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Topic: Memory Foam Mattress Topper for Car Camping< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 04 2013, 10:25 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm trying to deluxify my camping experience, so I can bring the wife and child along and have them enjoy the experience as much as I do.  This means no more 2 person tent, no more thin backpacking sleeping pads. We're talking 6 person tent, queen sized bed and blueberry pancakes cooked on cast iron and mimosas (that last part is only for the parents).

I saw a review by OutdoorGearLab.com which raved about the Thermarest Dreamtime which is essentially a memory foam mattress on top of inflatable mattresses with a microfiber cover. Since I do not intend on bringing anything made of memory foam on an actual backpacking trip, I don't feel particular constrained by the packed size of my mattress while car camping.  This leads me to think that just buying a 6" memory foam mattress topper with some microfiber sheets might be a more economical and more comfortable option.  I've seen these things ratcheted down to a manageable size with cargo tie downs.

Has anyone else done this or seen this done?

Here's an example of a 6" memory foam mattress on amazon that I'd consider on quick review.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 04 2013, 11:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Memory foam traps the heat, so if this is for Summer camping, I would nix the idea.  For my own car camping, I just use an inflatable queen sized mattress, and put sheet on it.  Not as sticky as it could be without the sheets.  

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 04 2013, 11:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

http://www.coleman.com/product....nZz6pOY

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 05 2013, 8:23 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I must be seeing things: that monster weighs 41 lbs and costs $229. Camping isn't fun if you're spending your time wrestling with monster tents and mattresses and other gear. There are mattresses that are far cheaper, lighter, smaller, and probably more comfortable.


The cheapest and most comfortable mattress for car camping is something like an Intex airbed which you can get at Walmart for $15 to $25
http://www.walmart.com/ip....9887411

If money were no object I would get the Exped Megamat, $219: http://www.rei.com/product....ing-pad

But you don't need to spend anywhere near that.

Here are my personal comfort ratings, on a scale of 1-10, for three mattresses that I use for car camping:

Intex Downy  10
REI Campbed 3.5  9
Exped Synmat 7   8
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 05 2013, 10:14 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yeah, so 41 lbs... I knew these things were heavy, but I kind of glossed over that, more of an example than a solid buying option if anything.  The problem is that my wife and I went camping in Massive with an inflatable mattress and it kind of sucked.  Granted it was cold, rained a lot, we were using my backpacking tent so the mattress was to small for two and it ate up all the head room but I want a fan of the leaking or the overall experience, and we had gotten a nice one.

That's good information about your experience with also pads, I'll have to check out the Intex.

Maybe a memory foam mattress topper on top of an inflatable mattress would get us the comfort without the extra heft or price.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 05 2013, 10:33 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I got the REI camp bed 3.5 old version from the outlet last year.  Perfect for car camping for one person.  Coooooooommmmffffyyyyy.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 05 2013, 12:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yikes... just how big is your car?  (At the rate you're going, you may need something bigger... :D )

My DH is the king of "comfortable" camping.  If it were up to him, we'd have a full-service RV with a/c, satelite TV and internet.  For the first couple of trips, we lugged one of those big air mattresses but, almost without exception, they would start leaking on day 2 or 3 and we would invariably spend a day trying to find a replacement, usually in the middle of nowhere.  Drove me nuts every time.  They're also tricky to setup because you'll want an electric pump for a mattress large enough for two people, which means LOTS of batteries (and misery if batteries die) or one that plugs into your car... which is when you find out that a blown-up 10" thick queen-sized mattress does NOT fit through your tent's doorway.  (Ask me how I know this.  :D )

I'm pretty sure that all big air mattresses eventually evolve into cots.  I think it took us 6 mattresses (2 for each of 3 trips...)  I'm trying to save you the trouble.  :)

My son and I just use a basic cot from Walmart, Campmor, etc.  My DH has some "deluxe" model from Cabelas.  It's nice to have a place to sit and easy to stow gear, clothes underneath.  I top mine with a CCF pad or my Prolite; more comfortable (side-sleeper) and warmer in cold weather.

