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Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Pads


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  • #1230689
    Michael Davis
    Member

    @mad777

    Locale: South Florida

    Hey BPL lab guys! You have to test these NeoAir pads from Therm-a-rest!

    Their claims/performance ratios are too good to pass up … IF they are true.

    To keep the comparisons relevant, they should be compared to other air inflatables such as the popular P.O.E. Max Thermo and Exped DAM. Both these pads achieve their performance through the added weight of synthetic or down insulation, plus the pump in the case of down.

    If Therm-a-rest can essentially equal the performance of these older, standby designs at about 1/2 the weight, well, you all can line up behind me! :-)

    I know some of you other forum members also have the technical skills and equipment to do this, of course, you would also need the pads.

    Remember, the comparison should be with other air inflatables to be within the same product category of ultra-comfort. I am a very satified owner of the P.O.E. Max Thermo.

    #1447414
    Michael Martin
    BPL Member

    @mikemartin

    Locale: North Idaho

    Hi Michael-

    After looking first hand at the construction of the NeoAir, I think their claimed R-Value of R2.5 is entirely reasonable. Still, this is a 3-season pad. The Exped down mats are in the R-5.9 range and are full-blown winter pads. So, a showdown between these two would be a bit unfair.

    I recommend at least R-3.5 for sleeping on snow. So, a NeoAir and a thin closed-cell pad on top would *potentially* make a pretty sweet winter setup.

    Cheers,

    -Mike

    #1447421
    Mitchell Keil
    Member

    @mitchellkeil

    Locale: Deep in the OC

    Right now I have been testing the use of the 66" BA Clearview combined with a 1/8" full length piece of evazote layered on top. Total weight about 15oz. I have had the combo down to about 40 during several summer packs in the Sierras and found that I am completely comfortable and warm. The packability of these two is amazing. The Clearview folds up to the size of an 8oz wate bottle, and I fold the evazote flat against the inside of my ULA Circuit where it promptly disappears at about 3/8" thick serving as additional padding agains my back.
    I am thinking of having my wife, who is a seamstress, sew me a silnylon sleeve to combine the two. The sleeve might weight about 2oz~ and this would further protect the "very" delicate Clearview. So, for about 16-17oz~ I would have a shoulder season extraodinarily comfy pad setup good to about 30 or so.

    #1447422
    Michael Davis
    Member

    @mad777

    Locale: South Florida

    Yes, I think you both have a good points there.

    It seams your suggestions would offer the best of both worlds … make that, best of three worlds. Comfort, insulation, and weight!

    #1447433
    Greg Mihalik
    BPL Member

    @greg23

    Locale: Colorado

    Mitchell,

    Care to expand on ".. the "very" delicate Clearview…" ?

    Thanks.

    #1447435
    Glenn Roberts
    Member

    @garkjr

    Locale: Southwestern Ohio

    Any feel for how these pads (either uninflated or partially inflated for stiffness) will work as "framesheets" in a frameless pack?

    #1447443
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Looking at the specs – they are just fabric. So I don't think they would be any use as a framesheet, and you would probably damage the airmat as well.

    #1447474
    Glenn Roberts
    Member

    @garkjr

    Locale: Southwestern Ohio

    That's what I was afraid of. Guess I'll stick with my Prolite pad. (The additional weight of a frame pack would more than offset the weight saved by the NeoAir pad.)

    #1447476
    David Lewis
    BPL Member

    @davidlewis

    Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada

    Well… with my GG Whisper and 15 pound loads and under… I use my prolite 3 completely deflated and in "burrito" mode and it works perfectly. It's certainly not adding a whole of of structure to the pack… of any… so I'll be fine with a Neoair. I guess my point is… at a certain weight… a "framesheet" doesn't really serve any purpose. It's good point though. I guess you could use a small foam sitpad. It's gonna bring your overall wight to about the same as a prolite alone… but think of how much more you have for the same weight… you had a nice sitpad and a 2.5" thick comfy and warm mattress.

    #1447493
    Ryan Jordan
    Admin

    @ryan

    Locale: Central Rockies

    The problem with using any inflatable as a burrito type pack frame is that you can't make a circular structure with an inflated pad, due to the corners that form when rolled in a cylinder.

    This effect is exacerbated as pad thickness increases, so pads like the Neo-Air and ClearView are awful relative to thinner pads like a ProLite.

    The fixes for this are twofold:

    1. Do not inflate the pad to the point at which sharp corners form. Disadvantage: less structure.

    2. Fold the pad into thirds (or fourths, etc.) so that it forms a flat plate against the packbag back. Disadvantage: high volume pads like the NeoAir will push the center of gravity of the load outward.

    Overall disadvantage of using high volume inflatable pads for a pack frame is that they occupy a lot of space.

    Advantage is a pretty good night's rest, however :)

    Me, I'd be inclined to skip the pack frame attempt at dual use and store the pad in its minimal volume configuration (deflated and rolled up) in the pack and rely on something else for pack structure.

