Exped MegaMat Max 15 Review
Cons: Huge packed size, takes some wrangling to deflate, heavy
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Exped MegaMat Max 15
$329.95 at REI
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$106.93 at REI
$229.95 at REI
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|Pros||Comfortable, insulating, fast self-inflation||Warm, comfortable, easy to inflate||Bed-like comfort, easy inflation, great value||Very comfortable, very warm, easy to use||Inexpensive, easy to use|
|Cons||Huge packed size, takes some wrangling to deflate, heavy||Large packed size||Too big for some single person tents||Large packed size, expensive||No insulation, bouncy, heavy|
|Bottom Line||With six inches of foam, this mattress is truly the max in terms of cushioning and insulation. It is also quite large when packed||Our favorite option with easy to use valves and pump sack for easy inflation||All our favorite features we love from a camping mat at a great price||Deluxe and plush, this is a top choice for car camping comfort||A classic air mattress, it's easy to use and good for the occasional warm night outdoors|
|Rating Categories||Exped MegaMat Max 15||Therm-a-Rest MondoK...||REI Co-op Camp Drea...||Exped MegaMat 10||EnerPlex Camping Se...|
|Ease of Use (20%)|
|Packed Size (10%)|
|Specs||Exped MegaMat Max 15||Therm-a-Rest MondoK...||REI Co-op Camp Drea...||Exped MegaMat 10||EnerPlex Camping Se...|
|Dimensions||77.6 x 30.3 x 6 in||80 x 30 x 4.25 in||78 x 32 x 4 in||77.6 x 30.3 x 4 in||80 x 60 x 9 in|
|Test Model||Long XWide||XXL||XL||Green LXWide||Queen|
|Length||77.6 in||80 in||78 in||77.6 in||80 in|
|Width||30.3 in||30 in||32 in||30.3 in||60 in|
|Thickness||6 in||4.25 in||4 in||4 in||9 in|
|Weight||7.38 lbs||5.27 lbs||6.38 lbs||6.1 lbs||10.94 lbs|
|Type||Self inflating||Pump inflation||Self Inflating||Self inflating||Pump inflation|
|Packed Size (inches)||32 x 10 in||9 x 32 in||11 in x 30 in||9 in x 33 in||17 x 17 x 8 in|
|Bed Material||75D polyester||Polyester||Stretch polyester||50D polyester with TPU polyether film laminate||Polyvinyl Chloride with waterproof flock top|
|Valves||Flat Valves||TwinLock||One valve||Two valves||One valve|
|Accessories||Stuff sack, pump sack, velcro strap||Stuff sack||Air Pump/Pillow||Mini pump, stuff sack, repair kit and manual||Electric pump, 12 volt car plug, storage sack|
|Breaths to Inflate||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Our Analysis and Test Results
With a whopping six inches of foam comfort, the Exped MegaMat Max 15 is one of the plushest camping mattresses you can buy. The packed size is huge, but for campers who seek the most comfort possible, this is worth a look.
For years, we thought that four inches of plush foam comfort was the limit for camping mattresses. Exped, known for making deluxe camping mats, has added 50% more foam in the MegaMat Max 15, making it the thickest foam mattress in our tests — by a long shot. With all of that foam, nothing pokey or sharp was felt from the ground below, even without any additional air to stiffen the mattress. Do two more inches of foam equal fifty percent more comfort?
Does whipped cream on an ice cream sundae make the ice cream more delicious? We found the answer here to be highly subjective. Just as some might find whipped cream to be the finishing touch, others think it is just too sweet. One tester raved about the extra cushioning, and another felt like the overall feel was a bit "marshmallowy" and lacking some support. All agreed, however, that it was a very, very comfortable mattress that provided a night of sleep that rivaled home mattresses.
The length and width of the MegaMat Max are similar to other mats by Exped that we have tested, at 77.6 by 30.3 inches, and utilizes vertical sidewalls that allow you to utilize the entire surface of the mattress. For people who like to sprawl when they sleep, this is a great choice.
Ease of Use
The MegaMat Max is a self-inflating model that primarily uses "air-core-channeled foam" to provide cushioning. Opening the inflation valve allows air to flow into the channels in the foam. An included manual pump snaps onto the valve, and you can then add additional air by pressing with your hand or foot.
Surprisingly, we found the MegaMat Max self-inflated faster than other models of this type. We still recommend unrolling the mattress and letting it sit for a few minutes to self-inflate before pumping in additional air. But inflating the mattress up to a comfortable level took only a couple of minutes.
Deflation, on the other hand, requires some muscle. The deflation valve has a membrane that prevents air from flowing in while you roll it up, but there is a lot of foam to compress. We had success by rolling it up once, using bodyweight to push most of the air out, then rolling it again as tightly as possible to get it small enough to fit in the storage bag. The Sidewinder stuff sack is super easy to use, as it opens from the side. But even with this spacious opening, we still had to push all of the air out of the Max to get it to fit.
With so much foam in the MegaMat Max it is no surprise that it is a very insulating mattress. The R-value is listed as 10.6, making it the warmest mat in this test. What does that mean? Insulation will not make you hot in the summer, but it will keep you warm when the air and ground are very cold. Most people who camp in the winter would want an R-value of at least 4. An R-value this high would be desirable in a hunting cabin or glacial camp, or anywhere really, really cold, or if you want maximum warmth.
As you may have guessed, this amount of cushioning comes with a trade-off, which is weight and packed size. If you are going into the backcountry with pack horses or being flown in by plane, you could consider this mattress for use away from the car. But considering its bulk and weight, the rest of us are not going to want to carry it very far.
Another thing to keep in mind is the height. Being 6 inches off the ground means that it is substantially taller than other mattresses of this type. A couple may not appreciate the difference. Two of these will not fit into the average two-person tent, so make sure you measure before you buy. For people who always camp with a significant other, the MegaMat Max is available as a two-person model, which is smaller than two single mats.
The packed size of the MegaMat Max is ginormous — nearly the size of our favorite two-person mattress. While this mattress will fit into your adventure mobile, it may not fit in the trunk of a smaller car that also needs to hold other camping gear. If you have more than one person with one of these, the space they would require is not trivial.
The MegaMat Max is not a low-cost purchase. A good night's sleep, however, is priceless. If you crave the most comfort and insulation possible, and space is not a consideration, you will not be disappointed in the money you spend on this mattress.
This model is the Max in many ways — the most foam, the most insulation, and huge packed size. It is also supremely comfortable, and if you are looking for a place to rest your weary bones, with no pressure points or cold spots to be found, this could be your dream mattress.
— Laurel Hunter
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