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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review on 05/05/2009 21:17:18 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review on 05/05/2009 21:44:21 MDT Print View

Thanks for the indepth (if somewhat belated) review. Good to hear that the pad has an accurate R rating.

The main criticism seems to be the width, and I agree that this is a silly place for theramrest to skimp. It is not entirely unexpected however... I find that with most pads it is difficult to keep my arms on the pad when sleeping on my back.

One solution which I'll be trying when my NeoAir arrives (I couldn't wait any longer for the review and ordered one over the weekend!) is the use of a long balloon on either side of the pad to support my arms... ie. the same sort of balloon that they use in the "balloon bed". Since they only have to support the weight of an arm I can't imagine why there should be any problem with this solution. I will need to find some way of strapping the balloons to the side of the pad... maybe in a silk sleeve.

Having said this, I suspect I and many others would prefer thermarest went for a slightly shorter pad with more width!

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Review on 05/05/2009 21:58:37 MDT Print View

Thanks for the excellent review- I will definitely be ordering the Large 77x25--Can't wait to get one in my hands!!

-Jay

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Re: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review on 05/05/2009 22:22:31 MDT Print View

One other alternative for elbow support would be to place a rectangle of inch thick CCF pad on either side. Using the weights on the gossamer gear site making two support rectangles of 20 inches long x 1 inch high x 2 inches wide should only weigh a fraction more than an ounce in total. Less hassle than dealing with balloons!

Richard Gless
(rgless) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Review on 05/05/2009 22:45:08 MDT Print View

Thank you for what I think is a very even handed and thoughtful review especially given all the hype around this product. I have used my NeoAir small just like I've used other inflatable pads to rigidize my pack by rolling them up into a cylinder, putting them into my pack, then inflating them a little after putting in the rest of my gear. For me, the weight and comfort advantage over any foam pad I've tried offset the problems with width and fabric for the 3 season trips I do. I do wonder about the durability.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Re: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Review on 05/05/2009 23:27:53 MDT Print View

Also, not sure that the criticism of the pad for side-sleepers is entirely fair. Most people use a mummy-shaped pad anyway, so they don't have a full 20 inches to work with around the knee area.

I find with my mummy-shaped pad that I'll occasionally wake up with my one of my feet having fallen off the end of the pad during the night. With the NeoAir this far less likely to happen. Ditto for the pillow under my head. Much easier to keep one on a rectangular pad.

As for comparisons with the Clearview... it's clearly not as warm, and I've shied away from getting one because of the many user reports which suggest it's not much good for side sleepers because of the thickness.

I'll reserve my judgement until my own pad arrives, but i can't help feeling the review is a little harsh. I'm glad BPL isn't afraid to criticise though, and I hope the message about it being too narrow gets through to the designers/marketing people at Cascade Designs. Maybe in a year or two we'll see a slightly wider version (that isn't huge!).

Edited by ashleyb on 05/05/2009 23:30:05 MDT.

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Review on 05/05/2009 23:44:37 MDT Print View

Hi Ashley-

I held the minority opinion that the limited width wasn't such a big deal. It is, after all, an ultralight sleep pad. When you compare it to alternatives of similar warmth and weight, I think it is adequately comfy. When compared to bigger, heavier alternatives? Well, yah a few extra inches width would be good. :)

We've been kicking around the idea of cutting a large one in half and heat sealing it back together to make two short/wide pads. It might make an interesting MYOG experiment.

Cheers,

Mike M

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : NeoAir reveiw on 05/05/2009 23:58:46 MDT Print View

In 'real world' use, wouldn't an 'ordinary' air bed with horizontal chambers covered by something like a AMK Heatsheat offer similar performance?

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Re: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Review on 05/06/2009 00:00:38 MDT Print View

Hey Mike,

I read between the lines and guessed you were in the minority. ;-)

The narrower width is a clear negative, and one which may well bug me. But it's 7 ounces lighter than my current pad, so is probably worth the work-around.

The repair-test was useful. Did any of the testers try the "scuff" test? In Will's test of the Big Agnes clearview (which I note got a 'Recommended' despite being heavier, less warm, and not as thick as the NeoAir... though notably cheaper!) he tried to bust his pad by sleeping on lava rocks. I bet a few people here are wondering how much abuse it can take before it springs a leak. Will pointy sticks puncture it? No one is game to try it because the pads cost so much!

I noticed the thread about cutting the large in half. I'd be interested in doing it if it works, but wouldn't want to be the guinea pig!!

Edited by ashleyb on 05/06/2009 00:05:20 MDT.

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re : NeoAir reveiw on 05/06/2009 00:16:18 MDT Print View

How did you guess Ashley? ;)

The narrow width wouldn't bother me too much as i'm a side sleeper. I need a nice high pillow though, and i can see problems with getting one high enough given the 2.5" thickness of the pad. If i put a pillow on the pad, i'm losing usable pad space.

And have i mentioned the price? :)

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Just tried mine out the last night... on 05/06/2009 00:16:49 MDT Print View

I thought I was going to go for the large, because it does seem luxurious, but the 9 oz lured me in. I have to say, as a somewhat petite side-sleeper, it was plenty fine, but it is noticeably narrower than my Big Agnes Air Core.

