Author Topic: Camping mattress dilemma  (Read 5330 times)

Pancake

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Camping mattress dilemma
« on: June 22, 2015, 12:34:32 AM »
I have been searching the internet and have not found a good solution to this problem yet so I thought I'd direct it here. I am looking for a solution to the air mattress dilemma. My wife and I have been doing more camping lately, and we have a 5 night trip coming up next month. It is just car camping, but we have a prius, a dog, and rakes, shovels, and buckets for clamming, so not unlimited space to pack tons of other big stuff. Last year we did the same trip and used an air mattress and it was definitely not ideal. It gets real cold since the air in the mattress gets to air temp and comes at you from underneath (North Puget sound nights 40-45deg even in summer). Also, as you would have guessed, it went flat at 2am one night.  Not fun at all.

So I'm looking for a solution, but not just any solution, a mustachian solution. I have a 3 person tent that fits two people and a bulldog on a queen mattress just fine. I'm looking for something semi-compact, extra comfy and warm, and inexpensive. If money were no object I'd go for two thermarest neoair dream XL pads linked together to make a great queen sized pad and relatively compact to transport. However, at $220 EACH that's just... No.  What are some things you guys have done? I was thinking maybe a thick memory foam mattress topper would be comfortable, but once they're out of the box they get pretty dang big. I wouldn't even know where to store that in our apartment.

Thanks!

big_owl

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Re: Camping mattress dilemma
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2015, 02:59:52 AM »
We use Neoair Xlite pads for mountaineering trips... they roll up about the size of a 1L water bottle and are extremely warm.  The bomb.  They are expensive but fully worth it where space and weight are at a premium! 

Why not just go the route of a robust pool mattress?  They suck compared to the neoair but are a heck of a lot cheaper.  I think a memory foam topper would be a nightmare camping - they're huge, heavy, and I picture them getting all rank if you get them wet or sweaty.

shadowmoss

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Re: Camping mattress dilemma
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2015, 03:53:25 AM »
For extra insulation the blue closed cell foam pad from WalMart ($8?) is hard to beat.  Whatever you put on top of it will be warmer.  You could probably put a couple of them on top of the air mattress to make it warmer as well if you wanted.  I can sleep on one with no extra padding, but YMMV.

Rural

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Re: Camping mattress dilemma
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2015, 05:56:48 AM »
I've found air mattresses are much warmer with something under them for insulation. Less likely to get stabbed from underneath, too. You can still put something on top to insulate you, and should. Heavy blankets will do in a pinch, but you might also consider cheap egg crate foam. If you have good sleeping bags, they'll do, too.


As for the going flat, try to find and patch your leak while you're home- pump it up, listen carefully for leaks, spray with soapy water if you absolutely can't find it. You'll have to clean off the soap really well to get the patch kit to take, so try without soap first.

GuitarStv

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Re: Camping mattress dilemma
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2015, 07:05:29 AM »
For extra insulation the blue closed cell foam pad from WalMart ($8?) is hard to beat.  Whatever you put on top of it will be warmer.  You could probably put a couple of them on top of the air mattress to make it warmer as well if you wanted.  I can sleep on one with no extra padding, but YMMV.

+1

This is what I've always used.  Light, rolls up pretty small, keeps the chill off.  It's not exactly cushy, but you're camping not sleeping in a princesses luxury palace.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Camping mattress dilemma
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2015, 10:09:01 AM »
I use a cut-down twin-sized IKEA foam mattress ($80), 3.5" thick.  Sure, it's not the most compact, but it *does* squeeze down to a manageable size, provides plenty of insulation, and is super comfortable.  Just make sure you put a vapor barrier on top of it, so the water vapor from your body doesn't condense on it.

phwadsworth

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Re: Camping mattress dilemma
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2015, 10:12:03 AM »
the thin Ikea mattresses work pretty well.  I've used on in the back of my pickup for a few years.  I think I paid $90 for a Full, and with some nylon webbing straps to cinch it, I can roll it up fairly tightly.  Nothing compared to a real camping mattress, but this is car camping....

Mirwen

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Re: Camping mattress dilemma
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2015, 10:16:01 AM »
You don't have to get a thermarest brand to get a self inflating mattress.  During the summer Costco has these XL self inflating mattresses that are huge, warm and comfy for about $35 each.  I just love them.  They aren't backpacking weight, but for car camping they are ideal.  I'm sorry I can't remember the brand, but maybe someone else can chime in.


Here, I found it.  They are much cheaper at Costco:
http://www.amazon.com/Lightspeed-Outdoors-Self-Inflating-Sleep/dp/B00LF96P3G
« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 10:18:09 AM by Mirwen »

Gumbo1978

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Re: Camping mattress dilemma
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2015, 08:14:04 AM »
Consider a couple of cots (fold up to the size of a camping chair) and throw a couple of cheap/thin pads on top.  For warmth, get a decent sleeping bag.  The cots I got were from LL Bean and were $50/per.

TrMama

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Re: Camping mattress dilemma
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2015, 12:12:20 PM »
I have one of these, http://www.mec.ca/product/5025-645/mec-reactor-6.5-sleeping-pad/?h=10+50130+50050+50877+50878&f=10+50050+50130+50878 and a nice backpacking level sleeping bag that's rated to -10C. We also camp in the PNW and this combo is perfect. Doesn't take up a lot of space in the car or garage and keeps me toasty. If you buy the cheap sleeping bags that are sold by the pound, you'll be cold.

For shoulder season camping I add a polar fleece liner inside the sleeping bag. It's just a 2m piece of fleece from the fabric store sewn into a sleeping bag shape.

Clean Shaven

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Re: Camping mattress dilemma
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2015, 12:20:55 PM »
You don't have to get a thermarest brand to get a self inflating mattress.  During the summer Costco has these XL self inflating mattresses that are huge, warm and comfy for about $35 each.  I just love them.  They aren't backpacking weight, but for car camping they are ideal.  I'm sorry I can't remember the brand, but maybe someone else can chime in.


Here, I found it.  They are much cheaper at Costco:
http://www.amazon.com/Lightspeed-Outdoors-Self-Inflating-Sleep/dp/B00LF96P3G

I bought one of these at Costco too, for car camping.  It's quite nice, and for $35 + Costco's return policy, it's hard to go wrong.

worms

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Re: Camping mattress dilemma
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2015, 01:51:27 PM »
For extra insulation the blue closed cell foam pad from WalMart ($8?) is hard to beat.  Whatever you put on top of it will be warmer.  You could probably put a couple of them on top of the air mattress to make it warmer as well if you wanted.  I can sleep on one with no extra padding, but YMMV.

+1

This is what I've always used.  Light, rolls up pretty small, keeps the chill off.  It's not exactly cushy, but you're camping not sleeping in a princesses luxury palace.

I normally do this too, but this summer I forgot the closed cell foam roll and instead used a reflective windscreen sun-shade and a rough blanket and that more or less did the trick.  Then down sleeping bag and blanket over the top. Still ended up putting on a fleece in the middle of the night! 

This was south of France (Haute Provence) but the mistral was blowing straight down off the Alps and air mattresses are just so cold!  It really feels counter-intuitive but much warmer putting the blankets below you rather than over you!