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Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Pads
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Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Pads on 08/17/2008 10:44:30 MDT Print View

Hey BPL lab guys! You have to test these NeoAir pads from Therm-a-rest!

Their claims/performance ratios are too good to pass up ... IF they are true.

To keep the comparisons relevant, they should be compared to other air inflatables such as the popular P.O.E. Max Thermo and Exped DAM. Both these pads achieve their performance through the added weight of synthetic or down insulation, plus the pump in the case of down.

If Therm-a-rest can essentially equal the performance of these older, standby designs at about 1/2 the weight, well, you all can line up behind me! :-)

I know some of you other forum members also have the technical skills and equipment to do this, of course, you would also need the pads.

Remember, the comparison should be with other air inflatables to be within the same product category of ultra-comfort. I am a very satified owner of the P.O.E. Max Thermo.

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Pads on 08/17/2008 11:11:38 MDT Print View

Hi Michael-

After looking first hand at the construction of the NeoAir, I think their claimed R-Value of R2.5 is entirely reasonable. Still, this is a 3-season pad. The Exped down mats are in the R-5.9 range and are full-blown winter pads. So, a showdown between these two would be a bit unfair.

I recommend at least R-3.5 for sleeping on snow. So, a NeoAir and a thin closed-cell pad on top would *potentially* make a pretty sweet winter setup.



Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
Insulated Air Mats on 08/17/2008 11:41:27 MDT Print View

Right now I have been testing the use of the 66" BA Clearview combined with a 1/8" full length piece of evazote layered on top. Total weight about 15oz. I have had the combo down to about 40 during several summer packs in the Sierras and found that I am completely comfortable and warm. The packability of these two is amazing. The Clearview folds up to the size of an 8oz wate bottle, and I fold the evazote flat against the inside of my ULA Circuit where it promptly disappears at about 3/8" thick serving as additional padding agains my back.
I am thinking of having my wife, who is a seamstress, sew me a silnylon sleeve to combine the two. The sleeve might weight about 2oz~ and this would further protect the "very" delicate Clearview. So, for about 16-17oz~ I would have a shoulder season extraodinarily comfy pad setup good to about 30 or so.

Edited by mitchellkeil on 08/17/2008 11:44:08 MDT.

Michael Davis
(mad777) - F

Locale: South Florida
Re: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Pads on 08/17/2008 11:42:15 MDT Print View

Yes, I think you both have a good points there.

It seams your suggestions would offer the best of both worlds ... make that, best of three worlds. Comfort, insulation, and weight!

Edited by mad777 on 08/17/2008 11:54:14 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Insulated Air Mats on 08/17/2008 13:47:20 MDT Print View


Care to expand on ".. the "very" delicate Clearview..." ?


Edited by greg23 on 08/17/2008 20:38:09 MDT.

Glenn Roberts
(garkjr) - F

Locale: Southwestern Ohio
NeoAir pads as pack frame? on 08/17/2008 13:59:18 MDT Print View

Any feel for how these pads (either uninflated or partially inflated for stiffness) will work as "framesheets" in a frameless pack?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: NeoAir pads as pack frame? on 08/17/2008 15:13:46 MDT Print View

Looking at the specs - they are just fabric. So I don't think they would be any use as a framesheet, and you would probably damage the airmat as well.

Glenn Roberts
(garkjr) - F

Locale: Southwestern Ohio
re: NeoAir as frame on 08/17/2008 19:53:14 MDT Print View

That's what I was afraid of. Guess I'll stick with my Prolite pad. (The additional weight of a frame pack would more than offset the weight saved by the NeoAir pad.)

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: re: NeoAir as frame on 08/17/2008 20:15:42 MDT Print View

Well... with my GG Whisper and 15 pound loads and under... I use my prolite 3 completely deflated and in "burrito" mode and it works perfectly. It's certainly not adding a whole of of structure to the pack... of any... so I'll be fine with a Neoair. I guess my point is... at a certain weight... a "framesheet" doesn't really serve any purpose. It's good point though. I guess you could use a small foam sitpad. It's gonna bring your overall wight to about the same as a prolite alone... but think of how much more you have for the same weight... you had a nice sitpad and a 2.5" thick comfy and warm mattress.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Re: re: NeoAir as frame on 08/17/2008 22:54:22 MDT Print View

The problem with using any inflatable as a burrito type pack frame is that you can't make a circular structure with an inflated pad, due to the corners that form when rolled in a cylinder.

