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NEMO Roamer Review

Four inches of foam camping mattress comfort that packs into a relatively small package
NEMO Roamer
Photo: NEMO
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $250 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Packs to half the size of similar mattresses, easy to use, warm, comfortable
Cons:  Slight bounciness, heavy
Manufacturer:   NEMO Equipment
By Laurel Hunter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 6, 2019
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83
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 17
  • Comfort - 40% 9
  • Ease of Use - 20% 8
  • Warmth - 20% 8
  • Versatility - 10% 8
  • Packed Size - 10% 7

Our Verdict

Knowing that foam mattresses provide the most comfort in a camping mattress, we were skeptical that one could pack into half the space and still be equal in comfort to the other foam slabs. While the Nemo Roamer is just slightly less comfortable than the plushest mats, it is miles ahead of air mattresses and lightweight sleeping pads in the comfort metric. It is also very easy to use and has convenient toggles to join it with another to make a double mattress. Most importantly, it rolls up into a squat package that is, in fact, half the size of similar mattresses, meaning that you can easily fit two into the trunk.

Product Updates
This camping mattress has been updated; get the details below.

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NEMO Roamer
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NEMO Roamer
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award 
Price Check Price at REI
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Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$179 List
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Compare at 2 sellers
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Pros Packs to half the size of similar mattresses, easy to use, warm, comfortableWarm, comfortable, easy to inflateBed-like comfort, easy inflation, great valueVery comfortable, very warm, easy to useVery packable, lightweight, warm enough for three season use
Cons Slight bounciness, heavyLarge packed sizeToo big for some single person tentsLarge packed size, expensiveBouncy, a little noisy, not warm enough for winter
Bottom Line Four inches of foam camping mattress comfort that packs into a relatively small packageOur 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 priceDeluxe and plush, this is a top choice for car camping comfortA 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...
Comfort (40%)
9.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
7.0
Ease Of Use (20%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
Warmth (20%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
10.0
6.0
Versatility (10%)
8.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
10.0
Packed Size (10%)
7.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
10.0
Specs NEMO Roamer Therm-a-Rest MondoK... REI Co-op Camp Drea... Exped MegaMat 10 Therm-a-Rest NeoAir...
Dimensions 80 x 30 x 4 in 80 x 30 x 4.25 in 78 x 32 x 4 in 77.6 x 30.3 x 4 in 77 x 30 x 4 in
R Value 6 7 6.6 8.1 3.7
Test Model XL Wide XXL XL Green LXWide XLarge
Length 80 in 80 in 78 in 77.6 in 77 in
Width 30 in 30 in 32 in 30.3 in 30 in
Thickness 4 in 4.25 in 4 in 4 in 4 in
Weight 5.25 lbs 5.27 lbs 6.38 lbs 6.1 lbs 2.34 lbs
Type Self inflating Pump inflation Self Inflating Self inflating Pump inflation
Packed Size (inches) 10.5 x 15 in 9 x 32 in 11 in x 30 in 9 in x 33 in 12 x 6 in
Bed Material 50D stretch Polyester Stretch polyester 50D polyester with TPU polyether film laminate Polyester
Valves Zero profile TwinLock One valve Two valves TwinLock
Accessories Stuff sack Stuff sack Air Pump/Pillow Mini pump, stuff sack, repair kit and manual Stuff sack, pump, pump sack
Breaths to Inflate N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

Our Analysis and Test Results

Updated Roamer


NEMO updated the Roamer mattress since our test cycle. The latest iteration features NEMO's FlowCore internal air channels, which are designed to increase airflow for faster inflation speed. We've yet to test the updated model, but you can check out the two side by side below. The version we tested is shown first, followed by the updated Roamer.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Hands-On Review of the NEMO Roamer


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. Where it stands out is in its packed size, which is about half the size of other foam mattresses in this category! It is easy to deflate and store, as well, which is why we made this our Top Pick for Self-Inflating Comfort.

You may not want to take a car camping mattress backpacking, but we...
You may not want to take a car camping mattress backpacking, but we did!
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Comfort


Our tests demonstrated that we would most likely 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 dual-axis coring to remove 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. One tester felt like the fabric grabbed a tiny bit on his dry hands, worth a mention because we are looking for any differences in comfort in these top-end mats.

If you plan to sleep out in cold temperatures (and you like to be...
If you plan to sleep out in cold temperatures (and you like to be warm while you sleep), you will want to look at a mattress with a high R-value. The higher the number the more likely you will be insulated from cold air and ground. The Nemo Roamer is rated with an R-value of 6, warm enough for four-season camping.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Ease of Use


The Roamer uses dual valves for inflation and deflation. They are labeled "Inflate" and "Deflate," but the inflate valve has two covers, allowing for removal of the one-way valve. We found that the speediest self-inflation happened with both valves all the way open. After about five minutes, we closed the "deflate" valve, popped the one-way valve back in place, added ten or so breaths of air, and had a fat mattress of perfect firmness. The one-way valve allows for easy micro-adjustment.


Deflating is just as easy. Two valves definitely release air faster than one! After rolling out most of the air, close up the inflate/two-way valve before doing the final folding and rolling. Because this mattress has less foam, it rolls up easier than some of the denser foam mats.

Two valves make for easy deflation.
Two valves make for easy deflation.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

We do recommend that you inflate the mattress at home at least once or twice before taking it out into the woods. The initial self-inflation time, as is usual with these foam mattresses, took more time. However, subsequent inflations were fast and easy.

Warmth


Nemo does not supply an R-value for this mattress, but claims that it will keep you insulated down to -30 degrees F. We did not test in arctic conditions but can confirm that we felt no chill from the ground when it got down to 20 degrees F, and have no reason to think it wouldn't work well in much colder temperatures.

More air in a mattress typically means less insulation. However, there is plenty of foam in the Roamer to maintain a cozy temperature.


Versatility


We tested the XL Wide version of the Roamer, and at 30 by 80 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 Long Wide version that is 25 inches wide, and one of each toggled together could make for a very plush 55-inch 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 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.

Toggles help hold the mattress together for storage, and also are...
Toggles help hold the mattress together for storage, and also are used to attach two mattresses together.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

The Roamer, while still significantly heavier than a lightweight sleeping pad, is quite a bit lighter than the other foam mattresses in the test. One of our testers strapped in on to 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


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 half the size of the other foam core mattresses in our test and is considerably smaller than the adaptable mattresses we tested.

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 overhead compartment of the airplane), 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.

4 inches of foam vs 18 inches of air. Foam wins for comfort and...
4 inches of foam vs 18 inches of air. Foam wins for comfort and warmth.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

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 since it is not attached to anything, it is easy to lose. Luckily, the storage sack is generously sized, and we found that the strap was helpful but not necessary.

Barely larger than a sleeping bag, this a very packable mattress for...
Barely larger than a sleeping bag, this a very packable mattress for the comfort level you get.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Value


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.

Easy to store and super warm makes for a good value.
Easy to store and super warm makes for a good value.
Photo: Laurel Hunter

Conclusion


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 that values comfort but lacks a ton of storage space, this mattress is worth a look.

Laurel Hunter