And you absolutely can't (imo) beat the cozy comfort of a flannel-lined LL Bean camp sleeping bag for car-camping.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 05 2013, 1:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(usndoc2011 @ Jun. 05 2013, 10:14 am)
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Yeah, so 41 lbs... I knew these things were heavy, but I kind of glossed over that, more of an example than a solid buying option if anything.  The problem is that my wife and I went camping in Massive with an inflatable mattress and it kind of sucked.  Granted it was cold, rained a lot, we were using my backpacking tent so the mattress was to small for two and it ate up all the head room but I wasn't a fan of the leaking or the overall experience, and we had gotten a nice one.

That's good information about your experience with also pads, I'll have to check out the Intex.

Maybe a memory foam mattress topper on top of an inflatable mattress would get us the comfort without the extra heft or price.

OK, let me reorder the comfort list by comparing it to my bed at home and adding a cot:

Bed at home    10
Intex Downy     8
REI Campbed 3.5 with a cot   7
REI Campbed on the ground   6
Exped Synmat     5

Most people would find ANY of the above acceptable for car camping, especially younger people. In days of yore people camped for years with nothing close to the comfort of the Exped Synmat. You would have to be ancient and decrepit to not find the Intex airbed comfortable. (I am both and love it.)

Seriously, man, fuggedabout the memory foam thing. It's hot, heavy, bulky, probably very difficult to roll up, will take up a ton of space in your vehicle. It doesn't have a single advantage compared to the other choices above.

Memory foam on top of an inflatable bed? That's an almost troll-like suggestion. Triple fuggedaboutit.

For a cot I recommend the Camptime Roll-a-Cot. It has the best reviews of all cots. Combine that with the REI Campbed 3.5 and you're all set. Anybody who doesn't find that comfortable isn't a good candidate for camping.

As for durability of the Intex air mattress, I've used it many times for camping and at home and have never had a single problem with leaks or punctures. The single size takes about 1 minute to inflate with a hand pump.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 08 2013, 12:36 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Last fall I was at Ikea and got a memory foam topper from the clearance section for under $100, it's about 3-4" thick.  Finally tried it about a month ago while camping with the horses.  Worked great, won't go back to an air mattress for sure.  No more dogs / wife moving around and waking me up.  No more waking up on the ground due to a slow leak.  Is it bulky, sure, but we have a pickup and horse trailer for hauling the gear.  For a long road trip in our car, probably not an option but we do enough camping with the pickup it's worth it.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 08 2013, 5:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That link is to a full 8" thick queen sized memory foam mattress, not a 1 or 1.5" memory foam topper.  We have a 9" queen memory foam mattress  in our guest bedroom bed. It arrived via UPS rolled up and highly compressed and was super easy to manage carrying upstairs compared to a regular mattress, but once spread out and expanded to normal volume, there is no way I would ever contemplate taking it camping even if I had the largest pickup truck or SUV available. I've looked at actual memory foam toppers and may buy one for our king size bed but IMO they don't appear to have enough support as a stand alone mattress for camping.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 09 2013, 8:10 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have another idea for you. If money is no object, the consensus is that the Exped Mega Mat 10 is the best self-inflating mat there is. It costs $220. 30" x 77" x 4", weighs 5 lbs. Rolls up to 10" x 31". Two can be joined together. Reviews say it's just about as comfortable as your mattress at home. It has been reviewed against the Thermarest Dreamtime and the Nemo Cosmo Pillow Top and came out ahead of those.

My guess is that the comfort is about the same as the $15 Intex Downy, but it's insulated to keep you warm year round, undoubtedly more rugged, and self-inflating.

http://www.rei.com/product....166c62d
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 09 2013, 8:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Bleve, thanks for your input!  I've got a strong feeling that I'm on to something, but I don't have horse trailer or a pickup, so I'm going to have to figure something out.  Certainly the mattress I posted earlier is too big, but maybe I can figure it out.  

Also, Tiger fan, if they made a cot that didn't sag, without a bar in the middle and fit two people comfortably, I'd be all over it.  I'm not sure that exists, but I did recently find this.  hmmm...

Trailtramper, I saw the Exped Mega Mat 10 as I was doing some background research on this topic.  That pad does look exceptionally comfortable, and the reviews are great, and if it's anywhere close to being as comfortable as the Downy, I'm in luck ;)  

I truly think memory foam is the way to go, plus, you know how you get an idea stuck in your head and you can't let go until you see it work in real life?  (well at least that's how I get) That's what's happening with this memory foam thing.  

