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OR - Therm-a-Rest NeoAir - L Pontious

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  • Lori
    This has been sitting on the hard drive long enough! html: http://tinyurl.com/7ho6b2t text: THERM-A-REST NEOAIR MATTRESS By Lori Pontious OWNER REVIEW November
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 9, 2011
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      This has been sitting on the hard drive long enough!

      html: http://tinyurl.com/7ho6b2t


      By Lori Pontious

      November 9, 2011

      Tester Information

      NAME: Lori Pontious
      EMAIL: lori.pontious (at) gmail.com
      AGE: 44
      LOCATION: Fresno County, California, USA
      GENDER: F
      HEIGHT: 5'7" (1.7 m)
      WEIGHT: 165 lb (75 kg)

      I backpacked, camped and fished all over the lower 48 states with my
      family as a kid, and then life happened. I restarted these activities
      about five years ago - I dayhike or backpack 2-6 times a month. I am
      between light and ultralight. I have a hammock system and own a
      Tarptent. I am a side sleeper and typically use a NeoAir on the
      ground. My base weight depends upon season and where I go.
      Product information

      Manufacturer: Cascade Designs, Inc.
      Manufacturer URL: cascadedesigns.com/therm-a-rest
      Size: Medium
      Dimensions: 66 in (168 cm) long
      20 in (51 cm) wide
      2.5 in (6.35 cm) thick
      Listed Weight: 13 oz (369 g)
      Actual weight: 12.3 oz (349 g)
      MSRP: US $139.95

      Product Description
      The bottom of the NeoAir is silver, the top a light greenish-yellow
      called "limon." The R value is listed as 2.5. The mattress is
      constructed entirely of nylon, with a core of nylon/PU, and is made
      in Seattle, Washington. It does not come with a stuff sack or repair
      kit. The NeoAir is described as having a Triangular Core Matrix to
      provide stability, and uses a reflective barrier for warmth instead
      of insulation.

      image 1

      Image courtesy Cascade Designs

      As someone who has used a variety of pads and mattresses in the past
      with mixed results, I initially purchased the NeoAir with some
      skepticism, but remember noting that it is indeed light and quite
      thin when uninflated. Questions came to mind about warmth and
      durability. How would this be any more comfortable to me than an
      uninsulated pool mattress? Warmth is as important to me as cushion,
      after all. As a lightweight backpacker I have struggled with comfort
      versus weight, sleep versus long wakeful nights staring at the
      underside of a tarp or tent fly, waiting for dawn to come. I bought a
      NeoAir fully expecting another dismal experience with a sleeping pad.
      My expectations were influenced by reviews I read online, but the
      possibility of a light, compact sleeping pad that might keep my bony
      parts off the hard, cold ground was too much for me to resist.

      Inflating the mattress and trying it out on the floor, I quickly
      found that it was quite comfortable, though less so when fully
      inflated. The thickness gives it a notable drop if part of the body
      happens to stray from the narrow mattress to the ground.


      Since the initial purchase in fall of 2008, I have used the NeoAir,
      or loaned it to others, for at least 1-5 nights per month.

      Elevation range: Sea level to 11,000 ft (3353 m)

      Terrain: Low elevation scrub, sand, granite, sub-alpine and alpine
      regions on duff or sparse grassy fields.

      Temperature Range: 20 - 60 F (7 - 16 C)

      Locations: Henry Coe State Park, Morgan Hill, California
      Ventana and Sespe Wildernesses in Los Padres National Forest, California
      Point Reyes National Seashore, California
      Yosemite National Park, California
      Sequoia National Park, California
      Ansel Adams Wilderness, California
      Pinnacles National Monument, California
      John Muir Wilderness, California
      Dinkey Wilderness, California
      Kaiser Wilderness, California
      Sierra National Forest, California
      Samuel P Taylor State Park, California

      My use of the NeoAir has been more or less ongoing, and I have put it
      inside my hammock as well as on the ground. I have always used at
      least a ground sheet underneath, sometimes a thin torso length foam
      pad, sometimes a tent floor. For additional length I have
      successfully used my backpack under my feet. All my uses of the
      NeoAir have been with a top quilt rather than a sleeping bag. At
      first, I felt I needed to take extra care with the NeoAir, thinking
      it would be less durable than other air mattresses or pads, but as it
      became a regular part of my three season gear list I became less
      concerned and used it in the same manner I would any other inflatable
      backpacking pad.

