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NEMO Quasar Review

A very packable air mattress that is warm enough for most three-season camping
NEMO Quasar
Credit: NEMO
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Price:  $180 List | $149.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Very small packed size, insulated, soft fabric exterior, quiet
Cons:  Narrow for a wide mattress, not everyone will like the high sides, bouncy
Manufacturer:   NEMO
By Laurel Hunter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 21, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 14
  • Comfort - 40% 6.0
  • Ease of Use - 20% 9.0
  • Warmth - 20% 5.0
  • Versatility - 10% 10.0
  • Packed Size - 10% 10.0

Our Verdict

The NEMO Quasar has many great qualities, including a decent R-value that insulates well enough for most three-season camping adventures. It features a very comfortable exterior fabric that is quiet and soft and has a small packed size. The inflation sack makes set up a piece of cake, though be careful when removing it, so you don’t accidentally pull the deflate valve open. It is a little narrow for a “wide” model and bounces as air mattresses tend to do. Some testers felt the high-sided cradling feature was a little restrictive, but for someone who plans to hike in to camp, this is a great option.

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NEMO Quasar
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NEMO Quasar
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $149.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
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Compare at 3 sellers
$179 List
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Pros Very small packed size, insulated, soft fabric exterior, quietWarm, comfortable, easy to inflateBed-like comfort, easy inflation, great valueVery packable, lightweight, warm enough for three season useInexpensive, easy to use
Cons Narrow for a wide mattress, not everyone will like the high sides, bouncyLarge packed sizeToo big for some single person tentsBouncy, a little noisy, not warm enough for winterNo insulation, bouncy, heavy
Bottom Line A very packable air mattress that is warm enough for most three-season campingOur favorite option with easy to use valves and pump sack for easy inflationAll our favorite features we love from a camping mat at a great priceA lightweight and packable mattress that is also comfortable and warm enough for most usesA classic air mattress, it's easy to use and good for the occasional warm night outdoors
Rating Categories NEMO Quasar Therm-a-Rest MondoK... REI Co-op Camp Drea... Therm-a-Rest NeoAir... EnerPlex Camping Se...
Comfort (40%)
6.0
10.0
10.0
7.0
4.0
Ease of Use (20%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Warmth (20%)
5.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
1
Versatility (10%)
10.0
7.0
6.0
10.0
4.0
Packed Size (10%)
10.0
6.0
5.0
9.0
6.0
Specs NEMO Quasar Therm-a-Rest MondoK... REI Co-op Camp Drea... Therm-a-Rest NeoAir... EnerPlex Camping Se...
Dimensions 76 x 25 x 3.5 in 80 x 30 x 4.25 in 78 x 32 x 4 in 77 x 30 x 4 in 80 x 60 x 9 in
R Value 3.3 7 6.6 3.7 None
Test Model Long Wide XXL XL XLarge Queen
Length 76 in 80 in 78 in 77 in 80 in
Width 25 in 30 in 32 in 30 in 60 in
Thickness 3.5 in 4.25 in 4 in 4 in 9 in
Weight 2.1 lbs 5.27 lbs 6.38 lbs 2.34 lbs 10.94 lbs
Type Pump inflation Pump inflation Self Inflating Pump inflation Pump inflation
Packed Size (inches) 9 in x 5.5 in 9 x 32 in 11 in x 30 in 12 x 6 in 17 x 17 x 8 in
Bed Material 30D polyester Polyester Stretch polyester Polyester Polyvinyl Chloride with waterproof flock top
Valves One valve TwinLock One valve TwinLock One valve
Accessories Stuff sack, repair kit, pump Stuff sack Air Pump/Pillow Stuff sack, pump, pump sack Electric pump, 12 volt car plug, storage sack
Breaths to Inflate N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Our Analysis and Test Results

Shopping for a camping mattress requires a clear idea of what your needs are. Are you hiking some distance to sleep or are you exclusively car camping? What is the range of nighttime temperatures that you anticipate having to sleep in? Do you expect to sleep as well outdoor as you do at home, or are you willing to sacrifice comfort for space-saving versatility? The NEMO Quasar will not work in all seasons or offer the maximum plush comfort of a foam mattress, but it stands out with its diminutive packed size and thoughtful design.

