Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Warmest pad in review, super squishy, hips dont hit ground, many sizes
Cons: Not the coziest pad and the REI Camp Bed is almost as good for less
Best Uses: Car camping, extended stay remote base camps.
With an R-value of 11.4, the MondoKing is the warmest sleeping pad we tested. At $160, it's not cheap, but its only $40 more than our Best Buy winner, the REI Camp Bed 3.5 which only has an R-value of 6. While the MondoKing is comfortable, it's not quite in the same league as the Top Pick winner, the Exped MegaMat 10 or the Editors' Choice winner, the Therm-a-rest NeoAir Dream.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
This is a extremely comfortable pad, but did not score quite as high in comfort as the award winners. The different is surface material, The Dream has a cozy microfiber top and the Exped MegaMat has a more comfortable nonslip surface. One way to increase the comfort of this pad is to bring a fitted-flannel twin bed sheet. This is the cheaper way to achieve similar coziness as the Dream.
This pad is the warmest tested and has by far the highest R-value in the review. It's suitable for serious winter car camping.
Ease of Use
We found this to be one of the better self-inflating pads. Just unrill it with the valve open, wait 5 minutes, and it will be about 50% inflated. We then recommend a hand pump or 12 volt DC pump to finish the job. Inflating it with your mouth takes a while and is fairly difficult as with most of the large volume pads in this review.
Which size do you get?
A 31" pad is significantly more comfortable than the standard 25" pad. There's more space for larger people and your arms won't fall off onto the ground.
Base camping and car camping.
The REI Camp Bed 3.5 is cheaper and almost as comfortable but has a much lower R-value.
Other Versions & Accessories
Therm-A-Rest Z Lite Sol, $45, is the most versatile lightweight closed-cell sleeping pad we've tested. The pad works in just about any camping situation, whether on a big wall in Yosemite, alpine climbing, mountaineering, backpacking, or car camping.
Therm-a-Rest Luxury Map - $100, is an ultra squishy, crazy comfy car and base camp sleeping pad. It uses innovative pressure mapping technology to put foam only where you need it. This saves weight and bulk without reducing comfort.
Therm-A-Rest ProLite Plus - Men's - $110 or Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus Women's, $110, is 50% thicker than the ProLite and is a high quality all-purpose inflatable foam pad.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Trekker - $130, has internal baffles that are made of nylon, not reflective foil material. This makes it slightly less warm, cheaper, and less noisy.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Camper - $150, is the most comfortable compact inflatable sleeping pad we've tested. It's rectangular shape combined with 3" of cushion make it a fantastic choice for those that value comfort over weight savings.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir All Season - $180, is the only rectangular winter pad in Therm-a-Rest's NeoAir series. Its shape gives you more space at the head and feet, and that is the primary reason to consider this pad over the XTherm.
Therm-a-rest NeoAir Dream, $200, is our top rated camping mattress. It turns worst nightmare rocks and roots into Stage 3 NREM sleep. Warning: waking up may be difficult. It's made of NeoAir inflatable pad, 1" of memory foam, and a removable nylon-microfiber cover. This is the most comfortable car camping pad available; the inflatable pad provides customizable support, the memory foam a cushy surface, and the microfiber cover a super soft next-to-skin layer that rivals Egyptian Cotton.
If you need a pillow while camping, consider the Therm-A-Rest Lumbar Pillow - $30.
For inflation consider the Nemo Disco Pad Pump, a 2.2 oz foot pump or the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Pump Sack (3.8 oz.), which doubles as a camp stool, stuff sack, or backpack liner. We recommend one of these for inflating the pad in the winter, when water vapor from your lungs condenses inside the pad. If you are near the car, consider using the Kwik Tek Airhead Hand Pump or the Kwik Tek Airhead 12V Air Pump.
For seating, check out the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Jembe Seat (3.8 oz.), which turns any NeoAir mattress into a comfortable camp stool. The Therm-a-Rest Compack Chair (6 oz.) turns almost any pad (from any manufacturer) into a comfortable camp chair with back support.
— Chris McNamara and Max Neale
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Most recent review: August 7, 2014
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