This effect is exacerbated as pad thickness increases, so pads like the Neo-Air and ClearView are awful relative to thinner pads like a ProLite.

The fixes for this are twofold:

1. Do not inflate the pad to the point at which sharp corners form. Disadvantage: less structure.

2. Fold the pad into thirds (or fourths, etc.) so that it forms a flat plate against the packbag back. Disadvantage: high volume pads like the NeoAir will push the center of gravity of the load outward.

Overall disadvantage of using high volume inflatable pads for a pack frame is that they occupy a lot of space.

Advantage is a pretty good night's rest, however :)

Me, I'd be inclined to skip the pack frame attempt at dual use and store the pad in its minimal volume configuration (deflated and rolled up) in the pack and rely on something else for pack structure.

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: re: NeoAir as frame on 08/17/2008 23:34:12 MDT Print View

I've been happy using option (2) with an underinflated BA insulated air core in a ULA amp. It takes up less room than a foam pad and expands to fill space as the pack empties out. The pad doesn't add much support, but more of something is better than nothing and that's enough to make the pack comfortable with the loads I carry.

Any reason why the Neoair would not function as well as other inflatables for pack structure?

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Hmmmm... on 08/18/2008 19:03:54 MDT Print View

Here we go again on the "mattress-as-a-pack-frame" thingy.

Really, I could never understand how the slight weight of a few ounces of aluminumm frame tubing, such as in my REI UL Cruise, is too great a price to pay for the carry comfort they provide.

I'll stay with carry comfort and sleeping comfort. I've never felt any non-frame pack that could equal a well-designed internal frame pack in comfort. That includes the 1st Jensen pack I tried in the '70s. And that's why I bought a TNF Ruthsac instead. (Remember those packs??)

And I am looking forward to test-napping on the NeoAir at my local REI store next spring.


John G
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
Frameless on 08/18/2008 19:43:24 MDT Print View

I like the idea of no stays from the standpoint that then I can put my pack under my legs more comfortably - since it will now lie FLAT instead of having 4" of curved stays and lumbar padding... However, I currently use a pack with stays since I enjoy the weight transfer more than night-time storage convenience.

I'm thinking of going to a convertible pack designed to take straight stays, and using tent poles in the stay pockets. I'm worried straight stays won't be very comfortable though. Does anyone have any advice ?

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: Frameless on 08/19/2008 14:51:51 MDT Print View

Again... I don't even understand the need for pack structure at all. Once it's full of stuff... it's pretty structured. But my pack is never over 15 pounds when full loaded. Which brings up a question... and what weight do you think structure and/or stays are necessary?

! !
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Pad as Frame on 08/21/2008 11:35:28 MDT Print View


Edited by FamilyGuy on 11/18/2013 14:01:21 MST.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Here
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Pads on 08/21/2008 19:15:48 MDT Print View

What ? David buying new gear ? I don't believe that.....

! !
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
NeoAir on 08/21/2008 20:28:44 MDT Print View


Edited by FamilyGuy on 11/18/2013 14:00:36 MST.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Internal Frame Packs on 08/22/2008 00:21:39 MDT Print View

Well guys, I'm a LIGHTWEIGHT backpacker. For 3 season hikes I carry between 30 and 35 lbs with Contrail tent, WM Megalite bag & Thermarest full length UL pad, REI UL Cruise pack, ESBIT stove & tabs, clothes, 1st aid kit, headlamp, fuel, 2.5 L. water & SteriPen and 6 - 7 days of food.

So I NEED an internal frame B/C no "frameless" pack could handle 35# comfortably.

For me to get down to 25 lbs would mean sacrificing too much camp comfort and safety - that is unless I hire a porter or rent a llama.


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Internal Frame Packs on 08/22/2008 01:42:16 MDT Print View

> rent a llama.
Frankly, I just can't see the benefit of carrying a llama around. Too heavy.

Stuart Allie

Locale: Australia
Re: Re: Internal Frame Packs on 08/22/2008 02:54:08 MDT Print View

> > rent a llama.
> Frankly, I just can't see the benefit of carrying a llama around. Too heavy.

That's easy - fresh milk, and warmth at night :)