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I’m always looking to go lighter and smaller with all my gear. About a year ago I picked up the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Sleeping Pad. So after a few hundred miles carrying it and many nights sleeping on it, here is the skinny:
Packs small (about the size of a water pump),
Light (relative to other sleep pads),
Expensive (compared to equivalent mats),
Loud (sounds like I’m digging into a bag of potato chips when I roll over),
Manual Inflate (no self-inflate like other mats, tricky at high altitudes)
Overall for me, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. I sleep great on it. I like not having to carry a giant foam mat. And I’m a heavy sleeper so the noisiness doesn’t bother me. But I’ve heard from light sleepers that the noise (and the anticipation of the noise) keeps them up.
I’ve wondered about the neo-air. Thanks for the heads-up about the noise! Joan is a light sleeper, so it might be worth the extra weight to bring our older, self-inflating Therma-Rest pads.
I’ve recently been using a Hyalite Peak Elite AC. Manual inflation but is really comfortable and resonable lightweight (400 gms). We used the Peak Elite on a recent 10-day trip to the UK Lake District and it was perfect for us.
Tricky to get hold of in the UK (as elsewhere) but it’s not noisy and suits my sleeping style. I looked at the Neo Air but the crisp/chip packet noise would bother me I think!
I purchased the NeoAir Xlite for my recent JMT hike. I upgraded from the Thermarest Trail Lite and saved over a pound on weight. The X-lite was extremely comfortable, and although it is a little noisy, I don’t think my sleeping was affected. I love that it compresses to the size of a small water bottle. It allows me to fit everything I need in a small daypack when I want to hike out for a night spent sleeping under the stars.
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