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Therm-a-Rest Luxury Map Review
Cons: Softer foam means not as protective to underneath objects, large packed size.
Bottom line: A can’t-miss choice for a self-inflating mattress, although not as high scoring as our Editors’ Choice winner.
The Therm-a-Rest Luxury MAP is a single person self-inflating mattress that uses innovative pressure mapping to customize its supportive foam layer to most comfortably match a person's pressure points while sleeping. Cutouts in the foam in the areas where there is the most pressure allows one to sink deeper into the inflatable mattress, providing a more even sleeping surface overall than a single density foam found in either the REI Camp Bed 3.5 or the Exped Megamat 10. Besides the use of pressure mapping technology, this camping mattress is comfortable, easy to inflate and deflate, and provides the second highest R-value for insulation in this review. It is a solid selection that won't disappoint, designed and produced by the leader in the inflatable mattress market for the last 20+ years — Therm-a-Rest.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Therm-a-Rest Luxury MAP is a single person self-inflating mattress, most comparable in this review to the Exped Megamat 10 and the REI Camp Bed 3.5. In terms of overall score, it ranked as the middle of the three. 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, especially when compared to the Camp Bed 3.5. We loved that this mattress was far less expensive than the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Dream, but the fact is, if we only had one to choose, it would be the NeoAir Dream. Overall this mattress is comfortable, warm, and relatively affordable, but was middle of the pack when accounting for all testing metrics in our review.
We awarded this mattress 7 out of 10 points for comfort, the same as the REI Camp Bed 3.5. It 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 was a more natural feeling sleeping surface that was 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 the NeoAir Dream or the Big Agnes Sleeping Giant with a QCore pad inside. It has two easy twist nozzles that allow for quicker inflation and deflation, and screw tight to inhibit air flow. We found that this mattress didn't self inflate in quite the same awesome way that the Camp Bed 3.5 did, but was still better than the Megamat 10.
To inflate, we opened both nozzles, rolled out the mattress, and let it inhale as the foam expanded. After about five minutes we needed to add 24 breaths 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. It is much easier to roll up and fit into its stuff sack than either of the other two self-inflating mattresses, but not as quick and easy as the super wide-nozzled air beds.
This mattress has an R-value of 6.8, making it the second most well insulated mattress in the review. For this reason we gave it 8 out of 10 points. While sleeping in the back of our van, where the metal frame below us absorbs and conducts the 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 like the ALPS Mountaineering Rechargeable Air Bed, but it also isn't adaptable and super small when packed up like the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Dream. While its superior insulation makes it more versatile, its large packed size isn't going to inspire you to carry it anywhere. We gave it 7 out of 10.
As alluded to above, the Luxury MAP does not pack down very small. In fact, it is in the group of single person self-inflating air mattresses that all have the second largest packed size. While it easily fits into its provided stuff sack, that sack is a 30 inch long tube. Five out of 10 points for packed size.
The Luxury MAP is appropriate for all season use due to its good insulation. Since it doesn't pack down very small, you aren't going to want to carry it on your backpack, but it will work great for any single person who wants to use it for car camping purposes.
This mattress retails for $169, which is $40 more expensive than its most similar competitor in this review, the REI Camp Bed 3.5. This difference is what inspired us to declare the Camp Bed 3.5 our Best Buy on a Tight Budget mattress. In reality, the Luxury MAP scored a little higher than our Best Buy winner, and furthermore, there are no durability complaints to be found on the internet, nor did we experience any. We think this mattress is a good value for the money.
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.
Therm-a-Rest Luxury MAP - Regular
Therm-a-Rest Luxury MAP - Large
— Andy Wellman
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