The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

NEMO Nomad Insulated Review

This lightweight pad is a good choice for travelers.
Nemo Equipment Nomad Insulated
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Price:  $230 List | $159.99 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Light, packable, integrated foot pump for easy inflation
Cons:  Expensive, not very warm, bouncy feel
Manufacturer:   NEMO Equipment
By Laurel Hunter & Matt Bento  ⋅  Nov 6, 2019
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71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 15
  • Comfort - 40% 6
  • Ease of Use - 20% 8
  • Warmth - 20% 6
  • Versatility - 10% 9
  • Packed Size - 10% 10

Our Verdict

The Nemo Nomad is a packable, versatile mattress that can fit in a carry-on. While it's not as comfortable as the foam mattresses that we tested, it's perfect for the jet-set, hostel bound traveler who is wary of strange mattresses. The Nomad also has a hook system that allows it to connect with another Nomad for a full-size bed. You could easily pack enough Nomads for the whole family and still have plenty of room to spare for rafts, bikes, toys, and whatever else you need for the ultimate car camping experience.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Nemo Equipment Nomad Insulated
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award  
Price $159.99 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$169.00 at REI$179.25 at Backcountry
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$209.95 at Backcountry
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$134.95 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Light, packable, integrated foot pump for easy inflationBed-like comfort, easy inflation, great valueVery comfortable, R-value of 9.5 is super warm, good valuePacks to half the size of similar mattresses, easy to use, warm, comfortableWarm, comfortable, fits in a smaller tent
Cons Expensive, not very warm, bouncy feelToo big for some single person tentsLarge packed sizeSlight bounciness, heavyHeavy
Bottom Line This lightweight pad is a good choice for travelers.All our favorite features we love from a camping mat at a great price.This is the one we would lend to a friend.Four inches of foam camping mattress comfort that packs into a relatively small package.Our favorite option if you need a narrower comfy pad.
Rating Categories NEMO Nomad Insulated REI Co-op Camp Dreamer XL Exped MegaMat 10 NEMO Roamer Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D
Comfort (40%)
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
Ease Of Use (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
Warmth (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
10
Versatility (10%)
10
0
9
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
7
Packed Size (10%)
10
0
10
10
0
5
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
6
Specs NEMO Nomad Insulated REI Co-op Camp... Exped MegaMat 10 NEMO Roamer Therm-a-Rest...
Test Model Insulated XL Green LXWide XL Wide Blue Depths Long
Dimensions 80 x 30 x 6 in 78" x 32" x 4" 77.6" x 30.3" x 4" 80 x 30 x 4 in 77" x 25" x 4"
Length 80 in 78 in 77.6 in 80 in 77 in
Width 30 in 32 in 30.3 in 30 in 25 in
Thickness 6 in 4 in 4 in 4 in 4 in
Weight 3.75 lbs 6.38 lbs 6.37 lbs 5.25 lbs 5.5 lbs
R Value Unavailable 5.5 9.5 Unavailable 11.4
Type Pump inflation Self-Inflating Self-Inflating Self inflating Self-Inflating
Packed Size (inches) 11 x 5.7 in 11 in x 30 in 9.8 in x 31.1 in 10.5 x 15 in 7 in x 26 in
Storage Stuff Sack Stuff Sack Stuff Sack Stuff sack Stuff Sack
Bed Material 75D Stretch Polyester 50D Polyester with TPU Polyether film laminate 50D stretch 75D reverse diamond polyester
Valves Pump Valve, 2 one way valves 1 valve 2 valves Zero profile 2 Valves
Accessories Foot pump Air Pump/Pillow Mini Pump, Stuff Sack, Repair Kit and Manual Stuff sack Stuff sack
Breaths to Inflate N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Our Analysis and Test Results

Comfort is this pad's biggest weakness, as all our testers preferred the foam core mattresses for their firmness and lack of bounce. Regarding packability, it reigns supreme and is one of the lightest pads in our review, even with the integrated foot pump that saves your lungs from having to inflate this 80 x 30 x 6-inch behemoth.

Performance Comparison


This pad inflates to a massively thick 6-inches but isn't as warm as a foam core mat.
This pad inflates to a massively thick 6-inches but isn't as warm as a foam core mat.

