NEMO Astro Air Lite 20R

1 review
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1-star:   0



The Nemo Astro Air Lite 20R is a compact, lightweight,…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample provided by Nemo for testing and review)


The Nemo Astro Air Lite 20R is a compact, lightweight, well-designed backcountry mattress. A great choice for those minimalist warm weather trips without sacrificing comfort. If you don’t need the extra weight of an insulated pad, this pad is a great choice.


  • Stable
  • Comfortable
  • 3 inches of cushion
  • easy to inflate and deflate
  • very high comfort to weight ratio


  • not insulated
  • limited temp range

Years ago, when I first began my backpacking adventures I did not use a sleeping pad. I would make do with just my sleeping bag on my tent floor. Then one day I read an article about sleeping pads, and purchased an inexpensive closed cell foam model. I found that it made a drastic difference in warmth and comfort and I was much better rested.

Since then I have used various closed cell foam pads, and self-inflating foam mattresses. With each upgrade I experienced a real improvement in warmth and comfort. Now I have had the opportunity to test the new Nemo Air Lite 20 R sleeping pad and have found it to provide great comfort and stability.     

As you can see below, I have room to spare on the 72” pad.  I am 5’9” and the pad supports my 200 lb frame quite nicely. 


The mattress, when inflated, is true to its 72 x 20 x 3 inch dimensions. The packed dimensions are a diminutive 10 ½ inches long by 3 inches in diameter. The super compact size allows many packing options.

You can store it on the outside of your pack, rolling it up like the more traditional sleeping pads. You could fold and roll it as seen in the photo below and basically stuff it anywhere on or in your pack where there is space. You could roll it up, and omit the stuff sack and use only the retention strap provided by Nemo, thus omitting the weight of the stuff sack.

I prefer to use the strap and the stuff sack together and store my pad inside my pack. The pad, stuff sack and strap weigh 14 oz.


The mattress comes with a basic repair kit, glue, patches, stuff sack, and strap. The hook and loop strap holds the deflated mattress tightly when rolled up. Using this strap, ounce counters could leave the stuff sack at home as an option. There is an elevated baffle at the top of the pad providing extra cushion for the head.

Packed size is very small. Nemo claims 8"x3", but my measurements after repacking came out to 101/2" x 3".  I suppose with extra effort you could pack it down to factory size. The pad fits easily in the stuff sack.   




The fabric is called Air Lock Elite Laminate. Nemo claims it maximizes strength and durability while being the lightest possible option. For me I was confident to put the pad on the ground with a silnylon sheet underneath.  One could probably, with some care avoiding sharp sticks and rocks, use this pad directly on the ground without a lot of worry. 

Comfort and Performance:

I counted 14 breaths to fill this mattress. I have inflated and deflated the mattress multiple times and it consistently requires 14 breaths from my lungs to fill it. Other users may vary in their inflation efforts, but mine were consistent. 

The inflation valve makes it easy to pause between breaths without letting air escape. The valve has a push-pull action for filling, then a twist will lock in place for inflating and deflating. For those who prefer using a pump,  one could employ Nemo’s Disco Pad Pump and save the lungs.   

I am 5’9” and I weigh about 200 lbs. When side sleeping, the mattress conformed nicely to my body contours and supported me well off the ground enhancing comfort. There were no pressure points or instability issues when back or stomach sleeping.

I especially liked the elevated pillow at the head of the mattress. While not a full pillow, the extra volume there helped enhance my improvised stuff sack pillow. The mattress stayed flat, not curling around my body.

For the three nights sleeping on it during a 40 mile backpacking trip, the nightly temps were in the upper 50’s low 60’s F. Nemo’s stability claims are valid and the mattress is stable and comfortable when properly inflated.  I noticed that I woke up in the morning feeling no soreness from pressure points at my shoulders and hips. When comparing it to my 1” self-inflaters and foam pads, the Nemo pad is more comfortable to me. I prefer the extra 2” of cushion over the other pads I own and how it elevates me off the ground.

I also noted that the pad is resistant to slipping, and I had no issues staying on it with my synthetic summer weight sleeping bag. The pad stayed in place on my slick silnylon tent floor.

Note that there is no insulation installed in the mattress, therefore it is rated for warm weather only. Nemo recommends that the Astro Air Lite 20R comfort limit is about 35 degrees F, but I do not believe I could stay comfortable on it in these temps. I would be comfortable using this mattress in the warmest weather down to about 50 degrees F. In fact, my tests during nights in the upper fifties had me sleeping cool and comfortable. If it were any cooler, I am certain I would feel the chill. 

