The Exped Megamat 7.5 is the leader of the pack, but the Alps Mountaineering Outback comes very close to pulling out in front since it's wider and just as comfortable as the MegaMat. This pad holds on to the lead thanks to its foot pump inflation and an awesome open top stuff sack that makes packing it away a breeze.
A smooth, baffle free sleep surface and memory-foam like feel make this one of our favorite camping mats.
This pad provides memory foam mattress comfort in a packable size. The foam eliminates uncomfortable ridges and pressure points found in air-only mattresses, and you can slightly underinflate the pad if you want a super soft mattress that will still keep you well off the cold ground.
The fabric isn't fuzzy, so it's pretty easy to keep clean, but doesn't have the sticky plastic feel as the Klymit Insulated Double V. The LWX version we tested is a whopping 77.6 x 30.3, so there's plenty of room to sprawl out under the stars, plus it's great for tall folks who can never find a mattress that's long enough. Back sleepers, side sleepers, stomach sleepers and even testers that sleep curled up in a ball all found this mattress equally comfortable.
With an R-value of 6, this mat provides plenty of insulation for a good night's sleep at 8,000 feet.
Ease of Use
Exped recommends opening the inflation valve and letting this mat sit for ten minutes while the foam expands and draws in air. We found that this mat would inflate even more if you left it for half an hour and then topped it off with a handful of pumps from the included foot pump.
The foot pump works really well if you use your hands, as it's easier to get a tight seal on the intake valve while you press down and remove your hands (while the foam pump expands and draws in more air). This pad comes with what is by far the best stuff sack for a roll-up camping mattress. It has a wide roll-top closure that lets you drop the pad in, even if you haven't completely deflated it or rolled the mat up tightly. Those who take the time to roll the mat up tight will be rewarded with extra room in the sack for a blanket or a small pillow. Once everything is packed away, you can sling the carrying strap over your shoulder and walk off into the sunset…back to your car.
After letting this pad self-inflate for around a half hour, it's easy to top off with a few dozen pumps from the foam foot pump.
This pad isn't as warm as the Megamat 10 but with an R-value of 6, you'd have to be sleeping in some miserably cold temps to warrant something warmer.
The R-value rating is exponential, so this pad is six times warmer than a pad with an R-value of 1, and many of us camp in the backcountry all summer with a lightweight pad that offers almost no insulation, while doing most of our winter camping on a pad with an R-value of 4. The takeaway is that when it comes to warmth, this pad offers plenty, and even though the Alps Mountaineering Outback and the Therm-a-rest Dreamtime both have higher R-values, you're not likely to feel colder on this pad. Also keep in mind that while this mat will insulate you from the cold ground, it won't make you feel hot on warmer nights.
The Nemo Nomad (bottom) is thicker but not as warm or as comfortable as the Megamat.
This big ol' camping mat isn't about to fit in anyone's pack for a thru-hike, and the LWX version is even too big to fit in some single person tents. It also weighs 4.9 lbs, so you don't lug it too far from the car. For a much more versatile mat, though much less comfortable, check out the Nemo Nomad.
This lightly insulated pad inflates to six inches thick but packs down small enough to fit in your luggage, while the Megamat is too big for anything but the trunk of the car or strapped to the side of a pack animal. This mat also gets docked a point for versatility because of its size. While size contributes to its comfort, the 30 inches of shoulder girth means that your tent will have to be 60-inches wide to accommodate two of these giants. That being said, 30-inches is becoming the standard with for this type of mat; if you're set on getting a big mat instead of a lightweight backpacking pad, you'll likely need a bigger tent.
The one-way flutter valve makes it easy to adjust the firmness of this mat.
This model packs down to 31 x 7-inches, smaller than the bulky Therm-a-Rest Dreamtime and the Alps Mountaineering Outback.
The large valve opening make easy to deflate and roll the mat up, and as we said before, the roll top stuff sack is super useful. The Nemo Nomad and the Soundasleep Camping Series stowaway smaller, but can't match the comfort of the MegaMat series.
This mat packs down smaller than the Dreamtime and the Outback, and we loved how easily it fits int the stuff sack.
This a great mat for folks out there who are mostly car camping and are tired of losing sleep on lesser, smaller, uncomfortable camping mattresses. Our testers feel this pad provides comfort that rivals their own beds. It's too large to go far from the car, but it makes a great extra mat to have around for when friends and family come to visit, and it will make a much more comfortable guest bed than the couch.
The Alps Mountaineering Outback (bottom) is larger and equally as comfortable as the Megamat, but it doesn't inflate or pack away as easily.
At $200 this mat is one of the more expensive models in the review, but the Therm-a-Rest Dreamtime and the Alps Mountaineering Outback rival the MegaMat's comfort level for around the same price. The Nemo Nomad is $220, and the Megamat 10 goes for the same. Unfortunately, elite level comfort comes at a steep price. To its credit, this pad comes with a repair kit and is backed by Exped's five-year warranty. For a bargain option that can still deliver great comfort, have a look at the Best Buy award-winning REI Camp Bed 3.5
We're continually blown away by the quality and comfort of the Exped MegaMat series, and our testers always fight over who gets to use it. The memory-foam-like comfort makes it easy to rest and recover after a big day, which is super important as some of us get older can't seem to fall asleep in a ditch anymore. While it's pricey, you won't regret one night on this mattress.