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Hands-on Gear Review

Exped MegaMat 10 Review

The 2017 MegaMat 10
Editors' Choice Award
Price:   $229 List | $208.95 at Oregon Mountain Community
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Very comfortable, R-value of 9.5 is super warm, good value
Cons:  Large packed size
Bottom line:  The best mattress in the review; this is the one we would lend to a friend.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Exped

Our Verdict

The best camping mattress remains the MegaMat 10 for three years running. It's spacious, self-inflating, and offers exceptional warmth and comfort. Stacked up next to the other mats, this model feels like a memory foam mattress. It really is impressive. Some of our testers were reluctant to go back to the mattresses in their bedrooms after overnighting on this product. Four inches of foam filling insulates from the cold ground and supports the pressure points of a sleeping body and dampening the "riding on air" effect of all air mattresses. With a retail price of $229, it is not cheap, but it's worth it. While it is super comfortable and warm, it does suffer compared to the competition when considering its massive size both packed and ready to use. But these small complaints are pretty insignificant when assessing its overall awesomeness which is off the charts! In short, if you want the best camping mattress you can buy, look no further.

The MegaMat line from Exped received an update in 2017 with a new side-opening stuff sack and a larger deflate valve. We bought and tested this new version. We are stoked to say that we love the improvements, as they increase the speed and ease of packing up this model. It's possible to find both versions at online retailers. The older version is only available in ruby red, while the new version comes in green or red. If you want the new model (and we recommend it!), make sure it comes with the new, side-loading stuff sack and the larger deflate valve.

For couples who desire this level of comfort, check out the Exped MegaMat Duo 10, which offers the same performance sized for two people. If you need a narrower pad, we recommend the Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D, our second highest scorer. We thought the MondoKing might unseat the Exped this year, but it just couldn't compete on comfort.


RELATED REVIEW: Best Camping Mattresses and Pads of 2017


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Andy Wellman & Maggie Bradenburg

Last Updated:
Monday
June 19, 2017

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The MegaMat 10 is our favorite camping mattress because it is the most comfortable, relatively easy to use and incredibly warm qualities we prize above most others when we want the ultimate in sleeping decadence. If you were to put a pea under this mattress, we promise you that the princess would not feel it! That's a good thing because chances are you will throw this pad down on ground much rougher than a squishy little pea. While its dimensions of 77 inches long and 30 inches wide place it squarely the same as most of the giant camping mattress competition, its four-inch thickness, supported by compressible foam and held upright by vertical sidewalls, sets the standard for a self-inflating mattress. And while we have to admit that some of its attributes were not as versatile as other options in this class, comfort is king, as they say, and this is where the Exped MegaMat stands out. Unless of course, we wanted to share the bed with our partner — for that we would bring the MegaMat Duo 10.

If staying warm and comfy on car camping trips is your jam  this mat plays the right tune.
If staying warm and comfy on car camping trips is your jam, this mat plays the right tune.

Performance Comparison




Comfort


Comfort is king when it comes to sleeping mattresses, and this pad was the clear cream of the crop. But while we can proclaim loudly, "This is the most comfortable mattress," you might be wondering, "In what way?" Let us tell you.


The foam filling not only insulates, it gloriously pads pressure points, like the butt, feet, and shoulders, where your weight sinks deeper into the pad. It also evens out the cushioning under your body, dampening the air mattress effect. We felt that the most comfortable way to use this pad was happily much less inflated than other camping mattresses, to let the foam really work its magic. That way your body is equally supported by the air and the foam and the mattress isn't so full of air that when one part of your body sinks into the pad, the other parts rise with the displacement. Luckily, the inflation valve has a rubber flap that impedes air from escaping during inflation, allowing you to blow this thing up as rigid as you want it. You can then let air out gradually while lying on it until it feels like Goldilocks' bed just right. Even more impressively, we thought, the foam in the MegaMat is so surprisingly conforming, it reminded us of memory foam! The face fabric is also very smooth and soft to the touch, without a hint of rubbery, nylon-y, or plastic-y feel.

Comparison testing each of the mats one after the other to discern the differences between their comfort levels. The relaxed smile says it all about this mattress. Shown here is the 2016 model  which offers the same comfort as the new 2017 model.
Comparison testing each of the mats one after the other to discern the differences between their comfort levels. The relaxed smile says it all about this mattress. Shown here is the 2016 model, which offers the same comfort as the new 2017 model.

