Winter Training Mission — EXPED Mega Mat Review

Post by blogger | December 3, 2014      

Exped MegaMat 10 on sale here.

Rachel grabbed a few books from the <a href='' target='_blank'>WildSnow library</a> and is prepping for a winter exploring the backcountry of Colorado.

Rachel grabbed a few books from the WildSnow library and is prepping for a winter exploring the backcountry of Colorado.

Rough dirt roads, deep sand beaches, ecologically diverse mountains, tropical fish, great surf, and amazing camping. Yeah, that’s essentially Baja from the road.

At the end of October, Jonathan “Coop” Cooper and I packed up his truck and moved our things to Colorado in preparation for a winter of skiing and snowboarding in the San Juans. Instead of waiting for the snow to fly, we dropped off our winter gear and repacked the Tacoma with surfboards, snorkel gear, and all sorts of other things that had no business in the cold temperatures of the Rockies. We figured we could cross-train for the ski season by surfing and spearfishing everyday. We headed to Mexico!

Coop’s truck is outfitted with a sleeping platform and camper-like topper which boasts a surprising amount of storage space. In the past he had a section of three inch memory foam as his mattress, but in many sleeping positions you could still feel the wood platform below it throughout the night. During this trip, we wanted to put a different sleeping system to the test and see if we could find a multifunctional and multi-season set up that we could also use on winter backcountry adventures.

Be warned, we’re not talking ultra lightweight, minimalist bivying. No, instead envision cush road trip truck livin’ and deluxe basecamp snow camping. EXPED has created one of their top of the line sleeping pads to be four inches thick, 30 inches wide, and 6.5 feet long. Put two of them side-by-side and you have a queen sized bed! Because the EXPED Mega Mat 10 LXW sleeping pads have straight side walls and fit flushly together, we were able to do just that. The rectangular shape of the pads also make it so that you don’t have any fault lines between you and your partner like you would with mummy shaped pads. They fit together like bricks.

No valleys or fault lines, just one big continuous sleeping area. EXPED also has a Coupler Kit [insert link]  that hold two pads together for tent camping.

No valleys or fault lines, just one big continuous sleeping area. EXPED also has a Coupler Kit that holds two pads together for tent camping.

A feature that we’ve really liked is the Flatvalve Technology that is pretty standard with EXPED’s pads. It is a two valve system; one for inflation and one for deflation. This allows the user to fully fill the mat and then deflate it in small increments to get the firmness he/ she prefers all while lying on it. Instead of blowing air in by mouth, EXPED encourage people to use the Mini Pump that comes with the mat. This helps reduce the amount of moisture that gets inside the pad (which can cause mold and material breakdown). The Mega Mat is categorized as self-inflating which means that you unroll the pad, open the inflate value, let it sit and begin to self inflate, then top it off with air from the hand pump.

Inflate and deflate valves at the foot of the pad. Each pad comes with its own pump.

Inflate and deflate valves at the foot of the pad. Each pad comes with its own pump.

Things we like:
-Coop’s favorite thing is how they feel. The pads have a memory foam-like cushion to them that feels much like my mattress at home. We still can’t believe how comfortable they are.
-The selling feature for me is the fact that two pads fit together so well. Whether in a vehicle or in a tent I won’t end up sleeping in a hole.
-Durability. The fabric and valves all seem to be made of quality materials that will hold up to lots of use. The’ve held up well to the harsh bumps and friction of driving on Baja dirt roads.
-The dual valves for easy inflation and deflation. Plus the mattresses hold their air well. We’ve blown them up once in three weeks and have only had to add or subtract air based on changes in our elevation and temperature.

Things we would change:
-Ideally, the pads would take up a smaller amount of space when rolled up, but again we recognize that we’re going for luxury here not minimalism.
-The pad can take some time to inflate initially with the hand pump.
-Width wise the pads fit perfectly in our truck set up, however, they are just slightly too long (for a 6 ft Toyota Tacoma bed) so we have to curve them up near the head of the bed. A sleeping pad designed specifically for the dimensions of a typical dirt-bag truck “bed” could be rad.

The Mega Mat all rolled up in the packsack.

The Mega Mat all rolled up in the packsack.

We love the Mega Mats. They’re soft, comfortable, and warm. With a high R-value (or ability to insulate) of 9.5, these mats do an outstanding job insulating you from the cold ground. I think that this single feature is going to make the EXPED Mega Mat perfect for our cold winter ski adventures where we spend nights in or near the truck.

We discovered that the two mats make a great couch tucked away from the heat of the day.

We discovered that the two mats make a great couch tucked away from the heat of the day.

Exped MegaMat 10 on sale here.

WildSnow Girl, Rachel Bellamy, skis, snowboards and does just about everything else that’s fun. Rachel calls the Pacific Northwest home but is often romping around the mountains and crags of other states she loves. Whether on snow, rock, or in the sea, this WildSnow Girl will frequently have a camera in hand to capture the bliss of adventure through photography. See her beautiful images on Instagram: birdrachel.


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8 Responses to “Winter Training Mission — EXPED Mega Mat Review”

  1. Alex Kerney December 3rd, 2014 9:46 am

    Try hunting down one of Exped’s Schnozzle Pumpbags. Makes it super quick to inflate most mats.

  2. Nick December 3rd, 2014 12:55 pm

    sweet camper setup, would love to see more of it

  3. Coop December 3rd, 2014 1:42 pm


    Stay tuned for a more in-depth tour of the rig and a TR of our trip down the peninsula.

  4. Lisa Dawson December 3rd, 2014 6:10 pm

    Sweet plan for ski season cross training!

  5. George December 4th, 2014 9:01 pm

    Slick product and nice review. 15 years ago I purchased 3″ open cell foam pads with a cotton covers from Army Surplus for car camping. They don’t pack down as small, but they work fine for truck camping or cabin guests. The closest thing I have seen is Cabelas Deluxe Cot Pad 84x38x3 for $119 each. I believe the 10th Mtn Huts also uses open cell foam with nice covers on many bench/beds.

  6. Rachel Bellamy December 6th, 2014 12:50 am

    Alex, I’ve seen those Schnozzle Pumps and they look like they would be pretty ideal with this bag. Never the less, pumping them up wasn’t too time consuming and is actually kind of fun. Thanks for the tip!

  7. Mark Worley December 9th, 2014 10:50 pm

    I have a Schnozzle, and as hokey as it may seem, it works really well.

  8. Rachel Bellamy December 10th, 2014 1:17 am

    Good to know Mark, thanks for the beta. I think that the name, Schozzle, is great ha!

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