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The lowly $1.75 inflatable pool toy :)
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>> Bender <<
(Bender) - MLife

Locale: NEO
The lowly $1.75 inflatable pool toy :) on 10/05/2009 09:44:13 MDT Print View

You don't have to spend $150 on a Neoair to save weight and get a good nights rest. This is my $1.75 "pool toy" sleeping pad from Dollar General. It weighs just 16oz and packs nearly the size of a Sprite can. The one feature I love about this is the built in pillow. I no longer have to carry one with me and my head is still supported. The only real downside is the plastic construction, its not going to be as durable as a ripstop nylon pad. If you have ever blown up a pool toy you might be thinking the valve would be terrible and you would be correct. Originally the valve made this difficult to inflate and impossible to fully deflate. There is a simple solution which requires a small pair of needle nose pliers. All you need to do is rip the internal check valve out. Hint: its the plastic flap that keeps air from escaping while your blowing it up. With the check valve removed inflating and even deflating are much easier. A trick I use is to suck the last bits of air out so the pad will roll up even smaller. Overall I am quite happy with the pad so long as it holds air.

Dimensions: 17" x 67" x 3.5"
Weight 16oz
Price $1.75
Material: PVC
Extras: a patch kit is included

All this being said I would still like a higher quality pad because I am worried about long term durability. To solve this I have ordered some heat sealable ripstop nylon to try a DIY pad!

Pool Toy Sleeping Pad

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
The lowly $1.75 inflatable pool toy on 10/05/2009 10:30:49 MDT Print View

Oh, no! Mr. B has been calling my Neoair a criminally-priced pool toy all summer. I absolutely cannot let him see this thread and find out he was right. Your specs show it is about 3" narrower than the Neoair, though, so that's a point in my favor.

Lori P
(lori999) - F

Locale: Central Valley
re: pool toy on 10/05/2009 10:41:11 MDT Print View

As someone who has used one of these backpacking, I hope you are a polar bear. It was cruelly cold to sleep on it in the middle of summer, during fair weather.

I have a NeoAir now - got to 25F (snow!) last weekend and was warm even then.

Edited by lori999 on 10/05/2009 10:42:12 MDT.

Tom Holbrook
(Zandar) - MLife

Locale: Central Coast of California
Pool Toy on 10/05/2009 10:56:41 MDT Print View

I have been wondering if anyone has tried these air mats as camping pads...

Although my experience around the pool is they work great on day one, as a pool float, but day two... leaks and trouble. Maybe it is just that the kids do the "Pool launch and glide", and treat them too rough.

How are you able to keep them from blowing a seam or just getting pin holes and being stranded on a long trip?


>> Bender <<
(Bender) - MLife

Locale: NEO
Re: Re: Pool toy :) on 10/05/2009 11:11:24 MDT Print View

So perhaps its a 2 or 2.5 season pad but I still find it incredible. I had a similar pad ages ago and it was fine down to 50 or so. One of the reasons I am making my own pad has to do with the length of this one. I'm 73" tall and sleep on my back or side. On my side its perfect because I bend my legs and still fit on top.

Tom the durability is probably the main drawback for most. I have used these with success in a tent with a reasonably tough floor. You probably don't want to throw this thing on the ground and sleep out under the stars. If your willing to take a chance then bring the included patch and save some $!

I actually found another pad at Dollar General but it ended up being almost 2x heavier. It was 27" x 72" x 2". Even though its heavier I learned quite a bit from this pad. It used a diamond quilt pattern that made it even more comfortable even though its thinner. Even my non backpacking dad found this pad to be comfortable and he is extremely picky. He has a Stearns & Foster mattress because anything else is no good. What I noticed about this pad is how it gives great support and does not feel wobbly like other pool toys.

Edited by Bender on 10/05/2009 11:18:02 MDT.

Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: The lowly $1.75 inflatable pool toy :) on 10/05/2009 11:28:30 MDT Print View

use a 1/8" ccf pad (<3oz) on top for warmth and just use the pool float for the comfort factor. Then if it fails you'll at least have 1/8" of ccf between you and the ground.


daltrey park
(daltrey) - F
well on 10/05/2009 17:15:11 MDT Print View

It really makes you wonder how thermarest is able to make $170 profit off of a thin piece of plastic.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: well on 10/05/2009 17:59:10 MDT Print View

Because they are warm. Seriously. That is the breakthrough. Lots of people make (and made) inflatable pads that are reasonably comfortable (and cold). Some (including Thermarest) made inflatables that are warm by adding foam and making them self-inflate. Some made them warm by adding down (which isn't cheap and requires a pump). Of course, lots of people made closed cell foam, which is not quite as comfortable but plenty warm. The Neo Air is fairly comfortable, is lighter than the open celled foam self inflating mattresses and doesn't require a pump. Of course, comfort is a personal thing, but for those who find it reasonably comfortable, the Neo-Air is a bargain.

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
The lowly $1.75 inflatable pool toy :) on 10/05/2009 18:43:59 MDT Print View

Well, I've sold all the Big Agnes Clearview pads I had (at fair prices). If I need another spare pad for summer camping friends, I'll go to Wally World and get a pool toy.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
The lowly $1.75 inflatable pool toy :) on 10/05/2009 19:43:24 MDT Print View

No offence but...
The dearest Neo Air sells for $170. I have never seen an item that can sell for $170 and return $170 in profit...
You are not the first to imply or state that Thermarest is ripping people off by charging what it does on those mats. However I have never come across anyone making that comment after having done a cost analysis on exactly how much Cascade Design has spent in research and development and production of said mat.
Just in case you don't know, the Neo Air is not just a blow up pool mat.
No, I don't work for Cascade Design

daltrey park
(daltrey) - F
It is what it is on 10/05/2009 21:02:07 MDT Print View

It just seems that all the money they spent on design and production that their profit margin would be alot higher if they would offer the neoair at a cost most people could afford.

For instance I have a big agnes clearview that I have cut down to 48" and it weighs 10 oz. I paid $40 for the full size pad brand new. My closed cell foam pad weighs 4 ounces and cost me $10. I use one for summer and both for fall and winter.

I have tried the neoair at rei and it just seems no better than the clearview at a quarter the cost. Am I the only one that thinks $170 is a little ridiculous for a blow up mattress?

Jeff Antig

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: The lowly $1.75 inflatable pool toy :) on 10/05/2009 22:07:32 MDT Print View

16oz?! I could carry 5+ sleeping pads for that weight. I'm not even talking expensive stuff. I mean, you could get a cheap CCF mat and it would be warm and comfortable

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
The lowly $1.75 inflatable pool toy :) on 10/05/2009 22:08:10 MDT Print View

Am I the only one that thinks $170 is a little ridiculous for a blow up mattress?

I think that you are still missing the point.
The Neo Air (once again) is not just a " blow up mattress. "
Your Clear View is, therefore has no insulation value.
The Neo Air is rated R2.5 (and I estimate that to be correct compared to the Prolite and Prolite Plus).
Maybe your two-mat combo has a similar R value to the Neo Air alone, so if you look at value for money, in comparison it is a bargain.
But if value for money was the criterion than nobody would be buying Western Mountaineering/ Feathered Friends or Nunatak stuff...