Besides its crazy high amount of comfort, one of the things we liked best about the MegaMat is how it combines that comfort with an enormous size and vertical sidewalls, ensuring that you can use the entire surface for your sleeping pleasure. At 30 inches wide and 77.5 inches long, the MegaMat is a great option for taller and wider people or anyone who loves to sleep like a starfish. While these dimensions are on par with some of the other mattresses in this review, like the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Dream and the Therm-a-Rest Luxury Map, the added comfort and support of the MegaMat really make this an ideal choice for larger campers, side and stomach sleepers, and anyone who typically struggles with uncomfortable pressure points. While testing the mattresses in this review side-by-side, the MegaMat was the one our reviewers found themselves fighting to relax on. Overall, we give this mattress a 10 out of 10 for comfort.

Ease of Use


The action of inflating this mat using the included mini-pump. The hole under the foot is where the balloon inhales the air  which is then stomped (covering the hole) into the mattress. We appreciated not having to use our arms or lungs for this process  but it still takes about a minute and half for full inflation.
The action of inflating this mat using the included mini-pump. The hole under the foot is where the balloon inhales the air, which is then stomped (covering the hole) into the mattress. We appreciated not having to use our arms or lungs for this process, but it still takes about a minute and half for full inflation.
When it came to inflating this mattress, there are several factors that can make your life easier or harder. Firstly, Exped recommends leaving the MegaMat to sit and inflate for 10 minutes and then use the included foot pump to inflate the rest of the way. We found that if we left this mattress for a longer period of time 40-50 minutes it self-inflated all the way up to our desired comfort level with only a few pumps to top it off. The included foot pump we found very easy to use much easier than getting using your mouth on the large, flat, awkwardly placed intake valve, which feels a bit like giving CPR to a camping mattress. It was also very simple to make minor fullness adjustments while laying on the MegaMat by using one finger to push in the intake valve in small increments.


The diameter of the deflate valve increased to 1.375 inches. This larger diameter allows internal air to exit the mattress faster than in the previous version. In the photo  the 2017 model is on top with the 2016 model on the bottom.
The diameter of the deflate valve increased to 1.375 inches. This larger diameter allows internal air to exit the mattress faster than in the previous version. In the photo, the 2017 model is on top with the 2016 model on the bottom.
Deflating the MegaMat 10 got easier in 2017. The new deflate valve is 38% larger than the one on the 2016 model, and this increased diameter speeds up deflation time. It took us an average of one minute and 38 seconds to deflate and roll-up this mattress, which is 48 seconds faster than its predecessor. Because the valve opening is larger, the air rushes out faster, although it is helpful for the user to use their body weight to fully push out the air. While the deflation valve means you don't have to open and close any two-way valves while working to roll this mattress up (unlike the Therm-a-Rest MondoKing ), it also isn't a perfect one-way valve you do need to close this valve after rolling up the MegaMat, otherwise it will take on air during storage.

Deflating the MegaMat is easier and faster with the 2017 model as opposed to previous versions  yet it will still take around 90 seconds to do so.
Deflating the MegaMat is easier and faster with the 2017 model as opposed to previous versions, yet it will still take around 90 seconds to do so.

The new Sidewinder stuff sack is a welcome new feature on the latest iteration of the MegaMat. The previous version of this mat had a top-loading stuff sack that was difficult to force the mat into. The stuff sack now opens from the side, which drastically improves the ease of getting the mat into its sack. Once you roll up the mat, just drop it inside. The sack is spacious, meaning it can fit an imperfectly-rolled mat plus extra bedding and/or a pillow easily. The leash that buckles to close the sack doubles as a shoulder sling for easy transportation. These improvements on the 2017 model push it past its closest competitor, the MondoKing, in this metric.

Our testers enjoyed the improvements to the stuff sack in 2017. Seen here  it easily accommodates the foot pump  a pillow  and a sleeping bag liner with plenty of room to spare.
Our testers enjoyed the improvements to the stuff sack in 2017. Seen here, it easily accommodates the foot pump, a pillow, and a sleeping bag liner with plenty of room to spare.

Warmth


The ample foam cushioning that is found inside this mattress helps it to provide an R-value of 9.5 but what does that number really mean? R-value is a measure of how well any given material, or the combination of materials, impedes heat or cold transfer. The higher the number, the better an insulating job it does; most winter campers recommend a sleeping pad R-value of at least 4. Other self-inflating mattresses, like the REI Camp Bed 3.5, had a rating of around 5, while three Air Beds only had an R-value of 1, and the Intex Classic has no R-value at all! With an insanely high R-value of 9.5, you can comfortably sleep out on the snow or even a glacier using the MegaMat. While the MondoKing 3D also boasts a crazy high R-value of 11.4, the highest in this review, we can find no reason to complain about the MegaMat's R-value of 9.5. The MegaMat 10 does a phenomenal job keeping us warm even in the Sierra's snowiest winter on record, so we give it 10 out of 10 points.


