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NEMO Tensor Ultralight Insulated

rated 3.5 of 5 stars
photo: NEMO Tensor Ultralight Insulated air-filled sleeping pad

Excellent weight, excellent R-value, excellent thickness, but noisy and not very comfortable in some positions


  • Weight
  • Warmth/R-Value
  • Thickness


  • Noisy
  • Doesn't equally distribute weight well
  • Slightly obtrusive air valve

For two years I had the Sea to Summit Insulated comfort pad and loved it except that I continually had issues with it losing air overnight with two different pads. So I decided to try out this Nemo Tensor Insulated 20 pad. I've only had it a few months and honestly I don't think I'll keep it. I want to love it, but my gut feeling doesn't.

I want to love it for these reasons. The weight is among the lightest I've found at only 13.5oz. The thickness is among the thickest I've found at 3". The insulated warmth is great, but they don't say what it is anywhere. My experienced guess is that it's around 3.5 R-value, but that's just an estimate. It rolls up small, comes with a velcro strap, bag, and patching kit.

However, the main reason, that this pad doesn't please me is the way it doesn't distribute weight equally. For example, if while in your tent, you sit up, then your butt is directly on the cold, hard ground. This may not be supper surprising since it's a lot of weight (but my Sea to Summit wasn't like that). But what is annoying is that I slept on my side a lot and I move around a lot. When sleeping on my side, my hip has barley any clearance and if I shift my weight at all, my hip will hit the ground.

Another few reasons I'm not a big fan are smaller reasons, but reasons nonetheless. In order of annoyance, the pad is fairly noisy. Both the material as well as the insulation inside are noisy. Secondly, I wish the valve was a bit more discrete because it sticks out when the pad is rolled up. Thirdly, it seems interior moisture and mold prone. I have to be very intentionally about trying to get it aired out after a trip because it builds up a lot of moisture inside. Not sure why other pad I've had and used don't have as big and issue as this one. 

Overall, by no means would I call this a poor quality pad! It is a great pad, but it has just one or two details that, for me, make me want to switch it out with something else and just put up with a pad that is slightly heavier.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $149

Very comfortable for sleepers who roll or side sleep, and super lightweight and compact.


  • Comfort from the 2.5-3 inch depth is awesome
  • Easy to deflate and roll back up in stuff sack
  • 25" wide version keeps entire body off the ground
  • Quiet


  • Should come with a pump sac
  • Slides on the tent floor easily

So I have had the Tensor for a month now and had it out a variety of times in mostly colder temperature weather. 

Features that I find work very well are the textured design or lack thereof. The mostly flat surface with dimples removes low or dipping points in the pad and creates a consistent feel under you. I felt well supported no matter what sleeping position I was in.

The 25" version was a deal maker for me as I like my arms to stay off the ground and I am a side, back, and stomach sleeper, so the Tensor was one of the few that made a 25° wide in a regular length.

The construction of the Tensor is cherry. I have had zero issues with any defects, leaks, etc. And let me state it's quiet. I tried many in the stores and sound issues were noticeable on several models of other brands. This one is very quiet when you're moving on it.

I would suggest if you're sleeping on a less than flat surfaces that some small silicone drops be applied to the bottom to avoid the pad sliding in your tent. Its not a huge deal but I did have this happen as in the Virginia area there is little flat surface so I was always on a bit of an incline and would slide throughout the night towards one end of the tent. 

Overall I would suggest this pad. I am planning on buying another for my wife and using the Feathered Friends Condor Groundsheet to bring them together and then a quilt zipped to the sheet. 

YT review:

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $135

Very lightweight, roomy, with great insulation properties.


  • Lightweight
  • Very packable, small size when packed
  • No crinkle noise!
  • super comfortable


  • Air intake nozzle close to your head space

This Nemo Tensor is a super lightweight sleeping pad, and very comfortable. I, like most of us, have been through a few different pads. I'm 5'7", 115 pounds, and need a well insulated pad as I'm a cold sleeper and also have very little body fat, so a simple foam sheet doesn't work for me. 

This is well constructed and fills fairly easily. I've used it twice: the last was a four-day, three-night backpacking trip to San Rafael Wilderness area above Santa Barbara, Calif. Temps only in the low 50's, and worked great! I last used the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Max: excellent insulation at R5.6, but just not enough room for a 20 width and still too crinkly for me. 

The Nemo avoids that problem with a different baffle design, and weighs about the same, at a 25 width. Loving it!!

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $125

I liked it, but ultimately returned it due to the temp rating. I found it cold below 30 degrees.


  • Lightweight
  • Good size
  • Comfortable
  • Relatively quiet given the construction


  • Temp rating was optimistic, at least for me.

I really liked the comfort and size, and it takes up a lot less pack space than my Therm-a-Rest. It was quieter than I would have expected and it worked well for me in October conditions, but for winter camping it didn't really cut it. With a down bag, it was cold for me under 30 degrees.  

Source: bought it new

Great pad in terms of weight and comfort, but it quickly developed a slow leak. Several emails to Nemo went unanswered. So much for the lifetime warranty.


  • Weight
  • Comfort.


  • Fragile
  • Poor warranty coverage


I've had many inflatable pads. They all leak eventually, but this was quick (within a few months of regular but very careful use), and, worst part, the warranty was not honored.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: About $200

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Price Current Retail: $114.74-$229.99
Historic Range: $72.97-$229.99
Reviewers Paid: $125.00-$149.00
Climate All-Season
R-Value 4.2
Minimum Weight 9 oz / 265 g 14 oz / 410 g 15 oz / 425 g 1 lb 3 oz / 540 g 1 lb 5 oz / 595 g
Packed Weight 12 oz / 345 g 1 lb 1 oz / 490 g 1 lb 2 oz / 505 g 1 lb 6 oz / 620 g 1 lb 8 oz / 675 g
Packed Size 8 x 2.5 in / 20 x 6.5 cm 8 x 3 in / 20 x 7.5 cm 8 x 3 in / 20 x 8 cm 9.5 x 3.5 in / 24 x 8.5 cm 9.5 x 3.5 in / 24 x 9 cm
Thickness 3 in
Dimensions 48 x 20 x 3.0 in / 122 x 51 x 8 cm 72 x 20 x 3.0 in / 183 x 51 x 8 cm 72 x 20 x 3.0 in / 183 x 51 x 8 cm 72 x 25 x 3.0 in / 183 x 64 x 8 cm 76 x 25 x 3.0 in / 193 x 64 x 8 cm
Product Details from NEMO »

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