The Alps Mountaineering Outback is one comfy camping mattress. It is supremely warm and large enough to almost sleep two. The clever rotating valve makes inflation and deflation quite simple. The vast expanse of this mat makes it less versatile though, and if you're tent camping, you'll need a really big tent. Especially if you are not camping alone. It also packs up quite large, something to keep in mind for transport to the campsite, and for storing it at home. If you couldn't care less about weight and packability, this is the mattress to get.
ALPS Mountaineering Outback Review
Cons: Big packed size, hard get in its stuff sack, heavy
Manufacturer: ALPS Mountaineering
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ALPS Mountaineering Outback
|Price||$144.78 at Amazon||$170 List||$174.95 at Amazon|
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|$209.95 at REI||$141.93 at Amazon|
|Pros||Very comfortable, large||Bed-like comfort, easy inflation, great value||Very comfortable, R-value of 9.5 is super warm, good value||Packs to half the size of similar mattresses, easy to use, warm, comfortable||Warm, comfortable, fits in a smaller tent|
|Cons||Big packed size, hard get in its stuff sack, heavy||Too big for some single person tents||Large packed size||Slight bounciness, heavy||Heavy|
|Bottom Line||Large and in charge, this mat is as comfortable they get.||All our favorite features we love from a camping mat at a great price.||This is the one we would lend to a friend.||Four inches of foam camping mattress comfort that packs into a relatively small package.||Our favorite option if you need a narrower comfy pad.|
|Rating Categories||ALPS Mountaineering Outback||REI Co-op Camp Dreamer XL||Exped MegaMat 10||NEMO Roamer||Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D|
|Ease Of Use (20%)|
|Packed Size (10%)|
|Specs||ALPS...||REI Co-op Camp...||Exped MegaMat 10||NEMO Roamer||Therm-a-Rest...|
|Test Model||XL||XL||Green LXWide||XL Wide||Blue Depths Long|
|Dimensions||80 X 32 X 4 in||78" x 32" x 4"||77.6" x 30.3" x 4"||80 x 30 x 4 in||77" x 25" x 4"|
|Length||80 in||78 in||77.6 in||80 in||77 in|
|Width||32 in||32 in||30.3 in||30 in||25 in|
|Thickness||4 in||4 in||4 in||4 in||4 in|
|Weight||7.43 lbs||6.38 lbs||6.37 lbs||5.25 lbs||5.5 lbs|
|Type||Self inflating||Self-Inflating||Self-Inflating||Self inflating||Self-Inflating|
|Packed Size (inches)||32 x 11.5 in||11 in x 30 in||9.8 in x 31.1 in||10.5 x 15 in||7 in x 26 in|
|Storage||Stuff sack||Stuff Sack||Stuff Sack||Stuff sack||Stuff Sack|
|Bed Material||150D||Stretch Polyester||50D Polyester with TPU Polyether film laminate||50D stretch||75D reverse diamond polyester|
|Valves||One way||1 valve||2 valves||Zero profile||2 Valves|
|Accessories||Patch kit||Air Pump/Pillow||Mini Pump, Stuff Sack, Repair Kit and Manual||Stuff sack||Stuff sack|
|Breaths to Inflate||30-35||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Another big, "self-inflating" foam core mat, the Outback is large and in charge, packing away in a large bundle and weighing in at 7.44 lbs. One of the heaviest mattresses in the review, it's also one of the most comfortable and one of the warmest. If all you're doing is schlepping this pad from the back of your car to your gigantic glamping palace (tent), weight shouldn't be much of a concern. The Outback is an excellent choice for those looking for a comfortable night away from home.
This mattress is longer than a twin-size bed and nearly the width. Theoretically, two people who really like each other could sleep on this mattress at the same time, but it's designed for one person to comfortably sprawl. Pure camping luxury. The foam is so thick that one of our testers preferred to sleep on the mat when it was completely deflated. While the foam alone is pretty plush, this mat comes into its own when fully inflated, feeling as comfortable as any that we tested, but with more space for one.
The one-way valve makes it easy to micro-adjust the amount of inflation so we could dial in the perfect amount of squish. If you have a friend who is reluctant to camp because they don't want to be cold and uncomfortable, this is a top choice to help ensure they have a great night out.
Ease of Use
The Outback inflates with one Qwickflate valve that flips open to allow for self-inflation and then rotates to become a one-way valve for easy blowing. There is a lot of foam in this mattress, and self-inflation takes some time, so you'll want to unroll this mattress when you first get to camp to let the foam do its thing. However, maximum firmness is easily achieved with roughly 25 additional breaths. The valve in the one-way position also allows for micro-adjustments, in case you blow too much and over-inflate the mattress.
Deflating the Outback is relatively straightforward, and is done by opening and rotating the valve and then rolling and applying weight to push all of the air out. Because of the amount of foam, rolling the bottom of the mattress over itself was tricky to get started, though, after a couple of turns, it was much like the other mattresses. It comes with two elastic straps to help hold the rolled-up shape. Since these do not attach to the bag or the mattress, we are pretty sure they will get lost or forgotten almost immediately. Fortunately, closing the valve while putting pressure on the deflated mattress seems to hold it closed well enough to slide it into the (very large) storage bag.
Previously, ALPS Mountaineering gave this mat an R-value of 9, though we are not able to verify this on their current website. If this is still the case, it is one of the highest in the test. Because a rating that high won't necessarily be noticed in average camping conditions, we can't say that this mattress was twice as warm as some of the others in the same category, but we have no reason to think that it won't keep campers insulated in very cold conditions. We slept out in nights that were well below freezing and remained quite comfortable. This mattress doesn't feature any reflective technology that a lightweight sleeping pad relies on for an R-value boost, but weight isn't your primary concern with one of these camping mats. The Outback feels plenty warm to keep out at the hunting cabin or backcountry yurt.
The massive area of this pad detracts from its versatility score. It takes up so much room when inflated that your tent needs to be huge to accommodate more than one (and unless you camp alone, your tent buddy is going to want one, too). Its large packed size makes it harder to travel with and store unless you have a huge car and gear room.
At well over seven pounds, it is also quite heavy, so we don't imagine that anyone will be carrying this beast much farther than a short distance from the car to the tent. If comfort is the most important metric, however, and you don't have plans for any backpacking excursions, then having a versatile mattress may not be as important.
The Outback will also make a legitimate guest mattress for those unexpected visitors. While you can't throw this pad in the washing machine, we found that it is easy enough to keep clean by wiping it down with a wet towel.
The Outback has one of the larger packed sizes of the mattresses that we tested, and one for each member of the family is going to take up too much space in the Subaru. In fact, it is nearly double the packed size of some similar mattresses! However, for a solo camper with room to spare, it is a warm and comfortable option.
With a manufacturer's price in the middle of the pack and warmth and comfort at the top of the charts, we think the Outback is a great value. Just make sure you have room to store it.
This pad is as plush and comfortable as they come, but all that foam takes up a lot of space and weighs in on the high side of the scale. That being said, it is one of the coziest mattresses we tested with tons of room to roll around.
— Laurel Hunter & Matt Bento