Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Gear Review - REI Camp Bed 2.5

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REI - Camp Bed 2.5
Self-inflating sleeping pad
Oversized, side-sleepers, car camping


Many people prefer doing it in beds, but others occasionally venture away from them. Some people can sleep face-down on the floor. Many of us are side sleepers and really need something to cushion our shoulders and hips. After several years of using and abusing a thicker-than-a-raft style inflatable mattress (not unlike this), I decided we needed something a that would be more dependable and less likely to leave you deflated or hammocking.

Two Camp Beds stacked up with our superlight tent

Enter the REI Camp Bed 2.5. Thing is a large oversized self-inflating pad. Rolled up, these are a bigger than your a PVC air mattress, with two being somewhat bulky. Luckily, they are pretty lightweight, and make up for their bulk in comfort. Once you spread them out, they are no longer bulky. They are large enough and thick enough to feel luxurious on a nice, flat camp spot, but they have a low profile in the tent. This means you might get away with squeezing them in a backpacking-size tent. Which are often simpler, and more cozy than a big car-camping tent. You should be able to get a pair of them into any tent at least 50 inches wide.

The two oversized pads fit great in our "3 person" tent

The biggest complaint I have about the Camp Bed 2.5, is that I often overinflate the pad when topping it off with a few breaths before bed. Now, I inflate it firm, then bleed some air out to tweak my comfort and maximize the coosh. So far the nylon fabric seems much tougher than the exteriors of hollow, inflatable mattresses; I've not yet had to use the included repair patch.

But the best thing is getting a pretty killer night's sleep. It has enough padding for even a pretty hefty side sleeper, and keeps your arm from falling asleep. It insulates you from the ground well, due to the combination of foam and airspace, and has enough room to move around and sleep in different positions. Despite the bulk (which is reallly not that bad) these pads garuntee a pleasanty experience when car camping. We even use them for house guests sometimes. They are worth their weight in golden slumber.

Note: REI seems to have updated the product line to have both a regular 2.5 and an extra-large. The model we have is almost identical to the regular, but the specs may slightly.

  • Tons of cushion
  • Fairly light for size
  • Tough outer material
  • Great spare bed for guests
  • Bulky even when packed
  • Proper storage requires space
  • Only convenient for drive-up camp sites
  • Dimensions - 72 x 25 x 2.5 inches
  • Average weight - 3 lbs. 14 oz.
  • R-Value - 5.6
  • Insulation - Foam
  • Packed size - 5.5 x 26 inches
  • Design type - Inflatable
  • Shape - Rectangular
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