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When carrying weight isn't important, go for comfort

Any of the insulated sleeping pads discussed above are also good choices for car camping, especially the 3.5-inch-thick DownMat 9 Deluxe (*Est. $170). Sleeping pads for car camping can be thicker and wider for luxurious comfort, since weight doesn't usually matter. You just need to think about how much bulk you can fit into your vehicle --.and how much you're willing to pay.

The Therm-a-Rest DreamTime (*Est. $175) has the same 8.0 R-value as the DownMat 9, but it self-inflates. The DreamTime is not quite as thick – 3 inches rather than 3.5 – and it's an inch narrower. Its weight at 6 lbs. 13 ounces means it's too heavy for backpacking. For car camping, though, the wider DreamTime XL (*Est. $200) is ideal because of its luxurious 30-inch width.

Some proprietary-brand sleeping pads are good buys for car camping. The 3.5-inch-thick REI Camp Bed (*Est. $90) is the top-rated sleeping pad in owner reviews at REI.com. Its R-value is 6.4, adequate for most camping trips. The major drawback is that it's only 25 inches wide, not quite as nice as the Therm-a-Rest DreamTime XL. Still, owners say it's wide enough and extremely comfortable. It weighs 5 lbs. 2 ounces, fine for car camping.

Similarly, owners reviewing sleeping pads at Cabelas.com give high marks to Cabela's Deluxe Camp Bed (*est. $80). However, this is not a self-inflating sleeping pad that incorporates air with the foam. It's just open-cell foam in a nice cover with straps for rolling it up. No R-value is specified. The main drawback, though, is that it's quite short – only 68 inches long. Owners give even higher ratings to the longer twin sleeping pad, Cabela's Deluxe Camp Bed (*est. $100), which is 48 inches wide, sized for two people.

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Therm-a-Rest Dream Time Camp & Comfort Mattress (X-Large)
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $199.95   
Average Customer Review:  
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Therm-a-Rest Dream Time Camp & Comfort Mattress
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $199.95   
Average Customer Review:  

Sleeping Pads Runners Up:

Therm-a-Rest ProLite 4 *Est. $95

4 picks by top review sites.

Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite *Est. $35

3 picks by top review sites.

Therm-a-Rest Trail Lite *Est. $60

2 picks by top review sites.

Big Agnes Air Core REM Regular *Est. $50

2 picks including: Mountain Life magazine…

Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest *Est. $35

2 picks by top review sites.

Exped SynMat 7 *Est. $95

2 picks by top review sites.

Big Agnes Insulated Air Core *Est. $90

2 picks by top review sites.

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THERM-A-REST PROLITE 4 PAD - REGULAR - N/A - N/A
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $94.95   
Average Customer Review:  
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Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Mattress
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $29.95   
Average Customer Review:  
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Therm-a-Rest Trail Lite
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $49.95   
Average Customer Review:  
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Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Sleeping Pad - Mummy
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
Average Customer Review:  
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Therm-a-Rest Ridge Rest Sleeping Mat
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $29.99   
Average Customer Review:  
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Exped SynMat 7 Sleeping Pad (Terracotta, Long Wide)
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $139.00 $129.98   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
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Big Agnes Insulated Air Core Mummy Sleeping Pad
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $64.95   
Average Customer Review:  

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