NEMO Roamer Review
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|Pros||Packs to half the size of similar mattresses, super fast inflation, warm, comfortable||Warm, comfortable, easy to inflate||Bed-like comfort, easy inflation, great value||Very comfortable, very warm, easy to use||Very packable and lightweight, warm enough for three season use|
|Cons||Slight bounciness, heavy||Large packed size, pricey||Too big for some single person tents||Large packed size, expensive||Bouncy, a little noisy, not warm enough for winter|
|Bottom Line||Four inches of foam camping mattress comfort that packs into a relatively small package||Our favorite option with well-designed valves and a pump sack for easy inflation||This plush pad is comfortable, warm, and affordable, but does take up a lot of space, even when packed||Deluxe and plush, this is a top choice for car camping comfort||A lightweight and packable mattress that is also comfortable and warm enough for most uses|
|Rating Categories||NEMO Roamer||Therm-a-Rest MondoK...||REI Co-op Camp Drea...||Exped MegaMat 10||Therm-a-Rest NeoAir...|
|Ease of Use (20%)|
|Packed Size (10%)|
|Specs||NEMO Roamer||Therm-a-Rest MondoK...||REI Co-op Camp Drea...||Exped MegaMat 10||Therm-a-Rest NeoAir...|
|Dimensions||78 x 30 x 4 in||80 x 30 x 4.25 in||78 x 32 x 4 in||78 x 30 x 4 in||77 x 30 x 4 in|
|Test Model||XL, XWide||XXL||XL||LXW||XLarge|
|Length||78 in||80 in||78 in||78 in||77 in|
|Width||30 in||30 in||32 in||30 in||30 in|
|Thickness||4 in||4.25 in||4 in||4 in||4 in|
|Weight||5.88 lbs||5.27 lbs||6.38 lbs||6.1 lbs||2.34 lbs|
|Type||Self inflating||Self inflating, inflation sack||Self inflating, inflation sack||Self inflating||Pump inflation|
|Packed Size||16 x 10 in||9 x 32 in||11 in x 30 in||9 x 33 in||12 x 6 in|
|Bed Material||75D polyester||Polyester||Recycled polyester||50D polyester with TPU polyether film laminate||Polyester|
|Valves||Three valves||TwinLock||Two valves||Two valves||TwinLock|
|Accessories||Stuff sack, pump sack, repair kit||Stuff sack||Air pump, pillow||Mini pump, stuff sack, repair kit and manual||Stuff sack, pump, pump sack|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Nemo Roamer is a big self-inflating sleeping pad that is just about as comfortable as any of the other foam mattresses that we tested. On it, we were four inches off the ground and well-insulated from the cold. It stands out in its packed size, which is about half the size of other foam mattresses in this category! It is incredibly easy to inflate, deflate, and store, which is why we made this our Top Pick for Self-Inflating Comfort.
Our tests demonstrated that we would have a great night's sleep on pretty much any of the four-inch foam-core camping mattresses. Differences between them are subtle and somewhat about personal preference. The Roamer is right up there with the best of the bunch, but what makes it a strong performer in the packability metric dings it a tiny bit in the comfort category.
The Roamer has less foam, using "Flow Core" construction to reduce bulk and weight. This also means that there is more air in the mattress, which allows for more bounce in the mat. This was by no means on the level of the air mattresses in this review, but it was noticeable to some testers. If you want maximum dampening of all movement, then more foam will have that effect.
The fabric cover on the Roamer is soft to the touch and comfortable against skin if you happen to stick an arm or leg out of your sleeping bag. It stretches when you move, making an extra-plush sleeping experience.
Ease of Use
The Roamer uses three valves for inflation and deflation: a dual-purpose inflate, a one-way deflate, and a two-way. Fortunately, diagrams on the mattress show how these three need to be configured for inflation and deflation. The inflate valve has two flaps, allowing for both a full opening and a one-way valve. With two valves completely open, you can watch the mattress self-inflate before your eyes.
After about five minutes, we closed the two-way valve and popped the one-way valve back in place. The included pump sack made final inflation super fast, taking less than four sackfuls of air to make it extra-firm. We noticed that you have to remove the inflation sack carefully, as it can pull the one-way valve open and release air accidentally. The one-way valve allows for easy micro-adjustment once you are settled into your sleeping bag.
Deflating is just as easy. Three valves definitely release air faster than one! After rolling out most of the air, close up the inflate/two-way valve and the two-way valve before doing the final folding and rolling, expelling the last air through the one-way deflate valve. Because this mattress has less foam, it rolls up easier than some of the denser foam mats.
We do recommend that you inflate the mattress at home at least once to get used to the inflate and deflate system. If you have to set up camp after a long drive, you probably don't want to struggle interpreting diagrams with a headlamp. The initial self-inflation time was just as fast and easy as subsequent times.
With an R-value of six, the Roamer is plenty warm for year-round camping. We tested it on a night that dropped into the low 20s and had zero complaints in the warmth department. More air in a mattress typically means less insulation. However, there is plenty of foam in the Roamer to maintain a cozy temperature.
We tested the XL Wide version of the Roamer, and at 30 by 78 inches, it is a very large and plush mattress. Depending on the size of your tent, fitting two of them in a two-person tent might be impossible. However, Nemo makes a Double version that is 52 inches wide, which would make a very plush mattress for two. The toggles on the Roamer serve two purposes: they help hold the shape while rolling it up for storage, but they can also be used to attach two (or more!) Roamers together to make a queen-sized mattress. This small feature actually makes the Roamer more versatile. If you like snuggling with your camping buddy, you know that pad gap is a bummer, but double-width foam mattresses are typically awkward and massive to store.
While still significantly heavier than a lightweight sleeping pad, the Roamer is noticeably lighter than the other foam mattresses in the test. One of our testers strapped in onto his backpack for a short hike into the wilderness and had the best night's sleep on a backpacking trip that he has ever had. While the five-pound weight is far heavier than most people would want to carry for a backpacking trip, for the determined, or for short hikes, it is within the realm of possibility.
Packed size is where the Roamer shines. While not as small as sleeping pads made for backpacking, or many air mattresses, it does pack down to nearly half the size of the other foam core mattresses in our test. One tester threw it in a duffle bag for a flight to visit family. It took up half the space in the duffle (which still fit in the airplane's overhead compartment), but it was worth it. While her brother froze on a knee-high air mattress, she was warm and almost as comfortable as at home.
This smaller size means you can fit twice as many of these in the car, and they won't take up nearly as much space in your gear closet. Assuming your tent is large enough to handle them inflated, you can actually imagine a set of these for the family in the hatchback.
The Roamer achieves its squat stored stature through the folding of the sides of the deflated mat into the middle (using toggles to secure them). It comes with a velcro strap to help hold the shape when rolled, but it is easy to lose since it is not attached to anything. Luckily, the storage sack is generously sized, and we found that the strap was helpful but not necessary.
The cost of this mattress is on the higher end of the price spectrum. However, it is just about as comfortable as any of the camping mattresses that we tested while packing away to half the size. It is also easy to use and fairly versatile for a camping mattress. We would not hesitate to offer this as a comfy option for an overnight guest. If space is at a premium, we think this is a great value.
Nemo has really changed the game with the packability of the Roamer. While not quite as comfortable as some of the other mattresses, it is really, really close. This camping mattress is also significantly lighter than other foam mattresses and packs to about half the size. For anyone who values comfort but lacks a ton of storage space, this mattress is worth considering.
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