I'm new to the boards, but I spent a lot of time here researching my recent purchase of the NeoAir pad, and so I wanted to post some of my initial impressions of it.
My opinion of the NeoAir has always been that it is an impressive bit of gear and technology. The packing size and weight are simply incredible. My only concerns were the durability, width, and possible noise. On a side note, I am moving from a 1in thick thermarest professional series ultralite (the long thin maroon ones from early 2000's), and so I wasn't sure how I would like a 2.5in thick inflatable mattress.
With regard to the durability, I can only say that in all the research I have done, it seems that the only issues are minor, such as someone receiving a defective pad. It doesn't appear to have any kind of a negative track record with durability.
I was very worried about the width when I tried it out in the store, so much so that when I went in to buy it I very nearly changed my mind. What I came to realize is that it seemed narrow because my current dated thermarest is a wide one, at least 25" wide. It's the same width as the BA IAC and actually looks wider than the Prolite 4 regular. I had a hunch that in my sleeping bag, and sleeping on my side, that it would not be an issue. I was correct. I can't even tell that it's narrow when I lie down on it in my sleeping bag. The sleeping bag keeps my elbows in place, and I have no problems with it. I am also 6'4" with broad shoulders, and I feel like the Regular size is fine for me. My feet stick off the end maybe an inch, but I tend to curl up a little when I sleep, so it's not really an issue.
Noise isn't an issue at all to me. I can kind of detect what might bother other people, but I don't even notice it.
So, those are my impressions. I also have a few bits of advice to people about using these kinds of pads. Two of the problems I have seen people describe is that
a) They are difficult to roll up.
b) It's hard to raise a pillow up to the 2.5" level of the pad.
I have two techniques for solving these issues.
1) The way I have developed of rolling up sleeping pads is this. After opening the valve while laying on it, to force out some of the air, I Lay the pad in front of myself with the valve opposite me. I fold the pad in half (or in this case in thirds) and then move my left foot on top of the pad about 1/3 of the way in front of me. This keeps the folding of the pad intact, and also keeps it taught so that it is easy to roll. I start rolling tightly at the end and when I reach my foot I simply move it up the pad towards the valve. Repeat the process until it is rolled up. My first attempt at this, after testing the pad in my house, I was able to achieve a rolled up pad that was smaller than the packed version I bought at REI. Some people described having to roll the pad multiple times to achieve this. Maybe this will solve that problem for those people.
2) What I started doing some time ago was putting my trail runners at the end of my pad near my head, to prop up my pad to create a pillow. With the NeoAir, I decided to try something similar. I put the shoes at the end of the pad, but not underneath it, and then I just put my normal fleece jacket on top of them. Works great. This method may be worth trying for those of you without stinky feet :)
Anyway, thanks to everyone else that posted in this thread. I credit you for helping me buy a piece of gear that i am so far quite pleased with. Maybe after I try it out a few times in the field I will post some more observations.