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Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review
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Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Temperature vs Pressure on 06/15/2009 10:45:45 MDT Print View

Absolutely temperature certainly does affect pad inflation. When camping last year with my gf, we used a generic inflatable mattress. Since the pump was broken, we half inflated it at home, and stowed it in the back seat that way. Driving 3 hrs, with the sun coming thru the windows, it expanded with the heat till it blocked the view out of the rear window. At night, with 45 degree temps, it lost pressure to the point we had to re-inflate it. Science in action.

Regarding the NeoAir; I just used it camping on snow. I use a 1/8" Gossamer Gear CCf pad under it. Bizzarely (to me), it didn't seem to deflate at all during the night, despite the snow and cold air temps(mid 30s). Maybe I just generate a lot of heat while sleeping?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Temperature vs Pressure on 06/15/2009 18:10:19 MDT Print View

Hi James

Reasonable. The GG pad provided the insulation so the NeoAir did not cool down much.


Jolly Green Giant
(regultr) - MLife

NeoAir - Comfort With Legs Dangling from Loft on 07/12/2009 08:03:04 MDT Print View

I'm a CCF guy, but got caught up in the hype about the NeoAir. After trying them out recently in REI, I can't imagine being remotely comfortable on anything other than the Large because the loft of the NeoAir causes my legs and lower body to hang off which puts a lot of pressure on my lower back even with my pack and such under it and even after adjusting the inflation. Just curious if anyone else was having the same problem or if they found a way to mitigate it (I don't think adding a CCF pad for my legs would make too much of a difference and I'm really not interested in carrying even more weight).

joe newton

Locale: Bergen, Norway
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review - believe/don't believe the hype (depending on what hype you read) on 07/12/2009 14:37:38 MDT Print View

I've just returned from a four day trip over the Hardanger mountain plateau in western Norway. I took short NeoAir for the first time. I put my pack under my legs and ran the NeoAir at around 50% inflation. I slept like a baby. No noise issues, no 'legs dangling in the void', no feeling of rolling off (6' and 190lb) and it worked sleeping on my side, back or belly. I ordered mine from England as it was half the price of buying it in Norway where I live. I couldn't be happier with it. The durability issue would by now be raising it's ugly head if there was one I believe, there are enough of us lying on them now. I leave mine in it's stuff sack (which it came with...) until it's time for bed when I blow it up and it's goodnight ladies and gentlemen.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review on 07/12/2009 15:55:42 MDT Print View

After almost a month's delay in testing due to illness, I finished my home testing (total of 5 nights on the floor and one in the tent in the back yard) and decided to keep my short NeoAir (preliminary testing results on previous "page"). It's not quite as comfy as my POE Insulmat Max Thermo (predecessor of the Ether Thermo) but it's comfy enough to give me a good night's sleep. I finally was able to find the "sweet spot" between too much inflation and not enough. Although normally I seldom sleep on my back, I found that the pressure of my ample(!) hips forces a bulge into the small of my back, which is just what I need for comfortable back sleeping. Normally I cannot sleep on my back without an extra pillow under my waist. This gives an extra option for me. My sleeping bag (when fastened) keeps my elbows from falling down alongside the pad when on my back, so this is not an issue for me. It certainly would be an issue for wide-shouldered quilt users, but the same is true for any 20" wide, 2.5" thick air pad, not just the NeoAir.

Field testing starts in a week.

Based on my results, I would neither recommend nor not recommend the NeoAir. Sleeping styles are so individual that everyone has to find their comfort zone. The varied results in this thread really illustrate this! I'd suggest several nights of trial on the floor before deciding whether to keep it or take it back. I'd also suggest looking for 20% off deals, too.

For those (not me!) who are comfortable on closed-cell foam pads and their ilk, there's probably no reason to spend all that money, IMHO. However, the NeoAir may become an option for you as you grow older and your bones/joints get progressively unhappier with hard surfaces.

Edited by hikinggranny on 07/12/2009 15:57:39 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Pack under feet on 07/15/2009 22:08:14 MDT Print View

I'm planning to buy a NeoAir in the near future and currently debating between the short and regular versions. The 5oz savings is quite appealing but I don't want to lose the comfort factor that makes the NeoAir appealing.

Users of the short NeoAir pads commonly say they put their pack under their feet. How is this done? It seems like an empty frameless pack would provide virtually no thickness. Maybe it would be 1/4" - 1/2", which is fairly insignificant compared to the 2.5" height of the pad.

Do you guys leave a bit of gear in your pack and try to evenly spread it out? Or how is this done?

Stephen Kundell
( - F
Failure can be a problem on 12/19/2009 18:43:33 MST Print View

I was given a neoair as a present for my JMT hike August 2009. I was very disappointed after 2 days when it developed a tear across a baffel exactly where the usual fold is when storing. Looks like material defect. I tried repair kits picked up at Toulomne, but the tear was too large, and ended up sleeping on bare ground until Reds Meadow. Clearly this was a fabric flaw, as my tarp tent and ground sheet had no tears. I returned it to REI quite disappointed because it felt so good the first day.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad Review on 12/19/2009 19:00:06 MST Print View

Since my initial review of the NeoAir, based on living room floor testing, was rather complimentary, I want to revise my opinion above after using it in the field.

I got cold with the thing when the temp got down below 40*F. I then made the mistake of taking it on an early October trip in the Cascades in which the temp. went down to 18*F the first night and 20*F the second night, with only a 1/8" CCF pad for supplement. I spent the whole night shivering (interestingly, only on my "down" side--my "top" side was plenty warm. I'd never take it out below freezing again without adding a 3/8" to 1/2" CCF pad--which takes care of the weight difference between it and my POE Insulmat Max Thermo (more recently called the Ether Thermo). The POE pad has taken me down to 20*F without supplement and is far more comfortable. Since I take at least one trip to the Rockies every summer, where 20* night temps are not unusual, I've ditched the NeoAir and have gone back to my POE pad. The 8 ounce savings (which would be zero when adding a 1/2" CCF pad) was not worth it!

