Therm-a-Rest Luxury Map Review
Cons: Softer foam means not as protective to underneath objects, large packed size
Manufacturer: Cascade Designs
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Therm-a-Rest Luxury MAP is a single person self-inflating mattress. This mattress is a great example of a fantastic and comfortable choice that anyone would be happy with if it was the only thing they owned. However, we like to test items by comparing them to other products in their category, and only by doing this does the Luxury MAP seem like less of a mattress. But we assure you, it is not! We loved the pressure mapping technology and felt that it did indeed live up to Therm-a-Rest's claim that it provides a more even sleeping surface. Overall this mattress is comfortable, warm, and relatively affordable, but was middle of the pack when accounting for all testing metrics in our review.
This mattress incorporates pressure mapping technology to ensure a smoother sleeping surface. What this means is that Therm-a-Rest studied the patterns of where the most pressure is exerted by the human body while sleeping in multiple different positions, and then used different density foam in those places within the mattress. One would think that they would use denser foam in those areas, but we were surprised to discover that they actually cut out and removed foam in the high-pressure areas, making them less dense. The effect is that your body sinks deeper into the mattress than a typical inflatable air mattress, eliminating much of the air displacement effect in air mattresses that can cause one area to rise unnaturally when another pushes firmly against the pad. The end result is a more natural feeling sleeping surface that is indeed very comfortable. The reason we didn't score this mattress higher for comfort was that these areas of less dense foam allow one to sink perhaps too close to the ground, potentially touching intrusions from below.
Ease of Use
The Luxury MAP is a very easy air mattress to use, although the foam cushioning means that it is slightly more work to deflate and roll up than some others we tested. It has two easy twist nozzles that allow for quick inflation and deflation, and screw tight to inhibit airflow. We found that this mattress did require some extra effort to get it to optimum firmness.
To inflate, we opened both nozzles, rolled out the mattress, and let the foam expand. After about five minutes we needed to add 24 breaths of air to top off the mattress totally full.
To deflate the mattress, simply open both valves and squeeze the air out with your body weight while folding it over many times. When it is virtually empty, close the valves and roll it up, squeezing out the last of the air at the end of the roll.
This mattress has an R-value of 6.8, making it plenty warm for most camping purposes. While sleeping in the back of our van, where the metal frame below us absorbs and conducts cold temperatures, we were perfectly warm while using this mattress.
The Luxury MAP falls into nebulous middle ground when it comes to versatility. On the one hand, it certainly does not suffer from problems like no insulation and reliance on heavy power air pumps, but it also isn't adaptable and super small when packed up. While its superior insulation makes it more versatile than an air bed, its large packed size isn't going to inspire you to carry it very far.
As alluded to above, the Luxury MAP does not pack down very small. While it easily fits into its provided stuff sack, that sack is a 30-inch long tube. It is smaller than many of the foam core mattresses we reviewed but not small enough for packing it out far from your car.
This mattress retails in the middle of the pack, In reality, the Luxury MAP scored well and there are no durability complaints to be found on the internet, nor did we experience any. We found good value in this mattress.
The Therm-a-Rest Luxury MAP is a quality car camping mattress that is unique because of its pressure-mapped foam cutouts. This enables it to provide the most natural feeling sleeping surface of any self-inflating mattress we tested. We think that anyone who buys this mattress is likely to be happy with their purchase, and only in comparison to all the other great mattresses that we tested could it possibly be described as second rate. For those wanting to spend less than two Benjamins but still wanting great quality, we wholeheartedly recommend this mattress.
— Laurel Hunter & Andy Wellman