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Old 06-29-2016, 12:57 AM   #171
Michiganman
EOC Rank: Helium
2004 4WD EX AT
Galapagos Green Metallic (GGM)
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Posts: 132
My Thoughts

I'm still looking to buy my first Element (hopefully soon), but I've done a lot of car camping. Here's my thoughts on the best mattresses, and why.

1. You want to maximize comfort.

2. You want to minimize space, when not in use.

3. You want to minimize *weight*. Messes with your gas mileage, not to mention packing effort.

4. You want to maximize versatility of any sleeping surface.

For these reasons, it would appear to me that the best overall option would be a combination of an inflatable mattress (as the lower layer) with a foam mat (as the upper layer.) With the Coleman SUV mattress probably the best option for the bottom layer, and the Cabela Deluxe camping mat probably best for the top. Below is my thinking:

1. Foam is more comfortable than any vinyl air mattress, and blocks the cold better. It can also serve double-duty as a chair when folded up. However, air mattresses are far more light, and can pack out of the way easier when not in use.

By using a combination, you maximize your comfort and versatility, while minimizing your weight. At times, you can simply use one or the other on short trips, but you can use both when you want to do some serious travelling, or take a companion who prefers a softer overall sleeping area.

With the Cabela (or Trifold) foam mattress, you can also use it as a seating area if you have any extra passengers. (I would always remove the rear seats entirely for any serious road-tripping or car-camping, to reduce weight and maximize space.) And I would probably transform the Cabela into a tri-fold by cutting the foam into three pieces, so I could turn it into a thickly cushioned chair in the back when not laid flat for sleeping or lounging.

Getting a larger inflatable mattress with a foam top would give you the comfort, but not the same versatility. Ditto with a futon, which would also weigh much more.
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Old 07-19-2016, 06:27 PM   #172
Michiganman
EOC Rank: Helium
2004 4WD EX AT
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Posts: 132
Mattress Update:

I have a Cabela Deluxe camp bed on order, but for now, I purchased a Versamat Tri-fold sleeping mat from Costco (about $45).

The Versamat is 75 x 35 x 3 inches. With the front seats pushed back for driving, I was able to fold over a portion of the third panel, and still fit it in the back. When I was ready to sleep, with the front seats pushed forward, the Versamat fit fine (if snugly) fully unfolded in the back. (It goes over the rear of the cupholder module, with the module helping to keep the mat level, since the floor dips in that area.)

My plan is to put the Cabela camp-bed on top of the Versamat, producing nearly 6 inches of lightweight foam. I may still try out an inflatable bottom layer under the Cabela, though, as that's more adjustable and lightweight. And possibly even more comfortable. (Basically, the inflated rubber would act like the bedsprings -- which don't have to be soft as long as they have flex.)
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Old 08-24-2016, 02:53 AM   #173
Michiganman
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Posts: 132
New update:

I now have both the Cabela Deluxe Camp Bed and the Costco bed. Combined, they're fairly comfortable, especially with my thick cloth sleeping bag placed over them as a comforter, and jersey sheets on top of that.

However, I'm probably going to get a mattress topper to make them even more comfortable. Walmart has a number of cheap options that include memory foam if desired. (1-3 inches thick, and a variety of sizes).

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays...ingMethod=p13n


Between the three layers, should end up being pretty comfy. Will report back once it's all put together.

(Looking to do some extended, multi-week road-tripping, so long-term bed comfort will be important.)
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Old 03-01-2017, 11:27 PM   #174
iamperplexed
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Location: Portland, OR
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I normally just use my sleep pad on the floor of the car with seats out or up. I recently stumbled on an old camp cot we've had in the basement for about 10 years and never use.

I'm working on building a camper system (storage to bed) but in the meantime this might be a fun addition. The head of the cot is even angled up and fits nicely with the front seats pitched forward which I normally do to create a headboard. I hope to give it a test run soon.
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Old 04-10-2017, 08:22 PM   #175
bpstevens87
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Just bought the cabela deluxe camp bed and I have a question.

What do you guys do near the front seats? Theres a big gap between bed and the seat of the front seat. You guys put some kind of cushion. Or did I not fold front seats down correctly.

Everything else seems great besides that
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Old 06-19-2017, 02:06 PM   #176
Michiganman
EOC Rank: Helium
2004 4WD EX AT
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Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Posts: 132
Quote:
Originally Posted by bpstevens87 View Post
Just bought the cabela deluxe camp bed and I have a question.

What do you guys do near the front seats? Theres a big gap between bed and the seat of the front seat. You guys put some kind of cushion. Or did I not fold front seats down correctly.

Everything else seems great besides that


Are you folding the front and rear seats down, towards the back, and putting the matress on top of them?

In that case, I guess I'd put pillows on the front seats.

What I do is remove the rear seats, and then push the front seats all the way forward, leaning forward.

This allows me to *just* fit the camp bed behind the front seats, on the floor of the Element.

P.S.: I'm using the full-size Cabela camp bed. If you're using something their smaller size, that may explain the gap. But you could always fill that in with pillows or something.
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