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To neoair or not to neoair
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William Zila
(Ultralightwillinn.m) - MLife

Locale: Albuquerque
To neoair or not to neoair on 04/15/2011 12:53:33 MDT Print View

My question for all you neoair users out there do u like them I'm looking for something more comfortable then my prolite but the same weight how does the neo do in temps down to freezing ? How's durability ?is it slippery to sleep on ? Thanks in advance for any input

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: To neoair or not to neoair on 04/15/2011 12:59:28 MDT Print View


A search will bring up tons of threads to review. I think in general the popular consensus is very positive, unless a lighter pad is more important than comfort. For most durability and quality have been good, and Thermarest has gone beyond the warranty stipulations to make users happy with the product. Many people are good down to freezing and others supplement it with a very thin foam pad.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: To neoair or not to neoair on 04/15/2011 13:46:54 MDT Print View

Yes, I like my short (9 oz). However, I just had the popping baffle issue so just shipped it off to get a replacement. I assume that newer ones have been fixed in this regard. I had bought it used so I don't know how old it was.

Anyway, I've slept on it below 0F, but I did use a generic blue CCF pad above and below it. I also was wearing my down jacket since my bag is only rated 20F. This was mainly a test to see if I could go that low if needed. I was plenty warm. I didn't try it with just 1 pad or no pads based on what others had said. I'm sure I would have been fine with only 1.

It's plenty durable to me, but I don't camp where there's lots of prickly stuff. Like most UL gear, you should exercise proper care and make sure your spot is free of sharp debris, don't plop down hard on it, don't let your dog/cat play on it, etc. :)

I don't find the top (neon green) slippery. The pad will move around on the ground or floor of the shelter, but so does the heavier and more durable pad I have. I'm a side sleeper and change sides a lot so I always inch myself downhill if I'm on any kind of slope.

Jeff Hollis
(hyperslug) - MLife
Crinkly on 04/15/2011 13:54:48 MDT Print View

What everyone else said. Plus It makes a crinkly noise when moving around on it but not a biggie. I find the surface to be less slippery than other inflatable pads I have used. I have not pushed it to freezing but by all reads it should be good for most people.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: To neoair or not to neoair on 04/15/2011 15:40:24 MDT Print View

I agree with all that has been said. A good pad, generally speaking.

Good for real cold weather camping? No. Not alone. Good to freezing...yeah.

Durability is good. But, do not overinflate it. Avoid the tendency to blow a few extra puffs before laying on it. Just enough to avoid hitting ground works the best. Your body heat *could* cause it to overinflate in 32-40F weather.

It is not very slippery. But the inflation does take a few minutes to get used to. Once you are anywhere near the center, you will squash in. The outer portions will inflate a but more. Almost a cradle like effect, 'cept, it doesn't expand that much. More a matter of firmness.

The slight noise is OK with me. I usually have some sort of pillow. Once I am laid out, I usually fall asleep in 5 minutes or less anyway.

James Langford
(Ekdog) - F
What size? on 04/15/2011 15:54:33 MDT Print View

I'm thinking of getting one, too. I've got an Exped that is great for cold weather, but I want something lighter but still comfortable for use in warmer weather. The thing I'm not sure about is the size. Should I get the small or the regular? I'm 5'11". Is there anyone out there my size using the small?

Edited by Ekdog on 04/15/2011 15:55:52 MDT.

roberto nahue
(carspidey) - F

Locale: san fernando valley
I have one too... on 04/15/2011 16:53:06 MDT Print View

I've used mine once and i really like it... very confortable...

i haven't used in really cold weather but if i did, i would probably take a thin pad just in case... :D

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: What size? on 04/15/2011 17:08:10 MDT Print View

James, the answer depends on what you like.

If you want the lightest and don't mind the "dropoff", then get the smallest.
The Medium works for me at 6'1" and my Montbell pillow "above" the head end. When I roll to my side I can put the pillow on top, if needed and curl up a little. And lastly, the regular is what you need if you want the full length.

Man, it's comfortable.

I'm gonna try the Large, though (thanks to my REI dividend, discount, and a gift card). The width is nice, and I can cut it down if desired.

Brian Hall
neoair size on 04/15/2011 17:13:09 MDT Print View

@ James - I have never used the small or the regular, but I'm also 5-11, and find the medium to work well for me. The medium allows me to use my montbell pillow on top of the pad, and have the pad come down to just above my ankles. I usually tend to sleep on my side, so if I curl up my whole body fits on the pad fine. The medium will save you an ounce or so over the regular.