      image 2

      at Pat Springs in Ventana Wilderness
      Although after reading many bad reviews I expected to be annoyed by
      noise, I have never noticed that problem with the NeoAir. I expect
      any pad or mattress, when in use with a person moving around on it
      while on a tent floor or ground sheet, to generate some sound. The
      NeoAir made no more and no less noise than other air mattresses or
      self inflating pads I have had. Once accustomed to the texture of the
      mattress, I was not bothered by sleeping directly on the nylon,
      either. (I typically wear a base layer while sleeping.) The texture
      of the mattress surface is not smooth and does not tend to slip on
      the floor of the tent. I have, however, awakened to find that my
      tossing and turning while asleep has walked the mattress slightly
      askew of where I started, but this has happened with other pads as
      well so I accept this as a quirk of mine.

      image 3

      setting up for a frosty, cold night in Poverty Flat campsite in Henry
      Coe State Park
      I did not mind that the NeoAir did not come with a stuff sack. It
      fits perfectly in one that I already had. I have also used a plastic
      bag, or stuffed it into a waterproof stuff sack with my quilt; my
      concern has been only for pack wear on the mattress. Most of the
      rolled mattress will fit in a quart size storage bag. To store the
      mattress, I deflate it by rolling it up, then unroll it and fold it
      in thirds, approximately, before tightly rolling the NeoAir to stuff
      in whatever storage I am using. For a repair kit, I take a small tube
      of silicon and some nylon patches, which will work on my tarp, tent
      fly, or any other nylon gear that I have, including the NeoAir - so I
      did not mind that the mattress didn't have a repair kit, either.

      As to durability, I have yet to experience a leak. I've managed to
      stain the foot end of the pad - there are a few red streaks, possibly
      from decomposing tree/plant matter, as nothing in my gear is that
      color nor prone to the colors rubbing off on anything else. I have
      not babied the NeoAir and once did not bother with a ground sheet,
      simply dropped the inflated mattress on the sand. The NeoAir has gone
      into and out of my Search and Rescue pack on many occasions and has
      seen use in some unusual places, such as a granite slab (with
      groundsheet in place) in a day use area, or the living room of a friend.

      When inflating the NeoAir, I rarely fill it to full - I find it most
      comfortable with some give in the mattress surface. In daytime when
      leaving the NeoAir in a tent, I let even more air out to avoid the
      increase in air pressure that a heated mattress would experience; the
      instructions warn that the NeoAir shouldn't be left in the sun while
      full. While the NeoAir is in use at night, I have not noticed
      increase or decrease in inflation due to temperature. It doesn't take
      more than a few minutes for the heat of my body to warm the mattress
      surface when I turn in for the night. When using it in the hammock I
      inflate the NeoAir to about half full, and do not notice a dropoff in
      performance even then. In the hammock I do use a foam pad across the
      shoulders, but this is because the hammock encloses me and I need
      some extra width to block air currents that pass through the uncoated
      nylon of the hammock.

      The usual temperature range at night for my outings tends to be 30 -
      40 F (-1 - 4 C) when in the mountains, though there are can be a drop
      in temperature at high elevation that wasn't anticipated. On three
      occasions a trip started out with anticipated above-freezing
      temperatures and the final night plunged below freezing. One morning
      we woke to a dusting of snow on everything, and as I crawled out of
      my quilt it registered for the first time just how cold it had
      gotten. While I would not deliberately tempt fate by taking the
      NeoAir out when it's expected to be colder than it is rated to
      handle, I have yet to experience a chill while using the mattress
      while using it in spring, summer or fall.


      I have had no leaks, no issues being cold despite temperatures
      plunging below freezing, and no excessive noise. The mattress
      continues to hold air and has withstood many inflate/deflate/roll/
      store cycles. I wish that a wider one were available, as I have never
      liked narrow sleeping pads and the vast majority are only 20" (51 cm)
      wide. The very largest model of NeoAir is 25" (64 cm) wide, but I do
      not need such a long pad - the medium is just the right length for
      me. In all other respects, the NeoAir has been a very pleasant
      surprise, providing light, compact comfort in a mattress that seems
      to defy physics. Were I to find the NeoAir beyond repair, I would
      replace it with the same air mattress (or possibly upgrade to the
      four season version) without reservation.

      * rolls up small, as advertised
      * warm under normal three season conditions
      * provides good cushion
      * still only 20" (51 cm) wide unless you get the largest size
    • Jamie D.
      PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT! Thanks for your Owner s Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 12, 2011
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        Thanks for your Owner's Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an Edit Moderator soon. If you are new to BackpackGearTest.org, welcome to the community! The Editors will work with you, within their own time constraints, to get your first two Owner Reviews approved and upload in a timely manner. Do not worry if nothing happens with it for several days. All our Editors are volunteers and your report will be subject to an official edit within fourteen days. If you have not had a response from an Edit Moderator via the Yahoo Groups list within this timeframe, please let me know directly at jdeben(at)hotmail.com

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