Therm-a-Rest NeoAir All Season SV Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
This pad isn't as warm and is heavier than our Editors' Choice, the NeoAir Xtherm. Why choose this pad over the Xtherm? It's rectangular, has a larger surface area, and has the controversial Speed Valve system. While the Speed Valve makes it very easy to deflate the pad, we don't feel that it makes a significant improvement in inflation speed. Therm-a-Rest isn't oblivious to the learning curve presented by their Speed Valve system. To help users properly inflate their Speed Valve pads, they created this short video tutorial. We recommend checking it out if you own a pad with this system, or if you're considering purchasing one.
The All-Season is a rectangular winter pad in Therm-a-Rest's NeoAir series. Its shape gives you more space at the head and feet, which many testers find more comfortable than the mummy shapes of other pads like the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm. The rectangular shape of the All-Season was especially appreciated by side sleepers whose feet often roll off of tapered pads. Edge collapse felt minimal, especially when compared to the thicker Exped DownMat 9 which presents the sleeper with a whopping 3.5 inches to roll off of. Another advantage of the boxy shape is that it is easier to balance your pillow.
More importantly, our testers loved this pad's relatively flat sleeping surface. Consistently, our testers found that the flatter a surface is, the more comfortable it is. If unplanned bivvies on rocky terrain are more your style, less rigid air cell pads liked the REI Co-op Flash All-season Insulated is a better option. We found the All-Season nearly as comfortable as the NeoAir Venture. Both feature a similar design, but the baffles on the All-Season are quite noisy and sound like you're sleeping on tin foil. When bundled up tight, our sleeping bags provided quite a bit of noise dampening. But on warmer nights, the sound was intrusive to the sleep of some.
Weight and Packed Size
Tipping the scale at 22.8 oz, the All-Season is considerably heavier than the XTherm and Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite. For this reason, the vast majority of our testers reach for those pads on weight-conscious trips. What comes along with those extra ounces is more square inches to sprawl and less likelihood of sliding off the pad onto the cold ground. Additionally, the speed valve system adds some weight.
As you can see in the photo below, this pad packs small, but it's still larger than most other NeoAir pads. However, relative to most of the pads in the review, this one is about average in size.
With an R-value of 4.9, the Therm-a-Rest All Season is among the warmest pads we tested. Although not quite as toasty as the XTherm, it's still a good choice for winter use. One of the warmest pads we reviewed was the Exped DownMat 9, which boasts a toasty R-Value of 8. The DownMat weighs 13 oz more than the All-Season SV and takes up substantially more space in a backpack.
Ease of Inflation
To speed valve or not speed valve? Our testers prefer the older Therm-a-Rest twist valve system. It's durable, easy to use, and doesn't leak. The SV system, on the other hand, requires an instructional video to learn how to use, you have to close it just-so to prevent leakage, and it adds weight to the pad. The SV system doesn't make inflation significantly faster in our opinion, and just isn't worth the weight or confusion. This pad also has the twist valve found on other Therm-a-Rests for fine tuning the firmness. The real "speed" in the SV system is in the deflation process. Just unclip the Speed Valve on your friend's pad and they'll be on the ground in under a second.
The All-Season uses a durable 75-denier polyester and 70-denier nylon that makes it more than sufficiently durable for extended use and abuse. The material is bomber. Our testers have logged more than 365 nights on one of the old All-Season pads without any leaks or tears. In past reviews, our testers had problems with the SV system leaking, though our current test model holds are just fine. It's important to make sure you close and fold the speed valve properly, as shown in the video.
The All-Season is a great all-purpose pad for year-round use. It may not be the highest performing piece of equipment due to its heavier weight, but it's comfortable and warm. If you want one comfortable pad that you can use year round, then this pad is a top contender from roadside sleeping to high alpine bivies.
At $160 this pad is less expensive than the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm and the superlight Big Agnes Insulated AXL Air. The All-Season is more spacious than both the aforementioned pads, so if you find yourself falling off smaller mummy shaped pads, the sleep you'll get on the All-Season will be worth the cash.
True to its name, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir All Season provides year-round warmth. The boxy design is more comfortable than the weight saving mummy shape of similar pads. It has a flat surface that is a dream to sleep on, but some testers complained that it is too noisy. We just hope that Therm-a-Rest will bring back the old non-SV inflation system.
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