Performance Comparison


NEMO Quasar camping mattress - the nemo quasar packs up small enough to use for backcountry...
The NEMO Quasar packs up small enough to use for backcountry adventures.
Credit: Laurel Hunter

Comfort


The Quasar air mattress inflates up to 3.5 inches thick in the center of the pad with higher sides that create a cradling effect. The mattress is more uniform in thickness at the head, with a larger baffle at the very top which serves nicely to hold a pillow in place. Nemo says that the cradle shape is specifically for side sleepers, but our side-sleeping testers were split on how comfortable it actually was. One felt it kept them from rolling off the mattress and was rather cozy, while another said it felt crowded and restrictive. While we tested the Long Wide size of the Quasar, the 25-inch width is narrower than other “wide” mattresses in our test, which possibly added to a more crowded feel.

The polyester ripstop fabric is quite soft to the touch and noticeably quieter than other air mattresses in our test. However, as with most air mattresses, it does have a noticeable bounce, especially when moving around in the night. We were most comfortable with a lower level of inflation, which increased both the bounce and our chances of feeling things below us on the forest floor.

NEMO Quasar camping mattress - the fabric used on the quasar is soft to the touch.
The fabric used on the Quasar is soft to the touch.
Credit: Laurel Hunter

Ease of Use


There is one valve on the Quasar with two flaps — one for inflation and micro-adjusting, the other for quick deflating. Add air by attaching the included inflation sack to the valve. Blow into the sack and press the air into the mattress. The bottle-neck shape is super efficient and helps keep the air in the sack for quicker inflation. However, it does mean that it is harder to use the wind to fill the sack rather than breath. When removing the sack from the valve, you have to be really careful not to pull the deflation flap open. Several times we deflated the mattress partially as we were removing the inflation bag.

NEMO Quasar camping mattress - blow into the inflation sack before pushing the air into the mattress.
Blow into the inflation sack before pushing the air into the mattress.
Credit: Laurel Hunter

The same valve used for inflation can also be pushed gently to remove air and get a dialed in amount of squish to suit the user. Full deflation is quite easy; just open the bottom flap fully and the air dumps out.

NEMO Quasar camping mattress - one valve portal for inflation and deflation.
One valve portal for inflation and deflation.
Credit: Laurel Hunter

Warmth


With an R-value of 3.3, the Quasar is not intended for winter camping but is warm enough for most nights out the rest of the year, assuming the altitude isn’t too high or the temperatures too low. The higher the R-value, the better you will be insulated from the ground and the air between the ground and your sleeping bag. There are a few ounces of Primaloft in the Quasar and it makes a big difference. With no insulation, you can be cold on a 65-degree night, while our testers felt like 40 degrees was comfortable with this model.

If you really value a cozy night’s sleep, especially if you like to sleep in higher mountains where temperatures can dip dramatically, you may want to look for a mattress with a higher R-value.

Versatility


The Quasar is quick to set up and easy to use. While it is not the warmest or plushest mattress, it will perform well in different three-season camping scenarios. At 2.1 pounds, its tiny packed size and relatively light weight mean this could be carried as a rather indulgent backpacking mattress.

NEMO Quasar camping mattress - the quasar rolls up into a very small size, making it quite versatile.
The Quasar rolls up into a very small size, making it quite versatile.
Credit: Laurel Hunter

Packed Size


If the packed size is important to you, then the Quasar will definitely impress. It rolls up into a tiny little package, barely larger than a water bottle. Considering the level of comfort it provided, this is especially impressive. For people that backpack as often as they camp and only want one mattress, this might be a deciding factor. More cushion and warmth take up more size, which can be a factor, especially if you have a lot of gear to stash.

NEMO Quasar camping mattress - the packed size of the quasar is impressively small.
The packed size of the Quasar is impressively small.
Credit: Laurel Hunter

Should You Buy the NEMO Quasar?


Those that value a small packed size will find the greatest value in the Quasar. There are much more comfortable and insulating foam mattresses for roughly the same price, but for a mattress that is versatile, decently warm, and easy to use we feel this is a good value.

NEMO Quasar camping mattress - the quasar is warm enough for most three-season camping opportunities.
The Quasar is warm enough for most three-season camping opportunities.
Credit: Laurel Hunter

Conclusion


It is hardly fair to compare air mattresses with foam for car camping comfort, but if you really value versatility and a minimal gear closet, the NEMO Quasar is thoughtfully designed and will perform well in the backcountry as well as the family camping trip without taking up much space.

Laurel Hunter
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