The Exped Megamat Duo is one of four mattresses in this review that are queen size and therefore perfect for two people. Keep in mind, these mattresses are not only for couples, as a single person can happily starfish across the whole thing in lounging fashion, but they are designed with two people in mind. The Megamat Duo is different from its competition in that it is a self-inflating air mattress, instead of an Air Bed, like the REI Relax Airbed, the ALPS Mountaineering Rechargeable Air Bed, or the Lightspeed 2-person. This means it is not nearly as thick as these air beds, but provides greater warmth and comfort due to its interior foam cushioning, something they lack. Where the air beds are superior is when it comes to ease of use (they are easier to inflate and especially deflate and pack up) and packed size (the Duo has the largest packed size in the review). The air beds also come at a much lower price, but will "cost" you a lot in comfort, warmth, and versatility. Overall, the Megamat Duo is the same amazingly awesome mattress that won our Editors' Choice Award, sized up for two.
The Megamat Duo perfectly fits in the back of a pickup truck, making for a wonderful night's sleep in a wonderful location!
The foam that fills this mattress serves many fine purposes. Not only does it insulate from the ground, but it pads as well, especially at those 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 much less inflated than other air mattresses. This way your body is equally supported by the air and the foam, and more importantly, the mattress wasn't so full of air that when one part of your body sinks into the pad, the other parts would naturally rise with the displacement. Luckily, the inflate valve system with a rubber flap to impede air from escaping while inflating allows you to blow this thing up as rigid as you want it. You can then let air escape as you lie on it till it feels just right. Additionally, the face fabric is smooth and comfortable to the touch, without a hint of rubbery, nylon-y, or plastic-y feel. Compared to the air bed alternatives, this mattress reminds us of that old television commercial where someone is jumping up and down on a mattress with a glass full of wine next to them. This one will absorb the movement of the other person without disturbing you, while with an air bed you might just get bouncy castled straight off the bed should your partner thrash too much. We gave this mattress a 10 out of 10 for comfort.
Ease of Use
At 5 out of 10 points, this was a low scoring mattress in the review for Ease of Use. In truth, it isn't all that hard to inflate and deflate this beast, it just takes the proper strategy and a bit of time. All of the same tactics and inconveniences of the MegaMat 10 apply here, but double the size means double the work.
The Duo 10 expands with the inflate valve left open.
For inflation, it is best to open the inflate valve, roll out the mattress, and let it inhale air for a while as the foam cushioning inside expands. Propping the inflate valve open with the end of a ballpoint pen or other dull and thin object helps. Give this process at least 10 minutes and 30 if you can. When the pad is brand new, it's helpful to "help the foam expand" with a few pumps or breaths of air.
The mini-pump in action. Attach one end to the inflate valve, and then repeatedly step on the inflated balloon, like you are trying to crush an aluminum can. While this is a sort of a cool design that doesn't require using your lungs or an external power source, you will need to stomp on this balloon about 300 times to fill one of these mattresses.
Now, inflate it the rest of the way with the provided "mini-pump," a small, whoopee cushion-like device that works as a tiny foot pump. While we liked how small this pump compressed, and the fact that it existed at all, saving us the effort of manually inflating it with our own hot air, it still takes some patience and the willingness to stomp on a whoopee cushion a few hundred times to fully inflate this mattress. An accessory pump that plugs into your car or is battery powered will save a lot of time.
Deflation used to take a lot longer on pre-2017 models. It took so long, we often didn't bother deflating it and just folded it in half. This left the pad exposed and we eventually tore a giant hole. Luckily, Exped upgraded the pad: the deflation valve is now much larger and the stuff sack is much more forgiving.
MegaMat's larger, new, and improved deflation valve.
The technique we found most convenient is to open the deflate valve, fold the mattress over, and lie on top of it, forcing the air out. It's helpful to have a second person remain on the pad while one person rolls it up. This process used to take 5 minutes but it now only takes about 2. The less you deflate the pad, the faster it will inflate the next go-around.
After fully wrestling the air out of the Duo mattress, all that remains is to fold it in half and roll it up. Constant pressure is needed in order to keep the mattress tightly rolled so it will fit in the stuff sack.
Exped's new stuff sack is makes it easy to protect and store this mattress.
The ample foam cushioning that is found inside this mattress helps it provide an R-value of 9.5, far and away the highest in this test. R-value is a measurement of how well any given material, or combination of materials, impedes heat (or cold) transfer. The higher the number, the better a job it does. Other self-inflating mattresses, like the REI Camp Bed 3.5 or Therm-a-Rest Luxury MAP, had a rating of around 5, while the three Air Beds only had an R-value of 1. The ground, or metal frame of a vehicle, that is underneath your car camping mattress is always going to be colder than you are, so a critical function of your mattress is to insulate you from absorbing that cold. This mattress does the best job at that task, and so we gave it 10 out of 10 points.
We could only give the Megamat Duo 5 out of a possible 10 points for versatility, which is still a point better than the Air Beds we tested. This mattress is gigantic when packed down, and is likewise heavy as well, ensuring that you won't end up carrying it anywhere (its as big as a backpack!). It doesn't separate into two mattresses for individual use, and also can't be broken into parts like the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Dream or Big Agnes Sleeping Giant. This bed needs to be used near, or inside of, the car, limiting its versatility. However, it can be used in any season due to its great insulation, something that cannot be said of the air bed alternatives.
The thicknesses of the four mattresses in this review designed for two people. From bottom to top: The Alps Mountaineering Rechargeable Air Bed, REI Relax Airbed, Lightspeed 2-person, and Exped Megamat Duo. Of these four, the top one is the only one with built-in foam for cushioning and warmth purposes.
This is the single largest packed mattress we tested, by a long shot. We felt that this warranted the low score of only 3 points. By comparison, the ALPS Mountaineering Rechargeable Air bed, and the other two air beds as well, were among the very smallest regarding packed size. That said, the stuff sack is large and very easy to get the pad into. Unlike past versions of this pad, you don't need to get every last bit of air out. Once it's 90% deflated, you can get it into the bag.
There is ample room for the MegaMat Duo 10 in the improved stuff sack. This minimizes the time spent perfectly deflating and rolling up the mattress and makes packing up much easier.
This mattress is designed for two people and is best used inside of or very close to a car. It will work equally well on the ground inside a tent, or in the back of a van, truck, or camper setup. It is wide enough that it will not fit inside a backpacking tent, so to use it in a tent would require a three-person tent, or a large family- sized car camping tent. It also works great as a spare mattress in your home. Due to its ginormous packed size, it is not appropriate to attempt to carry this thing anywhere.
Hard to beat this view from the back of the truck. Looking out from the hills of the Eastern Sierra.
The Exped Duo retails for $349. That is a whole lot of money for a car camping mattress, and over three times as much as an air bed will cost you. However, it is only $140 more than the Megamat 10, meaning when you break it down per person, you are getting a "buy one, get the second half off," kind of deal. Since we think that it is the very best mattress you can buy for two people, and is still quite a bit cheaper than buying two single person mattresses of the same quality, it is a good value.
The Exped Megamat Duo the best car camping mattress for couples, just like its smaller brother, the Megamat 10, is the best car camping mattress period. The only difference between these two fantastic sleeping pads is the size and cost. Compared to the other two-person options available today, namely inflatable air beds like the three that we reviewed here, this mattress is light years more comfortable. If you need a mattress for two people, this is without doubt the one we would recommend.