I have a queen sized inflatable mattress at home, and my thought at this point is that, although the Exped is probably the most comfortable sleeping pad on the market, it's still a sleeping pad.  As you astutely pointed out, a inflatable mattress is probably the most comfortable thing I can get for the portability.  So I'm think at this point I'm going to avoid sleeping pads and stick to inflatable mattresses, cots and the like.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 09 2013, 11:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well, a self-inflating pad is an air mattress, wouldn't you say? The comfort comes from the combination of foam and air. Don't forget that air mattresses without foam are cold . . . which brings you back to your funky memory foam on top idea. If you can afford the Exped Mega Mat, that could be your most comfortable and simplest solution. Order me one while you're at it.

Back to cots, I haven't had a problem with the Camptime Roll-a-Cot sagging, and it doesn't have a bar across the middle.

So why don't you just use your inflatable bed???
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 09 2013, 11:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TrailTramper @ Jun. 09 2013, 11:26 pm)
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So why don't you just use your inflatable bed???

I know several people that use inflatable beds for summer car camping.  It works great if you have an electric air pump.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 10 2013, 12:06 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

No, don't get me wrong, I'm going to use the inflatable bed.  I think it's a great idea.  In my last post I was responding to Tigerfan, who's had bad experiences with air mattresses, which I can absolutely understand.  Still, I haven't been able to find a cot or a raised platform of some type that has the comfort and two person accomodations (bar in the middle thing) that an air mattress can afford.  

Also, about the sleeping pads, I've done my fair share of backpacking and have a decent set of sleeping pads, so I know what I'd be getting into.  The Exped is probably extravagantly comfortable compared to regular sleeping pads, but I'm skeptical that it'd be more comfy than an air mattress (with a memory foam topper, I can't let go!), although I could be wrong....  luckily they're going for 2 for 1 at REI, so yours is in the mail.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 13 2013, 8:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Below is an interesting post from the Expedition Portal about mattresses. See the whole informative discussion at http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum....e5

Thanks for motivating me. I ordered the Exped Mega Mat today from Campsaver, 25% off. I got the last one. REI will be having a 25% off sale for Gear Mail members in mid July.


REVIEW FROM EXPED PORTAL:

I have a unique perspective in this discussion. Starting last fall I spent a ton of nights on my deck sleeping on one pad after another. No, I wasn't in the doghouse with the wife, I was compiling the Overland Journal pad test in the spring issue. Granted, only a tiny portion of the tests were performed on my deck, but those sessions were the most telling. If a pad sucked, it was sooooo tempting to go inside just 10 feet away.

I have slept on both of the two latest versions of the Dreamtime. There is no question which is the most comfortable - the old. There's no doubt which one is smallest - the new. At half the packed size of the old Dreamtime, the new version uses a NeoAir at the core. Awesome pad, but not as comfortable as the big, foam filled pad of the previous Dreamtime. That thing is pretty massive when stowed away. Almost too big for most people.

At any rate, Honu is dead correct in his evaluations of the Exped Mega Mat. That pad is without peer as comfort goes. As he pointed out, the vertical sides are one of the key attributes. That's what I think makes it sleep like a bed, not a camping pad.

If space is not a huge concern, there's no pad that can touch the Mega Mat. However, the Thermarest MondoKing XL is a close second if you like a more firm sleep. At 4" thick it's super comfy, but it does tend to feel more firm than the Thermarest Luxury Map XL. That pad has a slightly softer feel to it due to the perforated "body mapped" holes in the foam. My wife swears by the Luxury Map XL...or did....now she's a Mega Mat convert.

I've professionally tested a ton of products over the years and pads were tough. We had seven testers. Everyone had slightly different opinions. The only unanimous assessment was - Mega Mat is the best. Period.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 20 2013, 2:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I received the Exped Mega Mat 10 today. There's no way anyone could have any complaint about the comfort of this mattress. It's very close to the mattress on my bed. Seems like a perfect combination of support to keep your back straight and softness for your joints.

The only reasons to spend the $$$ on the Mega Mat would be for the insulation in cold weather and because it's self-inflating. In summer I think an inflatable bed would give the same comfort for a fraction of the price. And in fact a single inflatable bed folds smaller than the Mega Mat.

