Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review
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twig .
(bretthartwig) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review on 05/07/2009 19:26:41 MDT Print View

As far as price goes, I think you guys in the US are getting a bargain. The regular neo air has just been released in Australia for $350! At todays exchange rate that's $263.68US!!!

Ashley Brown
(ashleyb) - F
reviewer's NeoAir with ruler pic? on 05/07/2009 19:53:35 MDT Print View

I wonder whether one of the reviewers could provide a picture of their NeoAir with a ruler similar to excellent one given by Dan. Would be interesting to see how much narrower the pre-production sample was. I know it is described in the text, but a pic would make it clearer. It would be very dumb of CS to change the width without letting BPL know. Maybe they didn't and it is just (significant) sample variation?

Brett -- yeah, I noticed that price. They must think we are real suckers over here. I would spend my hard-earned $$ in Australia if I could, but I'm not paying US$100 extra for the privilege. For some reason they don't seem to understand that we can order things from the US and save a third or more of the Australian price. I guess there are enough Aussies who still pay the inflated price to make it worthwhile. Sigh.

Edited by ashleyb on 05/07/2009 19:56:59 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: reviewer's NeoAir with ruler pic? on 05/07/2009 20:46:54 MDT Print View

"For some reason they don't seem to understand that we can order things from the US and save a third or more of the Australian price. I guess there are enough Aussies who still pay the inflated price to make it worthwhile. Sigh."

As H. L. Mencken once observed: "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the American(Australian??) public". People are people, methinks.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review on 05/07/2009 21:06:15 MDT Print View

Just took a look at the long NeoAir yesterday, here in Japan. ¥25,000 ($250.00 US). Don't think I'm going to be buying it here!

I compared the width to the MontBell U.L. Comfort pad and they were basically the same width (didn't measure it). Also ran my hand over the material and though it sounded crinkly, it didn't seem overly so. Sort of "wet, crinkly", as if the polyurethane coating softened the sound.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Mec Kelvin Summer Pad vs. NeoAir on 05/08/2009 16:22:56 MDT Print View

One competitor to the NeoAir that hasn't been mentioned yet is MEC's Kelvin Summer Pad (www.MEC.ca). The Kelvin pad (19.6oz) is 4.8oz heavier than the regular NeoAir but it has several significant advantages:

1)Price: The Kelvin pad sells for $40 Cdn (about $32 US).
2)Durability: 50D top, 75D bottom (vs. 30D for the NeoAir).
3)Thickness: 3.1" thick!
4)Quiet: Mine is silent to roll about on.

I just inflated mine and it measures a true 20.5" of usable width when inflated normally. Deflated it measures 3.5" x 9".

The disadvantages with the Kelvin pad are:
1)It weighs as much as the size large NeoAir
2)Likely has a lower R-valueMEC.ca Kevlin Summer Pad

Edited by dandydan on 05/08/2009 16:37:45 MDT.

Dan Cunningham
(mn-backpacker)

Locale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Re: Mec Kelvin Summer Pad vs. NeoAir on 05/08/2009 17:41:54 MDT Print View

LOL @ Dan Durston!

Dude, I see your tape measure is on a stack of CD cases to get it vertically even with the pad for accurate measurement. I did the same thin in the pictures I took - a stack CD cases (except mine are out of frame). HA! I guess Dans think alike. :)

By the way, interesting pad. How low have you had it temperature wise? What's it supposed to be comfortable to? That's pretty good competition considering the price!

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review on 05/08/2009 18:08:46 MDT Print View

Hi, Mike-

Thanks for your thoughtfulness in reviews and response.

Purely for the sake of discussion, I'd have to wonder what other than the reflective layer would contribute to the R-value? For example, I may have (probably did) miss this, but is the honeycomb material made out of impermeable material that would restrict airflow within the pad, or is it permeable and would allow airflow at will?

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review on 05/08/2009 18:09:50 MDT Print View

Hi All-

As several forum members have suspected, Cascade Designs has indeed increased the width of the NeoAir. The "20 inch" production pads are approximately 1 inch wider than the pre-production model they sent us for testing.

BPL's policy is not to change articles once they've been published. However, we did add an editor's note to the top of the article and revised our "overall recommendation" of the pad as we felt that the narrow width issue had been adequately addressed by the manufacturer.

Thank you everyone for your feedback.

-Mike M

Michael Martin
(MikeMartin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review on 05/08/2009 18:13:25 MDT Print View

Brad writes:

"...is the honeycomb material made out of impermeable material that would restrict airflow within the pad, or is it permeable and would allow airflow at will?"

