamer: Horizontal foam cores line the Camp Dreamer to offer structural assist. The ridges that the cores create are noticeable, particularly at full inflation. That doesn’t make this pad uncomfortable, and, in truth, they didn’t trouble some testers in any respect. When you’re a very delicate sleeper, nevertheless, these ridges could possibly be an annoyance. The 4-inch-thick polyurethane foam nonetheless permits for a pleasant sinking feeling, however you may’t partially inflate the pad and obtain the identical type of cradling, reminiscence foam mattress sensation that’s attainable with the MegaMat Max. The 30-denier stretch polyester face cloth was delicate and easy and sidewall integrity remained sturdy, even whereas sleeping on the edges.

Winner: MegaMat Max. True to its identify, the maximal reminiscence foam in Exped’s pad made it essentially the most comfy automobile tenting mattress we’ve ever examined, permitting for versatility no matter inflation stage. 

Exped MegaMat Max 15
Exped MegaMat Max 15 (Photograph: courtesy)


Each the Camp Dreamer and MegaMat are additional lengthy and further extensive. They’ve nearly precisely the identical 78-inch size, though the Camp Dreamer is 2 inches wider at 32 inches throughout. Each allowed us to comfortably stomach-sleep with our arms above our heads. Starfishing was barely extra comfy with the additional two-inch width, however each are beneficiant sufficient for nearly any measurement sleeper. It’s vital to notice that each of those pads will make it nearly not possible to suit two sleepers inside an ordinary 2-person tent.

Winner: Tie. Whereas the Camp Dreamer is barely wider, the distinction in measurement is almost imperceptible. 


The Camp Dreamer and MegaMata each use 75-denier polyester as their backside cloth. Whereas we don’t know why you’d deal with an costly pad so roughly, we dragged each of those mats over dust and rock with out creating a lot as a pinhole. For reference, a median backpacking sleeping pad may need a 30-denier polyester cloth. 

Winner: Tie. Each mats use a heavyweight polyester cloth that may maintain as much as nearly any campground atmosphere. 


The Megamat has an MSRP of $330—a superb $100 greater than comparable deluxe foam pads in the marketplace. The Camp Dreamer is available in at $179, or a bit greater than half the price of the Megamat. It’s one of many lowest costs you’ll discover for a mat on this class, and even competes with off-brands and knockoffs on this value vary. 

Winner: The Camp Dreamer. It’s the most effective worth buys on this class.

REI Co-op Camp Dreamer XL
REI Co-op Camp Dreamer XL with its pump/pillow hooked up (Photograph: courtesy)

Last Verdict

For most individuals, the REI Co-Op Camp Dreamer, which is almost half the value of the Exped Megamat, affords greater than sufficient consolation on this class. It has a stable quantity of froth cushioning, is sturdy, inflates rapidly and effectively, and features a pillow. (Simply watch that finicky valve). For significantly delicate sleepers who need that true reminiscence foam really feel with the flexibility to fine-tune firmness, the Megamat Max could be definitely worth the splurge. A cheerful medium between the 2, the Exped Megamat 10, affords nearly the entire similar luxuries and options of the Megmat Max 15, however with 4 inches of froth as a substitute of 8. At $250 for the comparable long-extra-wide model, we expect it’s a worthy improve from the Camp Dreamer if funds permits.

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