The Mega Mat doesn't fit on a 34" wide cot. For that the REI Campbed 3.5 is better.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 23 2013, 8:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Just a side note, Walmart does not accept returns on air mattreses.  Even if they leak the very first time.  After having them call a manager I FINALLY talked her into store credit but they would not do a return.  Just something to consider.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 24 2013, 2:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(juliaann @ Jun. 23 2013, 8:50 pm)
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Just a side note, Walmart does not accept returns on air mattreses.  Even if they leak the very first time.  After having them call a manager I FINALLY talked her into store credit but they would not do a return.  Just something to consider.

Very true. This is exactly why I bought an airbed from Cabela's after a long discussion with Walmart about this absurd no-return policy. Supposedly the reason is that they want to prevent people from "borrowing" an airbed for a camping trip. If that were true, why wouldn't they have the same policy for tents, cots, etc.?
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 22 2013, 11:23 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Air mattress FTW!
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(BreakneckScrambler @ Jul. 22 2013, 11:23 am)
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Air mattress FTW!

FTW?  hardly.  Just used the foam topper again for a weekend car camping, this time just in the Subaru, still took two dogs, a cooler and went light on the gear (no cooking, just ate junk food and pre-made stuff).  And we have a King size foam topper.  If you got a single or twin it would easily fit in a trunk or back seat and have plenty of room for other gear.  We also added a rubber or vinyl zippered sheet to protect it from stains while transporting and moisture from condensation, then just put a sheet down to sleep on.  I think my wife found it for $20 on some bedwetting site of all places.  Still not going back to the old 8" air mattress.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 26 2013, 12:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Air mattress for car camping with mattress pad and made up like a bed. My RidgeRest pad gets added under the mattress pad for winter camping and the down bag gets used as a comforter.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 27 2013, 8:05 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My wife and I have found that two small air mattresses work better than one large one for getting a good nights sleep. If one person rolls over it doesn't bounce the other one off.  We've tried all kinds of different brands and they all leak sooner or later (sooner), so we stopped buying the expensive ones.  The best way I've found to find a leak is to pour a half cup or so of distiller water inside the mattress, fill it with air then spin it, turn it, and flip it until you find the spot(s) that are wet from the water leaking out.  Patch, dry, use, repeat after the next trip...

We've used memory foam toppers too, and have found that if you don't keep them covered the material breaks down and will split and tear, we had a 2" topper that ended up in chunks before the first season was over.  I bought another and used spray adhesive to stick on a fabric "cover" which has worked for three seasons now.

For backpacking/canoeing, I like the kelty recluse, but I am in the minority on that I think...
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 29 2013, 1:32 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There's a reason why air mattresses come with a repair kit...They ALWAYS start leaking in the middle of the night, when you have to read the repair instructions, along with finding and repairing the leak...all the while with a cold, pissed-off wife sitting up, wrapped in a sleeping bag in the corner of the tent. (Don't ask me how I know this.)

The only answer for car camping for me has been the memory-foam mattress, but 6 inches is WAY too thick, because memory foam starts getting stiff below 60*, and impossible to fold or roll up, even with "cinch straps."

The solution for me is TWO memory-foam toppers...one 3" and one 2", with the "rough" sides facing each other. Still thick enough for the fussy sleeper, but more easily rolled up or folded because the two layers slide between each other.

I cover them with two fitted mattress covers, one on the bottom and one on the top.

Along with a set of high-thread-count-fitted sheets, (with matching pillowcases,) it makes a luxury-hotel-like experience in the backcountry.

Beats camping alone.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 12:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

When we have to replace this topper we're definitely going to get the 2 smaller ones for space reasons (but I got the King b/c that's what was on clearance at Ikea and figured it was worth trying).  We're even contemplating cutting this one into 2 smaller ones for better packability.  Didn't notice any issues with the foam getting stiff the night it got down into the low 50's recently, maybe ours isn't thick enough.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 7:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have rarely had a hole in an air mattress. Once with the REI Campbed but I think that was a fluke and the replacement mattress has been very durable. Expeds seem very durable. I had the Exped Mega Mat briefly and it looked and felt very rugged. When I say "air mattress" I'm including self-inflating.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 10:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Got a 3" thick therm-a-rest near 20 years ago when I was taking my 75 year old Dad on a canoe trip on Utah's Green R. and it is still going strong.

It's great, use it for back of the pickup sleeping, car camping. Trip, weather may be a fiasco but that mattress is as good as sleeping at home.

Gotta have a sheet tho and we've taken old sheets, sewed "sleeping bag" like liners out of them.
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