I don't believe that the honeycomb fabric is completely impermeable -- it doesn't have a PU coating or anything. But as there is no wind pressure inside the pad, even something like tissue paper would provide a substantial convective current barrier. FWIW, the reflective layer is likely less permeable than the other inner layers.

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Neoair on sale at EMS and REI on 05/09/2009 12:59:07 MDT Print View

EMS has the small neoair on sale $95.96 plus shipping, and if your order is over $100 you get a $25 card (read restrictions). emsonline.com Just ordered one. 20% off most stuff.

REI has a 20% off full price item for members, presumably including neoair. Free shipping to stores.

Both sales end tomorrow, 5/10.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Re: Mec Kelvin Summer Pad vs. NeoAir on 05/09/2009 14:14:12 MDT Print View

@ Dan Cunnigham

I haven't used this pad in cold conditions yet....maybe 40 F. I got it last fall so I've only had it on one 7 day trip.

When I go winter camping next I'm going to bring this pad plus my Therarest Ridgerest to get both comfort and a high R-value.

This pad is super comfortable. At over 3" of loft the comfort is unreal. If MEC reduced the thickness to 2.5" like the NeoAir and changed the fabric to a similar 30D then I expect the weight would be very comparable. The difference would then be the NeoAir costs 5x as much but likely has a higher R-value. MEC doesn't publish an R-value for the Kelvin summer pad but it's probably not very high since they call this a 'summer pad'.

The NeoAir is appealing for the 4-5 oz saved but that's not worth the radically higher cost to me. I also think having the baffles run the long way down the pad makes you feel more stable on it. I laid on a NeoAir in the store and it feels easier to roll off with the perpendicular baffles.

Oh I should mention, on those 40 F nights, I wasn't sleeping in a tent and I was still super comfy and warm with this and my 32 F sleeping bag....so whatever that's worth. My wife wasn't along for this trip and the forecast looked good so we gambled and left the tent at home. NF Kilo Bag (32 F) and MEC Kelvin Summer Pad

Edited by dandydan on 05/09/2009 14:17:36 MDT.

. Callahan
(AeroNautiCal)

Locale: Stoke Newington, London, UK.
A step up in comfort. on 05/09/2009 18:42:55 MDT Print View

Coincidentally, I placed my order on the day that the review was published, but without having seen it.

Based on known factors such as height, sleep preference, effects of injuries and pad weight/bulk, I knew that I'd want the NeoAir large, to use in conjunction with my Multi-Mat Expedition XL pad and large AMK Heatsheet.

In the UK, I paid the equivalent of $148:98 which I'm assured includes the stuff sack and 10 days for delivery.

I have a small Pacific Outdoors self inflating mat which was bought to use in my Packrafts, and not having slept on it, and being conditioned by sleeping on the 12mm Multi-Mat I think that I'll find the NeoAir to be quite a step up in comfort. I certainly hope so!

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: A step up in comfort. on 05/09/2009 19:45:54 MDT Print View

Callahan,
Unless something has changed, don't be expecting a stuff sack.
Yes it's pictured on the box. No, it's not part of the product. Just like the non-existent Patch Kit, CD feels customers "should have options" on what to purchase.

I contacted CD, cajoled, and got a stuff sack sent, free of charge. They did acknowledged the discrepancy between the box graphics and the delivered product so maybe you're in luck. If that's the case, hats off to CD for responsiveness.

Steven Gilliam
(sgilliam) - MLife
Re: Re: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review on 05/11/2009 09:34:36 MDT Print View

I, too, was very surprised by BPL's review of this product as it seemed quite inconsistent with most lightweight enthusiasts desire for the most functionality at the lowest weight. I have purchased and used this product and confirmed that my old TorsoLite pads, POE inflatable pads, etc. are now obsolete.

IMHO this is the single best best product currently on the market for getting a good night's sleep. And, since how well I sleep dictates how far I can go and how much I enjoy the trip, it may very well be the most important piece of (comfort) gear I'll carry.

Key points:
+ Superior warmth to weight ratio. Mine weighs 13.5 oz.
+ Superior comfort vs all other "lightweight" options.
+ Width is indeed 20" inflated on production pads
+ Sticky fabric is a MAJOR plus for me - no more chasing
the pad around the tent at night
+ Noisy? Didn't notice it, but I'm used to some noise
from using a POE inflatable pad.
+ Price complaints? You are kidding me, right? Sticker
says "he who dies with the lightest pack wins", not
the cheapest... I love cheap gear that is light like
DriDucks raingear or Outdoor Outfitters beer can
stove, but I'll also pay a premium for high performing
gear and I'll bet many who follow this site do too.

Conclusion: If you value a good night's sleep and believe the old addage that what is under you is just as important if not more than what is over you, then I highly recommend the NeoAir Sleeping Pad. The regular size should be just fine. You might just get lucky like I did and get one that weighs less than the specified 14 oz.