***Todd, it's almost scary how similar our posts were lol***

Edited by brian2o0o on 04/15/2011 17:14:49 MDT.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
reviews on 04/15/2011 19:16:23 MDT Print View

take a peek at the reader reviews, overall pretty darn positive

mine has seen a lot of use, but pales in comparison of the dozens who have used them on long thru hikes- that should speak a little to the durability (do bring a repair kit- goes for any inflatable pad)

some have complained a little as the temp approaches freezing comfort wise- I think this varies among users, but I thin freezing is a pretty good figure for low temps, as mentioned above simply supplementing w/ a ccf pad can take you way down

something no had mentioned yet (or did and I missed it) is the volume- the neoair takes up very (very) little volume- the short is about the size of a beer can, the medium regular not a whole lot bigger

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"To neoair or not to neoair" on 04/15/2011 19:21:29 MDT Print View

The (Large) NeoAir is almost indistinguishable from the (Regular) size when rolled up tightly.

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
"NeoAir size" on 04/15/2011 19:47:00 MDT Print View

The NeoAir's comfort is more dependent on its width than its length for many people. I'm 6"1" & 220 lbs & am primarily a back sleeper. I own the short, regular, & large. The short extends from the top of the head to the back of the knees, the regular allows my heels to hang off a little but not touch the ground, & the large is actually too long for my needs but is 5" wider than the others which is heavenly for us "wide bodied" guys because the elbows & arms stay on the pad instead of falling off the sides.
Another thing to consider is whether the pad will be used with a bivy because the regular & large will not fit in many bivies. I agree the warmth is good down to about freezing. I've not noted more noise than other pads & don't think it is slippery at all. Also, no problems with durability have been noted in about 3 yrs of use on the short, 2 yrs on the regular, & 1 yr on the large.
I wish the pad came in a 72" length with the 25" width which would optimize comfort & weight.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
FORMER Neo-AIr owner on 04/16/2011 00:46:26 MDT Print View

One trip on a Neo-Air was enough to make me return it to REI. Too noisy, too high, too narrow, to much of a PITA to inflate, etc, etc.

I much prefer my old Thermarest Lite regular pad at 15 oz.

/A .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: To neoair or not to neoair on 04/16/2011 02:24:02 MDT Print View

I like mine when using a sleeping bag, but I think with a quilt, the horizontal baffling allows more drafts in.

Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Re: Re: To neoair or not to neoair on 04/16/2011 02:58:47 MDT Print View

As a previous poster said, don't over inflate it. Just let it keep you off the ground. If you aren't over inflating it and aren't using the tiniest quilt imaginable I can't see it letting in more drafts than other pads.

I'm 6'2" with the small version. It's a little narrow if I'm on my back but I'm generally a side sleeper so no complaints about the size really. I do find it slightly less comfortable than my Big Agnes IAC. I think it's because of how the baffles are arranged but the difference isn't enough to justify carrying another full pound in most conditions so the Neoair gets the nod if the weather cooperates.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: To neoair or not to neoair on 04/16/2011 04:44:49 MDT Print View

I own neoair in sizes small and a large and use quilts in temps above 0F. The small goes backpacking, the large comes when I'm not carrying gear far.

It's very unlikely that I'll give up the comfort provided by the neoair or other similar thickness pad.

As far as warmth goes:

* drafts have not been an issue for me, I tend to use a bivy below about 25F but have experimented successfully without (backyard testing)

* above 40F either is fine when wearing just socks, nylon pants and the thinnest synthetic LS or SS tee shirt

* 30F-40F I need my pack and/or a 12"x20"x3/8" CCF sitpad under my lower legs when using the small with the same clothing mentioned above, the large is fine as is

* 20F-30F I add insulated clothing (typically 1.8oz primaloft sport) ... also needed to supplement the quilt's rating and highly desirable when I'm not active.

*??F-20F I add a 72"x20"x3/8" CCF pad, too small a sample size to suggest the lower limit on that combo

I'm saving my sheckles for a Kookabay R6 down insulated pad for those colder temps

James Langford
(Ekdog) - F
Ordered a Regular on 04/16/2011 06:34:41 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the sage advice. I went ahead and ordered a regular from these folks: They're 10% off at the moment in case anyone else in the UK or on the Continent want one.

Edited by Ekdog on 04/16/2011 06:36:12 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: HAPPY Neo-AIr owner on 04/16/2011 07:50:49 MDT Print View

Doesn't make noise any louder than my bag rustling around. Thick and comfy. Nice and long and wide. Got to breathe anyway, so no inflating issues, bliss, bliss, bliss! Love my large. 17.4oz.

Chad "Stick" Poindexter
(Stick) - F

Locale: Wet & Humid Southeast....
Re: To neoair or not to neoair on 04/16/2011 16:32:29 MDT Print View

One thing I can say about the NeoAir is that it usually stirs up conversations. Many seem to hate them while others seem to love them, then of course there are those few that simply like them. After owning mine for the last year, I have fallen into the love them crowd! To the point that it will be replaced if ever need be by another one.

I gotta give my love for the NeoAir, cause I do love mine a lot! It was one of the very best purchases I made last year, and I will do it again if need be.

