BY JOSHUA REGAN
April 02, 2010
NAME: Joshua Regan
LOCATION: Lafayette, Louisiana
HEIGHT: 6' 6" (1.98 m)
WEIGHT: 195 lb (88.50 kg)
I grew up camping my whole life, doing several trips with my father a year. We did everything from tent camping to rving. It wasn't until just recently that I was bit by the backpacking bug. It started with a trip to Glacier Mountain National Park and I was hooked. I consider myself a middle-light weight backpacker, being a little bigger allows me to carry a little more which is something that I am willing to accept for the comfortablitiy of extra gear.
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE - "http://www.cascadedesigns.com/Therm-A-Rest"
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MSRP: US$ N/A
Listed Weight: 13 oz (369 g)
Measured Weight: 12.6 oz (356 g)
Listed WxLxH: 20 in x 66 in x 2.5 in ( 51 cm x 168 cm x 6.35 cm)
Actual WxLxH: 20.5 in x 67 in x 2.5 in ( 52 cm x 170 cm x 6.35 cm)
Listed Packed WxL: 9 in x 4 in ( 23 in x 10 in)
Actual Packed WxL: 8 in x 3.25 in ( 20.32 cm x 8.26 cm)
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir is the newest sleeping pad being produced by the Therm-a-Rest. It is the lightest air mattress the company offers. Weighing just 13 oz (Medium), the NeoAir is said to be able to fit into a 1 L water bottle. Aside from the weight factor, it is also said to hold up in colder temperatures because of its reflective barrier core Only coming in one color (bright yellow), the NeoAir is a standout product visually. There is also an internal truss system created by a patent-pending Triangular Core Matrix technology that helps to stabilize the sleeper and keeps him or her comfortably still on the mattress.
The first time I saw the NeoAir, I was intrigued by the size that it was. As a beginning backpacker, I am constantly looking to upgrade to lighter gear based on previous experiences and the NeoAir was right up my alley. I am a taller person and my method before was buying pads to fit my height, but now I tend to go more for lighter weight verses an exact fit. I purchased the medium size NeoAir which measured out to approximately 5' 5" in length. I had previously researched the different sizes in depth to find which would be best for me. I decided to go with the medium as I was more than willing to sacrifice a foot of padding for a smaller pad. While I sacrificed in size, i certainly did not sacrifice in comfortability. I had my doubts about the performance of the NeoAir, as I have been spoiled with my current pad. But considering the NeoAir was 1/3 of the size of my current pad I had to try it.
With in a week of purchasing the NeoAir, I was anxious to try it. In the most hastily prepared for trip I've ever made, a group of friends and I hit the trails at a local park in town. Not being a big park and maybe containing about three miles of trails, the purpose was mainly to test the pads performance. The pad carried like a dream. It could have easily have fit in my nalgene if it weren't for that pesky nozzle. Once we set up camp, we cooked dinner and sat around the fire. Soon enough it was time to get some sleep. I have to admit when inflated, NeoAir seems a little more delicate than I would like a sleeping pad to be. I am not the person to treat his gear rough but I do always expect it to perform with in its limitations. As soon as I laid back on the NeoAir, I was asleep. I had the best sleep I have had in a tent in a long time on this pad. The NeoAir is hands down the best sleeping pad I have ever slept on.
Finally having time to prep a trip, our group headed to Eagle Rock Loop near Oden, AR. One thing that concerned me about this trip was that the temperatures for those particular nights was much lower than my previous experience with the pad. I believe the low for each night was in the mid 30's. The NeoAir impressed me again. I had a 25 degree graded sleeping bag and not to mention that the pad stops around mid shin on me. I stayed comfortably warm and was never chilly at all. The reflective barrier in the NeoAir can certainly perform in chilly conditions.
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir sleeping pad is certainly a step in the right direction for lightweight sleeping gear. The greatest feature of the pad is its most obvious one; its size! Considering it is about the size of a 1 L water bottle when rolled up, it is a wonderful surprise that it also inflates to 2.5 inches thick. Another feature I like on the NeoAir is that it does not slide around in your tent. I have not found any description of this feature on Therm-a-Rest's website but it appears to have a gripping coat on the bottom of the mattress that keeps it in place while you sleep. I tend to move when I sleep and move right off my pad, so this feature i like. One thing that does bother me is the material used for the NeoAir. I understand it must be this way in order to get the pad so light in weight. The ripstop material just seems a little delicate. Certainly, care must be used as not to place the pad on a sharp object as it may not hold up to as much abuse as other pads on the market would. But I have no evidence to challenge the durability, simply concerns about it. The NeoAir does not come with a stuff sack or repair kit upon purchase, which is a little bit of a bummer considering it is one of Therm-a-Rest's most expensive pads. However, a rubberband has suited my needs just fine for the time being. Overall, the NeoAir received a 9 out of 10 from me for being the smallest, most comfortable, and lets face it, coolest sleeping pad I've ever owned
THINGS I LIKE
Several of the features I do like about the NeoAir:
-Compact (one of the smallest pads out there)
-Very easy to pack
-Coating on bottom of pad helps deter sliding
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
A couple things I do not like about the NeoAir are:
-It seems to be easily punctured, however have had no problems yet
-Does not come with a stuff sack
-Does not come with a repair kit
Joshua L. Regan
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