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REPOST: Owners Review-Therm-a-rest NeoAir-Cheryl McMurray

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  • Cheryl Mcmurray
    Hi Andrew, I made all the changes that you suggested. It has caused major changes to the format and some of the content. Let me know if this is any better
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 22 1:56 PM
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      Hi Andrew,
      I made all the changes that you suggested. It has caused major
      changes to the format and some of the content. Let me know if this is
      any better and what further edits that you want. Thank you for all of
      your efforts and I'll keep a better eye out for your next set of
      edits. The URL link is http://tinyurl.com/mlakj3

      Cheryl


      THERM-A-REST NEOAIR SLEEPING PAD
      OWNER REVIEW BY CHERYL MCMURRAY
      September 2009

      Name: Cheryl McMurray
      Age: 50
      Gender: Female
      Height: 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
      Weight: 145 lb (66.6 kg)
      Email Address: cherylswanATearthlinkDOTnet
      City, State, Country: Garden Grove, California, U.S.

      BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

      I've been backpacking and hiking for four years, mostly on weekends
      year around. Overnight trips are usually 3 day, 2 night trips in the
      Eastern Sierras with 32-40 lb (15-18 kg) loads depending on the
      season. One class 2 rock climb with a day pack is common. Day hikes
      are 10-15 mi (16-24 km) in the San Bernardino and San Gabriel
      Mountains with loads of 15-20 lb (7-9 km). I'm a tent style camper
      and have experienced snow, freezing temperatures, winds (once was gale
      force), light rain, but mostly fair weather so far.

      PRODUCT INFORMATION

      Manufacturer: Cascade Designs
      Manufacturer Website: www.cascadedesigns.com
      Year of Manufacture: 2009
      Manufacturer's List weight: 14 oz (400 g)
      Actual Weight: 14.5 oz (410 g)
      Size Tested: 20 in x 72 in x 2.5 in (51 cm x 183 cm x 6 cm)
      MSRP: $149.95 US

      PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

      The NeoAir is a bright yellow (silver underneath) inflatable mattress
      pad from Therm-a-rest's "Fast & Light Series" that is inflated by
      blowing air into the chambers. The material is nylon on both sides
      with a very thin grippy feel and a crinkly sound that is the size of a
      one liter bottle when rolled up. The silver side of the mattress is a
      reflective barrier that returns warmth to the body and claims to keep
      one three times warmer than insulated mattresses. The air chambers
      run horizontal across the pad thus providing a stable sleep surface.
      It comes with a generic set of instructions that is for all Therm-a-
      rests but also includes a "NeoAir Mattress Pro Tips" sheet. The valve
      is made of plastic that opens and closes by turning it.


      NeoAir as
      packaged Size comparison to a 1
      liter bottle

      Top view Silver
      bottom for heat reflection

      INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

      I immediately noticed how light and delicate the material feels making
      me wonder about its durability. The color is quite bright but in the
      dark with a sleeping bag on top of it, it is obviously not
      noticeable. The size of the pad when folded into thirds and rolled up
      is indeed the size of a one liter bottle. I like how the surface feel
      has a grip and hope that it will cure one of my problems with other
      pads which is to start out sleeping in one spot in the tent and waking
      up in another after sliding off the pad or having the pad slide
      around. I have owned a few sleeping pads and all have come with stuff
      sacks and repair kit but this pad did not. They are sold separately,
      increasing the price more.

      FIELD TESTING

      The field testing locations were Joshua Tree National Park, San
      Bernardino National Forest and the Eastern Sierra's all in California
      with a total of fourteen nights using the NeoAir.

      Night time temperatures ranged from 28 F to 50s F (-2 C to 10 C)
      Elevation camping locations ranged from 3700 ft. (1100 m) to 10500 ft
      (3200 m)
      Conditions ranged from clear skies to very light rain
      Sleeping bag rating-15 F (-9 C) used all nights

      Nights Used:
      Joshua Tree National Park-2
      San Bernardino National Forest-2
      Eastern Sierras in California-10

      FIELD IMPRESSIONS

      The first trip to Joshua Tree National Park had a camping elevation of
      3700 ft (1100 m) and temperatures of 34 F to 85 F (1 C to 29 C). It
      was a 2.5 mi (4 km) pack in but since we had to carry all of our water
      for the weekend I was glad for any weight savings I could get
      including the lighter weight of this new sleeping pad. We set up
      camp and I got the NeoAir inflated all the way. After a 2 1/2 hr day
      hike we returned and I remembered that Therm-a-rest recommended not
      inflating the pad all the way if the temperatures were warm. I headed
      to the tent and promptly let some air out and although it sat there
      for a while fully inflated, the pad was fine. I crawled in for a
      while before dinner and noticed that when I sat on it or moved around,
      it had a somewhat noisy crinkling sound. I didn't think it would pose
      an issue for me since I camp solo but it might if I was to share a
      tent. That night I left the pad inflated as it was after I had let
      some air out and it was perfectly comfortable. The noise when I would
      toss and turn (which is normal for me) did not affect me at all but I
      do wear earplugs so that might have been a factor. With other
      sleeping pads I have always had a problem with sliding on the pad when
      the surface was not level (which was most of the time). I had no
      problems with this pad as the air chambers run side to side and not
      lengthwise and has a surface with some grip to it. The temperature
      dropped to 34 F (1 C) and with a 15 F (-9 C) bag, I was very warm.
      My experience this trip was a very comfortable, warm night sleep and I
      woke up in the same spot I fell asleep in.

