Sleep comfort: Neoair Alternative?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Sleep comfort: Neoair Alternative? on 10/04/2013 08:53:14 MDT Print View

Sleeping pad comfort is a personal thing. Lots of people find the NeoAir comfortable because it is really thick and therefore reduces the chance that you will "hit bottom" (which is more likely to occur when on your side). On the other hand, when my wife tried mine, she hated it. She has stuck with a regular Thermarest. So that is definitely something to consider, especially since the weights of them have come down.

I also like the idea of adding a closed cell foam to the top of the pad. A very thin pad might be all you need, but consider a Z-Rest as well. I would try it with your X-Therm first (since you already own it). If you like it, I would switch to the lighter NeoAir XLite. This combination (Z-Rest and NeoAir XLite) is not the lightest out there, but would be super cushy, super warm and still pretty light compared to pads sold just a few years ago. Plus, the Z-Rest is extremely handy as a sit pad (it is really easy to fold into various sizes).

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
all season on 10/04/2013 08:58:44 MDT Print View

The neoair all season regular of mine weighs 19.1 ounces. The fabric on top is nice and soft, the bottom is sticky and doesn't slide around. It's my favorite pad, in the summer I will just take a Ridgerest.

Erik G
(fox212)

Locale: THE Bay Area :)
Re: Comfort with Neoair on 10/04/2013 10:20:05 MDT Print View

I've been using the Neoair Xlite Large, trimmed to ~60in, for my last couple of outings. I have found that it is slightly less comfortable than the Synmat UL7 LW I previously had. However, I have had 3 Synmats leak on me now, 2 of them on their maiden voyages. I'm familiar with getting the valves seated properly, but too many slow leaks converted me to a Neoair.

Here's what I've found regarding comfort: the Neoair is MUCH more comfortable if I slightly prop it up, from underneath, at the head and near the knees/lower legs (like with a sit pad or piece of ccf, clothing, some leaves/duff in a trash bag, whatever). For some reason, this makes the pad much more comfortable for sleeping on back or side. I think it allows the horizontally-baffled pad to contour the body a little better. Like the OP, I found the Neoair on a flat surface rather board-like. But with the above tip, I sleep just as well as the few nights my UL7 didn't flatten. Since you already have an Xtherm, it'd be pretty easy to give it a try.

Also, FWIW, a large Xlite trimmed to 60in weighs 13oz, and I can fit my whole body on it when sleeping on my side. And it was very easy to trim.

Javan Dempsey
(jdempsey)

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Re: Comfort with Neoair on 10/04/2013 11:08:46 MDT Print View

Great info and suggestions guys, this is exactly the kind of input I was needing.


Erik, some great suggestions, I had already thought about using an xlite trimmed to torso length with a ccf pad for my lower body to drop my hips a bit lower, but yeah I think lifting up the front end could really help.

Honestly a 13oz trimmed xlite would allow me to carry another light ccf pad trimmed to the same size and still be in the same range as the xtherm, and probably just as warm with it on top, so I may consider that also.


Thanks everyone again.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Pads on 10/04/2013 18:05:07 MDT Print View

I find the SynMat UL7 much more comfortable than the NeoAir. I used the NeoAir for 2 seasons and it was alright, but I sleep much better on the SynMat. I attribute it to the vertical baffles and the larger side tubes (and it's slightly thicker @ 2.7" thick).

Marc Kokosky
(mak52580) - F

Locale: Washington, DC Area
+1 for Exped on 10/07/2013 19:56:59 MDT Print View

I'm also a big +1 for the Exped UL series. I have a Synmat UL7 for three season use and will be picking up a Downmat UL7 for winter. Yes, its a few ounces more than the Neoair series, but totally worth it in terms of comfort IMO. I also prefer the vertical baffles with wider side tubes, not to mention you get an extra inch on the long/wide version at 26". I feel like the horizontal baffles actually reduce the "usable" space for me as I'm constantly rolling off it when I shift in the night. And the noise is also an obvious downside to TA as well.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: +1 for Exped on 10/07/2013 20:03:43 MDT Print View

I've tried both. The Synmat UL7 is better than the Neoair for me. It has to do with vertical vs. horizontal baffles; the synmat cradles you like a babe.
I also don't care for the crinkly feeling of the Neoair.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: +1 for Exped on 10/07/2013 20:08:37 MDT Print View

"I've tried both. The Synmat UL7 is better than the Neoair for me. It has to do with vertical vs. horizontal baffles; the synmat cradles you like a babe.
I also don't care for the crinkly feeling of the Neoair."

+1

I used one on my last trip and it was 8 nights of bliss. A huge improvement over the NeoAir for a small weight penalty.

Robert Perkins
(rp3957)

Locale: The Sierras
Sleep comfort: Neoair Alternative? on 10/07/2013 20:53:09 MDT Print View

Here's another vote for the Exped Synmat UL7. I've had mine for 3 hiking seasons, no leaks, great 3-season warmth and comfort. I too tried the Neo and returned it for the Synmat. Bonus score for the Synmat is the ' Snozzle '. It makes filling the pad a breeze, doubles as a sleeping bag stuff sack, and keeps moisture out from using your lungs to fill your pad.

Dondo .
(Dondo) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Sleep comfort: Neoair Alternative? on 10/07/2013 21:03:38 MDT Print View

What about the Exped options? Anybody find these comfortable but not the Neoairs?

Javan, that was my experience. I wrote about it a couple of years ago on my blog. I think the difference is the vertical vs. horizontal baffles.

