May 5, 2009 at 8:17 pm #1236127
Addie BedfordBPL Member
Companion forum thread to:May 5, 2009 at 8:44 pm #1499308
Thanks for the indepth (if somewhat belated) review. Good to hear that the pad has an accurate R rating.
The main criticism seems to be the width, and I agree that this is a silly place for theramrest to skimp. It is not entirely unexpected however… I find that with most pads it is difficult to keep my arms on the pad when sleeping on my back.
One solution which I'll be trying when my NeoAir arrives (I couldn't wait any longer for the review and ordered one over the weekend!) is the use of a long balloon on either side of the pad to support my arms… ie. the same sort of balloon that they use in the "balloon bed". Since they only have to support the weight of an arm I can't imagine why there should be any problem with this solution. I will need to find some way of strapping the balloons to the side of the pad… maybe in a silk sleeve.
Having said this, I suspect I and many others would prefer thermarest went for a slightly shorter pad with more width!May 5, 2009 at 8:58 pm #1499311
Jay WilkersonBPL Member
@creachenLocale: East Bay
Thanks for the excellent review- I will definitely be ordering the Large 77×25–Can't wait to get one in my hands!!
-JayMay 5, 2009 at 9:22 pm #1499316
One other alternative for elbow support would be to place a rectangle of inch thick CCF pad on either side. Using the weights on the gossamer gear site making two support rectangles of 20 inches long x 1 inch high x 2 inches wide should only weigh a fraction more than an ounce in total. Less hassle than dealing with balloons!May 5, 2009 at 9:45 pm #1499319
Richard GlessBPL Member
@rglessLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
Thank you for what I think is a very even handed and thoughtful review especially given all the hype around this product. I have used my NeoAir small just like I've used other inflatable pads to rigidize my pack by rolling them up into a cylinder, putting them into my pack, then inflating them a little after putting in the rest of my gear. For me, the weight and comfort advantage over any foam pad I've tried offset the problems with width and fabric for the 3 season trips I do. I do wonder about the durability.May 5, 2009 at 10:27 pm #1499327
Also, not sure that the criticism of the pad for side-sleepers is entirely fair. Most people use a mummy-shaped pad anyway, so they don't have a full 20 inches to work with around the knee area.
I find with my mummy-shaped pad that I'll occasionally wake up with my one of my feet having fallen off the end of the pad during the night. With the NeoAir this far less likely to happen. Ditto for the pillow under my head. Much easier to keep one on a rectangular pad.
As for comparisons with the Clearview… it's clearly not as warm, and I've shied away from getting one because of the many user reports which suggest it's not much good for side sleepers because of the thickness.
I'll reserve my judgement until my own pad arrives, but i can't help feeling the review is a little harsh. I'm glad BPL isn't afraid to criticise though, and I hope the message about it being too narrow gets through to the designers/marketing people at Cascade Designs. Maybe in a year or two we'll see a slightly wider version (that isn't huge!).May 5, 2009 at 10:44 pm #1499332
Michael MartinBPL Member
@mikemartinLocale: North Idaho
I held the minority opinion that the limited width wasn't such a big deal. It is, after all, an ultralight sleep pad. When you compare it to alternatives of similar warmth and weight, I think it is adequately comfy. When compared to bigger, heavier alternatives? Well, yah a few extra inches width would be good. :)
We've been kicking around the idea of cutting a large one in half and heat sealing it back together to make two short/wide pads. It might make an interesting MYOG experiment.
Mike MMay 5, 2009 at 10:58 pm #1499336
@mikefaedundeeLocale: Under a bush in Scotland
In 'real world' use, wouldn't an 'ordinary' air bed with horizontal chambers covered by something like a AMK Heatsheat offer similar performance?May 5, 2009 at 11:00 pm #1499337
I read between the lines and guessed you were in the minority. ;-)
The narrower width is a clear negative, and one which may well bug me. But it's 7 ounces lighter than my current pad, so is probably worth the work-around.
The repair-test was useful. Did any of the testers try the "scuff" test? In Will's test of the Big Agnes clearview (which I note got a 'Recommended' despite being heavier, less warm, and not as thick as the NeoAir… though notably cheaper!) he tried to bust his pad by sleeping on lava rocks. I bet a few people here are wondering how much abuse it can take before it springs a leak. Will pointy sticks puncture it? No one is game to try it because the pads cost so much!
I noticed the thread about cutting the large in half. I'd be interested in doing it if it works, but wouldn't want to be the guinea pig!!May 5, 2009 at 11:16 pm #1499342
@mikefaedundeeLocale: Under a bush in Scotland
How did you guess Ashley? ;)
The narrow width wouldn't bother me too much as i'm a side sleeper. I need a nice high pillow though, and i can see problems with getting one high enough given the 2.5" thickness of the pad. If i put a pillow on the pad, i'm losing usable pad space.
And have i mentioned the price? :)May 5, 2009 at 11:16 pm #1499343
@rezniemLocale: San Francisco
I thought I was going to go for the large, because it does seem luxurious, but the 9 oz lured me in. I have to say, as a somewhat petite side-sleeper, it was plenty fine, but it is noticeably narrower than my Big Agnes Air Core.
Didn't see any negative comments about the durability really, other than just the initial comment that it is made form light-weight less durable materials. That seems like a good sign?
Hopefully it will last the years of abuse I've put my AirCore through, albeit I'm sure I'll treat it much more delicately.May 5, 2009 at 11:24 pm #1499344
Yeah pillows are a problem with a 2.5inch thick pad… one of the main reasons I went for a regular sized pad.May 5, 2009 at 11:41 pm #1499347
> the NeoAir did not feel as warm as a one-inch thick ThermaRest ProLite 3 Pad when temperatures were below freezing.
