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Therm-a-Rest DreamTime

rated 4.0 of 5 stars
photo: Therm-a-Rest DreamTime self-inflating sleeping pad

A fine product if you want a lightweight packable mattress. I have gone through about six mattresses and ended up using another brand. Although the Therm-A-Rest line works well at first, I found ALL the ones I owned were prone to leaks after extensive camping.


  • Self inflating
  • Gives some protection from the cold and earth


  • Prone to leaks I found
  • A little heavy for the protection you get
  • Differing valves in all Therm-a-Rests were problematic
  • Cost is overpriced for what you get.

My first purchase was the first year they came out. Gave them four tries over the years, every time they'd change the seal I'd purchase the model to see if it stood up better than the previous model. But finally I had to change.

I went with Basic Designs "The Equalizer" mattress. It's stood up from when I was 17 years old until now. I'm 44 now turning 45 in a month. Finally it leaked. I'm wondering if Basic Designs is still in business or if they have gone out of business as I've been searching for the same self inflating mattress pad. If anyone knows anything, let me know. I'm hoping I can just fix the one I have. But If I can't. I'd be purchasing the same item, but newer. If you come across one in your travels. Don't hesitate to buy it. It's the most amazing pad I've ever owned.

As for the Therm-A-Rest series, I will never own or trust another one after all four of the products leaked with very minimal use. The Equalizer with Ground Guard never let cold through. If it was uncomfortable I could adjust it by individual back support pockets in the back until it was. Stood up to my side sleeping and never had a problem with my horribly painful back while camping and using it. It was a dream in comparison to the Therm-A-Rest which didn't help much as a pad when I laid on my side.

It didn't help my bad back at all (likely made it worse). It was problematic and I really wouldn't give Therm-A-Rest a good review after owning four of them. Especially after owning The Equalizer. Although the Therm-A-Rest has some good features like making your sleeping pad into a camp chair. I still wouldn't purchase one.

I realize many diehard Therm-a-Rest fans will argue with me on this, but for me it was a total waste of money and time. When I camp I like my equipment to be perfect. I rely on it. Therm-A-Rest was far from reliable in my experience.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: original one was roughly $100 Canadian new.

The pinnacle of comfort, the one mattress to rule them all. You may re-evaluate the comfort of your mattress at home. My parents have replaced the RV mattress with two of these.


  • Comfort
  • Brand reliability
  • Compressibility


  • Price

This is far and above the most comfortable mattress for camping with a car, a wife, for a week, a night, warm, and cold.  Foam over top of air with a large overall size and rectangular shape take away all of the "roughing it" except the first-world problem of how to get melted marshmallows and chocolate off of the area between your fingers.  

I have used my father's pads for a few nights of car camping, and now I'm saving up for my own. They will replace my trifold Costco sleeping pads that together take up somewhere around a cubic yard.

The Dreamtime packs up just a tad larger than a traditional air mattress. OK, twice as large. These pack down better and are far more comfortable than those Costco mattresses. The only beef I have is the price point.

Disclaimer: I am from Seattle-ish, and have severe brand loyalty to all brands originating in the area.

Source: borrowed it

I use this mattress for everything but hike-in backcountry trips. The mattress is easy and small enough to use in place of any bed so when asked if I want to surf the couch or the spare bed (undoubtedly with coil spring pressure points) I roll out Dreamtime and the name speaks for itself. Go XL for sure, you can read a book with your elbows on the mattress and roll side to side while in REM at this point when OZs aren't an issue go with complete comfort!

Price Paid: $200

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Price MSRP: $189.95
Historic Range: $119.97-$229.95
Reviewers Paid: $200.00
Product Details from Therm-a-Rest »