Minimalist air mattress packs to the size of a one-liter Nalgene bottle and provides nearly as much warmth as a bulky pad stuffed with goose down.
For the past month, rumors circulated among the outdoor-gear cognoscenti about this ultra small mattress pad. Now the rumors are true.
Indeed, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Mattress, announced officially on July 17, 2008 is now touted as the “world’s lightest, most advanced three-season air mattress.” Manufacturer Cascade Designs Inc. cites the inflatable pad as approximately three times warmer than any other uninsulated air mattress on the market.
The NeoAir Mattress is Therm-a-Rest’s first foray into the un-insulated air mattress
NeoAir pads 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.
Tested 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.