REI AirRail 1.5 Self-Inflating Pad - Unisex



We've owned these for about five years now and would…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $120


We've owned these for about five years now and would do it all over again.


  • Very light for packing area
  • Fits back into storage sack easily, measurably
  • Comfortable for all sleeping positions
  • R factor keeps you warm
  • Quiet material


  • Valves are a bit hard to close/open after five years

With just a few puffs of air, my REI AirRail 1.5 Self-Inflating Pads (tall version to accommodate the 6'4" husband) have been a dream to use when canoeing/portaging in the BWCA, hiking/backpacking, or even in our hunting cabin in WI in November.

These have an insulation factor of R4, so they keep us quite toasty. They self-inflate about 90% before needing a little help to fill the air rails. Love the air rails, they keep me on my pad at night and the raise of the rails vs the sleeping pad gives a cocoon-feel.

I'm 5'8" tall and probably would have been fine with the regular size pad, but we wanted matching ones so it didn't matter which side we get into the tent at night.

The only issue that we have had is the valves have gotten a bit hard to open/close, but there have been no leaks, damage, issues, or regrets with this purchase since day one.


Thanks for the review, EmV! Do you have any pictures of your AirRail pads you could show others in your review?

8 months ago

A decent idea that in practice didn't work for me.

Rating: rated 2.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $89


A decent idea that in practice didn't work for me. The Air Rails only help to keep you on the mat if you have it at close to full inflation, which I never do for comfort.


  • Mostly self inflating
  • Relatively comfortable


  • Air Rails don't work that well
  • Still need to inflate
  • Better and lighter alternatives are out there

A short review of this item as I didn't keep it for long...

I bought this on an unexpected trip out of town to help my 80-year-old parents move. The new place didn't have a lot of room so I ran by REI with the intention of using the pad for a couple of nights and evaluating it as a replacement for my aging REI Lite Core pad, and reducing some weight in my pack while increasing comfort.

In short, the Air Rail is not really any better than my Lite Core so was not worth the money when I have a functional similar pad already.

The self inflating function of this pad is lessened by the rails, which need inflating. I had to blow at least 5 or 6 full breaths into it. Therefore, one of the bonuses of a self inflator is reduced from the outset. 

The air rails seem like a great idea, and may work for someone who fully inflates their sleeping pad. I tend to fully inflate then allow some air to leak out until the pad reaches its maximum comfort. Doing this, the air rails were too soft to make any difference to me and did not prevent me from shifting off the pad. In fact I couldn't even feel them easily when I rolled over. They did feel odd when my arms were on them, but that may change as you get used to it.

I cannot attest to the durability...I returned the pad after two days. It is made of similar material to my Lite Core pad, which has served me well for 10 years and is still in good shape. Plus being self inflating with the foam provides some cushion backup if there is an unrepairable leak. The valve construction is similar to older versions and seems reliable.

I also cannot attest to the insulation this pad provides, as I returned it before any trips. It was easy to get it back into the stuff sack prvoided for it, along with the repair kit.

For a 1.5 inch pad, it is relatively comfortable, but no better than my old one. There are more comfortable lightweight options out there now, which I am evaluating and discussing with experts in the forums, and I will review my eventual replacement pad in the future.


Comfortable air pad. Comfortable pad. I like the air…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: received it as a personal gift


Comfortable air pad.


  • Light
  • Comfortable


  • Little bulky
  • Didn't fully self inflate

Comfortable pad. I like the air rails, when I woke up I was still on the pad! I did leave the valve open for a while, while I set up a few other things to come back and see it maybe half inflated. Took a few minutes to full blow it up myself...not a huge deal to me.


Purchased at one of REI's "garage sales" for $35 for…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $35


Purchased at one of REI's "garage sales" for $35 for my 90-lb daughter to use on backpacking trips. She loves it and says it is really comfortable. Packs down to a size that's easy to put inside the backpack alongside her sleeping bag in the bottom pocket.


  • Packs small and is lightweight
  • Durability seems good


  • None so far

Our local REI had one of its members only "garage sales" earlier this summer so I was able to replace my daughter's older big green Therm-a-Rest with this more pack friendly sleeping pad.

She's used it a couple of times on multi-night backpacking trips and really likes it. It seems to be well made and she had no leaks.

I recommend this pad.

Where to Buy

sponsored links
Help support this site by making your next gear purchase through one of the links above. Click a link, buy what you need, and the seller will contribute a portion of the purchase price to support Trailspace's independent gear reviews.