Michael Landman
(malndman) - F

Locale: Central NC, USA
Re: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review on 05/11/2009 17:18:06 MDT Print View

I got back from 7 days in the Grand Canyon three weeks ago. I had a regular sized NeoAir under my Montbel UL SS #3 down bag inside a Alpinlite Bug bivy and a GG Spinshelter 2.

Cottonwood  Creak

I slept great!!!


I noticed NO particular noise.
Mine got (I think it had it from the factory) a real slow leak. 2 - 3 breaths to re-inflate it at 3 AM. No big deal, and the leak was so slow I could not find it in the field.
If I got it the first night, I did not find whatever made the pin hole. I patched it with an REI patch kit, and it seems to be holding air. The ONLY negative thing I found was that if you tuched ground through the pad, the insulation went from warm to none immediately.

Conditions...
1 night on the S. Rim - bare ground and snow, with lows around 26
6 nights below the rim lows around 35 with varying winds, snow, and clear nights.

cloudy GC panarama

GC in bloom

Mine in the middle

Guess which is mine ! On the last day, nearing the rim, I was asked by someone just starting down if I was on a day hike!

Edited for that speling thing

Edited by malndman on 05/11/2009 17:41:02 MDT.

Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
10 nights sleeping on the NeoAir on 05/11/2009 23:00:46 MDT Print View

We have just returned from 10 nights in the Escalante River area, sleeping on the NeoAir small pads.

Reports from two people:

Amy: WOW! I slept really well on my back, side, and belly. On my belly it's even more comfortable than my own bed. Compared to my old standard - the ProLite short pad, this is significantly more comfortable. I didn't mind the 25 breath inflation process at all. I've always slept with my pillow on top of a short pad, with my knees hanging off onto a pile made of my pack, clothing, and a small foam pad (which doubled as my pack pad & my sit pad); so the need for a thicker pillow was a non-issue for me. We sleep with a double-top-quilt and with no bag to keep our arms from falling off the outside edges, and simply rely on our bags of ditties and shoe insoles and binoculars and such to play the role of arm supports when necessary. The width issue felt no different from the old thermarests. I don't need or want the pad to be wider. For me, this pad is a very big improvement in comfort, and to save weight at the same time is just icing on the cake.

Jim: Back and side sleeper. Somewhat but not vastly more comfortable than ProLite. Sleeps with his head off the pad, and had to build a thicker pillow. Didn't care for the effort to inflate the pad after long hard days, but he can deal with that. Didn't notice any problem with height difference in terms of supporting his calves and feet.

Can't speak to warmth, as we were not in cool conditions.

We both found noise to be a complete non-issue.

No durability problems on this trip, but time will tell.

I'm switching to the NeoAir for sure. Jim is still deciding. Jim's remaining open issue has to do with the pack -- we've been using ULA packs for 7 years with the ProLite inflated into a cylinder for structural support. On this trip I carried 4 panels of z-rest for my ULA structural support and found it plenty comfortable to 30 pounds, and pushing the limit of comfort at 35 pounds. Jim carried an old Dana pack this trip (his ULA pack is too frayed to withstand the willow/tamarisk/russian-olive thrashing the Escalante dishes out) and hasn't experimented yet with switching to a foam back panel instead of the ProLite cylinder.

Thrilled by this improvement in my gear!
Amy (and Jim too)

johannes Eichstaedt
(nonBeing) - MLife

Locale: Fjäll, Himalayas
2 flashlights = 1 neoAir on 05/12/2009 08:47:08 MDT Print View

@Monty...thank you for the info. I am convinced now by group consensus the legs-off-the-abyss is a non-issue.

@misc...It also strikes me as a little odd that the pricetag now is a reason to down-grade the rating. I could see that sometimes we would want to up the rating a bit because of particularly good value (e.g. like the 40 USD BA Clearview)...and I liked the TI pot example...how about the $66 Photon Proton Pro 1AA flashlight? ...we (rightfully, IMHO) gave a 'highly recommended' to the $330 Montane Quick-Fire jacket...or remember the inka-pen...?

There is a lot of R&D in the whole honeycomb-IR-reflection-thingy in the neoAir and they are milking their 'first mover advantage' now to make money... but that's why they come up with these new products - and I think we are all glad they do. It'll all level out a bit, when the neoAir goes into 2nd generation.

After all, in a sense they make the techy stuff so we-the-UL-connoisseurs here at BPL can discuss it endlessly.

