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

Nemo Astro Insulated Review

A comfortable pad for those with more emphasis on comfort than pack weight
Nemo Astro Insulated
Photo: NEMO
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $100 List | $99.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Thick, comfortable, nice valve system, lifetime warranty, integrated pillow
Cons:  Heavy, no pump sack included, long inflation time
Manufacturer:   Nemo
By Brian Martin ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 18, 2020
  • Share this article:
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
55
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#17 of 17
  • Comfort - 30% 7
  • Weight and Packed Size - 30% 4
  • Warmth - 20% 5
  • Ease of Inflation - 10% 4
  • Durability - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The ultralight thru-hiking crowd may turn their nose up at a pad weighing more than a pound, but our testers felt that there is a strong argument to be made for the Nemo Astro Insulated pad for those looking on the more comfortable and luxurious end of the spectrum for backpacking. After all, it isn't about how quickly you get there, it's about the experience along the way, and for those who need the ability to easily dial in the loft and enough cushion to side sleep or pitch on rooty ground, the Astro is a solid performer. If you're simply looking for the lightest sleeping pad, the Astro is not your horse. If you want something capable of handling a multi-night backpacking trip without sacrificing sleep comfort, keep on reading, or just get this pad because it's pretty dang comfortable.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Nemo Astro Insulated
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
Price $99.95 at Amazon$213.39 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$144.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$149.73 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$129.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
55
77
76
70
67
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Thick, comfortable, nice valve system, lifetime warranty, integrated pillowSuperior warmth, small packed size, lightLightweight, warm for the weight, packs small, comfortable, versatileComfortable, dual air chambers are redundant, quiet, warm, stable, and supportiveLightweight, good for three season use, packs small, comfortable
Cons Heavy, no pump sack included, long inflation timeNarrow, expensiveExpensive, edges not as stable as other pad designsHeavy, expensiveLightweight material isn't very durable
Bottom Line A great sleeping pad capable of seeing you through a multi night backpacking trip in luxuryWith a warmth to weight ratio that is off the charts, this is one of our favorite pads of all timeA comfortable, lightweight, and versatile sleeping pad that has withstood the test of timeIdeal for folks who think sleeping pads cannot provide mega comfort; prove them wrongReady for all adventures, this versatile model doesn't disappoint
Rating Categories Nemo Astro Insulated Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Comfort Plus Insulated Q-Core SLX Insulated
Comfort (30%)
7
7
7
9
8
Weight And Packed Size (30%)
4
8
9
4
6
Warmth (20%)
5
9
7
8
6
Ease Of Inflation (10%)
4
8
8
7
7
Durability (10%)
8
6
6
8
6
Specs Nemo Astro Insulated Therm-a-Rest... Therm-a-Rest... Comfort Plus... Q-Core SLX Insulated
Weight 24 oz 18.2 oz 16 oz 25.5 oz 22.2 oz
Thickness 3 in 2.5 in 2.5 in 2.5 in 3.25 in
Claimed R Value 3 6.9 4.2 5 3.5
Length 72 in 72 in 72 in 72 in 72 in
Packed Volume (L) 2.2 L 1.8 L 1.8 L 3.1 L 1.5 L
Width 21 in 20 in 20 in 21.5 in 20 in
Breaths to Inflate 38-42 15-20 15-20 25-30 15-20
Type Air Construction/Synthetic Insulation Air Construction/Baffled Insulation Air Construction/Baffled Insulation Air Construction/Synthetic Insulation Air Construction/Synthetic Insulation

Our Analysis and Test Results

If you're tired of body shaming ultralight pads getting all of the press and just want a pad that is at home romping around in the wilderness as well as for impromptu car camping trips, the Astro is a great versatile all-around pad.

Performance Comparison


The comfort of this sleeping pad is really quite impressive. The...
The comfort of this sleeping pad is really quite impressive. The thick padding makes propping up on your elbows possible for a bit of pre-sleep reading without the associated pain you may have previously experienced.
Photo: Brian Martin

Comfort


The real draw of this pad is the extremely thick 3.5-inch loft and easy to use micro adjuster to dial in firmness. Our testers found multiple attributes that ultimately boosted the overall comfort of the Astro. The ample footprint, grippy fabric, integrated pillow, and car camping pad levels of thickness elevated this pad into contention for one of the most comfortable pads that we would be willing to take with us on a backpacking trip.

We found the plush 3.5inch thick loft and ability to micro-adjust firmness quite comfortable. Like most inflatable sleeping pads, however, when underinflated, the Astro is a bit bouncy though not excessively so. When it's dialed in, it took some concentration to really determine where pressure points were as it conformed so well even on bumpy rooty ground. While we were a bit skeptical of the integrated pillow, it helped ameliorate one of the biggest frustrations we have with sleeping pads these days, and that's having our improvised stuff sack pillow slip off the pad mid slumber. Like the kiddie bumpers at the bowling alley, this barrier really did keep our pillow in place.