Javan Dempsey
(jdempsey)

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Re: Sleep comfort: Neoair Alternative? on 10/12/2013 13:28:46 MDT Print View

FWIW I just got in a Synmat UL 7 and a Downmat UL 7 from Richard R. (thanks again Richard), and I can already tell these are going to be better.


They have a *real* 25" of usable space when inflated and the vertical baffles are more comfortable for me. I am concerned with whether my hips are going to get cold side sleeping with the Synmat slightly deflated for ideal comfort, when laying I can tell my hip bone is very close to the ground, but I think it will be fine.


I have to wonder though, how much weight it would add to make these pads an inch thicker. The added material would be pretty marginal, I'm guessing no more than 2 more ounces, and it could definitely add flexibility in inflation levels and subsequently more comfort range.

Now if only these companies would consider that, and start making RegWide models.


Anyway, first impressions of the Exped products is very good, and worth the few extra ounces.

Derek M.
(dmusashe) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Lack of Regular Wide options are baffling on 10/13/2013 04:18:08 MDT Print View

Javan,
I too am totally perplexed by the lack of regular-length, wide pads on the market. It's not as if there is a technological leap necessary to make one. I mean factories wouldn't even have to retool their production lines! It's just so maddening that nobody has even taken a crack at it.

I think this is one of those things where Thermarest will eventually make a Regular/Wide NeoAir, the first production run will quickly sell out, and then every other company will join the bandwagon... and years later everyone will wonder why in the world a regular/wide size wasn't always offered.

Edited by dmusashe on 10/13/2013 04:19:35 MDT.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Petition on 10/13/2013 05:54:27 MDT Print View

Maybe we need to send a petition to Exped and Cascade Designs.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Sleep comfort: Neoair Alternative? on 10/13/2013 08:49:39 MDT Print View

Javan, the UL 9 version of the Synmat is 3.5" thick with an R value of 6 and weight of 21 oz.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Lack of Regular Wide options are baffling on 10/13/2013 08:58:42 MDT Print View

+1 Who decided that we only need 20"

James Couch
(JBC) - M

Locale: Cascade Mountains
Re: Re: Lack of Regular Wide options are baffling on 10/13/2013 10:23:33 MDT Print View

Consumers apparently have voted with their dollars. Medium/wide pads just do not sell very well. Exped does make the Synmat 7 in a medium wide. REI stocks them. I thought that Exped also did one of the Downmats in meduim/wide but even the Exped website only lists the Synmat 7 as being available in med/wide.

Jim

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Lack of Regular Wide options are baffling on 10/13/2013 10:26:49 MDT Print View

Exped has a terrible marketing/advertising departments. They make all kinds of stuff nobody has heard of.

I certainly don't consider a 6' pad a medium.

SynMat 7 S
Size 163 x 52 x 7 cm/64 x 20 x 2.8"
Weight 765 g/27 oz
Packed 23 x 14 cm/
Temperature -17ºC
R-Value 4.9
Fill Weight 160 g/m² Texpedloft Mikrofaser

SynMat 7 M
Size 183 x 52 x 7 cm/72 x 20 x 2.8"
Weight 835 g/29.5 oz
Packed 21 x 15 cm/8 x 6"
Temperature -17º C
R-Value 4.9
Fill Weight 160 g/m² Texpedloft Mikrofaser


SynMat 7 MW
Size: 183 x 65 cm/72 x 26"
Weight 1010 g/35.6 oz
Packed 27 x 14 cm/10.6 x 5.5"
Temperature
R-Value, Fill Weight same as above










SynMat 7 LW
Size 197 x 65 x 7 cm/77.5 x 26 x 2.8
Weight 1090 g/38.4 oz
Packed 27 x 15 cm/11 x 6"
Temperature -17º C
R-Value 4.9
Fill Weight 160 g/m² Texpedloft Mikrofaser

SynMat 9 LW
Size 197 x 65 x 9 cm/77.5 x 26 x 3.5"
Weight 1155 g/40.7 oz
Packed 27 x 16 cm/11 x 6.3"
Temperature -25º C
R-Value 6.0
Fill Weight 200 g/m² Texpedloft Mikrofaser

Edited by kthompson on 10/13/2013 12:25:57 MDT.

Donald Browning
(docdb) - M

Locale: SE USA
Hammock on 10/13/2013 12:22:05 MDT Print View

Thinking outside the box.....I've gotten so used to hammock sleeping this summer, that I'm concerned about going to ground on ANY pad.
Don

Javan Dempsey
(jdempsey)

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Hammock on 10/13/2013 17:03:45 MDT Print View

I'd never do it if possible, but hammocking doesn't go well with "family" trips.

Even if I just take one of my dogs, I don't feel comfortable leaving either of them on the ground below me and neither of them would be happy with that.

It's easy to take for granted down here in the Appalachians also, that there are tons of places around the world that hanging just isn't an option, so you pretty much have to plan to be on the ground unless you know for certain that you'll have places to setup a hammock.


So yeah, it's not ideal, but it's practically inevitable for me that I'll spend half my trips on the ground, thus this quest.

Derek M.
(dmusashe) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Lack of Regular Wide options are baffling on 10/14/2013 00:25:57 MDT Print View

Jim,
I'm interested to hear the the evidence for your statement: "Consumers apparently have voted with their dollars. Medium/wide pads just do not sell very well."

I have certainly never seen a medium/wide pad on the market aside from the Synmat 7 that you mentioned... And I suspect the reason for that thing not selling well (if in fact it doesn't) is because it weighs 35.6oz!

I estimate that a 72" x 26" NeoAir Xlite would weigh 15.6oz. I don't know about you, but that sounds like an interesting pad to me.

Edited by dmusashe on 10/21/2013 22:20:54 MDT.