The NeoAir was slightly warmer, but not warm enough, when I blew it up full and put the CCF pad on top. However, blown up full it was extremely uncomfortable and kept bucking me off every time I turned over. Needless to say, I spent two nights with very little sleep and almost went off the road a couple of times when driving back from the trailhead (I stopped at the nearest motel instead of trying to drive home). Bye-bye, NeoAir!

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
As a NeoAir owner... on 12/19/2009 20:42:06 MST Print View

...I put 120+ bag nights on the pad and found it to be extremely comfortable and stable - even as a side sleeper. I accidentally punched a hole in it with a pen that was in my pocket and patched it up using the repair kit and haven't experienced any issues. And I've used it in extreme cold - not as warm as other pads, but I knew that going in. I've had it down to 9 degrees in the North Cascades and it was cool - but not crazy cold. But to be fair, I was acclimated to the cold by then - and wore extra clothing to bed. Obviously, the experiences are mixed with the NeoAir.

Criticisms are fair, but from my perspective, this is by far the most comfortable pad for its weight that I've tried - and I've owned a lot of pads.


Edited by dirk9827 on 12/19/2009 20:46:08 MST.

Jolly Green Giant
(regultr) - MLife

Re: As a NeoAir owner...but what about the Torsolite? on 12/20/2009 11:43:21 MST Print View

I had two different sized NeoAir's and hated them both for various reasons. After the experience dashed my hopes, I couldn't help but wonder why the Torsolite doesn't come in different sizes as it is really the only remotely comparable inflatable with a solid r-value. Right now it is just too small, but I would definitely take a harder look at it if it were bigger.

Hey BPL...any chance on increasing the size of the Torsolite?

Edited by regultr on 12/20/2009 16:05:30 MST.

John Whynot

Locale: Southeast Texas
Re: Re: As a NeoAir owner...but what about the Torsolite? on 12/20/2009 12:10:34 MST Print View

Have you tried one of the Prolites?

I tried the Torsolite, but it was just too small for me. I'm a side-sleeper, and Prolite small works well for me. I can always supplement it with a Thinlite if I need more insulation...

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Just goes to show you... on 12/20/2009 14:23:25 MST Print View

That gear is a very subjective endeavor. What works for one person is the bane of another's existence. Probably the same reason there are an endless array of mattress types and firmnesses on the market.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: As a NeoAir owner... on 12/20/2009 14:49:03 MST Print View

" this is by far the most comfortable pad for its weight that I've tried"

+1 from me, though I have no where near the number of nights on mine. I did just take it out this weekend in PA, temps got down to 18.3 degrees (F). I had the neoair under my bivy, and a Ridgerest under the neoair, in a shelter with a raised wooden floor. I was toasty in my bivy and Raku!

Conrad Stoll
(cnstoll) - F
Initial Impressions on 01/28/2010 14:38:31 MST Print View


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.


Edited by cnstoll on 01/28/2010 14:40:02 MST.


Locale: Western Michigan
NeoAir comparision to Backpacking Light TorsoLite Inflatable Sleeping Pade Inflatable Sleeping Pad?? on 02/26/2010 10:40:33 MST Print View

Has anyone written a detailed Review Comparision of the NeoAir to other light weight sleeping pads to include the Backpacking Light TorsoLite Inflatable Sleeping Pad?

Buck Nelson
(Colter) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
NeoAir vs Torsolite on 02/26/2010 12:10:40 MST Print View

I wrote a review on this site for the Torsolite. For me it was too small (length and width) and even more importantly, mine failed completely along a seam. Any product has a few lemons, of course. The first NeoAir I got was one of the early leaky ones, too.

I believe the R-value for the NeoAir is 2.5. and the Torsolite is about 3.5. I think the Torsolite would normally be quite a bit tougher than the NeoAir.

I plan to use the NeoAir on the last half of the PCT this summer when I'll have a shelter with a floor (and a Ridgerest Deluxe during the first half.) For me the NeoAir is dramatically more comfortable to sleep on than the Torsolite. Much bigger, much thicker. The difference in R-value hasn't been noticeable to me so far. I used a NeoAir in freezing temps with a 30 degree bag (and warm clothes) and slept warmly.

To sum up, the NeoAir trade-offs work for me, the Torsolite trade-offs don't.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
couple of NeoAir questions on 03/05/2010 17:42:57 MST Print View

I recently purchased a size Medium NeoAir (in fact it should arrive in the mail today) after having a chance to lie down on one in the local gear shop. The length seemed perfect for me and the comfort was far better than expected, so my mind was quickly made up... I needed one!

So, anyway, here's my two questions:

First one has to do with durability. I understand that for the most part folks have been surprised by how well the pads have held up. What I'm curious about is if anyone has any experience using a NeoAir around their dog. As a general rule, I try to keep the dog off the sleeping pads but inevitably he manages to step on them a few times over the length of a trip. I've never had a pad get punctured by the dog (BA insulated aircore or Thermarest Prolite 3 or 4, can't remember) but I can't help but feel concerned given the general consensus that these pads are a bit more fragile than other options.

Second question (please excuse my naivety), can you use a NeoAir as the backpad in a pack like the ULA Ohm or Gorilla or as the frame in a frameless pack? And assuming you "could," would you want to? This isn't a problem for me at the moment since I don't have a pack that needs a pad to be inserted for padding/rigidity but if I move that way eventually, I'd like to know whether I need to plan to carry some additional pad (like a sit light pad) for use in the pack.