Therm-a-Rest NeoAir

By STEPHEN REGENOLD

For the past month, rumors have circulated among the outdoor-gear cognoscenti about a new minimalist air mattress that’d pack to the size of a one-liter Nalgene bottle while providing nearly as much warmth as a bulky pad stuffed with goose down.

Indeed, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Mattress, announced officially on July 17, is now touted as the “world’s lightest, most advanced three-season air mattress.” Manufacturer Cascade Designs Inc. cites the inflatable pad as being approximately three times warmer than any other un-insulated air mattress on the market.

NeoAir-pad-1-W.jpg

While the pad isn’t yet available for testing — and it won’t ship to stores until April 2009 — the NeoAir is newsworthy for its big claims as well as the fact that this is Therm-a-Rest’s (www.thermarest.com) first foray into the un-insulated air mattress category.

NeoAir pads will come in four sizes, but the smallest iteration — which measures 20 × 47 inches unrolled and packs to the size of the aforementioned Nalgene bottle — will weigh a scant 9 ounces, or less than the average trail-running shoe.

Testing via ASTM International standards, Therm-a-Rest garnered an R-value thermal resistance measurement of 2.5. According to Doug Jacot, the Therm-a-Rest business director, comparable un-insulated inflatable air mattresses often register an R-value of less than 1.

So how does NeoAir work? Therm-a-Rest engineers developed an air-bladder technology — the “Triangular Core Matrix” — which is a welded-nylon grid of chambers that, according to Jacot, increases the number of individual air cells by 10 times when compared to a traditional air mattress. This minimizes air movement within the pad and the resulting convective cooling, Jacot said.

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Posted by I. Richer - 08/07/2008 02:04 PM

This looks suspiciously like the Big Agnes Insulated Air Core pads — filled with Primaloft… amazingly you can get them on sale for $34 and I’ve never caught a coldspot on one, even at freezing at 11k in the Sierras…

Posted by Yeti - 02/06/2009 12:55 PM

Are you expecting to get to test this prior to release? Or do we all get to spend the cash to find out if it is worth it? Thanks for another great heads up.

Posted by Hammstah - 04/18/2009 09:45 AM

I was at REI yesterday and saw the NeoAir for the first time. Wow. Super light. Super coolness factor. Seemed to be capable of being super comfy and warm. My only concern…how durable is it? Puncture resistant?

Posted by Jennifer - 05/08/2009 05:49 PM

I just got the NeoAir & thought I’d use it car camp before backpacking.It’s compact, light and easy to inflate and doesn’t slide around, but it deflated overnight to approximately half it’s loft. I read in the insert afterwards that quick changes in weather will deflate it:-(

Posted by Drew - 06/02/2009 11:17 PM

Eh. Aside from the thermal blanket part this technology is old news and takes a big bite off of Big Agnes’ creative pie. Where’s the beef? Ok, so it has a good R value for a non-insulated pad, but unfortunately big agnes is already making insulated air mattresses with R values > 4 that pack down to the same size as this pad. So where’s the beef?

I do like the idea of horizontal baffles, but the downside is that it won’t work with crazy-creek style chair kits.

And what’s with the high price? Lame-o

Posted by Guy - 06/20/2009 09:58 PM

@Drew: Where’s the beef? Maybe the fact that it’s half the weight and a fraction of the packed size as a big agnes? And it’s nothing at all like a big agnes. The big agnes is down filled with just a few very big chambers. The NeoAir is just air. No insulation. Which is what makes it so insanely light. The reason no one had done it before is because if you just took a regular air mattress and removed the insulation… you’d have a pad with an R value of about zero. The NeoAir acheives 2.5 in two ways… the reflective layer and the huge number of chambers inside which reduces air movement. That has never been done. And it’s revolutionary. To have a pad that warm, that thick, that light that packs so small is insanely great.

Posted by Rob Jansen - 06/22/2009 10:56 AM

Indeed, Big Agnes does have models with better R rating, weighing 24 oz but not available in the Netherlands.
My choice had to be the NeoAir, great pad – but why is it that manufacturers never state the proper weight? The regular size weights 436 grams (15.4 oz), not 410 as on the box.

