Inflatable sleeping pads: finding comfort when sleeping on the ground

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Home Forums Campfire Editor’s Roundtable Inflatable sleeping pads: finding comfort when sleeping on the ground

Viewing 14 posts - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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    Ryan Jordan


    Locale: Central Rockies

    Companion forum thread to: Inflatable sleeping pads: finding comfort when sleeping on the ground

    The product category of inflatable sleeping pad is trending towards larger, warmer, and more comfortable pads – with very little weight penalty.

    Richard Sullivan
    BPL Member


    Locale: Supernatural BC

    Thanks, Ryan, *great* article as always. I have to agree about the Nemo R-values not lining up with their performance. My worst couple of nights ever were in Apr 2021 on the Tensor Insulated Expedition I think it was called, in spring conditions on snow -4C/25F. This pad was their best, with an R4.2 rating on the newly standardized system, and was less warm than my old Ridge Rest Std at R2.0. Now 3 years later they’re selling a mattress rated R8.5 that can’t be used in winter. I’m totally baffled! :)

    BPL Member


    I suspect the R ratings require full inflation.  I have two older versions of the Neo Airs that for me, are far more comfortable with slightly less inflation. Fully inflated, they are like sleeping on hard ground. They seem to be colder with less inflation. Any science to that observation?

    Barry B
    BPL Member


    This is a good article. I have used a Prolite for some years and my only complaint is that I got many punctures. I had the same issue with the original Thermarest.  I use a Big Agnes Seedhouse 2 and a ground cloth and of course check the ground. So I don’t get it. Maybe I should carry a sheet of Tyvek! Anyway I got a NeoAir quite by accident and hope it will be more durable, and warm enough. BTW the Flextail pump is great.

    Scott S
    BPL Member


    I use the Exped Schnozzle with my Thermarest and as my pack liner. The valve that comes with the Thermarest pump sack can be used as an adapter for the Schnozzle, but it’s unwieldy (even if you cut it out). Better is this converter available on Etsy. I’ve had both the Nemos and the Thermarest, and personally I find the Thermarests 95% as comfortable for less weight and (in the case of the XLite) more warmth. Those of you who have rejected Thermarests XLites or XTherms in the past because of their loud crinkly noise should check out the new ones: They are much, much quieter than the older models.

    David P
    BPL Member


    I just got back from an 8 day trip and took a new Flextail Zero pump and the Nemo Tensor Extreme pad. Happy with the tensor, not so much with the Flextail. First, it is not really rechargeable. It has a rechargeable battery, but you must take the battery out and recharge it separately. You can not recharge the unit it self. Worse, it doesn’t work well. Usually, it would pump up the pad but not firmly enough. I always had to top it off with 4-5 breaths. Not a big deal, but not what is promised. Then, it died after 7 inflations, nowhere near as many as advertised. I’ll be returning it.

    Scott Chandler
    BPL Member


    Locale: Reno area

    The problem I find with R values are the way the pad is tested. Heat conductivity is measured from top to bottom and essentially ignores the heat loss from the sides. Take the Big Agnes Zoom. No physical insulation yet claimed a tested R value of 4.3. That was the test, so it’s accurate. The trouble is the test isn’t conducted in a room that’s – let’s say, 32°. So top and bottom tests are R 4.3, but cold air coming in from the sides of the pad dramatically lower that number to the point I sent it back and bought the Rapide, which is heavier, but has physical inflation and has is R4.8. A couple of trips on this reasonable bear this R rating out. Bottom line is there’s less heat loss from the sides of the pad, which isn’t accounted for in the room temperature lab tests. Beware.

    BPL Member


    Locale: Northern California

    Schnozzle rules. Basically foolproof and much, much easier than blowing a pad up by mouth when at 10,000 feet. And, it’s a really good dry bag/liner. I stuff my sleeping bag in a WP stuff sack, and my down jacket. But all clothes and items I need to keep dry are kept in the Schnozzle in my pack. So I feel doubly protected. I think I could take a slip in a river and come away with dry bag and clothes. Assuming I didn’t  drown. In rain, it hasn’t failed me yet. Oh, and it’s super  light!

    I always use a thinlight pad for added puncture protection. It really only add a tiny bit  of warmth, but still…and it’s also light enough to justify carrying. It’s slim and fits easily in an outer pocket of my pack.

    Charlie Brenneman
    BPL Member


    Locale: Primarily Desolation Wilderness, Yosemite, and SEKI

    Does the schnozzle work with the Nemo tensors without an adapter needed?

    Richard Sullivan
    BPL Member


    Locale: Supernatural BC

    Yes, works great, and when you get to the correct inflation pressure it just pops out!

    Chris L
    BPL Member


    Locale: Idaho

    I’ve used a new Neoair NXT for close to 30 nights. I know sound is subjective but I don’t notice any crinkle, or much sound at all. I used the older Xtherm for years so know the dreaded crinkle these pads used to make. The NXT version are WAY quieter.

    Adam Kilpatrick
    BPL Member


    Locale: South Australia

    It’s amazing the difference a decent pillow has on sleeping mat comfort. I’m comfortably back onto CCF…. I bought one of Exped’s takes on the Z-lite, and cut it in half. With a decent foam pillow that properly supports my head, I’m comfortable on concrete. Took a while to dial in the pillow height (I’ve chopped down an Ikea pillow…).

    I think getting your pillow/mat combo just right is important, especially if you are a side sleeper.

    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member


    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    It’s amazing the difference a decent pillow has on sleeping mat comfort.
    Agree. Sue & I carry decnet pillows for that reason. Sure, they are ‘UL’, but they are pillows.


    Terran Terran
    BPL Member


    A newer Schnozzle fits my Thermarest where the old one doesn’t.

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