The ultra thick horizontal rails, integrated pillow, and ample...
The ultra thick horizontal rails, integrated pillow, and ample width/length make the Astro one of the most comfortable pads we tested.
Photo: Brian Martin

Weight and Packed Size


All of this plush comfort and shoulder season warmth does come at a price. On our scale, the Astro came in at 25.33 ounces (718 grams), which is definitely on the heavy side of all pads tested this year. The packed size isn't any more impressive. Tightly packed, the Astro is like a taller girthier 32oz Nalgene bottle size.

While the packed size isn't incredibly impressive, it is quick and...
While the packed size isn't incredibly impressive, it is quick and easy to pack up. An included velcro strap keeps the pad bundled while slipping it into the stuff sack which is a nice touch.
Photo: Brian Martin

This may sound discouraging, but some of our testers felt that in the right circumstances, this weight and packed size penalty would be worth it. Think pleasure backpacking trip, lake to lake, where you don't want to sacrifice sleep quality to shave three-quarters of a pound from your kit. Full disclosure, one of our favorite nights out this summer was utilizing the Astro in conjunction with our ultralight kit. We had an excellent night's sleep, and our entire pack still only weighed ten pounds.

25.33 onces is quite a lot for a backpacking sleeping pad...
25.33 onces is quite a lot for a backpacking sleeping pad. Ultimately the choice to use this pad should be made for some specific reasons such as needing a high level of comfort for quality sleep and not if you're looking to find an ultralight pad.
Photo: Brian Martin

Warmth


While some sleeping pads opt for crinkly aluminized foils inside the pad to minimize weight and packed size, the Astro stayed true to its luxury liner roots and went for quiet and warm Primaloft. This has a notable impact on packed size as well as the benefit of having a really quiet pad, which can be a benefit for yourself and anyone you're sleeping next to. The stated R-value is 2.6 which rates this pad right around the freezing point for water. Throughout our testing, this seemed pretty accurate. Cool summer nights in the high country with lows in the upper 30s were quite comfortable, and our early spring excursions into the Wasatch proved to outgun this pad just a bit.

We found the 2.6 R-Value to be right on the mark. We were plenty...
We found the 2.6 R-Value to be right on the mark. We were plenty warm during cool alpine summer nights and felt we could stretch the performance of this pad a bit when we needed to though ultimately below feezing proved to be a bit chilly.
Photo: Brian Martin

Ease of Inflation


One of the biggest downsides of the Astro is the omission of a pump sack. While these seemed heavy and unnecessary a few years ago, large plush pads such as the Astro require a ton of air to inflate. We found ourselves having to pause and wait out the headrush a few times while inflating this thing, even when we were trying to pace ourselves. Filling this thing by mouth takes us several minutes at least. We were a bit baffled (get it?) by the omission of a pump sack as the Astro really does have comfort and usability as its highest priority. That being said, the valve system is a massive improvement over the past versions that looked a bit like the old-school Therm-a-Rest valves. This new version lays flat and feels durable and rugged in hand. We had no concerns with being rough with it as it doesn't feel fragile in the least. As a side note, Nemo does sell a pump sack compatible with the "Lay Low" valve system on this pad, but it's quite expensive which is a real kick in the pump sack.

It was a bit daunting each night knowing we had to settle into a...
It was a bit daunting each night knowing we had to settle into a several minutes long Wim Hoff session of deep breathing to get this pad filled. There is an expensive pump sack sold separately that you will likely want to purchase.
Photo: Brian Martin

Durability


Another bright spot in performance for the Astro was overall durability. the 75d ripstop polyester felt thick and proved to be abrasion and puncture-resistant even with some of our reckless testing. We pitched the Astro directly on the ground and on granite slabs without any punctures or visible damage. Should you manage to bust through it or damage it beyond repair, Nemo does back the product with a lifetime warranty though we have not yet had to utilize this protection.

We tend to be pretty rough on equipment during testing. While we...
We tend to be pretty rough on equipment during testing. While we haven't tested this pad for years straight, we have thrown it down on bare ground over and over without any leakage so far. The 75D material feels heavy duty.
Photo: Brian Martin


Value


Not only did this new version of the Astro come equipped with some solid updates to the physical structure, but it also came with a lower price. Comfort and durability are hard to find in a backpacking pad, and at the retail price, this pad does represent a solid value. It's not going to win any awards for being lightweight or ultra-cheap, but it is a solid pad at a reasonable price. One red mark in overall value is the omission of a pump sack, something that seems more and more common to have included with most sleeping pads.

Conclusion


At 3.5 inches thick and having some nice creature comforts included, the Astro fits a niche in the backpacking pad market. While some pads seem to be testing the limits of what humans will tolerate for a sleeping surface, the Astro is headed in the opposite direction and offers excellent comfort for backpackers who listen to their body more than their ego.

The Astro is a great sleeping pad that offers a ton of comfort in a...
The Astro is a great sleeping pad that offers a ton of comfort in a package that might be a bit too heavy for some. If a bit of extra weight doesn't deter you a great nights sleep awaits.
Photo: Brian Martin

Brian Martin