This summer I set out to buy some new camping gear and give the great outdoors a fresh go. I’m no longer young and spry, and I need my comforts. And in my search for a way to actually get good sleep while lying on the ground, rather than tossing and turning on rocky terrain, I kept seeing recommendations for the Exped MegaMat 10 line of car camping sleeping mats, which self-inflate and contain high-grade polyurethane foam for cushion.
I didn’t think a mat could be better than an air mattress, or that anything in the general “camping pad” category could be acceptable, much less actually good — especially in comparison to my fancy and supportive mattress at home. “The reviewers must be accustomed to using those thin, awful backpacking mats,” I thought dismissively as I read pages of glowing reviews. “There’s no way this mat is that good, or worth the money.”
I finally gave in to the hype and ordered my own MegaMat, and after letting it fill up and topping it off for firmness, I laid down on it on top of my apartment’s cold, hard ceramic tile. It was amazing. It felt like a real mattress. And when I turned to my side in the way I usually sleep, it was still amazing. I couldn’t find a single fault. My hips were supported, and no part of my ample body sank to the floor. It was the most comfortable bit of gear I’ve ever slept on, and it was warm, too, thanks to its high R-value of 8.1, so it will be great for camping in winter as well as the rest of the year. It wasn’t slipping around — neither was I — and it felt luxuriously made, soft and durable. My mind was blown.
I immediately ordered a second MegaMat for my camping buddy, though I saved a little money by buying it from REI’s used section. And now, when I have guests visit, they get to sleep on the MegaMat (instead of the previously trusty spring mattress I keep in my closet, or the double-height air mattress I have for overflow emergencies). Everyone loves it, and no one can believe it’s a camping mat.
The best part for anyone looking to upgrade their camping experience is that both the two-person Duo model and standard single Exped MegaMat 10 (each type comes in a medium size and an extra-long, extra-wide option) are on sale for Labor Day. Get 25% off at Moosejaw while it lasts (the company was not able to provide an end date for their sale) or 25% off at REI now through September 5. And because the MegaMats are definitely pricey, now’s the time to take advantage…