I've long been a fan of larger and thicker sleeping mats and have been using an Exped Down Mat DLX 9 for a while now and I am really happy with as it is very very comfortable.
So when the chance to try out a mat from Thermarest I jumped at it.
I was heading down to the BushMoot meet up so decided that Id use it for the week that I was there.
as it comes in the box I should point out that it comes with no stuff sack as standard.
I just used a little dry bag and it fitted in fine.
Description from Thermarest
The NeoAir mattress represents the world’s most advanced engineering in ultralight comfort. Beyond being the lightest air mattress available, we’ve utilised two patent-pending internal technologies, making it up to three times warmer and far more stable than any other uninsulated air mattress available. And when it comes to space in your pack, you’ll appreciate that it’s no bigger than a one-liter water bottle. Revolutionary by design, the gossamer NeoAir mattress makes comfort one less thing you’ll need to compromise when travelling fast and light
It was the large one that I had borrowed
Link to the Specs
Here's some pictures, I borrowed Magikellys Daughters for a few of them (thanks)
You can see that they both look a little soft in the top pictures but I've found that If you only inflate them so that when you kneel on them you touch the ground through the mats, by the time you lie on them it allows you to sink in a little and you get more support from the mats and it makes a lot of difference to the comfort.
You can also see that they are very similar in size and shape when up. I must admit I prefer the lenghtways baffles of the Exped mat myself.Mmight just be that I'm not used the the Thermarest one yet ?.
First impression of the NeoAir mattress. Its tiny and weighs next to nothing when compared to the Exped mat.
The NeoAir needs you to manually blow it up. I opted for good old lung power as I don't normally carry a pump which does leave you feeling rather faint if you're like me and do it in a oner. Once its up it is very comfortable I'm not sure how well it will perform when the temperature starts to drop as it relies on its clever use of internal baffles so no down filling. I would need to see if I could borrow it to test on a Scottish winter trip when its really cold to give it a proper test.
When I used it for my weeks camping in Wales it served me very well , I slept very well and had no cold spots at all and I was only using my lightweight sleeping bag and sleeping in shorts. So wasn't overly wrapped up and it did get fairly cold at nights.
So It seems like the Neo Airs getting a glowing review theres a few down sides but not many so here goes.
It does seem very fragile I opted to put a piece of heavy nylon sheet under it to make a home made footprint for it.
And it doesn't come with a stuff sack or a means to inflate it with the aid of a dry bag which would make life so much easier.
Price wise it's on a par with the Exped down mat so nothing really to tell them apart.
Honest opinion time now would I buy one to replace my Exped mat? No it doesn't seem as robustly made and I like the fact that I don't have to physically use my lung power to inflate the Exped mat and Ive never had a cold nights sleep on it even in the depths of winter. So I'm more than happy to carry the extra weight and bulk of the Exped mat.
I think the NeoAir mattress will really appeal to the really light weight campers out there and it weights very little and packs up tiny I'd just be a little cautious about it seeming fragile (might not be without carrying out a long term test I wont know)
Well Thanks for taking the time to read this.