Didn't see any negative comments about the durability really, other than just the initial comment that it is made form light-weight less durable materials. That seems like a good sign?

Hopefully it will last the years of abuse I've put my AirCore through, albeit I'm sure I'll treat it much more delicately.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Re : NeoAir reveiw on 05/06/2009 00:24:00 MDT Print View

Yeah pillows are a problem with a 2.5inch thick pad... one of the main reasons I went for a regular sized pad.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Review on 05/06/2009 00:41:34 MDT Print View

> the NeoAir did not feel as warm as a one-inch thick ThermaRest ProLite 3 Pad when temperatures were below freezing.

Once you add a 1/8" foam pad, the weight and space saving isn't so impressive, and the cost goes even higher. Given the degree of compression under the hip and shoulder, you won't have much more thickness than a prolite either. I kick a depression for my hip into the ground when I camp, so I get the full benefit of the insulation offered by a self inflator, or the low weight of a closed cell foam pad. Doing the same for a neoair may help with warmth a bit.

Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
Neo Air vs. Prolite 3 on 05/06/2009 00:56:43 MDT Print View

I don't think a 1/8" foam pad weights 4 oz, which is how much more the Prolite 3 weighs vs. the Neo-Air. And really, comparing apples to oranges....we should really be comparing it to the Clearview, the next lightest 2.5" infllatable.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F - M

Locale: British Columbia
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review on 05/06/2009 01:13:51 MDT Print View

Interesting review although a bit harsh in my opinion.

I have always found that the sideways roll that you get from the air pads that have the tubes running lengthwise has made me shy away from the edge of those pads. This also makes their usable width less than measured. I think the stability of the NeoAir compensates nicely for the reduced width.

I found the softness of the NeoAir allowed my shoulders and arms to sink into the pad a bit more than they do with my BA Insulated Air Core. As a back sleeper, this translated into a less noticeable arm drop (off the side) than with the wider BA Air Core pad.

Sleeping in a mummy bag generally makes the width a non-issue for me because my arms are trapped inside unless I'm using the bag as a quilt.

One thing to note regarding the wide pads... My son was going to hold off and get a wide pad until I pointed out that he shares a two man tent that measures about 48" wide. The 25" pad would definitely cause turf wars with his hiking partner. He settled for the regular NeoAir and said he has never slept so well (he previously used a BA Insulated Air Core). This is quite a compliment to the NeoAir as he has always slept poorly when backpacking.

My son's regular NeoAir weighs only 13.1 oz. so you can also get a bit of variance in the weight. He lucked out with the weight being in his favour although his first question to me was "I wonder what they left out?" My short NeoAir weighs exactly 9.0 oz... that's $13/oz.

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
Re: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review on 05/06/2009 01:28:52 MDT Print View

> Interesting review although a bit harsh in my opinion.

Perhaps the NeoAir is being held to higher standards because of all the hype it has received? Last week's review of the unheralded MSR carbon reflex gave it a Recommended rating despite the fact it is terribly narrow (10 inches under spec!) and heftily overpriced ($500)... the same criticisms of this review.

Even if I don't end up keeping my NeoAir (on order) I will still give it the thumbs up, because they've really broken new ground with this product. It may not be perfect, but they have certainly raised the bar with a combination of weight and comfort and should be applauded for doing so (even if they are price-gouging somewhat!).

Edited by ashleyb on 05/06/2009 01:29:35 MDT.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Neo Air vs. Prolite 3 on 05/06/2009 02:02:54 MDT Print View

Hi Nate,
As you can see from the quote I selected, warmth was the issue, so the clearview doesn't really figure.

> I don't think a 1/8" foam pad weights 4 oz, which is how much more the Prolite 3 weighs vs. the Neo-Air.

I don't think a 1/8" pad will weigh much less than 4oz. Not enough to justify parting with $120 anyway.

Expensive, fragile, noisy, narrow and cold. The neoair is a non starter for me, I'll stick with my prolite for winter, and an 8oz foam pad for summer.

Adrian B
(adrianb) - MLife

Locale: Auckland, New Zealand
Re: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review on 05/06/2009 02:30:01 MDT Print View

>the NeoAir did not feel as warm as a one-inch thick ThermaRest ProLite 3 Pad when temperatures were below freezing

That's interesting. Both your measured R-value and Thermarest's published one for the Neoair (2.5) are higher than for the Prolite (2.2).

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review on 05/06/2009 02:43:24 MDT Print View

> That's interesting. Both your measured R-value and Thermarest's published one for the Neoair (2.5) are higher than for the Prolite (2.2).

"feel" is a subjective term, but in real life conditions, the pumping action of shifting around on the neoair is going to move and mix the cool and warm air under your body in a way a foam filled pad won't. This isn't factored in by the type of tests used. Nor is the relatively larger degree to which the pad is compressed under the hip and shoulder.

Edited by tallbloke on 05/06/2009 02:49:25 MDT.

Philip Werner
(earlylite) - F

Locale: New England
Try the Clearview on 05/06/2009 05:40:18 MDT Print View

The Big Agnes Clearview's packability is as good as the NeoAir and the comfort can't be beat in a warmer temp range. I can't see a niche for the NeoAir in my sleeping pad lineup. When I need real warmth and a thicker pad, I just use an Exped downmat or an insulated BA aircore. No maintenance issues there, so far.