Sleeping Pad Recommendation

Anyone ever use a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad? Reviews are very positive but the price is very high. Anything else out there I should consider for camping out of my kayak?

sleeping pad
Exped synmat or like. Packs to the size of a nalgene; filled with polarguard insulation and comes with built in pump to inflate to ~2 inches thick. I can easily side sleep or even sleep face down on it comfortably in all conditions.


The Wife Has One
Had it for 2 years and she swears by it. She says it’s THE most comfortable she’s used. I’m thinking the horizontal baffles, which is opposite of all other pads, makes a difference. I used it once on a 3 night trip that she didn’t go on and it seemed very comfortable, but; 20" pads are narrower than I like. I went back to my big old Exped. Seems thin, but no leaks or issues after 2 years. It is SO LIGHT and SO SMALL that I will probably get one in the large size when my Exped dies. Search on the internet for sales, we got ours at REI for like 20% off back when it 1st came out. WW

Alps Mountaineering
I have to a normal size comfort series for my girlfriend and an XL lightweight series for me. They roll decently small and since they’re both air pads I never feel the ground at all.

Check these things come up on that site regularly for much less than you could potentially spend on a pad.

you got the essentials
1. It’s very expensive. 2. It’s very light. I bought one and took it back. It was comfortable and light, but not twice as comfortable. If you can afford it and justify it, go for it. Note: It takes more effort to blow up too. And you have to baby it (at least I felt I did).

I love the Neo pad
Used a large size Neo throughout this season, including one 6 day early season backcountry trip in Yellowstone. Nighttime lows were 28-32F.

Inflation is no big deal for a healthy person. Treat it kindly, its not a bruiser pad. Packs and stores nicely as compared to self inflatables. Very comfortable especially for side sleepers. Bag-to-pad slippage is minimal. Warmth seems comparable to my previous Thermarest Prolite pad.

I’m a tall skinny 56 year old side sleeper. The extra thickness of this Neo pad made my sleeping style noticeably more comfortable. Inflate it early, let the air cool and then touch it up to preference when you retire.

I really liked the Prolite pads but the Neo packs even smaller, stores more conveniently, and offers the additional comfort I sought. This helped me rationalise the ridiculous cost :slight_smile: I’d buy it again.

Pleasant waters to ya.

Kayak Camping Not Backpacking…

– Last Updated: Aug-17-10 4:53 PM EST –

I've gone for comfort (and, hopefully, durability) over lightweight. Read mixed reviews about the neo.

I just bought Cabelas' "Alaskan Guide" inflatable pads - 7'6"x25"x2.5" for my week-long kayak camping/fishing trip next week on the harbor islands. I am getting old. I want to sleep better than I did with my 20"x70"x1" thermarest last year... The Cabelas pad is quite a bit heavier, but I am paddling where weight and storage are not the issue as with backpacking.


I like it
I bought a neoair the beginning of this season.

Took it on several trips and it is quite nice. I like sleeping on the my Luxury Camp more, but it’s about 6 times heavier. It hasn’t had any durability issues.

Both ends of the spectrum
For long hard trips I take a blue foam pad from Walmart. If you paddle hard and long you’ll sleep like a baby.

For comfy trips I bring the Coleman 6 inch thick queen size air mattress. It takes up less room than the blue pad but I have to bring the pump and I have to pump it a long time at the end of the day. It is just as comfy as my bed at home.

Exped DAM
I have an Exped DAM and it’s amazing. They also stand by their products, mine developed a slow leak so I sent it back. They sent me a new one at no charge!

The synthetic mats from Exped, Big Agnes, or Pacific Outdoors will work if the price of the DAM is too much for you.

Nother vote for synmat 7
Now up to seven weeks of use.

Very comfortable. Plus with the integrated pump you get CPR practice.

NeoAir best mat out of 9 I own
I have been using Thermarest since its first model in 1988. I have slowly upgraded and gone for the lighter/more compact versions but nothing beats the NeoAir.

I have also tried the competitors (Exped and Pacific Outdoors) but Neo Air is my choice.

I have compiled a little pictorial comparison (same class) between two Thermarests and Exped here:

It really depends on the temps.
I camp in cold temps so I use an Exped downmat 9. It is not only REALLY comfortable, it keeps me warm in very cold temperatures.

Thermarest self-inflatable
I’ve been backpacking with one for six years, mostly in New Hampshire’s White’s. I’m a big guy, and it’s rugged. Rolls down to newspaper size, to inflate, unroll and walk away, a few minutes later, add a couple of breaths for desired firmness, close the valve and sleep on air. It took some tweaking but I actually find it more comfy with less air. Cost a couple of bucks more, but quality is excellent.

Pacific Outdoors Ehther
Check out the Pacific Outdoors Ether or Thermo 6. About half the price of the Thermarest and they are outstanding pads. Never slept on a pad so comfortable and they are incredibly light weight and pack small.

We sometimes inflate ours to lay on the floor and watch TV so they get a lot of use.

The only annoyance is that it’s kind of a pain to get all of the air out.

A big negative is that they are pretty chilly to sleep on in the winter, so are only appropriate for 3 season camping.

"mouth inflation can destroy some fillers, like down"

Curious about this, as I usually use a little mouth inflation to get my Thermarest firm. I have a Prolite but before getting it this year, I used the original one that I’ve had for many years. The non-skid really works well. Pads are stored out of the stuffsacks, with the valves open.

Why do you like it better than ProLite?
I have a ProLite 4 women’s pad which is the best compact camping pad I’ve tried. But I sleep in different positions, mostly on the side. Am wondering why you prefer the new model over the ProLite, ignoring lightness and compactness as factors.

Pacific Outdoors
I’ve got the Thermo 6 and I love it. Best thing is that it packs to the size of a loaf of bread, and it only cost about $60. My friends have used them a lot and love them. I’ve used it only a few nights so far, but it’s great.

I haven’t tried it in winter, but it’s got a higher R-value than most of the competitors. Not sure if that’s “inflated” by the manufacturer though. I’ve not found it cold on cool evenings (40s).

down mats
"Mouth inflation" will introduce moisture into your down filled mat and will screw with its efficiency. The inflation bag is quick and easy to use.

I have a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core
Matter of fact it’s for sale! Used only a couple of times; perfect condition; $50.

56 reviews at REI; average rating 4.1/5.


20" x 72" x 2.5"

24 oz.

R-Value 4.1—rated to about 15 degrees if used with the proper sleeping bag.

Insulation Polyester fibers

Packed size 4 x 8 inches