Versatility


Considering the size and weight of the MegaMat, this isn't the camping mattress you'd choose to take on the John Muir Trail or the Appalachian Trail. Unlike the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Dream or the Big Agnes Sleeping Giant, this mattress doesn't separate into two component parts, and it doesn't pack down into a small and convenient travel package. It is huge, heavy, and fat. You really won't want to lug this 6 lb 5.9oz beast very far from your car.


The MegaMat also loses points for versatility because of its gigantic proportions. While a 30.3-inch wide, 77.6-inch long surface is ideal for starfishing and tall folks, it completely takes over a two-person tent. As your average two-person tent is 50-55 inches wide, this mattress only leaves room for a second sleep system that is very small, which we doubt your partner will find nearly as comfy as your MegaMat. To fit two MegaMats into a tent, you would need to have a two-person tent that is at minimum 60 inches wide! So check your tent dimensions before purchasing this comfy mega-monster or consider checking out our second-best rated mattress in this review, the MondoKing 3D which we found to be nearly as comfortable as the MegaMat and a functional five inches narrower! Considering the size, weight, and dimensions of this oversized camping mattress, we give it a 6 out of 10.

The MegaMat barely allows room for a narrow sleeping pad beside it in this backpacking tent.
The MegaMat barely allows room for a narrow sleeping pad beside it in this backpacking tent.

Packed Size


While not the most important feature of a car camping mattress, packed size is still something to consider. After all, with a whole family trying to fit into the Subaru for a weekend of camping, there is only so much space to be filled, and a heap of giant mattresses could easily take up most of it. Rolling up to a whopping 10 inches by 31 inches, this mattress doesn't pack down very small at all. On the other hand, it is roughly comparable in packed size to the Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D, its closest overall competitor in this review, and is much smaller than the MegaMat Duo 10. While not nearly as comfortable, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Dream or any of the Air Beds, like the Lightspeed 2-person, manage to fit in a bag about half of its size. We give it 6 out of 10.


Best Applications


This is a single person mattress, so it is most appropriate for one person, and not a couple (duh!). Due to its large packed size and inability to split up into different component parts like the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Dream and the Big Agnes Sleeping Giant, it is best used close to the car, or in the car for that matter! Because of its comfort, support, and large dimensions, the MegaMat is a great solution for people who are typically uncomfortable while camping tall folks, heavy folks, side sleepers, stomach sleepers, starfishers, and folks with back pain or uncomfortable pressure points. Using the MegaMat may even make those who have given up on camping altogether reconsider their choice and head back out to the great beyond! The MegaMat also makes a fantastic extra mattress for visiting friends and relatives, and is comfortable enough you can feel confident that even your mother-in-law will be hard-pressed to complain!

The shoulder sling on this model makes moving it from car to campsite a breeze.
The shoulder sling on this model makes moving it from car to campsite a breeze.

Value


Along with its closest competitor in this review, the Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D, the Exped MegaMat 10 retails for around $210. This makes it among the most expensive of the self-inflating, single-person air mattresses in our review. But considering the quality of sleep you'll get on a mattress so large and comfortable, we feel it is a fair price to pay. We feel that it's the best camping mattress we have slept on, and never makes us crave our beds back at home. You won't regret purchasing this mattress after all, you can't put a price on good sleep!

Conclusion


The Exped MegaMat 10 is our Editor's Choice for Best Overall Camping Mattress. It is more comfortable than any other mattress that we reviewed, and made our reviewers compete to sleep on it. It also presents an excellent value for the crazy-good quality of sleep that you will get. If you've ever had the thought that you never want to go camping again, we would highly recommend giving this mattress a try!

This mat truly is a game-changer for car camping comfort. We love it!
This mat truly is a game-changer for car camping comfort. We love it!

Other Versions and Accessories


Exped MegaMat Duo 10
Exped SIM Mega Mat Duo
  • Cost - $349
  • Top Pick for Couples, same mattress in a bigger size
  • Our favorite overall camping mattress

Exped Air Pillow
Exped Air Pillow
  • Cost - $40
  • Packs to fist size
  • Inflates with a few breaths
Andy Wellman & Maggie Bradenburg

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Most recent review: June 19, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
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