The horizontal baffles are much more comfortable than the vertical baffles. When I lay on my NeoAir I don't feel like I am laying on a pool toy, like I do when I lay on my Exped SynMat 7. (But hey, that's me and not everyone will feel the same...)

I have had no issues with crinkly noise, nor has anybody else that has been hiking with me, or any of the other hikers that I bunked with in the shelters.

My thoughts on durability: It's an air pad. I take that into consideration when I use it. I try to clear the area of sharp pointy things, same as I do with ANY air pad. However, they do make a repair kit for it if something were to happen, just like they do for the rest of them (and it is in my kit)...If I need to carelessly throw my pad on the ground and plop down on it, I will use a ccf pad. Otherwise, I have no reason to cry about how the air pad wasn't durable enough since I didn't treat it the way it is supposed to be treated, same as with any other air pad.

R-Value. It is listed at 2.5. What does that mean to me? Well, I don't know. What I do know is that I can use my NeoAir with a 1/8" Thinlight pad and be fine to right around single digits. If I want to go out in colder temps, I will use a 1/4" pad, maybe even with the 1/8" pad if need be.

Weight. My regular size NeoAir weighs 13.8 oz. It measures 20"x72"x2.5". I splurged by getting the regular size rather than the small (short) pad and trying to make my empty pack work under my legs. And it still weighs less than most other pads out there, especially this size. Plus it packs down to the size of a 1L Nalgene, so I have plenty of room for my other tiny stuff to fit in my pack...

As well, I appreciate that the bottom of the NeoAir is tacky feeling. That means it slides around less in my tents (especially those with sil floors) than my other pads.

It takes me approximately 18 breaths to inflate, so no big deal (for me). Deflating it is even easier, just unscrew the valve while I am laying on it in the morning, just before I get up. About 15 - 20 seconds later it is almost flat.

Also, the insulation is really only a mylar sheet. So, I don't have to worry about long-term deterioration of a synthetic or down insulation inside the pad. As well, I don't have to worry about the moisture from my breath damaging that insulation.

I can say some bad things about the pad though. It didn't come with a stuff sack (which means I can save half an oz by using a rubber band, if I choose).

It also didn't come with a repair kit. That one was the real bummer. A repair kit is essential to have with ANY air pad. So, I had to look around to get the appropriate repair kit. It cost me $10 (I think).

During the summer, I have to take more care with it as far as leaving it inflated. In the heat, the air will expand and if the NeoAir is left inflated it will ruin the internal baffles by blowing them apart. So, if I am base camping, I have to remember not to leave the pad inflated during the day. However, during the day I am usually hiking to my next destination anyway.

So, as may be seen, the regular NeoAir is a winner for me. I really don't think I could have a better sleeping pad while on the trail. Even the newer versions coming out...

As for the Trekker, the only advantage I see is that it is thicker skinned. However, since I try to clear my area of pointy objects first, that doesn't really seem to be an improvement over the regular NeoAir (to me). And like I said, I do have the repair kit just in case I miss something. I try to remember that even the thick-skinned Trekker can pop out there too. So, the thick skin manages to add a few extra ozs, but somehow lower the "R-Value"... honestly, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me... so it only seems right that it is a few $$$ cheaper than the regular NeoAir. Doesn't the rule go something like this: The lighter things get, usually, the more $$$ they cost...

Now, the NeoAir All-Season pad may be a nice addition though. It is a few ozs heavier, but it promises twice the "R-Value" of the regular version, plus has a thicker skin. And to top it off, it does come with a repair kit, and for good measure they even throw in a stuff sack that doubles as a pump. For me, I could see this working as a nice 4th season pad (remember, I am in the Southeast). However, about 80 - 90% of the time, it would still be overkill, both in weight as well as in "R-Value."

So, I hope that this helps to answer anyone's (potential) questions. I would like to make one thing clear though. I am not trying to push the NeoAir as being the "best" air pad out there. However, I do feel like it is the "best" for me. Everyone has different issues, concerns and needs and we are all built different so we experience life (and everything within it) a little different than the next.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Re: "To neoair or not to neoair" on 04/16/2011 17:12:57 MDT Print View

"The (Large) NeoAir is almost indistinguishable from the (Regular) size when rolled up tightly"

I was surprised to read that because I was surprised by how much bigger the large is than the regular. The large is huge, that makes a difference in several ways:
1. It obviously is roomy and allows for tall folks, wide folks and folks who roll around a lot.
2. It takes more time/effort to inflate.
2. It is substantially heavier.
4. It is substantially bigger rolled up (I am looking at both right now).

To the original question... I love my NeoAir and have used it in a variety of conditions. It was fine from 32-100+F. I have not used it much below freezing, but expect I'd take a foam pad too for really cold weather.

BTW: I picked up a large for $35 at the REI attic sale. It is way bigger than I need, but will be a great wedding shower gift for my tall future son in law.

Edited by staehpj1 on 04/16/2011 17:35:40 MDT.