The Outwell Dreamcatcher is a great self-inflating mat for family camping as it doesn’t have to be as small as backpacking SIMs, so it’s a lot more comfy.
There’s all sorts of things that can keep you awake at night when camping: windy weather, noisy neighbours, and of course, snoring!
But the one thing that can really irritate most people, is an uncomfortable bed.
We’ve had air beds for years, and then got some Self Inflating Mats (SIMs) for the kids.
The problem with air beds is that they can be bulky and bouncy – especially a double. If your partner moves, then so do you!
The SIMs are a great invention. They save time setting up camp as well.
The downside with SIMs is that they’re really aimed at the backpacking market, so they’re small at light. Being able to pack something small is of greater importance than comfort.
Fortunately this does’t apply to most family campers, as we take the car (and roofbox, and trailer). So, what we want is something that is easy to put up like a SIM, but more comfortable than the regular backpacking SIM.
Enter Outwell’s new range of Self Inflating Mats: the Dreamboat, the Deepsleep, and the Dreamcatcher. I saw these when they were first unveiled at the Outwell trade show, and was extremely impressed. They looked a lot better than other brands’ SIMs that were coming onto the market.
As they’re not intended for backpacking, Outwell have made these SIMs a lot more comfortable.
Outwell sent us a 7 cm Outwell Dreamcatcher to review. You can also get it as a 5cm and a 10cm thickness mat.
Outwell Dreamcatcher Review
The Outwell Dreamcatcher comes rolled up in a carry bag, which is a lot bigger than the previous SIMs we’ve had before, but it’s not too big, and is an easy size to pack.
Outwell do provide some instructions and advise that as the mat has been rolled up since manufacture, the first time you inflate, you will need to gently blow into the valve to help it on its way. This is usual on self inflating mats; you often have to give them a little blow.
Sure enough, after leaving the mat for a few minutes it was clear that it needed some help. Quite a bit actually, but I was not as out of breath as when blowing up balloons.
Once inflated the Outwell Dreamcatcher is very firm. In fact, Outwell also advise that you may wish to let some air out if you want a softer bed.
They also recommend that the Dreamcatcher is left inflated for a while on its first use, in order to let the foam expand. So if you’re going to get one (and I recommend that you do), inflate it at home first before you take it to the campsite.
A sound night’s sleep
The sleeping mat was very comfortable to sleep on. It didn’t deflate either overnight.
Two of us have now tried the Dreamcatcher, and we both think it’s better than the air bed, and better than the old (thiner) SIMs.
How to roll up an Outwell Dreamcatcher
Putting the Outwell Dreamcatcher away is straightforward.
It has two valves so that you can get the air out quicker.
Here’s the steps for putting away the Dreamcatcher:
- Open both valves.
- Start to roll up the SIM from the opposite end to the valves.
- Keep the roll nice and tight, and push down to force the air out. If it doesn’t look that tight, unroll a bit and re-roll. You’ll find it easier the second time as you would have got rid of a lot of air.
- When you get to the valves, tighten them up.
- Use the velcro straps to keep the roll together and slide it into its bag.
Update 2015: We have been using the Outwell Dreamcatcher for the last year and it’s still going as good as new.
This self inflating mat is a great alternative to air beds and a lot more comfortable than most smaller backpacking SIMs.
It gets the thumbs up from us 🙂
- A great option for family camping with a car.
- Much thicker than hiking SIMs, and so more comfortable.
- Much wider than hiking SIMs, providing more comfort.
- New valves make it easier to inflate and deflate.
- More expensive than cheap SIMs, but well worth the extra money IMHO
Where to Buy: Outwell Dreamcatcher for a good night’s sleep
1 review for Outwell Dreamcatcher for a good night’s sleep