The most essential part of any camping equipment is your sleep system. Your whole game is thrown off if you’re not well rested. I used to sing the praises of the Teton Sports ComfortLite. Now that I’ve upgraded my tent to a 2013 Subaru Outback, the ComfortLites just aren’t cutting it. I decided to go all out and invested in the Exped MegaMat Duo 10 as my car camping mattress of choice.
Exped Mega Mat Duo Stats
|Top Fabric||50 D Polyester, TPU Polyether film laminate, hydrolysis resistant, honeycomb embossed, Oeko-Tex® 100 certified|
|Bottom Fabric||75 D Polyester, TPU Polyether film laminate, hydrolysis resistant, Oeko-Tex® 100 certified|
|Insulation||16 kg/m² opencell PU foam, Oekotex 100 certified|
The number one reason why I picked the Exped MegaMat Duo 10 is because it fits perfectly in the back of a 2013 (and also 2019) Subaru Outback with the seats folded down. The dimensions for the MegaMat Duo 10 are 72 x 41 x 3.9 inches. Exped claims that it packs down to 22 x 11 inches in the provided carrying case (stuff sack is laughable here). Realistically, the packed size is 22 x 17 x 14 inches. (Or maybe I’m the only one incapable of rolling sleeping pads back to their original size.) Packability is not an issue for me because this mostly lives in the back of my Subaru.
Taller sleepers might have to curl up or sleep diagonally. My 5’ tall self starfishes on this mattress. It sleeps two people, comfortably for me. Not sure about my companions, but none of them have complained about lack of room.
Inflating the Exped MegaMat Duo 10
Two valves are located at the foot of the pad, one for inflating, and one for deflating. The Exped MegaMat Duo self-inflates. When you first get it, the instructions say let it self inflate and leave for two days. The MegaMat Duo 10 arrived in the mail and I headed off on a 2 week road-trip the next day, so I did not do that. It did not affect the self-inflating capabilities of my MegaMat Duo. The intake valve also has a release flap so you can adjust the firmness to your liking without deflating the whole mattress.
If you’re in a time crunch, use the included hand pump to inflate the Exped MegaMat Duo. Apparently, the toggle on the inflate valve helps the pad take in air faster by inserting it into the inflate valve. This is not something that I was aware of. I always thought it was an annoying keychain thing that got in the way every time I tried to close the valve. You can also blow it up by mouth, but this seems silly to me, so I have never done that.
It takes some time for the mattress to inflate, but I’ve personally never timed it. I’ll typically open the inflate valve once I get to my destination. I like my mattress on the firmer end, so once I’m ready for bed, I’ll top it off with the hand pump to get it completely full. I fully self-inflated the Exped on accident when I closed the deflate valve and left the inflate valve open and drove from the Bay Area to Tuolumne Meadows. It was very firm when I got to my destination.
Because it’s a $369 mattress, I’m very careful about opening the deflate valve whenever I need to drive my car somewhere. The mattress volume and air pressure change based on elevation and temperature, so I don’t want to risk accidentally popping it. That’d be an expensive mistake, even if the MegaMat Duo does come with a patch kit.
To deflate the pad, open the deflate valve and roll the pad. I usually lay on top of the whole thing to squeeze all the air out.
What is the MegaMat Duo made of?
The MegaMat Duo is constructed with high-grade open-cell polyurethane foam. Horizontal air channels run through the pad to reduce weight. I’ve fallen asleep on top of the pad without inflating it, and it’s still incredibly comfortable.
The top of the pad is made of a stretch tricot fabric. It’s soft, and comfortable, and not at all crinkly. It’s pretty staticky, though. Hair, dust, and dirt stick to it like glue. Exped sells a Mat Sheet, but it’s $59. I went to Marshalls and picked up a full sheet set for under $20. (Then you also get a flat sheet and pillow cases for your new mattress!) The fitted sheet runs a little large for the Exped. Excess fabric tucks beneath the mattress, protecting it from other debris lounging on the weather mats of my car.
You can set it up like a real bed, or you can sleeping bag it. If it’s just me, I’m rocking my single sleeping bag in there like a caterpillar in a cocoon. If someone is sleeping in the car with me, I’ll pull out my double sleeping bag, the Sierra Designs Frontcountry Bed. The R-value of the Exped MegaMat Duo is 9.5, aka it’s pretty freakin’ warm.
Storing the Exped MegaMat Duo
When you’re not using it, Exped recommends storing the MegaMat Duo unrolled with both valves open. But who has that kind of storage space? Mine lives rolled up in its carry sack, or doubles as a guest bed, when it’s not in my Subaru.
Would I buy the Exped MegaMat Duo again?
Absolutely. This thing has leveled up my car camping game. It also doubles as a guest mattress in my home. The cons of the mattress are little nitpicky things. Now that I have it, I couldn’t imagine hitting the road without it. Sometimes I wonder how I went this long without one. I’ve yet to use it in an actual tent, but you bet the next time I’m actually camping with a car, this is coming with me.
It’s an investment at $369, but you can’t put a price on a good night’s sleep. Sometimes you can usually find it on sale at CampSaver.
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