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The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir mattress is an ultralight, ultra-packable mattress. It is part of the Fast and Light© series from Therma-a-Rest. It features internal baffling that utilizes a patent-pending "Triangular Core Matrix" to minimize air movement and convective cooling when inflated. Shaving off ounces and increasing the warmth factor, this mattress also incorporates a patent-pending internal reflective barrier that reflects heat back to the body. To save space, these big features pack down to the size of a 1-liter bottle for the space-conscious adventurer.
Size (regular): 20 in. x 72 in. x 2.5 in. (51 cm x 183 cm x 6.3 cm)
Weight (regular): 14 oz. (410 g)
Packaged Dimensions: 9 in. x 4.0 in. (23 cm x 10 cm)
Top & Bottom Material: Nylon
Core Material: Nylon / PU
Initial Thoughts (05/21/11):
Therm-a-Rest seems to have hit the jackpot in terms of an ultralight, comfortable sleeping pad. When I took the mattress out of the box, I marveled at its lightweight sillouhete. Because the nylon body is so pliable, I worried that it might puncture easily. The first time I inflated my NeoAir was on carpet in the house. The pad inflated easily with approximately 25 breaths using the large attached valve. As I laid down, I noticed slightly more noise than when prone on a traditional, self-inflating pad. I think this is due to the internal baffling and reflective barrier that lie within the outer nylon shell. However, I felt as though I was laying on a much more substantial mattress than usual. After this initial test, I was excited to test my NeoAir on our next backpacking trip.
Initial Field Test (05/31/11):
The first time I used my Therm-a-Rest NeoAir mattress was on an overnight backpacking trip to Badger Breek Wilderness in Oregon. After we set up camp, I decided to lay down for a few minutes to rest my tired feet. I was amazed that while lounging on my side, my hips were not touching the ground. Instead they were comfortably cradled on the mattress. As night fell and temperatures dipped into the 40s F, it was time to bed down. Usually I dread this part of a backpacking trip because it means sore hips and fitful sleep while trying to find a position of comfort. On this trip, I awoke feeling rested and realized that my sleep had not been interrupted by sore hips or a noisy pad. Though it has no internal foam or down insulation, the NeoAir seems to have no problem retaining air. Additionally, I had no trouble keeping my mummy bag and body on the mattress overnight. One should note that the regular-sized pad is only 20" wide, making it ideal for a mummy bag, but possibly too narrow for a more traditional bag. If you are worried about slipping off this mattress or are over 6' tall, you might consider purchasing the size large (which is 25" x 77").
See Badger Creek adventure where the Therm-a-Rest® NeoAir™ mattress was used.
Extended Field Testing (08/18/11):
After such a positive first night sleeping on the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir mattress, I was excited to continue using it on all our summertime backpacking trips. It has continued to perform flawlessly and keep me comfortable. I have had no trouble with air loss overnight and the material seems to be holding up very well. An ounce of caution will go a long way in the longevity and durability of this mattress if you always use it with protection underneath. While camping at Mt. Adams, I noticed that a large amount of dirt and dust had blown in and collected on the mattress. After returning home, I was able to wipe it clean with a damp towel. There were no visible stains or streaks leftover. I have raved about this mattress so much that hubby has even stolen it for a few weekend trips. I think he'll soon be a NeoAir convert!
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir mattress combines an ultralight body with the comfort of a 2.5" air mattress in a delightfully small package. It appears durable and retains air well. Though I have not used it in sub-freezing temperatures, I imagine it will perform at least as well as a 1" self-inflating sleeping pad for warmth. Therm-a-Rest has done well with this product and I look forward to using other products in its lineup. Available from amazon.com.