Ground Tent Setup

Exped MegaMat 10 XL Review

Exped MegaMat 10 XL Review

Being active outdoors often means that you enjoy camping as well, and maybe you dream of a plush camper or RV in your future, or not, but most people start by sleeping in tents.  This means that you have probably experienced sleepless nights while you tossed and turned on hard sleeping pads or awoken to half deflated air mattresses that aided in you almost freezing to death overnight.  Trust us, we have been there.  You name it we have tried it, with our last fruitless attempt being folding foam pads, that although comfortable, took up way too much room within the vehicle.  At this point, Malissa and I were at ends on how to continue living our outdoorsy life without sacrificing every cherished night sleep while outdoors.  After countless hours of research, I stumbled across the EXPED MegaMat 10 LXW, which according to dozens of reviews was the most comfortable mat people had ever slept on. 

MegaMat 10
Exped MegaMat 10

Could it be true?  Could this be the end of the search, well maybe.  The price tag was so steep I almost decided against it with two pads costing a bit over $335.00 after cashing in my REI dividends.  Malissa in fact talked me into purchasing them after making the fine point that sleep is one of the most important parts of ensuring you enjoy your trip.  But is the price and hype worth it?

Initial Thoughts  

I ordered them via the REI website, which had the best price and free shipping, plus I had some dividends that needed to be redeemed.  A few days passed and I picked them up from the store.  Packaging for shipment was neat and clean, well packed to ensure the item didn’t get damaged. 

The beds were wound tightly within plastic bags, and initial unpacking revealed two very nice self inflating matresses.  The quality was very nice, and I was instantly excited to give them a test run.  The instructions stated to let them self-inflate over 24 hours before the initial use so I drug them into the office and opened the Inlet valve spreading them out on the floor. 

24 Hours Later 

Still thrilled at the idea of a self inflating mattress, I watched the clock and made sure I returned after the 24 hour mark had passed.  What I saw was lackluster.  Two less than half inflated mattresses sitting on the floor.  So much for self inflating.  I decided I was going to pump them up using the included hand pump.  One thing to note, when these do not self inflate, they take a little while to pump as the included pump is really just for adjusting the pressure to your liking. 

Now that they were pumped up, time to test them out.  I opted to sleep in the office to see how great these expensive air matresses really were so I drug my sleeping bag out of the garage plopped down for a test run.

First Night Thoughts

Honestly, my first night was just meh…  The mattress was too firm for my liking and I found myself tossing and turning.  I decided that next time it would have to be taken down a notch in firmness during our upcoming trip. 

First Overland Use

Packed Exped Pads
Exped Mattresses fit perfectly with the rest of the kit

The true test was going to be real world.  So how did they stack up in comparison to previous setups? 

First off, there is a learning curve.  For example, the first night on the trail, they once again did not self inflate.  Another disappointment.  In fact, I was beginning to think we had duds.  But this did resolve itself after a couple uses.  (The trick is to setup your tent, unroll the mattresses, let them do their thing while you finish other camp duties.  Then when you return, like magic, they are ready to go with a little top up of the pump.) 

Second tip.  It will take a bit to figure out your preference of inflation.  What I like, Malissa hates.  So let the person who is sleeping on it, do their own fine tuning after it self inflates. 

Another initial shocker, there is a technique to getting these back in the bag in a timely manner.  Malissa likes to deflate them by folding them in thirds and laying on top of them until almost empty.  Then she rolls them up and they fit neatly within their bags. 

Okay, enough of the technical aspect.  Are they comfortable?

Comfort Level

These things are AMAZING!!!  I actually have slept more soundly then any other setup I have ever used before purchasing these.  Trust me, it is worth every cent, and this is why.  First, they keep you warm in cooler weather.  They have an R-Value of 9.5 which is great at keeping the cold ground from leeching your body heat while you sleep.  Ever use a cheap Coleman air mattress, and find yourself freezing to death in the middle of the night?  Its because there is no insulation between you and the cold ground and air.  These have a layer of memory foam over the air mattress to ensure you stay warm. 

The second reason I dig them, is the memory foam feature is so comfortable, you will think you are sleeping on a mattress.  This increases the thickness and size during pack out, but it also helps you from feeling any small rocks or debris under your tent.

Final Thoughts on the Exped MegaMat 10

After about 45 nights or more on the trail, sleeping on these, I would not hesitate recommending the Exped MegaMat 10 mattress.

If you are a ground tent person, buy one!  You will not be disappointed.  All of the reviews are true and accurate.  These things rock!  I have had no issues with the mattress itself, but one of the carrying bags ripped at the seam.  Does it suck, yeah, especially for the price we paid for them.  I feel like they could use a higher grade fabric for the bags, and maybe they will in the future. 

(Update: After contacting Exped about the ripped stuff sack.  They quickly rectified the issue and sent out a replacement bag.  Free of charge.  How is that for customer service!)

I am considering using these for solo camping in Mambo as well.  Due to the small size, and low profile, it would make bed setup and tear down much easier and faster. 

All in all, these made a great addition to the kit!  I could not imagine going back to a cot or traditional mattress.  


As always, we are not paid to give reviews or sponsored by the company.  We are just an overlanding couple that wants to give real world feedback on quality equipment.  Happy trails!

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