Still a great product, about half the weight of my old thermarest (which got killed by a thorn after 10 years of duty)

Posted by gnarlydog - 10/04/2009 06:30 PM

I have a comparison review of the Thermarest Guidelite, Exped Downmat7 and NeoAir.
Details at: http://gnarlydognews.blogspot.com/2009/06/sleeping-mats-less-is-more.html

Posted by dave - 10/14/2009 02:06 PM

With sadness I must report – the Neo Air is suitable for warm, indoor kids pyjama parties on smooth carpet only. I used mine on a canoe trip on the Bonnechere River in Ontario last weekend (Oct 11-13 2009). Despite being only partially inflated (no tension on the material)and protected/inserted into a thermarest chair, as soon as the temperature dropped to freezing, it tore and became a “saggy baggy”. There was no sharp object puncture – it just tore 1” north and 1” south. I loved the idea but my initial reaction that it is too flimsy and likely to become weak in cold was proven true. The space age surface wouldn’t hold duct tape so a field repair wasn’t possible. I had a cold weekend sleeping on PFDs and will be returning it as soon as possible.

Posted by James Marco - 10/26/2009 02:02 AM

Nice pad. I also use this for colder weather camping when coupled with a Nite Light pad(Gossamer Gear) and 40F bag. I had it down to 27F so far. Together, lighter than a BA for about the same R value. Seems rugged, no problems after 22 nights out. I dislike the time it takes to deflate it, fold it and roll it up. Always seems to take two tries.
I make it 12-3/4oz instead of 13oz for the medium. Close enough.

Posted by Rony - 11/24/2009 03:48 PM

Neoair is a brand of air purifier. Therm a rest can’t even come up with a unique name? It has to copy from another product?

Posted by Woodswoman - 02/02/2010 05:51 AM

I saw it at LL Beans, was intrigued, but my first thoughts were that it seemed “noisy” and indeed flimsy. For now I’m sticking with my Big Agnes blow-up raft, though I must say I nearly froze to death on it when the temperature plummeted on the A.T. in early spring in Georgia.

Posted by gnarlydog - 03/16/2010 09:34 PM

After owning around 12 different self inflating sleeping mats in the past, I liked the idea of a really compact and light one.
It delivers as promised.
For a size comparison test against similar thickness sleeping mats you can check out: http://gnarlydognews.blogspot.com/2009/06/sleeping-mats-less-is-more.html

Posted by Aaron - 03/30/2010 12:44 PM

Woodswoman, I too thought it would be noisy. I set it up on my terrazo floor at home and it seemed that anytime I moved it made a lot of crackling sound. On my trips though I can barely hear any of that noise. Maybe my sleeping bag muffles it? Anyways, great pad but it is rather spendy. I caught it on sale for about 78 bucks and could not be happier.

Posted by Zach Smith - 04/12/2010 10:40 PM

It is worth the extra bucks you are going to spend on it. The problem with most air beds is that they cannot hold air for long. This one has sound engineering methods that can last longer. Its heating element is also a perfect choice for campers.

Posted by Roger Huston - 09/06/2010 12:30 PM

We have two and they are great. The both hold air all night without so much as a drop in pressure. They feel flimsy, but in practice they are pretty tough. I am very happy with purchase, well worth the extra costs!

Posted by Russ - 09/08/2011 04:29 AM

So it’s been a while since any posts about this mat have been added.. so I thought I would give you the low down on my 2+ years with my Neo-air. It is my go-to pad anytime I have to carry a pack for more than a few miles. It is wicked light, compact and I have spent 2 nights at the Bradley Pond lean-to in March where the temps droped into the negative single digits! I slid it inside my ‘space blanket’ e-bivy (an item everyone should be carrying already) and was very comfortable all night.
Thanks Therma-rest!!! R-

Posted by marcus - 08/23/2012 12:11 AM

I wish I got the bigger one instead, the regular is a bit small for someone of my size.

Posted by ray - 08/23/2012 12:15 AM

can you tell me where I can get the black one showed here neoair . It doesn’t seem to be available on amazon.

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