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ALPS Mountaineering Outback Review

Large and in charge, this mat is as comfortable they get.
Alps Mountaineering Outback
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $200 List | $144.78 at Amazon
Pros:  Very comfortable, large
Cons:  Big packed size, hard get in its stuff sack, heavy
Manufacturer:   ALPS Mountaineering
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 22, 2018
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82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 15
  • Comfort - 40% 10
  • Ease of Use - 20% 5
  • Warmth - 20% 10
  • Versatility - 10% 7
  • Packed Size - 10% 5

Our Verdict

The Alps Mountaineering Outback is one comfy camping mattress, and if you couldn't care less about weight and packability, this is the mattress to get. The vast expanse of this mat makes it less versatile though, and if you're tent camping, you'll need a really big tent. While the manufacturer price is $180, we see it at most retailers for $130 or less. This makes it the best pad the money that we tested and winner of our Best Buy Award. If you want an even better mat for just a little more, check the Editors' Choice award-winning REI Co-op Camp Dreamer XL.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award  
Price $144.78 at Amazon$169.00 at REI$199.00 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$149.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$134.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Very comfortable, largeBed-like comfort, easy inflation, great valueVery comfortable, R-value of 9.5 is super warm, good valueComfortable, removable coverWarm, comfortable, fits in a smaller tent
Cons Big packed size, hard get in its stuff sack, heavyToo big for some single person tentsLarge packed sizeVery large packed size, expensiveHeavy
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.The Dreamtime is easy to use and pack away while offering top-level comfort.Our favorite option if you need a narrower comfy pad.
Rating Categories ALPS Mountaineering Outback REI Co-op Camp Dreamer XL Exped MegaMat 10 Therm-a-Rest DreamTime Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D
Comfort (40%)
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
Ease Of Use (20%)
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
Warmth (20%)
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
10
Versatility (10%)
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
9
10
0
7
Packed Size (10%)
10
0
5
10
0
5
10
0
4
10
0
4
10
0
6
Specs ALPS... REI Co-op Camp... Exped MegaMat 10 Therm-a-Rest... Therm-a-Rest...
Test Model XL XL Green LXWide Large Blue Depths Long
Dimensions 80 X 32 X 4 in 78" x 32" x 4" 77.6" x 30.3" x 4" 77 x 30 x 3.5 in 77" x 25" x 4"
Length 80 in 78 in 77.6 in 77 in 77 in
Width 32 in 32 in 30.3 in 30 in 25 in
Thickness 4 in 4 in 4 in 3.5 in 4 in
Weight 7.43 lbs 6 lbs 6 oz 6 lb 5.9 oz 6.68 lbs 5 lbs 8 oz
R Value 9 5.5 9.5 10 11.4
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 31 x 10 in 7 in x 26 in
Storage Stuff sack Stuff Sack Stuff Sack Stuff sack/Straps Stuff Sack
Bed Material 150D Stretch Polyester 50D Polyester with TPU Polyether film laminate 75D 75D reverse diamond polyester
Valves One way 1 valve 2 valves Twist Valve 2 Valves
Accessories Patch kit Air Pump/Pillow Mini Pump, Stuff Sack, Repair Kit and Manual Patch Kit Stuff sack
Breaths to Inflate 30-35 N/A N/A 20-25 N/A

Our Analysis and Test Results

Another big, " self-inflating" foam core mat, the Outback is large and in charge, packing away just a little smaller than the Therm-a-Rest Dreamtime and weighing in at 7.43 lbs. One of the heaviest mats 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.

Performance Comparison


This mat is very large and very comfortable but loses some points because of its large packed size.
This mat is very large and very comfortable but loses some points because of its large packed size.

Comfort


This pad is bigger than a twin bed; take a minute and let that sink in. It's bigger than the plastic covered bed you slept on in a college dorm. Theoretically, two people who really like each other could sleep on this behemoth at once, but it's designed for one person to comfortably sprawl. Pure luxury. It's an inch thicker than the Exped MegaMat 10, with foam so thick that one of our testers preferred to sleep on the mat when it was completely deflated. While the just the foam alone is pretty plush, this mat really comes into its own when fully inflated, feeling very similar to the MegaMat, but with more space.

One of our testers hard at work. This mat has an R-value of 9  and kept our testers warm and toasty when combined with a warm down sleeping bag.
One of our testers hard at work. This mat has an R-value of 9, and kept our testers warm and toasty when combined with a warm down sleeping bag.

Ease of Use


The Outback inflates with two one way valves, which can be completely opened up for deflation. The expansion of the foam halfway inflates the pad, but for maximum firmness, you'll have to employ some lung power. Blowing air through the one-way valve is tough. The valve is much more resistant than the twist valve on the Therm-a-rest Dreamtime. If you try to blow up the pad through the deflating valve, you can get more air in faster, but you'll need to plug the valve with your tongue between breaths and potentially get saliva inside the pad. Our testers felt that a pump like the integrated foam pump in the Nemo Nomad or even the small pump included with the Exped MegaMat would be a nice addition.

With just the top cap open  the valve is one-way for inflating  and then you can open all the way up for deflation.
With just the top cap open, the valve is one-way for inflating, and then you can open all the way up for deflation.

Warmth


ALPS Mountaineering gives this mat an R-value of 9. The Exped Megamat 10 also has an R-value of 9, while the Therm-a-Rest Dreamtime has an R-Value of 6. We certainly didn't feel cold sleeping on any of these pads, and all of them would be ideal for camping on snow or ice. The mat 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 storing in a backcountry yurt.

The top of this mat has a soft comfortable feel  while the bottom is a thicker more durable material.
The top of this mat has a soft comfortable feel, while the bottom is a thicker more durable material.

Versatility


The massive area of this pad detracts from its versatility score. It takes up so much room in a tent that your tent needs to be huge to accommodate more than one. Its large packed size makes it harder to store than an all air model, like the Sound Asleep Camping Series. Cleaning this pad is simple enough, but not as easy as the Therm-a-Rest Dreamtime, which features a completely removable cover that you can throw in the washing machine to completely eliminate your adventure-filth.

Packed Size


The Outback rolls up easily and is fastened with two included elastic straps; it then slides into its stuff sack. It's got one of the larger packed sizes, and one for each member of the family is going to take up too much space in the Subaru. If packing space is low, check out the compact Nemo Nomad or the Klymit Insulated Double V. Neither of those pads match the comfort of the Outback, but both pack down to less than half the space, even the Double V, which is designed for two.

This pad has large packed size and doesn't sow away as easily as the Exped Megamat.
This pad has large packed size and doesn't sow away as easily as the Exped Megamat.

Best Applications


This is a great model to bring car camping (if you've got room to spare in the car), or for storing at your hunting camp or backcountry cabin. The Outback is easier to transport than a regular mattress, will keep you just as warm, and storing it in a critter-proof location will be easy. Bring it out of the closet for the unexpected guest, and you'll be the host with the most for sure.

Value


With a manufacturer price of $180 and a street price of $110 to $130, this is the best value in sleeping pads we have tested.

Conclusion


While this pad doesn't unseat the REI Co-op Camp Dreamer XL as our Editors' Choice, it comes incredibly close. The Camp Dreamer is much easier to inflate thanks to its foam pump.


Matt Bento