    #1447495
    Nia Schmald
    BPL Member

    @nschmald

    I've been happy using option (2) with an underinflated BA insulated air core in a ULA amp. It takes up less room than a foam pad and expands to fill space as the pack empties out. The pad doesn't add much support, but more of something is better than nothing and that's enough to make the pack comfortable with the loads I carry.

    Any reason why the Neoair would not function as well as other inflatables for pack structure?

    #1447602
    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member

    @danepacker

    Locale: Mojave Desert

    Here we go again on the "mattress-as-a-pack-frame" thingy.

    Really, I could never understand how the slight weight of a few ounces of aluminumm frame tubing, such as in my REI UL Cruise, is too great a price to pay for the carry comfort they provide.

    I'll stay with carry comfort and sleeping comfort. I've never felt any non-frame pack that could equal a well-designed internal frame pack in comfort. That includes the 1st Jensen pack I tried in the '70s. And that's why I bought a TNF Ruthsac instead. (Remember those packs??)

    And I am looking forward to test-napping on the NeoAir at my local REI store next spring.

    Eric

    #1447607
    John G
    BPL Member

    @johng10

    Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY

    I like the idea of no stays from the standpoint that then I can put my pack under my legs more comfortably – since it will now lie FLAT instead of having 4" of curved stays and lumbar padding… However, I currently use a pack with stays since I enjoy the weight transfer more than night-time storage convenience.

    I'm thinking of going to a convertible pack designed to take straight stays, and using tent poles in the stay pockets. I'm worried straight stays won't be very comfortable though. Does anyone have any advice ?

    #1447706
    David Lewis
    BPL Member

    @davidlewis

    Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada

    Again… I don't even understand the need for pack structure at all. Once it's full of stuff… it's pretty structured. But my pack is never over 15 pounds when full loaded. Which brings up a question… and what weight do you think structure and/or stays are necessary?

    #1448015
    David Ure
    Member

    @familyguy

    nm

    #1448063
    Franco Darioli
    Spectator

    @franco

    Locale: Gauche, CU.

    What ? David buying new gear ? I don't believe that…..
    Franco

    #1448069
    David Ure
    Member

    @familyguy

    nm

    #1448075
    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member

    @danepacker

    Locale: Mojave Desert

    Well guys, I'm a LIGHTWEIGHT backpacker. For 3 season hikes I carry between 30 and 35 lbs with Contrail tent, WM Megalite bag & Thermarest full length UL pad, REI UL Cruise pack, ESBIT stove & tabs, clothes, 1st aid kit, headlamp, fuel, 2.5 L. water & SteriPen and 6 – 7 days of food.

    So I NEED an internal frame B/C no "frameless" pack could handle 35# comfortably.

    For me to get down to 25 lbs would mean sacrificing too much camp comfort and safety – that is unless I hire a porter or rent a llama.

    Eric

    #1448079
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    > rent a llama.
    Frankly, I just can't see the benefit of carrying a llama around. Too heavy.

    #1448081
    Stuart Allie
    Member

    @stuart-allie

    Locale: Australia

    > > rent a llama.
    > Frankly, I just can't see the benefit of carrying a llama around. Too heavy.

    That's easy – fresh milk, and warmth at night :)

    #1448093
    Christopher Plesko
    Member

    @pivvay

    Locale: Rocky Mountains

    Not to mention "companionship" buahahahaha :p

    #1448131
    David Lewis
    BPL Member

    @davidlewis

    Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada

    Eric… I'm surprised that adds up to 35 pounds. How much of that is food? And what is the fuel for? Since you say you carry and esbit stove and tabs. In any case, with 35 pounds, yes… you clearly need some kind of frame. but I would think that at that weight, you would need stays of some kind… rather than a foam pad.

    #1448156
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    > That's easy – fresh milk, and warmth at night :)
    Of course – how silly of me!

    #1488792
    Justin Gunn
    Member

    @biggunn-1

    with respect to using this as a frame for a pack, here's what I'm planning on doing with mine (yes, I have one on order already!). I use a Gossamer gear Miniposa which I already use with a NightLight (grey evazote egg crate) sit pad in the pad pocket. This alone is enough "frame" if you pack your pack tightly. Of course, the Miniposa has the added benefit of carbon arrow shaft stays that help rigidify the pack and stabilize the load.

    Anyway, in my case least, the flimsy fabric nature of the Neo Air is not a drawback.

    #1488915
    Michael Landman
    Member

    @malndman

    Locale: Central NC, USA

    Ray posted:
    The problem with using any inflatable as a burrito type pack frame is that you can't make a circular structure with an inflated pad, due to the corners that form when rolled in a cylinder.

    Is the "corners" caused by attempting to roll a bad perpendicular to the air tubes? If so, the NeoAir may not have this issue since the air tubes run left and right, not the lenght of the pad.

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