Ginger wanted a pad that was slightly thicker, (more comfy), wider and warmer than our Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus sleeping pads. We found our NeoAir All Season pad online at a very reasonable price. It’s marked as irregular, hence the great price, but we’ve not been able to spot any irregularities in it.
The pad came with a repair kit and special stuff sack that also acts as an inflation pump.
The pad itself is made from fairly thick polyester on the top with a nylon bottom. The large pad weighs in at 1lb 9oz which is less than the smaller, thinner ProLite Plus. The narrower NeoAir 20″ pads weigh only 1lb 3 oz.
Folding and rolling it up is very simple. Squeeze as much air out as possible, fold it into thirds along its length and roll it up. Unlike the ProLite it doesn’t want to spring open so you don’t need a tie to keep it rolled up.
My major worry about the NeoAir is that if it gets a leak you’ll have no pad or ground insulation at all. So, just in case, we carry a repair kit in our emergency pack.
The NeoAir in Use
Checking reviews before we purchased we read several comments about the pad being noisy. This isn’t a problem we’ve noticed. It does ‘rustle’ but not enough to be a nuisance.
However there was a major problem.
Being a single chamber pad I have found that you can’t kneel on it without it bottoming out. The air squishes out and makes the pad firmer elsewhere. Sitting can also present a similar problem which may cause difficulties in colder weather if you want to sit on it for an extended period, we need to experiment further on this and report back.
Which brings us to how I’ve found the pad in use. The immediate thing you notice is how warm it feels. It has a 4.9 ‘R’ rating, and it seems to reflect your heat back making it warm to the touch. Using it in 90°F nights I thought it might be too hot, but it was fine. It works a treat with my GoLite 1+ season quilt. So far I’ve extended the use of my quilt (rated at 40°F) down to 34°F with my Sea to Summit liner, and I’ll be trying it down below freezing once it starts getting colder – because carrying a 1 lb 3 oz quilt is a lot easier than a bulky 4 lb sleeping bag.
The extra thickness makes for a more comfortable night’s sleep, and I love the extra width which allows me to stretch out without getting an arm or leg on the cold ground. If we could just shorten it I’d be a very happy camper.
Despite being made or a similar material to the ProLite pads, I tend to treat it with a little more respect. It looks a bit like an ordinary poolside airbed which makes me concerned about puncturing or popping it!
We bought a 25" Therm-a-Rest chair which works fine with the NeoAir and has the added advantage of keeping your bottom and back warm.
- Small pack size
- Thick and comfy
- Very warm.
- May not suit everyone
- Bottoms out at times
- The supplied inflation pump is a joke.
Would I buy another? Probably, though I would shop around first, the technology is changing and improving all the time.
The warmth and comfort benefits, combined with the small pack size and weight made this an absolute bargain at the price we paid. Bring on the winter backpacking trips!