This is an ideal starter sleeping pad for new campers and teenagers embarking on projects such as Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions.
Comfortable top fabric
Quick to set and take down
Doesn’t pack down as small as others (remains long)
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Vango Dreamer 3 Single: first impressions
The Vango Dreamer 3 Single is a sleeping pad intended for younger adventurers, perhaps setting off on their inaugural overnight camping adventures, and it is priced and designed accordingly.
Besides an outdoor graphic that makes it look a bit more interesting than most pads, there are very few bells and whistles here, which keeps the price down and means people don’t have to be too precious about it.
It features 3cm-thick insulated filling, which is reasonably protective on most softish under-tent terrain, and boasts a soft-touch durable fabric cover which is comfortable to sleep on. An easy-to-use twist valve makes inflation and pack-up pretty easy. It comes with a stuff sack and repair kit.
It doesn’t pack down as small as many more expensive mats featured in our best sleeping pad buying guide, but it is quite narrow when rolled up, so will fit into a hiking backpack, or it can be strapped across the top in old-school style (just make sure you protect anything carried this way with a waterproof cover).
• RRP: £38 (UK) / Not currently available in the US
• Style: Insulated, cell-foam, self-inflating air mat
• Weight: 960g / 2lb 2oz
• Variants: One size
• Dimensions: 183cm x 51cm / 72in x 20in
• Thickness: 3cm / 1in
• Pack size: 55cm x 12cm / 22in x 5in
• Warmth value: 7
• Compatibility: 2- to 3-season camping
Vango Dreamer 3 Single: in the field
I tested this camping pad out and about during an English autumn and again in the spring, when it supplied adequate levels of thermal protection and some cushioning from the forest floor, without blowing my mind on either front.
There’s no getting away from the fact that the Vango Dreamer 3 Single is pretty narrow for a fully-grown adult man, but when tent space is at a premium – as it typically is in a two-person tent – then it’s actually the perfect size. It will also suit teenage campers really well, as it’s robust and can be ragged around a bit without suffering a fatal failures.
It self inflates nice and quickly, and is equally easy to deflate and pack away in the morning. Essentially, this is a decent, functional camping mat available for a very reasonable price, which should survive for years – potentially seeing several siblings through their first al fresco sleeping adventures.
Writer, editor and enthusiast of anything involving boots, bikes, boats, beers and bruises, Pat has spent 20 years pursuing adventure stories. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked through the Norwegian Alps, run an ultra across the roof of Mauritius, and set short-lived records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s Great Walks. He’s authored walking guides to Devon (opens in new tab) and Dorset (opens in new tab), and once wrote a whole book about Toilets (opens in new tab) for Lonely Planet. Follow Pat’s escapades here (opens in new tab).
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