Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Camper
Where to Buy
The cushy and economical 3.5 season NeoAir answer…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $90
The cushy and economical 3.5 season NeoAir answer for the average camper!
It is not always about the lightest and quickest for me...and certainly not for many people who enjoy staying overnight outdoors. For this reason I have been trying to review gear that is not specifically for the ultralight big and fast mile super-hikers out there...because the best gear for the average camper is not always the same as it is for ultralight super-hikers. Often more durable gear can be purchased for significantly less...at a cost of only a few ounces.
The Camper is the NeoAir answer for those who want to keep things relatively light and compact...but don't mind an extra ounce or two of comfort and durability. The full size is a dream for tummy sleepers (I am one)...and many side sleepers who are bothered by the small foot space on a lot of the trimmed lighter sleeping pads.
The Camper boast an impressive 3 inches of cushion and insulation...which I have been told on many occasions eliminates most of the pressure on the hips..and when used in conjunction with a bivvy bag the Camper keeps me warm in temps below freezing.
Thermarest is easily the most trusted name in sleeping pads...and though there are many pads out there which are just as good...possibly even better...the Thermarest reputation promises many trouble-free years of use (I still have my original Thermarest).
I abuse the crap out of my sleeping pads...in dry conditions I am just as likely to put the pad out on a boulder or other hard surface covered with little sharp stones and vegetation so I can have a comfy seat around the fire...as I am the floor of a tent...and I have never had an issue with any of my Thermarest products (I don't recommend this degree of abuse...and I do carry a repair kit).
I've heard tales of the valves going bad...but never had one actually fail on me...or actually seen a bad valve on another...so my guess is that it is not as commonplace as reviews might have us think.
The only thing I really dislike about the Camper...is like the other Neo-Air pads...they can be a bit noisy. This is such a minor complaint that it is hardly worth mentioning...but you can hear someone rolling out of bed on this pad from several feet away.
The other complaint I might have is also not really a complaint...but more of a warning...if you hate blowing things up the Camper takes several more puffs of air to fully inflate (which I rarely do). Before you think about getting this pad...decide whether a little noise + a few extra puffs of air is worth the added comfort and warmth that his pad brings in such a light and compact package.
In short...the Camper is a sleeping pad that will get the average hiker or camper through all but the most demanding of situations. If your hiking dry trails with long stretches between resupply and every ounce counts...I would look at the lighter trimmed Ne-Air pads...and if you plan on sleeping in temps 20 or more degrees below freezing...then you will need to bring some extra insulation to ensure that you are well protected from the ground...but for the average hiker and camper the Neo-Air Camper is a more comfortable + durable + economical version of the popular Neo-Air sleeping pad and worthy of consideration.