Once you add a 1/8" foam pad, the weight and space saving isn't so impressive, and the cost goes even higher. Given the degree of compression under the hip and shoulder, you won't have much more thickness than a prolite either. I kick a depression for my hip into the ground when I camp, so I get the full benefit of the insulation offered by a self inflator, or the low weight of a closed cell foam pad. Doing the same for a neoair may help with warmth a bit.May 5, 2009 at 11:56 pm #1499350
@rezniemLocale: San Francisco
I don't think a 1/8" foam pad weights 4 oz, which is how much more the Prolite 3 weighs vs. the Neo-Air. And really, comparing apples to oranges….we should really be comparing it to the Clearview, the next lightest 2.5" infllatable.May 6, 2009 at 12:13 am #1499352
Mike WBPL Member
@skopeoLocale: British Columbia
…May 6, 2009 at 12:28 am #1499353
> Interesting review although a bit harsh in my opinion.
Perhaps the NeoAir is being held to higher standards because of all the hype it has received? Last week's review of the unheralded MSR carbon reflex gave it a Recommended rating despite the fact it is terribly narrow (10 inches under spec!) and heftily overpriced ($500)… the same criticisms of this review.
Even if I don't end up keeping my NeoAir (on order) I will still give it the thumbs up, because they've really broken new ground with this product. It may not be perfect, but they have certainly raised the bar with a combination of weight and comfort and should be applauded for doing so (even if they are price-gouging somewhat!).May 6, 2009 at 1:02 am #1499359
As you can see from the quote I selected, warmth was the issue, so the clearview doesn't really figure.
> I don't think a 1/8" foam pad weights 4 oz, which is how much more the Prolite 3 weighs vs. the Neo-Air.
I don't think a 1/8" pad will weigh much less than 4oz. Not enough to justify parting with $120 anyway.
Expensive, fragile, noisy, narrow and cold. The neoair is a non starter for me, I'll stick with my prolite for winter, and an 8oz foam pad for summer.May 6, 2009 at 1:30 am #1499363
Adrian BBPL Member
@adrianbLocale: Auckland, New Zealand
>the NeoAir did not feel as warm as a one-inch thick ThermaRest ProLite 3 Pad when temperatures were below freezing
That's interesting. Both your measured R-value and Thermarest's published one for the Neoair (2.5) are higher than for the Prolite (2.2).May 6, 2009 at 1:43 am #1499364
> That's interesting. Both your measured R-value and Thermarest's published one for the Neoair (2.5) are higher than for the Prolite (2.2).
"feel" is a subjective term, but in real life conditions, the pumping action of shifting around on the neoair is going to move and mix the cool and warm air under your body in a way a foam filled pad won't. This isn't factored in by the type of tests used. Nor is the relatively larger degree to which the pad is compressed under the hip and shoulder.May 6, 2009 at 4:40 am #1499377
Philip WernerBPL Member
@earlyliteLocale: New England
The Big Agnes Clearview's packability is as good as the NeoAir and the comfort can't be beat in a warmer temp range. I can't see a niche for the NeoAir in my sleeping pad lineup. When I need real warmth and a thicker pad, I just use an Exped downmat or an insulated BA aircore. No maintenance issues there, so far.May 6, 2009 at 5:30 am #1499379
Curt PetersonBPL Member
@curtpetersonLocale: Pacific Northwest
Despite rumors that the Large size has been discontinued entirely, it looks like it will be around in mid September. That takes it off the list for this summer season. Too bad – it does hit the sweet spot for size:weight.May 6, 2009 at 5:41 am #1499380
Hendrik MorkelBPL Member
Thanks for the review, and great that you didn't bend in under the hype and gave it a more positive review rating. I think you hit the point with your review, and I am happy to know now that the NeoAir is not for me, moving a lot during the night and being a back-sleeper. I also find the price to high, for which one would expect the repair-kit to be included at least. Maybe if they bring out a wider NeoAir which is less noisy I might be tempted, but at the moment I am not.May 6, 2009 at 7:31 am #1499396
@be_here_nowearthlink-netLocale: Upstate New York
Do you tech weenies remember the Extreme Pro Tech Emergency Bag? Not a sleeping pad, but related to the NeoAir by virtue of using baffles to reflect heat back to the user.
I wonder if it suffered from the same real world constraints that the NeoAir does, i.e., that reflectivity is insignificant when compared with other factors.
I think I mostly agree with the review, that first and foremost a good night's sleep represents both significant safety and increased vigor in remote locations and that comfort is not a dirty word either.May 6, 2009 at 7:38 am #1499397
@mn-backpackerLocale: Land of 12,000 Loons
Now that I've used my NeoAir, I can't say the review is too overly harsh. I have some disagreements, such as I didn't find the noise bad at all. Yes, it's narrow, just like any other 2.5" thick inflatable, but I found it's width no different in use than my Big Agnes IAC. My shoulders are broad, and my arms don't stay on either mat if I lay on my back. Luckily I'm a side sleeper, and I slept very comfortably on this NeoAir, even flipping over several times a night (which I do at home too).
I was really considering the 25" width, and may get one this fall when they come out. We'll see if I feel the extra width would be worth the 5 ounces. It's not like I'll struggle selling my regular size here on BPL.
Overall, the review would not have changed my decision to buy it had the review came out nearly 2 months ago when I ordered my pad.May 6, 2009 at 10:03 am #1499433
@mitchellkeilLocale: Deep in the OC
You know I have thought about this, too, as a solution to gettng the "ideal" pad. Take a 25" wide pad and chop off as much as one might decide is effective for length, say 66" or maybe 70". Then heat seal it. Question is how do you heat seal such a pad. I don't have the faintest idea how one would go about doing this without really damaging the fabric and making it air tight.And you only get one shot at getting it right.
Any suggestion how to do this.
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