Edited by nonBeing on 05/12/2009 08:50:09 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review on 05/14/2009 16:49:30 MDT Print View

I picked up a small NeoAir yesterday and spent most of last night sleeping on it on my living room floor. I spent the last 2 hours on my old POE Insulmat Max Thermo (now the Ether Thermo) for comparison's sake.

I did find out that after I let out enough air to be comfortable, it's a good idea to check to see what the pad looks like! It looked almost flat at 4:00 this morning, but when I lay back down the thickness felt the same as what I adjusted it to the night before. However, it does appear that there's a leak in my POE pad!

I am a side sleeper, female with quite wide hips and shoulders for my height (5' 3"). I get excruciatingly painful hip joints if they are not properly cushioned, and also have back issues if my spine isn't reasonably level when I'm on my side. With my POE pad I blow it up no more than halfway. My downward hip sinks in until it's just barely off the ground, my downward shoulder is maybe an inch off the ground and my spine is pretty level. I need to achieve this with the NeoAir if it is going to work.

Initial reactions:

Noise is a non-issue; the NeoAir sounds a little more crinkly than my POE pad but the decibel level is about the same when I move around. My sleeping bag under me effectively muffles the noise, even though I had the zipper part-way open all night.

The effective width of the NeoAir when inflated is 19". Interestingly, the effective width of my inflated POE pad is more like 18", because the outer part of each side tube of course slopes steeply outward. Because I'm used to being cradled by the vertical tubes of the POE, I did have a little of the feeling of being threatened with rolling off the NeoAir, but I very quickly adjusted. It soon became a non-issue.

The lack of a stuff sack is also a non-issue because my Six Moon Designs Comet pack has an inside pad pocket. That's where I have carried my POE pad.

The stickiness of the NeoAir's top does make turning over a bit more difficult. I'm used to taking the sleeping bag with me when I turn over, and this isn't as easy with the NeoAir.

The NeoAir, because of its smaller tubes, doesn't feel or appear as thick when inflated as does my POE pad. I had some difficulty finding a comfort level between inflated too hard and my hip bone resting on the floor. However, it isn't as bad as what I experienced with the Big Agnes Clearview last summer--I couldn't make the Clearview work for me at all. I could have slept the rest of the night on the NeoAir--I moved only so I could compare the two pads.

The POE pad definitely felt more comfortable when I first moved to it. However, my hip bone was on the floor when my alarm went off two hours later. I'll have to pump it up full and do some bathtub testing.

The jury is still out on whether the NeoAir is comfortable enough for me. I will spend a few more nights on the floor (early next week) and a few nights in the backyard.

Edited by hikinggranny on 05/14/2009 16:53:24 MDT.

Mitchell Keil
(mitchellkeil) - F

Locale: Deep in the OC
4 night on the AT on 06/05/2009 12:33:20 MDT Print View

I just got my Regular NeoAir and took if for a spin for 4 mights on the AT in Mass. Slept one night in a very uncomfortable site with sticks and lumps and rock underneath the tent floor. Slept like the dead and was warm on the pad in low 40's temps. 2nd night was in a lean-to. No tent, a sharp breeze blowing into the shelter and temps about 35. Again the NeoAir performed extremely well. Similiar experinces for the last two nights.

What I have noticed about the pad is that proper inflation to achieve comfort is critical. About 50% inflation does it for me. When I roll over on the pad, there is a change in the percieved temp under me. It seems cooler for about 2-3 minutes as the pad adjusts to the change, then seems to actually warm up under me. This is about the same sensation I have observed with my DownMat 7 Shorty. I have broad sholders and still found that I did not have any real problems with the width of the pad. Whatever width it truly is made little difference to how I slept on it. I am a whirling dirvish at night and did not seem to have any trouble sleeping or finding myself centered on the pad, but then I have been using inflatable BAs, Downmats and the Clearview for about 5 years. I guess one learns to adjust to the design over time. I suppose the same could be said for sleeping under a quilt instead of in a bag. Your body learns the tricks of getting what it needs: a good night's sleep.

Edited by mitchellkeil on 06/05/2009 12:34:02 MDT.

F. Thomas Matica
(ftm1776) - F

Locale: Vancouver, WA
Temperature vs Pressure on 06/15/2009 10:36:02 MDT Print View

My Neoair seems to lose some pressure overnight. I have been testing it (sleeping on it) in the house on a blanket, on the floor. It does not go flat by any means.
It seems to do this even when just blown up and left to sit all day without any weight on it. I "soap bubble" tested it and haven't found a leak.....yet.
I'm wondering if just a change in temperature could be the cause: i.e., warm breath cooling and dropping the pressure?
Any thoughts on this????
PS: I love it! Very comfortable for me.

Edited by ftm1776 on 06/15/2009 10:37:29 MDT.