      The trip to the San Bernardino National Forest was a two night
      backpacking trip. The camping elevation was 9000 ft (2700 m) with
      temperature ranges of 50s F to 70s F (10 D to 21 C). I used my solo
      tent and the pad fit inside very well with about 12 in (30 cm) of room
      to spare at the foot area. After unrolling and unfolding the pad, I
      blew air into the valve stem and it was inflated in under a minute.
      The location I camped in was prime real estate so there were no issues
      with an uneven surface and I was careful to remove any rocks and twigs.

      After playing "show and tell" with other light weight backpackers on
      the trip, I was pleased to find out that not only was my pad the
      lightest but I had a nice air mattress to cushion me at night. Since
      the morning temperatures were in the low 50s F (10 C) I had no
      problems staying warm. The pad was comfortable and I was able to toss
      and turn (normal for me) without falling off. I never noticed any
      noise issue with the material used, but my earplugs were in.

      When I got up on the second morning (time to pack out) I loosened the
      valve to allow the pad to deflate before rolling it up. When I was
      ready to pack up, I rolled it up unfolded, pushing most of the air out
      of the valve and then folded it in half, re rolling it again. After I
      got done I closed up the valve and put it into my stuff sack. I have
      found that deflating and rolling up the pad is very easy and quick.
      Since the material of the pad is thin and there is no reinforced
      material around the stem area I am careful to pack the pad in such a
      way that the valve area is protected from possible damage in the
      pack. The photo below shows the pad inside of my tent.




      Neoair
      inside of my solo tent

      The next trip was to the Eastern Sierras near Lone Pine, California
      camping at an elevation of 10200 ft (3100 m) and a temperature range
      of the high 40s F (8 C) in the morning to 70s F (21 C) during the
      day. I have camped here a few times and somehow always seem to pick
      the same spot. It is a camping spot with a noticeable slant downhill
      but thought it would be a good test for the pad to see if I stayed in
      the same spot all night. I had my solo tent shown above and although
      it has limited room still has enough room for the pad to move around.

      I am a side sleeper with those female wide hips and have noticed that
      if I inflate the pad all the way up I do not feel any of the ground
      underneath but that also provides a firmer surface. Letting a little
      air out will allow more of a contour for me but then I feel the ground
      slightly at my hip area sleeping on my side. Either of these methods,
      however, are still comfortable for me. The amount of slippage that I
      experienced, considering the slant of the tent surface, was very
      minimal. I would wake up with a little more of my feet off the mat
      but nothing too noticeable. The pad itself moved a little to the side
      but once again, not noticeable enough to require me to move it back
      during the night. After fully inflating the pad, I have never had any
      air leak out from either the pad area or valve.

      So far, I have never had a cold nights sleep on this pad and this trip
      was no exception. The crinkly sound of the pad when I sit on it has
      not been a problem and I really don't notice it anymore.

      When I got home from the trip I unrolled it, opened the valve and let
      it set for a few days to air and dry out from my breath moisture
      inflating it. It does inflate enough with just the valve open to
      separate the top from the bottom thus allowing the inside to dry out
      better.

      The next trip was also in the Eastern Sierra's near Bishop,
      California. The camping elevation was 10500 ft (3200 m) with a low
      temperature of 28 F (-2 C). The weather was clear and sunny. The
      best camping spot I could find had about four raised tufts of grass
      approximately 10 in (25 cm) in diameter on the dirt ground. I knew
      that the nights sleep could be an interesting experience as there
      wasn't one flat spot under the tent where the pad would be. I was
      very surprised to find that the pad compensated for the uneven surface
      and I never really noticed the raised tufts.

      During the day, the sun was causing the inside of the tent to heat up
      so I kept the pad slightly deflated per the instructions of the
      manufacturer. I slept with the pad that way, as well, as I have found
      it conforms better for me when sleeping on my side. I did notice that
      I woke up a bit cold as the temperature dropped to 28 F (-2 C). I
      slept in the same micro weight wool long johns that I normally do so
      my body temperature might have improved if I had put on more clothes.
      I have slept cold at that temperature using an insulated pad in the
      past so I'm not sure that this experience is a failure of the pad's
      heat conducting abilities.

      Since then I have spent another five nights using the NeoAir pad with
      low temperatures of 28 F to 46 F (-2 C to 8 C). The low temperature
      did not cause me to wake up cold this time but I would attribute this
      to the inconsistency of the human internal thermostat than to and
      inconsistency of the NeoAir. It has remained comfortable, warm,
      durable and has provided a stable nights sleep.


      SUMMARY

      I have used this pad for fourteen nights and have found it to be very
      comfortable. I have slept warm down to temperatures of 28 F (-2 C)
      and have enjoyed the fact that I wake up in the same spot that I fall
      asleep due to its surface grip and horizontal air chambers. It has
      not developed any leaks yet and seems to be fairly durable even with
      the thinner material used. The crinkly sound if makes when sitting
      or laying on it has not been an issue for me. It is very easy and
      quick to inflate and deflate but I think for the price, the
      manufacturer could include a repair kit and stuff sack. All things
      considered, I would recommend this product.

      THINGS I LIKE

      Lightweight
      Comfortable on less than ideal camping surfaces
      Small packed size
      Easy to pack up

      THINGS I DON'T LIKE

      Expensive
      No stuff sack or repair kit included
      Bright yellow color



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