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The REI Co-op Camp Dreamer Insulated Air Sleeping Pad is a thick and cushy air mattress for car camping.
To get us a closer look, REI sent Man Makes Fire a review unit. After sleeping on it while camping, this is what we learned:
The Camp Dreamer
The REI Co-op Camp Dreamer Insulated Air Sleeping Pad is four inches thick with vertical side walls. It’s 25 inches wide and 78 inches long, making it plenty luxurious without taking up too much space in a multi-person car camping tent. It is super comfortable and aimed at car campers who want a lightweight but packable sleeping mattress.
At 3 lbs 6 oz, the Camp Dreamer Insulated Air Sleeping Pad is too heavy for backpacking, but it’s light enough for most everything else. It’s insulted with an R-value of 2.7, but it’s not filled with bulky foam. Because it’s not filled with self-inflating foam — like the REI Co-op Camp Dreamer XL Self-Inflating Deluxe Bed or the Exped MegaMat 10 Sleeping Pad — it is far more packable than similarly sized foam-filled air mattresses.
The result is that you can pack it down to 6.5″ x 11.5″ — which is quite handy when you’re loading up a car with camping gear.
Because the Camp Dreamer Insulated Air Sleeping Pad is a high-volume air mattress, you don’t want to try blowing it up with your lungs. Instead, REI includes a stuff sack-style air pump. The included pump is basically a nylon bag with a nozzle that fits the inflation valve on the Camp Dreamer.
To fill the air mattress, all you do is open up the pump sack so it’s about half-filled with air then wrap the end of the sack together. You then simply roll the ends toward the air mattress to force the air into the mattress. For me, I need to repeat the process about 10 times. It’s not hard and it works well.
The high-flow valve is a bit different than you find on most air mattresses. It’s basically a round disc with a one-way seal. When the disc is flat, air can go in but not out. If you push one side of the disc, you can push it sideways, which lets out the air.
It works pretty well and you can use the valve to fine-tune the pad’s firmness. I usually start out with every mattress inflated so it’s a bit too firm . . . and then slowly release a bit of air pressure to find the sweet spot for me. (If you go a bit too far, you can add in more air with your mouth easily enough — you don’t have to use the pump sack to top it off.)
At first, I was worried that I might not seat the disc inside the valve so that it’s perfectly flat . . . and that it would leak. That wasn’t a problem. The valve sealed well for multiple gear testers over several nights. Even if you don’t get the valve completely flat, there is a rubbery seal built into the valve’s cap that seems to work as a backup.
The Verdict: Excellent Comfort
The REI Co-op Camp Dreamer Insulated Air Sleeping Pad is one of the most comfortable air mattresses we’ve slept on this year. It provides four inches of cushion, which means it’s pretty much impossible to bottom out on. Gear testers also appreciated the stretch polyester top fabric — it feels great on bare skin and helps reduce sleeping bag slip. If you prefer a firm feel, you can ramp up the internal pressure, and if you want a bit more cushion, you can reduce the pressure — and you still won’t bottom out.
Incidentally, at 225 pounds, I was our largest gear tester. What I appreciate most about the Camp Dreamer Insulated Air Sleeping Pad is that it has excellent stability even at the edges, letting you sprawl over the whole surface.
All-in-all, if you’re looking for an ultra-cushy full-size, single-person air mattress, the REI Co-op Camp Dreamer Insulated Air Sleeping Pad delivers excellent comfort. Highly recommended.