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ALPS Mountaineering Outback Review

Large and in charge, this mat is as comfortable they get
ALPS Mountaineering Outback
Photo: Alps Mountaineering
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Price:  $170 List | $169.38 at Amazon
Pros:  Very comfortable, large
Cons:  Big packed size, hard get in its stuff sack, heavy
Manufacturer:   ALPS Mountaineering
By Laurel Hunter & Matt Bento  ⋅  Apr 29, 2020
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82
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 15
  • Comfort - 40% 10
  • Ease of Use - 20% 6
  • Warmth - 20% 10
  • Versatility - 10% 6
  • Packed Size - 10% 4

Our Verdict

The Alps Mountaineering Outback is one comfy camping mattress. It is supremely warm and large enough to almost sleep two. The two-way 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.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award 
Price $169.38 at Amazon$209.95 at Backcountry
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$179 List$229.00 at Backcountry
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$230 List
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Pros Very comfortable, largeWarm, comfortable, easy to inflateBed-like comfort, easy inflation, great valueVery comfortable, very warm, easy to usePacks to half the size of similar mattresses, easy to use, warm, comfortable
Cons Big packed size, hard get in its stuff sack, heavyLarge packed sizeToo big for some single person tentsLarge packed size, expensiveSlight bounciness, heavy
Bottom Line This mat takes up loads of space in the trunk, but if comfort is your top priority, this is a great choiceA high scorer in our tests, this pad is warm and comfy and easy to inflateThis plush pad is comfortable, warm, and affordable. It does take up a lot of space, even when packedWith four inches of foam you can't go wrong, unless you don't have space to store itFoam car camping comfort that packs into a smaller and lighter package than its peers
Rating Categories ALPS Mountaineering Outback Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D REI Co-op Camp Dreamer XL Exped MegaMat 10 NEMO Roamer
Comfort (40%)
10
10
10
10
9
Ease Of Use (20%)
6
9
9
8
8
Warmth (20%)
10
9
9
10
8
Versatility (10%)
6
7
6
5
8
Packed Size (10%)
4
6
5
5
7
Specs ALPS... Therm-a-Rest... REI Co-op Camp... Exped MegaMat 10 NEMO Roamer
Dimensions 80 X 32 X 4 in 80 x 30 x 4.25 in 78" x 32" x 4" 77.6" x 30.3" x 4" 80 x 30 x 4 in
R Value 8.5 7 6.6 8.1 6
Test Model XL XXL XL Green LXWide XL Wide
Length 80 in 80 in 78 in 77.6 in 80 in
Width 32 in 30 in 32 in 30.3 in 30 in
Thickness 4 in 4.25 in 4 in 4 in 4 in
Weight 7.43 lbs 5.27 lbs 6.38 lbs 6.1 lbs 5.25 lbs
Type Self inflating Pump inflation Self-Inflating Self-Inflating Self inflating
Packed Size (inches) 32 x 11.5 in 9 x 32 in 11 in x 30 in 9 in x 33 in 10.5 x 15 in
Storage Stuff sack Stuff sack Stuff Sack Stuff Sack Stuff sack
Bed Material 150D Polyester Stretch Polyester 50D Polyester with TPU Polyether film laminate 50D stretch
Valves One way TwinLock 1 valve 2 valves Zero profile
Accessories Patch kit Stuff sack Air Pump/Pillow Mini Pump, Stuff Sack, Repair Kit and Manual 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 big rolled bundle and weighing in at 7.44 lbs. While this is one of the heaviest single-person 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.

Performance Comparison


This mattress is plenty big, but all that foam takes time to...
This mattress is plenty big, but all that foam takes time to self-inflate and does not pack down very small.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Comfort


The Outback XL mattress that we tested 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, with air adding additional support. With this much foam, all of the pressure points, such as hips, shoulders, and elbows, will never feel the ground below. It also helps to protect from rocks and uneven ground. There is no bounce at all, and it is 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. The mattress is covered with a brushed nylon material that is not only soft to the touch but makes for a quiet surface to sleep on. 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.

There is one valve on this mattress. It flips around to make it...
There is one valve on this mattress. It flips around to make it easier to breathe into it for max inflation.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

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. Many of the newer mattresses come supplied with pumps or sacks to aid in inflation without having to blow into them. If you don't enjoy blowing into giant foam mattresses, you may want to look at some of the others in this test.

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.

Rolling up the mattress was fairly straightforward once it got...
Rolling up the mattress was fairly straightforward once it got started, but it does not pack down to a very small size. Even two of these will take up a lot of space in the truck.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Warmth


The Outback mat has an R-value of 8.5, which is one of the highest ratings 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 as cold as 18 degrees Fahrenheit and remained quite cozy and 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.

On a frosty night, this tester was not complaining about cold on...
On a frosty night, this tester was not complaining about cold on this super plush camping mattress.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Versatility


At 32 x 80 inches, 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 your priority.

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.

Packed Size


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 vehicle. 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 deluxe option.

Packed size of four models of camping mattresses.
Packed size of four models of camping mattresses.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Value


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.

Conclusion


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