Comfort


The Nomad scores on the lower end of the comfort metric, but keep in mind that we work with a relative scale. We slept on some very comfortable pads in our lineup, but the Nomad is by no means uncomfortable, especially compared to a standard lightweight backpacking sleeping pad. What we didn't like was the bouncy feeling of the nomad and the noticeable horizontal air channels. Again, we're splitting hairs here, and a few of our testers weren't bothered by the baffles at all, but in the pursuit of the best, we must sleep critically!

Using the integrated foot pump works better if you use your hands to better cover the valve when you compress the pump; either way beats using your lungs to inflate this beast.
Using the integrated foot pump works better if you use your hands to better cover the valve when you compress the pump; either way beats using your lungs to inflate this beast.

Ease of Use


The built-in "foot" pump inflates this pad to a satisfactory level of firmness with many, many pumps. We're hesitant to say foot pump because the pump works much better with your hands. It's easier to cover and uncover the air hole as the foam pump expands to draw in air and then compresses, forcing air into the rest of the mattress. The pump is big, but it's tasked with moving a lot of air to get the pad inflated. If you pump up the mattress once a week, it's not a big deal. If you're moving every day, pumping gets a little old. But we feel it's far superior to trying to blow up this 6-inch thick mattress. We also think it's way cooler than a loud, battery-powered pump.

The Nomad features a bonus twist valve so you can easily adjust the firmness to your liking, and two big deflation valve when it's time to blast the air out, fold the pad in half, roll it up and hit the road. The whole deflation and packing process takes an easy 60 seconds.

The Nomad (top) is a much lighter   and more comfortable air mat than the larger  PVC constructed Soundasleep Camping Series  and the foot pump won't bug your neighbors like the loud motorized pump used by the Soundasleep.
The Nomad (top) is a much lighter, and more comfortable air mat than the larger, PVC constructed Soundasleep Camping Series, and the foot pump won't bug your neighbors like the loud motorized pump used by the Soundasleep.

Warmth


Nemo doesn't give this mattress an R-value, but the insulated version is lined with PrimaLoft. Compared to foam core mattresses, the Nomad feels noticeably less warm. There are 14,400 cubic inches of freely flowing air in this puppy, and that makes for a poor insulator. Nemo recommends this pad for temps down to 25 degrees. We'd go with a pad with an R-value of 3 or higher for temps that low. For fair weather summertime camping or indoor use, the temperature rating or R-value isn't a problem. Remember, a pad that insulates you from the cold ground will not affect your body temperature when it's hot out unless maybe you're sleeping on hot pavement, in which case you should look around for a better place to camp.

The Exped (top) may be thinner  but it's a much better insulator than the Nomad  though it has a much larger packed size.
The Exped (top) may be thinner, but it's a much better insulator than the Nomad, though it has a much larger packed size.

Versatility


At 80 inches long, this big guy isn't going to fit in many lightweight backpacking tents, so pay attention to your tent's dimensions when you're considering one (or a pair!) of these mattresses. Thanks to its relatively light weight of 3.75 pounds and its small packed size, this pad can go anywhere. It can fit in a carry-on, and you could be sleeping like a baby on your own deluxe mattress during your next 12-hour mega layover. Pull it out of the closet, pump it up, put a sheet on it, and your next overnight guest has a much better place to sleep than the couch.

This model packs down to around a third of the size of the foam core mats in our review.
This model packs down to around a third of the size of the foam core mats in our review.

Packed Size


The Nemo stows away in a nice 11 x 5.7-inch package, considerably smaller than the foam core mattresses in this test. While all of those mats received higher comfort ratings, you're not likely to bring them on a trip that involves air travel (they're huge), and a whole family's worth of these pads takes up loads of space in the minivan. If having a very packable mattress is important, the Nomad is worth a look.

Value


The insulated version of this pad that we tested is on the high end. If you only go camping a few days a year, it is not a great value. However, do keep in mind that all the top camping mattress competitors come in at close to the same price. So to get the most out of your mat, go camping more! This pad comes with a patch kit, which we didn't get to use thanks to the durable 75 denier puncture-resistant fabric.

We slept noticeably colder on this mat than on the Megamat  the Alps Mountaineering Outback  and the Therm-a-rest Dreamtime.
We slept noticeably colder on this mat than on the Megamat, the Alps Mountaineering Outback, and the Therm-a-rest Dreamtime.

Conclusion


The light and packable Nomad surely lives up to its name. It's one of the most versatile mattresses we've tested. While air-core mats like this one aren't our favorite regarding comfort, it is a good balance of packability and comfort for camping in warmer temperatures.


Laurel Hunter & Matt Bento