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129 NeoAir Sleeping Pad 2009-09-25

NeoAir sleeping pad

Before leaving on our trip to Colorado, I went to the local outdoors store, Cumberland Transit, to look for new gear. I had a gift certificate and had been looking at the new NeoAir pad from ThermaRest. They had just gotten the pad in stock and when I saw how small and light it was - I could not resist.

We had read mixed reviews of the pad so we did not know if we were going to be happy or not. Generally we don’t like to test new gear on a big trip, especially gear as crucial as a sleeping pad, but this time, we did not have time to test it. Instead, we carried a spare pad in the car, just in case.

My wife, Amy, was pleased with the purchase and the plan, we were both going to use the pad. Amy was going to sleep on the pad, our thinking was the extra cushion would help her to rest easier. But, I was going to carry the pad, because I loved the lightweight and the small size. I actually sleep well on one of the old closed cell foam pads, so to me the comfort was not an issue.

We liked the pad. I especially liked being able to carry it inside my pack instead of strapping it on outside. By the way, I was carrying a small 44L pack on overnight trips. Once at camp, it took about 2 minutes to inflate the pad, but that was huffing and puffing.

Inside the tent, the pad was a bit slippery, but the floor of the tent was made of Sylnet, a really slippery nylon. Amy thought sleeping on the pad was truly the most comfortable ever for a backpacking pad. The dog, Jake loved the pad too as he slept on the foot of the pad and I used the top corner closest to me as a pillow. It was that much higher than my pad! During one of our trips, when we reached Snowmass Lake in a cold rain, Amy felt that the pad was not as warm as she expected. I felt like we were cold and anything less than an electric blanket would have felt like insufficient insulation.


A few Pros

  • Size - very small
  • Weight - lighter than any other pad I own
  • Comfort - very cushy

A few So-Sos

  • Inflating - it is not self-inflating
  • Re-inflating - must adjust the air in the pad from time to time, adding a little or letting a little out.
  • R value - mixed concerns with the actual R value (warmth) of the pad, there are too many variables to draw a conclusion
  • Care - extra care because the material seems so light (all lightweight material needs extra care)

A few Cons

  • Slippery - it is slick!
  • Price - expensive, even with a gift certificate

Overall, we really did like the pad. We will probably buy another one some day, especially if anyone wants to donate a gift certificate!


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