If you have no patience to wait for a self-inflating mattress to inflate, lack the lung power to blow up a pad, or find the foam pumps lacking, the Soundasleep Camping Series offers rapid inflation and deflation with a motorized pump. It's by far the easiest mattress to use, but it's also one the least comfortable and the whirring of the battery powered motor doesn't exactly add to the peaceful quietude of the wilderness.
SoundAsleep Camping Series ReviewPrice: $120 List | $89.95 at Amazon Pros: Inexpensive, easy to inflate
Cons: Bouncy, poor insulator, constructed from PVC
Bottom line: This bouncy mattress with its loud motorized pump is better than sleeping on the ground.
Length: 78 in
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Our testers unanimously prefer the comfort of foam core mats like the Alps Mountaineering Outback and the Exped MegaMat over air core mat like this one and the Nemo Nomad. Air core mats are bouncier, and dialing in the perfect level of firmness can be a battle between too bouncy and too saggy. The Soundasleep packs away fairly small, but its PVC construction and included battery powered pump is too heavy to venture far from the car. This model is made from what the manufacturer calls ECO-friendly PVC, sourced from US factories that adhere to "more rigorous standards" and all unused materials are recycled. Still, PVC is PVC, and it's still one of the more environmentally hazardous materials to produce and dispose of.
When fully charged, the pump can inflate this mattress to a rigid firmness. The manufacturer's instructions say to wait for the mattress to stretch to become softer, and then add more air to adjust desired firmness level. We prefer the on-demand adjustment toggle valve of the Nemo Nomad and while we only used this mattress over the period of a few months, we're skeptical about the ability of the PVC to remain stretchy over time.
Ease of Use
This is one of the most convenient mattresses we tested. Attach the fully charged pump to the valve, and the pad inflates in about three minutes. To deflate, push in a tab on the one-way valve, attach the pump on the side labeled "deflate", and the pump will suck out all the air, leaving you with a mat that's easy to roll up and pack away. The pump comes with a wall charger and a car charger, so yes, you do need to plan far enough ahead, so the pump is charged, but the car charger allows you to procrastinate, or be impromptu about your camping plans a bit more easily. We found one charge is just barely enough to inflate and deflate the mattress twice.
Sound asleep doesn't give this mattress an R-value, and we could feel a significant difference in warmth between the Camping Series and warm mats such as the Therm-A-Rest Dreamtime, which has an R-value of 10. This mat isn't designed for the wintertime, but when sleeping in Tuolumne Meadows in the summer (the ultimate camping destination?!), our testers faced temperatures in the low 30s and wished for a more insulative mat.
All air mats allow air to circulate, and it's impossible to keep all that air warm, especially in this 9-inch thick pad. Foam core mats don't allow for much air circulation, so they keep you warmer when the ground is cold, and the even the all-air Nemo Nomad has a Primaloft lining. We would only use this mat in warm weather.
This pad makes for a decent spare guest mattress…if you have a well-ventilated space for the smell and off-gassing of the PVC, definitely not a small room or the inside of a vehicle. This model packs down small enough to squeeze into a suitcase, but it's nowhere near as light or packable as the Nemo Nomad, and the lack of insulation makes it only appropriate for warm weather camping.
This mattress stows away almost as small as the Nemo Nomad, but takes up more space and weighs more when you include the pump and chargers. A great size and configuration for storing, but not for packing in luggage or a backpack.
We'd say warmth weather car camping or hosting the occasional unexpected overnight guests is the best way to use this pad, but all the other pads are equally capable, more comfortable, warmer, and aren't made of PVC.
One hundred and twenty dollars is a nice price for a camping mat, but we feel the value is reduced by the durable but hazardous PVC construction. Our Best Buy Award winner remains the more comfortable REI Camp Bed 3.5.
For the money, you deserve a better night's sleep on a more comfortable pad like the REI Camp Bed 3.5 or the Therm-a-Rest Dreamtime. PVC isn't great for the environment, and the loud motorized pump isn't great for making friends at the campground.
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: June 22, 2018
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