The Vault Regulars

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Therm A Rest Neo Air

When the Neo Air hit the market a great deal of excitement went round the outdoor community.  I eventually got mine in August 2009 after a little bit of a wait due to the demand and replaced my Prolite.
So i have used it now for around 9 months, and i find it very comfy, easy to inflate, it gives some protection from the cold coming up from the ground, but not enough in my opinion and it packs away small. Ideal in fact.
However, am i the only one who finds it too deep?
I use the short mat and i put my pillow on the floor not on the mat and i have never been happy with this situation. The mat moves in the night quite a bit and the pillow stays where it was put. Therefore i end up being uncomfortable, usually with my head half on the pillow and with a bit of a stiff neck.
You may say i should have bought a longer one and put the pillow on the mat, but for light weight backpacking this defeats the object.
I wish the mat was only half as thick and with a better insulated underside to increase the season rating and with some sort of slip resistant material.
Am i asking too much? or do others agree.


Laura said...

Mmmm! I see your point but for me the thickness is key - means my hip bone stays off the ground! Bliss!

AlanR said...

Hi Laura, I know exactly what you mean.
For me, it is very comfy and maybe if the mat was half as thick it might not be. I don't know.
Sheila doesn't find it that much better and says her hip bone still gets sore during the night and on a number of occasions she has said that it's not as good as the Prolite.
We are all different (especially the male v female bone structures) and everything is a compromise but i would like to try one with the spec. i suggested.
PS. The Goretex socks arrived today and they are superb. Well worth the delay because Rutland had no stock AFTER i had placed the order.

Trekking Britain said...

I bought the regular version and I find it is too long for me. I definitely think the depth of it means that people who couldn't previously lie on their sides can now do so. I know what you mean about the thing moving around though, in winter I back it up underneath with a closed cell mat and then it slides around even more. It is definitely a massive step up though I do wonder which I would take if a Prolite 4 weighed the same as the Neo Air and compressed as well. I think they should have designed it with the shape of a built in higher area for the pillow and sides that are bigger than the middle chambers too so you are held in it somewhat, I have fallen off it a few times.

AlanR said...

Hi Trekking Britain. Sorry for the delay in replying. Just driven up to the Lakes.
Thanks for your comments, it's interesting to read what other outdoor people think.
When you consider the amount of testing this product must of had. I am surprised that it was released in such a condition. Unless it was driven purely and simply by cost.
Not that i think it's awful. Quite the reverse, I think it is a huge step forward. But it could and should have been so much better.
I think the idea of having a separate pillow area which was independently inflated would be a plus point.
I like the idea of making the tubes work like a bucket seat. Holding you in place to a degree.
I too use a thin light piece of roofing insulation as a backup in winter as you do with the closed cell foam. But this, to me, shows that it needs a re think and a better base. We should be able to use it in winter as purchased without adding to it. This is a big minus point.
I am also sure they could make it some what none slip, without much trouble, as most tent groundsheets are made from similar materials.
As an option to the std depth of tube i would like to see a mat of half the thickness. I'm sure it would work. It would also be lighter and pack even smaller.
The suggestions here would cost more but i believe the changes would be worth the extra.
Its all very interesting and i'm not being negative to Cascade, as i said previously they have done us a good job.

afootinthehills said...

Thanks everybody. That's very useful information but I've heard stories that it is flimsy and easily punctured. Any comments on this?
In the meantime, pity me with my little Alpkit mat costing £17.00, although for the money there is really no room for compaint.

Thanks again.

AlanR said...

Hi Gibson.
We havn't treated ours much different from any other inflatable mat we have owned. We have had no problems with it.
The material itself suggests that it is flimsier than what we know of Therma A Rest mats, but thats where the reduction in weight and pack size comes from.
I certainly take a bit more care with it in respect that i don't lie on it with my spoon or keys etc in my pockets.
I would certainly recommend it to you and there are ways and means of self improving some of the points that have been raised here.

afootinthehills said...

Hi Alan

Thanks. Much appreciated.

Alan Sloman said...

I love my NeoAir. Buy a longer one (it weighs next to nothing) and have your pillow on the mattress. To stop it sliding all you need to do is to put little dots of seam sealer on your groundsheet. Works for me!

I carry the NeoAir Puncture repair kit just in case but have never had cause to use it. I have never fallen off it either! (You must be a very lively sleeper!)

I also find it much warmer than the old Prolite mat as well. I think it's a brilliant bit of kit.

AlanR said...

Alan. I don't disagree that given the choice i would take my Neo Air in preference to my Prolite. I just think it could be better. ie the points raised earlier.
I recall you posting when you spruced Wanda up that you had put seam sealer on the groundsheet to stop you sliding about. So that is one of the points that could have been better for you. To make it less slippery.
This is not a negative post by any stretch of the imagination, I just find it a bit frustrating that it could have been better, but i enjoy the differing viewpoints, thats what it's all about.
Maybe the next release will be better still.
I can't say i have noticed any tangible difference better the Prolite v Neo air when it comes to stopping the cold coming through. I think they are both poor.
I'm probably not drinking enough Anti freeze in the pub! Yes thats it.

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