Yes, heading to the backcountry on foot to spend a few days camping is a whole lot of fun. If you prefer partaking in genuine creature comforts while enjoying the outdoors, though, car camping should offer a much more suited alternative.
Not only does bringing a car instantly give you safe shelter from the elements, it lets you haul a lot more stuff to truly make the most of your stay at camp. From coolers packed with supplies and full cooking equipment to bicycles and adventure gear, car camping should make camp life a whole lot more enjoyable.
Despite the amount of things you can carry in a car, most people don’t have enough room to actually bring a proper sleeping mattress. You know, the kind you’ll actually keep in the bedroom to ensure you get comfortable sleep. For the most part, folks will stick to roll-up mats, collapsible cots, and similar compact setups, since most vehicles just aren’t big enough to accommodate a full-size mattress.
Truth be told, you don’t need a full-size mattress to enjoy good sleep in the outdoors. You just need a well-made sleeping pad and that’s what the LaidBack Pad brings to your car camping gear.
An ultra-plush memory foam mattress, it gives campers a really comfortable bed that, as you can gather from checking its reviews on Amazon, you just can’t get with any other sleeping pad in the market. It’s designed specifically for car campers, too, with a size that should fit right over the backseat, making it a suitable option for folks who would rather sleep inside the climate-controlled cabins of their car camping vehicles.
There are plenty of options for catching a good night’s sleep when you’re car camping. Some folks prefer to pitch a tent near their vehicle. Others use roof-mounted tents, which add some extra novelty to the proceedings. Still, others prefer to keep things simple and just use their vehicles as sleeping quarters, whether it be in the cabin, the truck bed, or somewhere else entirely.
In each of those cases, the LaidBack Pad can serve as an ideal sleeping mat. Lay it down on the tent floor, stretch it out over the backseat, or tuck it along the side of the truck bed to get yourself a comfortable night’s rest. Do note, the sleeping mat comes in a single-person size, so you’ll need to bring however many you’ll need to accommodate everyone in the party (if it’s bring your own gear, then never mind).
If you’ve tried using sleeping mats before, chances are, you’re not all that sold on everything the LaidBack Pad promises. Back pain from years upon years of sleeping in the outdoors isn’t an entirely new affliction, after all, regardless of how good your gear usually is. It’s one of the reasons why a lot of car campers have opted for air mattresses, which provide plenty of rebound, while allowing you to tailor the firmness by simply adjusting the amount of air in the chambers. Simply put, they bring things to the table that sleeping pads simply can’t. At least, until now.
Preventing that back pain and discomfort, after all, is exactly the main reason why this sleeping mat was made. The brainchild of longtime outdoorsman Daniel Kanow, it started as a personal project designed to help alleviate the chronic back pain he’s developed from years of slumming it in the backcountry. Basically, he went in search of ways in which he can keep up his outdoor adventures without further aggravating his back’s less-than-ideal condition. This memory foam sleeping pad is the end result.
The LaidBack Pad is made from a three-layer foam blend that includes four pounds of memory foam, which, according to the outfit, mimics the same comfort you’ll find in standard bedroom mattresses. That means, a whole lot of rebound and elasticity, ensuring you can lay down on it and wake up fully-rested without having to deal with a stiff back come morning.
As you can imagine, this level of comfort can make for a veritable game-changer for campers, as it provides you with better rest, improved recovery time, and just an overall more positive sleeping experience. Suffice to say, this could very well change the way you spend your nights in the outdoors.
When fully laid out, the pad measures 72 x 24 x 2.4 inches (length x width x thickness), allowing it to accommodate a single sleeper in perfect comfort. That puts it at around the perfect size to lay down on the backseat or a bench on the campsite, as well as various other sections on a larger vehicle, all while being perfectly sized for single-person tents and other temporary shelters. If you use an elevated collapsible bed such as the Ultralite Cot, this should make for a matching-sized companion, too.
When packed, it rolls up to 24 x 12 inches (length x diameter) and weighs 8.5 pounds, leaving it bigger than most packaged tents. Suffice to say, that makes it a little too big to strap down to your pack when exploring trails on foot. At that size, though, you can easily fit a few of these in the boot of any car, making it suitable for giving everyone a proper bed when you take the family camping.
Are there more compact sleeping mats out there? Absolutely. If you’re looking for the best balance of size and comfort, though, especially for car camping, this thing absolutely hits all the right marks. Is it better than an air mattress? That will probably come down to preference, as they both tout similar comfort levels, although the LaidBack Pad does remove some of the hassles of air mattresses, namely the extra work of filling it with air and the danger of finding something leaking.
As far as materials are concerned, the sleeping pad combines the tri-layer foam with a Polar Fleece top and removable 600-denier polyester exterior, ensuring it can durably hold even through repeated use. It’s water-resistant, too, so it should be plenty usable even on damp ground. The only catch? It’s not fully waterproof, so sleeping in the bed of your pickup truck out in the open while it’s raining will probably leave your mattress soaking wet come morning.
At $199.99, the LaidBack Pad is way pricier than most any other sleeping mat you’ll probably find at the local REI outlet. Heck, it’s probably as expensive as your go-to two-person tent. It’s the kind of thing that pays off for itself, though, in terms of sleep quality and a healthier back, so despite the initial tentativeness the price may cause on your part, it’s definitely worth considering adding to your gear stash.