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NEMO TUO Standard

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I put much more emphasis on sleeping comfort when…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Price Paid: On loan from NEMO

I put much more emphasis on sleeping comfort when I’m in the outdoors these days. Partly, that’s because most of my trips are considerably longer. As well, I think I’m a bit wiser. Or maybe it’s just that my back is a bit older.

When I first began backpacking, inflatable air mattresses were the norm. They were cold, slippery, and prone to puncture. Closed cell foam was next in the kit, but though it insulated well, it was bulky. On my climbing adventures, sitting on a one foot square piece of Ensolite on a tiny ledge was never comfortable.

The revolution came with the combination of the two methods, a sleeping pad that incorporated air, as well as closed cell foam.

On a fall trip into British Columbia's Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit, I had the pleasure to test NEMO Equipment's sleeping pad system. Fall trips in the north have welcome advantages. The bugs are gone, and the crowds have dispersed. Fall colors, especially in areas with lots of deciduous trees, are vibrant. However, the days are short, leaving long nights to ponder the meaning of life.

My paddling friend Neil and I were canoeing the well known circuit as the temperature began dropping into the low teens at night. I was not concerned that the pad that NEMO had loaned me would be serviceable. At 1 1/2 inches thick, I knew it had to be at least as comfortable as my Therm-a-rest of the same thickness.

The difference with NEMO’s new Tuo sleeping pad, is that it incorporates two separate air chambers. The first inflates the pad just like a regular inflatable sleeping pad. But here’s where they’ve added an additional element. There is a second chamber that can be inflated to your individual comfort level. So while you can inflate the base layer firm for protection from rocks and roots, you can inflate the second layer, to your, well, as Lindsay Wagner might say, your “sleep number”.

On a pad so thin, you might think that such a system would not make much difference. However, I found that it gave some of the more comfortable sleeps I’ve had in the bush, not withstanding the cold temperatures.

A further advantage of the system, is the redundancy of the two chambers. With decades of experience in the outdoors, several times I’ve awoken in the middle of the night to find myself with a deflated sleeping pad, courtesy of a stick, rock, or wear. The Tuo’s dual chambers won’t eliminate that possibility entirely, but they will reduce the risk.

The standard size Tuo pad I tested compressed into bundle that is comparable to other pads of the same size and thickness.

As with the other product I tested on this trip, NEMO’s Morpho AR tent, I found the design and workmanship of the Tuo to be of high quality.

As an expedition canoeist, I often myself camping on cobbled beaches in Canada’s north.

NEMO makes a Tuo that is more than 2 inches thick. When weight (an extra 1 1/2 lbs.) is not an issue, this “Luxury” model may just find its way into my canoe pack for my next trip north. But for backpacking and skiing trips, the NEMO standard is luxury enough.

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