Here at Discovery, we love to talk about ways to rough it. But let’s admit: Sometimes, you want to enjoy the great outdoors in luxury.
So along with your steaks in the cooler, you’ll want to bring the Pakmat Airbed ($119.99), the ultimate in lush sleeping pads. Who doesn’t want to sleep on five inches of air when the alternative is a tarp over rocky ground?
Made by Aerobed, the Pakmat’s clever design centers around its packaging, which houses the deflated sleeping pad and doubles as a hand pump. The plastic cylindrical enclosure is made up of two parts, one that slides inside the other. The bottom of the tube features an opening that connects to the sleeping pad. You rotate the two parts until the pieces lock, something I found tricky upon first use, but subsequent attempts went a lot smoother.
After the pieces from the sleeping pad and container are aligned, it’s pumping time. The smaller tube features a handle and vents to help inflate the PakMat, which means you won’t end up blue faced and out of breath by the time this is filled with air. The valve on the pad also prevents air from escaping, so there’s no accidental air loss before fastening the cap. In my testing, the PakMat fell a bit short of five inches, but I was definitely off the ground by at least four and a half.
Though comfortable and easy to set up, there were drawbacks. For starters, the sleeping pad complete with its packaging weighs five pounds, not ideal for backpacking. But because of the plastic container, it packs better than, say, a Therm-a-Rest self-inflating sleeping pad. Secondly, there’s no insulation, so you’ll have to look elsewhere for snow camping. And lastly, my testing has found this to be surprisingly noisy. Every time you toss and turn, you can hear the material crinkle.
Hopefully though, you’ll find that it’s comfortable enough that you snooze all night long. Overall, though, ease of use and lushness make this a definite yes for car camping.