We picked up some extra sleeping pads and cots from REI this weekend to test and review. We were able to buy a pair of the REI Kingsman Cot 3, an Exped Megamat Duo 10, a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite, a Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus, a Sea to Summit Comfort Plus, a Big Agnes Q Core SLX, and a Nemo Tensor. They were running all of their sleeping bags and air pads on a buy one, get one for (around) $6 sale.

We have been carrying a pair of Klymit sleeping pads for the past two years. We love them but since we have both tossed and turned a few nights while on them, we thought it was worth trying to upgrade. We have also been doing a lot of car camping, so suffering a bad night’s sleep when we have plenty of space in the car to carry a bigger air mattress seems pointless.

We didn’t go to REI to acquire hundreds of dollars of sleeping pads for camping. But REI was having a big three-day Garage Sale so we decided to add to our gear while they were selling these returned items at a great price. We started by falling in love with the Kingsman Cot 3, a pretty luxurious foldable camping cot. And before we made our purchase, we decided that we were going to review some of the most popular sleeping pads on the market for backpacking and car camping here at Parkcation.

We hope you find our camping gear reviews helpful as you make decisions on what items to buy. If we can find cheap sleeping bags, tents and other items in the future, we’ll probably be doing it again.

Here is a look at what we now own:

Klymit Static V

The Klymit has been a great air pad for us for the past two years. We bought them after our first night in a tent in Pennsylvania in April. In the run up to our camping trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, we did a quick weekend trip to figure out what we were missing. We split a foam pad between us for the evening (one not designed for camping) and it was a pretty awful night of sleep. We quickly realized the error of our ways.

The Klymit Static V is a compact, light and affordable inflatable sleeping pad for backpacking and camping. It has served us well. They have been pretty durable for us with no major leaks over twenty days of use in the past two years. They roll up into a compact bundle ideal for backpacking. They are priced at right around $50 on Amazon and have a more than 4 star rating after 2,000+ customer reviews. We would definitely recommend them to anyone looking for an entry level sleeping pad.

The problems with the Static V are that it isn’t one of the thickest or most insulated pads on the market. When I’m tired, I don’t have any problem falling asleep on it. But if I wake up during the middle of the night, it can be a little difficult to fall back to sleep.

REI Kingdom Cot 3

These will remind you of the lounging chairs at a pool with the addition of a cushion that you typically find on outdoor furniture. The reason we fell in love with the Kingdom Cot 3, though, is the comfort. We’re both eager to put these out in a campground and try them for a night. We have high expectations.

On first glance, the problem with the Kingdom Cot 3 is its bulk. When you first try to put the boxes in your car, you’ll understand what we are talking about here. We are hoping that they take up less space when they are removed from the box and that there is still plenty of room in our SUV for the rest of our gear. There’s also no way that they are going to fit side-by-side in a standard two person tent, or even our two-plus. We’re planning on picking up an inexpensive tent that will fit them when we are doing car camping.

Exped Megamat Duo 10

We have been thinking about a camping air mattress for couples for some time now. When you are sleeping on two individual sleeping pads on the ground, it is hard to snuggle. The pads separate and at least one person usually ends up lying on the ground instead of on the cushions. We are hoping the Megamat Duo fixes this problem for us.

The Megamat is one of the thickest camping mattresses on the market and is designed to lie completely flat. The Duo completely fill a wide 2-person tent and is the length/width of a queen mattress. We have heard it compared to sleeping on your mattress at home.

This is definitely for car camping. Exped makes another two-person sleeping pad, the Synmat Duo, which is more appropriate for backpacking. If you are looking to compare the Megamat Duo to another mattress, we have heard it is best compared to the Thermarest DreamTime, another luxury mattress on the market.

The one thing that we have already noticed about the Megamat Duo is that it is not a one person mattress. If you are lying on it by yourself, you tend to sink to the ground. The weight of a second person helps to maintain the air underneath you rather than surrounding you.

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite

This pad is one of the lightest on the market and has gotten rave reviews in the past from other websites. It is shaped like a mummy to conform to your body, and is known for its thickness and comfort at an extremely light weight. We bought the women’s version though, so it is shorter than some of the other sleeping pads we are testing. But we can still see why it garners great reviews. Based on our preliminary testing of this pad, I would have no hesitancy in recommending this one for anyone that wants a mummy pad or a similar Thermarest rectangular pad (like the NeoAir Trekker).

Big Agnes Q Core SLX

This is a rectangular sleeping pad and one of the thickest inflatables on the market. The 25L is a great size for a big person and I had high hopes that it would be my favorite until I realized that it was leaking air due to a hole somewhere. We will have to patch it up or send it back to the company for repair. There was a repair kit with our purchase, so we will have to try it at home first. The instructions say to submerge it in a bathtub or swimming pool. Alternatively, Big Agnes will attempt to repair it for a fee. According to their website, they do not warranty items bought at the REI Garage Sale. Update: We have found and patched the hole!

Thermarest ProLite Plus

The Prolite Plus is a self-inflating pad with memory foam that is popular for thru hiking due to its durable nature and low cost. This is the smallest mummy pad that we are testing (in terms of area) and we saw many that had been returned to REI because of the size/fit. We will let you know how it compares to the Klymit and some of the higher priced pads we are testing.

Sea to Summit Comfort Plus

Our first test of this pad hasn’t impressed us. We think that at this price point the NeoAir and the Big Agnes are more comfortable options. We will let you know if our opinion changes next year as we try it out more.

Nemo Tensor

This sleeping pad ranks similarly to the Big Agnes Q Core SLX in our initial comfort testing. We will let you know which one we prefer after we have had a chance to try them both out.

Conclusion

It is still far too early to say which one is our favorite. We are going to be sleeping on these air pads a lot more over the next year in order to determine which one is our favorite. We have a good range of styles and manufacturers represented to try. We will be sure to link to our reviews here.

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