User Review: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir
Price Paid: $149
A wonderful, small, light and thick air mattress that can be a little tricky.
I sleep badly in the backcountry. I wish I didn't, but I do. I'm a side sleeper, too, which means that I always bottomed out even on my old Thermarest.
I read good things about the NeoAir: it's thick, it's less than half the weight of my then-current foam pad (but thicker), it's small. But it's pricey. So I waited for the annual REI dividend and used that on the pad.
I've now used it for most of a hiking season on several overnighters and a weeklong trip. It's done well, but not perfect.
The good bits about the pad:
- When blown up thoroughly, it's thick enough to where I don't bottom out, even when I'm sleeping on my side.
- It's light. I haven't actually weighed it but it is far lighter than my old foam pad. More importantly...
- It's small. When packed up, I can cram it into the sleeping bag compartment on my pack and use the sleeping bag straps for other things.
- It's sticky on top. By which I mean I don't tend to slide off of it and onto cold ground.
- It's really quite warm, I never felt cold spots when fully inflated, which I used to feel on my ancient Thermarest 'ultralites'.
- I have not had any of the durability issues reported by others, but I've only used it inside a tent with a footprint.
The bad bits are:
- It takes a lot more air to inflate than the self-inflating ones (duh), which can be a real pain at 11,000 feet (at least for this sea-level dweller).
- It's not sticky on the bottom and more than once I've awakened in the morning to find that I was on a slope and now the downhill side of the pad has made its own little mountain.
- The cooler the night the more the air seems to condense and the less thickness there is by morning. On slightly chilly nights I HAVE awakened to find that I'm starting to bottom out and the pad is nowhere near as thick as when I started. There's a reason this is not recommended for winter use.
For the weight and space savings, this is a great 2.5 season sleeping pad, and worth the price. I'm not sure if I'd recommend it for nights in the 30's or below.