The larger baffle at the head is a nice feature as seen in this view.


Top view of the pillow baffle and air valve. 

Nemo Astro Air Lite 20R in the tent.


Excellent review, Joe. It looks comfy (but not enough to give up my hammock!).

3 months ago

interesting you said that Goose. I received this just before my Uwharrie trip. I normally give up my tent this time of year for my hammock. I decided this trip was a great opportunity to test the pad, and to test the pad, I needed to use the tent. It all worked out in the end. Thanks for your help and feedback.

3 months ago

Thanks for your review soleful!

3 months ago

Nice review, Joe!

30 days ago

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Retailers' Descriptions

Here's what other sites are saying:

Ultra-light, ultra-packable nad deceptively comfortable, the new Astro Air Lite from Nemo is the lightest air inflatable pad in their line. A breezy 6 ounces lighter than the original Astro series backpacking pads. The Astro Air Lite marries the hyperlight fabrics found on the Zor minimalist pads with a plush three inches of shoulder saving loft. A raised pillow baffle offers stability, support and side sleeping comfort.


Sure, the NEMO Astro Lite Sleeping Pad is lightweight, but it's also comfortable, durable and designed to offer a great nights sleep. Generous 2.5" thickness 20D Polyester Ultralight Airlock Elite(TM) is sourced for its durability and compress-ability Raised portion at the head end to supplement your pillow Horizontal baffles run perpendicular to your arms and legs, making their contours barely noticeable Recommended for spring and summer use; minimum temperature zone between 35deg to 45deg F (2deg to 7degC) Includes stuff sack, compression strap, and repair patches

- OMCgear

Ultra-light, ultra-packable and deceptively comfortable, the new Astro(TM) Lite 20R models are the lightest air inflatable pads in NEMO's line, a breezy six ounces lighter than the original Astro(TM) series backpacking pads. The Astro(TM) Air Lite and Astro(TM) Insulated Lite models marry the hyperlight fabrics found on Zor(TM) minimalist pads with a plush three inches of shoulder saving loft. A raised pillow baffle offers stability, support and side sleeping comfort. The Insulated model has a layer of PrimaLoft(R) insulation built in for protection against cold or hot ground. The Astro(TM) Lite 20R series include a stuff sack, compression strap, and repair patches. Pairs with our award-winning Pillowtops(TM) for unbeatable comfort. Specifications Minimum Weight 14 oz / 405 g Minimum Temp. Zone 35 to 45F / 2 to 7C Shape Rectangular Width 20 in / 51 cm Length 72 in / 183 cm Thickness 3 in / 8 cm Packed Size 8 x 3 in dia / 20 x 8 cm dia Fabric 20D Polyester Color Elite Yellow

- Mountains Plus

Nemo Equipment Inc. took its tiniest, lightest sleeping pad and made it even lighter with the Astro Air Lite Sleeping Pad to appease the most minimalist backpackers out there. Even though the pad is lighter, the designers at Nemo were able to make it a half inch thicker than the standard Astro in order to ensure you don't feel the ground while you sleep, and it still packs down smaller than the original Astro despite its thicker size. This amazing design is due to the Airlock Elite fabric that holds strong welds without wasting an ounce. The lateral baffles prevent the sides from curving around your body uncomfortably. And this pad comes with a stuff sack so you can stay as minimal as you like while you backpack and still stay completely comfortable. You can blow the Astro Air Light up yourself, or you can use the Disco Pad Pump (sold separately).


The 14 oz. NEMO Astro(TM) Air Lite Sleeping Pad offers plush 2.5 in. thickness, with horizontal baffles and a raised baffle at the head to supplement your pillow when you're backpacking. Pad features 2.5 in. baffled air chambers that evenly distribute weight; horizontal baffles create a flat sleeping surface and eliminate any bouncy feel. Pillow baffle at the head end is oversize to provide extra loft under your head and prevents your camp pillow from sliding off the end of the pad. Integrated single valve for quick deflation/inflation. Featherlight 20-denier polyester fabric is airtight and engineered to hold strong welds while shaving serious weight. NEMO Astro Air Lite Sleeping Pad includes a stuff sack, compression strap and repair kit.