Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Comfortable, warm, lightweight, compact, versatile.
Cons: Edges collapse under load, noisy.
Best Uses: All-purpose four-season use.
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir All Season is the most versatile multi-day sleeping pad we’ve reviewed. Weighing 19 ounces, boasting warmth for four seasons, and providing 2.5” of comfortable, rectangular air support, the All Season is our top pick for people who want one pad to do everything from summer car camping to multi-day ski tours. Drawbacks include edges that collapse when weighted and internal construction that makes moving about quite noisy.
The All Season’s main competitor is the Nemo Astro Insulated, which is slightly more comfortable, more durable and less noisy, but also five ounces heavier. We recommend the Astro Insulated to people who value comfort over weight savings or those who base camp more than they backpack.
If saving weight is your top priority, opt for the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite, an impressively warm, comfortable, compact, and lightweight pad. The XLite weighs a mere 12 ounces in the full-length cut (20 x 72 in.) and a hyperlite 8 ounces in the Short size (20 x 47 in.). Sleeping on snow and ice? The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm is the ultimate choice for backcountry skiing, alpine climbing, and mountaineering.
If you are 5’ 6” or under, check out our Women's Sleeping Pad Review. And finally, if comfort is top priority get yourself a Car Camping Mattress. These luxurious portable beds turn roots and rocks into plush, heavenly clouds. You won’t want to go home.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The All Season is the most well-rounded pad in the NeoAir series. Its rectangular shape and 2.5” horizontal baffles make it more comfortable than pads with vertical baffles (which can feel like pool toys), and more comfortable than most self-inflating foam pads (which provide little cushion for the hips). The All Season utilizes Triangular Core Matrix™ technology to create over 100 internal cells, which trap warm air. It also has reflective barriers that bounce heat back at you. The pad achieves a surprisingly high R-value without the weight, bulk, and other drawbacks of synthetic insulated air core pads.
The All-Season uses a durable 75-denier polyester and 70-denier nylon that make the pad more than sufficiently durable for extended use and abuse. This author chose to the All Season for a two-month climbing and travel trip in Turkey. Why the All Season? It’s small and light enough for air travel and multi-day backpacking, it’s warm enough to camp on snow, and it's comfortable for extended base camping. The All Season packs a lot of pad into 19 ounces.
The All Season is available in three sizes: Medium (20 x 66 in.), Regular (20 x 72 in.) and Large (25 x 77 in.).
There are two drawbacks to the construction of all NeoAir sleeping pads: they’re narrow and noisy. Although 20” is the standard width for portable sleeping pads, the NeoAir is narrower than most others (not all manufacturers measure pads the same way). For example, a 20” NeoAir is just over an inch slimmer than a 20” Nemo Astro insulated (see photo below). Furthermore, the NeoAir’s internal baffle construction provides little support along the edges; they collapse slightly when loaded. Specifically, the edges are supportive when lying on your back, but not when you are lying on your side close to the edge. The combination of a slimmer pad and the edge collapsing effect make the NeoAir series feel about 18” wide. None of our testers found this to be particularly problematic. The pads are still very comfortable. If you’re on the wider side, consider a Large size.
Warning: everything you do on the NeoAir can and will be heard by others. The crinkle-crackle of its internal baffles and foil-like reflective layers make the NeoAir the loudest pad we’ve tested. Turning over is loud, sitting up is louder, and kneeling on the pad even louder. Romantic adventures sound like a symphony orchestra. A noisy pad is fine when you’re camping alone in a remote locale. When in a campground or at a base camp, however, everyone within 100 feet can hear you roll over. Does this impact the pad’s performance? Absolutely not. The noise is only a drawback when other people are nearby.
All-purpose, all-season camping.
The All Season is a good value if you camp on snow and want one pad to do everything.
For inflation consider the Nemo Disco Pad Pump, a 2.2 oz. foot pump or the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Pump Sack (3.8 oz.), which doubles as a camp stool, stuff sack, or backpack liner. We recommend one of these for inflating the pad in the winter when water vapor from your lungs condenses inside the pad.
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Jembe Seat (3.8 oz.) turns any NeoAir mattress into a comfortable camp stool.
The Therm-a-Rest Compack Chair (6 oz.) turns almost any pad (from any manufacturer) into a comfortable camp chair with back support.
— Max Neale
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: February 9, 2013
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