Thermarest NeoAir Sleeping Pad ReveiwThermarest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Reveiw

US BackpackingLight.com

NeoAir Sleeping Pad - Recommended

by Roger Caffin, Mike Martin, and Ryan Jordan - May 2009

The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir is an air-chambered (non-self-inflating) sleeping pad that offers three important differences when compared to other air-chambered pads on the market: (1) horizontal baffles oriented perpendicular to the long side of the pad, (2) an internal honeycomb construction, and (3) lighter fabrics.

The results of the horizontal baffling are increased comfort and stability while sleeping on the pad. The result of an internal honeycombed construction is added resistance to convective air movement inside the pad, making it warmer. The results of the use of lighter fabrics are pads that weigh 25% to 40% less than pads of similar size on the market. These apparent benefits do not come without real costs, however, in both price and performance.

The NeoAir's thin fabric won't be as durable as the fabrics used heavier pads; the fabric is noisy and may irritate some sleepers (or their companions!); and the combination of horizontal baffling and narrow manufactured width of the 20-inch wide pads (exacerbated on the pre-production pad tested for this article) results in a loss of effective pad width that results in discomfort for back and stomach sleepers.

These considerations motivate us to issue a Review Rating for the NeoAir of Recommended simply because it offers similar features and comfort to other sized pads at significantly less weight. We hesitate to give it a Highly Recommended rating because of the high cost of the pad, what we think could be improvements to the repair kit (inclusion of a high quality seam tape for tears), and the noisiness of the fabric.
What's Good
Small packed size, good for low-volume lightweight backpacking
Very low weight for its size, thickness, and R-value
Variety of sizes available for different applications
Sticky surface keeps the pad in place on a tent floor, and you in place on the pad
What's Not So Good
Narrow width combined with soft edges may affect comfort for back and stomach sleepers
Fabric may be perceived as "noisy" to some users
Expensive
Fabric is less durable than conventional Therm-a-Rest pads and is less appropriate for tarp camping than tent camping


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