Monday, 4 May 2009

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Medium sleeping mat

I found a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Medium sleeping mat for sale at The Outdoor Shop and collected it from the local corner shop on Friday. Based on my use of the Prolite 3/4-length mat in the past, I had decided that the small (47”) was too small. The regular (72”) too long for me, as that was similar to the Insul Mat I had been using, and the end usually disappears under my rucksack at the foot of the Akto. The medium, at 66”  (5.5’) sounded just right. The weight is quoted at 370 grammes, exactly the same as the quoted weight on the Prolite 3/4 mat. The Insul mat is 570 grammes. When I swapped the mats out, my backpack suddenly had much more space.

NeoAir_IMG_2841

As the website had stated that a stuffsack was not provided, I had taken along the Prolite 3/4’s sack. The NeoAir only took about 3/4 of the space.

NeoAir_IMG_2843

Upon unrolling the mat in my tent, the instructions and stuffsack were found.

NeoAir_IMG_2846

In the morning, I compared the re-rolled NeoAir with my 2 litre Camelbak, and above that, the Ajungilak Air Pillow.

product sheet

Experience

On Saturday morning, my feet felt cold. I put this down to the vent being open into the prevailing (cold) breeze. Other than that, I had slept comfortably, and the mat had stayed put. Some other people have reported that theirs have softened overnight. I didn’t have that problem on either night.

To repeat the experiment, I closed the vent at on end. Yet on Sunday morning, around 2am, I could feel the temperature dropping, and pulled on a pair of socks. Checking the Silva ADC, the temperature during the night had dropped to 4.5°c. That isn’t that cold, as I have been out in lower in the same bag.

Next time that I am out, I will use my Blizzard bag as an insulating mat, to see if I can stop heat being leached out of the NeoAir to the ground. I didn’t want to try that on the Saturday night, in case it was just the cold breeze coming through a vent that was causing it. I carry this bag anyway, in case of emergency, so it isn’t an extra weight to carry to assist the NeoAir – which would kind of defeat the purpose of a sleeping mat advertised (on the box) as a 3 season mat.

Other than that, I had a great couple of nights sleeping, and even got some dream time logged. But you really don’t want to hear about that.

5 comments:

baz carter said...

Quick question Duncan do your feet hang over the end?

AktoMan said...

Hi Baz - I sleep with my feet curled up.

baz carter said...

Interesting. My take is that if heat was leaching out of the mat then that would be noticeable along the length of the mat, so it's most likely to be the draft across the foot of the sleeping bag. If it might be a localised problem say the foot end of the mat doesnt work as well as the other turn the mat through 180 degrees. If your feet stay warm and you head chills... well you get the idea :)

Hendrik M said...

Although I was initially critical of the NeoAir - the Backpackinglight.com review wasn't to positive - I am now tempted to give it a try. But the Regular size, for which I would settle - the S and M being to small - is just about 250 gr lighter as my current ProLite 4, but the space savings would be enorm. I am even considering getting the S size, but I am not sure if it is comfortable to sleep on. I hope my store gets them in soonish, and I could try them there. To from your report, it seems its really a summer mat, or do you think it will perform well in below 0 C degrees?

AktoMan said...

Hi Hendrik. The mat is rated as 3-season, and is uninsulated. My later thoughts on a cold night were that the mat needs to rest on some insulation (see part 2). But I think most uninsulated mats would be like that in the cold.

Last night, the temperature dropped to 4'c (reading from the Silva ADC) and I was warm without the underlying metal foil.

And the space-saving is great.