Upon unboxing, we were a bit overwhelmed with the size and weight of the Therm-a-Rest Camper Duo and feared this pad would live on the shelf in our garage due to its prohibitive size and weight. Since that time, the overall functionality, versatility, and supreme comfort have won us over. In essence, the Camper Duo is comprised of two thick, comfortable sleeping pads welded together with a mostly unnoticeable seam down the middle. While seemingly simple in design, it solves many issues the intrepid camping couple faces, such as the dreaded parting of the sleeping pads that seem to take place in the middle of the night; not unlike when Moses parted the Red Sea.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Camper Duo Review
Cons: Heavy, expensive, too wide for many two person backpacking tents
Our Analysis and Test Results
If you're on the hunt for a couples sleeping pad, the Camper Duo is worth a good hard look. If 4+ pounds is a dealbreaker, this might be a bit too much pad for you, though the supreme comfort is not to be missed.
With separated air chambers for each camper, a pleasantly unnoticeable welded seam down the middle, and ample cushion, the Therm-a-Rest Camper Duo is top-notch in the comfort department. Our main testing couple has spent an innumerable number of nights out on separate sleeping pads and has bemoaned the complications this brings along. Spooning is almost completely ruled out with traditional inflatable pads as they gradually scoot apart. Not only does the Camper Duo solve that problem, but it also stays welded to the ground when just one person gets up to do some midnight "duty". Upon returning from said duty, the dual air chambers insulate one from the bounce created by another person sliding back into their sleeping bag.
The textured fabric also did quite well at keeping us in place, even on campsites that weren't perfectly flat. To cap off the high level of comfort provided by the Duo, we found solo car camping trips to be even more plush with the floor space of a Full sized bed under us.
Weight and Packed Size
Using the Camper Duo, we got the sense that this pad was made with couples comfort in mind, and details such as weight and packed size were more of a side discussion in the design room. At around 4.5 pounds, you can definitely feel the heft of this pad. That being said, it isn't too crazy to imagine hauling this pad around on mellow backpacking trips where the ability to be cozy and comfy is more important than how light and quick you can be.
The Camper Duo is probably one of the most interesting pads we have tested to assess for overall warmth to date. Because of the rather seamless weld down the middle and thick padding for side sleeping, warmth from spooning is an important piece of this metric. When used for solo car camping, the 2.5 R-value proved adequate with the bonus of never waking up shivering having slid off one side or the other. When out camping as a couple, we felt we could endure significantly colder temps just with the ability to spoon and zip sleeping bags together. This also helped us understand the relatively low three-season R-rating. Depending on how much of a nuclear furnace your partner is, a higher R-rating might prove to be too much.
Ease of Inflation
If you've seen any of our reviews covering the newish winglock valve from Therm-a-Rest, you know we swooned when they released it a few years back. These valves are chunky, durable, and work extremely well when paired with the winglock pump sack. The pump sack locks onto the valve with a satisfying pop and allows for quick, even forceful inflation. We were able to inflate both sides of the pad within approximately eight minutes, which is pretty dang good considering the overall size.
The winglock valves also allow for micro-adjustments in how much pressure each side of this pad holds. While most sleeping pads can be adjusted in this way, the twist valve lets us have the control we want without going too far and having to re-inflate.
Through our research period, we noticed several reviews complaining of durability, specifically from individuals who developed leaks in the fabric of their pad. This is an unfortunate reality for those who have spent a significant amount of time on air-filled sleeping pads. We've used pads with incredibly thick fabrics, pads with paper-thin polymers and found that any air pad can be vulnerable to puncture. Surely the Camper Duo is no different, though we did put ours through the wringer and didn't develop any leaks.
The valve system is an important durability consideration. Through the years of experience we have with the Winglock valve, we've found it to be reliable and durable, and it has yet to cause us any upsets on any of the handful of pads we're using that have the same system.
There is no doubt that this is a luxurious sleeping pad for couples wanting to add a bit more comfort to their packing and car camping adventures. The price may be just about right, honestly. It feels like a lot of money for one item, but it's a sleeping pad cleverly built for two. It's cheaper than two quality sleeping pads, and certainly works better for two than just scooting two traditional air pads together.
We were a bit hesitant at the onset of testing double sleeping pads, thinking it was a gimmick. The reality couldn't be further from that assumption. The Therm-a-Rest Camper Duo is extremely comfortable and did well eliminating the annoyances couples experience when attempting to scoot pads together.
— Brian Martin
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