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Exped Field Tested:: Mega Mat, Widget Pump, Mega Pillow

Exped Mega Mat 10 LXW

Exped’s Mega mat hit the car camping scene in 2011, raising the bar for sleep comfort to a superior level with its plush, perfect-density, open-cell polyurethane foam—or so I’d been told by numerous co-workers and friends. I’ve used many sleep mats over the years but found a happy place with my Nemo Cosmo 3D air pad, my go-to due to its compact portability and built-in pump. My eyes recently landed on the Mega mat while planning an extended camping trip that had me considering cushier options, and I decided to give it a try.

While the pad self-inflates to a point, it will need to be topped off with the included mini hand pump. If stored in a rolled position for long periods, it is recommended to follow the initial setup pattern, letting it self-inflate for one hour before inflating to full volume, allowing it to rest for 24 hours. Out of the box, it took 3 minutes and 15 seconds to pump the mattress to full inflation using the included mini hand pump, 1 minute and 45 seconds the second time with the Widget pump (see below), and 1 minute and 45 seconds the third time using the mini hand pump.

Just under 4 inches of foam cradles side and back sleepers with even support. I appreciate the minimal noise the stretch tricot TPU-laminated 50D polyester surface makes in response to body movement—it’s hardly noticeable. I tested the LXW size, which is 5.5 inches longer and 4.7 inches wider than the MW’s 72.1 x 25.6 x 3.9-inch dimensions, luxe if you have the space but unnecessary for those with an average-size frame, and it may be a potentially tight fit for some tents. The LXW’s weight is just over a pound heavier than the MW’s 4.5 pounds, a negligible difference for a car-camping option. The Mega mat’s rolled-up size (31.1 x 9.8 inches), however, is significant (though typical for this type of pad), whether for storage or on the road, even with the horizontal air channels to reduce weight and packed volume.

Improvements have been made to the deflate valves, in line with modern technology, allowing for a lightning-fast deflate time and easy adjustments to reduce the Goldilocks effect if you’ve overinflated your mattress.

The company suggests stuffing the Sidewinder stuff sack with clothes for an easy pillow, but if you own the Mega mat, you’re opting for comfort, and a pillow is a much more feasible option if a good night’s sleep is your goal. I did sleep better on the Mega mat, making it a new favorite for me, and I will make room for it in my kit when space allows.

$250/LXW, $230/MW

Exped Widget Pump

The Widget is a handy little rechargeable air pump that can double as a charger or camp light. It has a universal valve adapter that works with most sleep mats, and the pump has both fast and quiet modes. The integrated 100-lumen lamp and 3,600 milliampere-hour power bank increase the product’s versatility, but I wondered how long the pump would last on a single charge with multiple tasks. The pump took about two hours to charge out of the box, and I was able to top off/fill my Mega Mat LXW three times, charge my nearly depleted phone to capacity, and use the light at full power for 2.5 hours, all in mild temps. The second charge took approximately three hours, though the company recommends charging for six hours.

Its life on a single charge has some limitations, and I would not use it to charge my phone unless in a pinch, but it’s an easy carry at 7 ounces and about the size of a Rubik’s cube. After reading the list of potential hacks for this product on Exped’s website, I find I occasionally use it at home as a dust blower. Cheers to versatility.


Exped Mega Pillow

I’ve tried all sorts of camp pillows—down, foam, inflatables—and the Mega Pillow was the first not to leave me with a good-morning crick in the neck. It provides ample support without being too firm, thanks to its adjustability. The padded air-core pillow with near-vertical sidewalls is quick to inflate and covered with soft tricot nylon, insulated with polyester fleece padding in the air core. At 6.5 ounces, it packs down small (5.1 x 3.9 inches) and inflates to 20.9 x 12.6 x 4.7 inches. Fabric eyelets allow you to attach it to a mat, though I prefer to move my pillow throughout the night, adapting the height as I go with the deflation pin on the inflate valve. It also has a removable, washable cover that appeals to my practical side. I ended up buying Mega pillows for the rest of my family, who were also instant fans.


All Exped products carry a 5-year warranty for defects in materials and workmanship. Failures due to normal wear, negligence, and acts of nature can usually be repaired for a nominal charge.


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A steadfast believer in the power of words, Tena can usually be found with her eyes turned toward some source of written knowledge, be it for pleasure, information, or planning her next adventure. Recognizing the value of the spoken word as well (unless it is coming from her GPS, in which case, she is perfectly capable of getting lost on her own), Tena finds there is no substitute for confabulation. Refuge from the monotony of the everyday is found by immersing herself in her surroundings—whether in an exotic locale or her backyard—and disconnecting from technology and seeking solace in the great outdoors is a cure well taken. While vehicles are a component for overlanding, she finds enthusiasm provides the only fuel required to get you there.