Thermarest Neo Air (2011 Edition)

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– Bjorn Sturmberg

Back in the good ol’ days (pre-2012) there was only one Thermarest NeoAir model to choose from, and what’s more it was the obvious choice for a lightweight air mattress (sparing one the dilemma of choice). Now there are (at least) 3 versions of the NeoAir and other companies have rapidly caught up (and arguably overtaken).

So first let me air some grievances… The first of which must be the material this mat is made from. Yes its light, but it makes a pretty annoying rustling noise whenever you shift your weight (thankfully I’m usually way too tiered to notice). A worse feature is that the fabric becomes super sticky when your body is sweaty. This has really been a turn off…

Also a minor issue is the amount of effort required to blow it up. I remember a friend making this point and I thought he was a big whinger for even considering making this complaint. But it turns out it really takes a lot of breaths … however it’s worth it for the light weight and small size.

Neo Air XL

Now to the good — it’s light and it’s small!

Also I have to say it’s held up to a lot of regular use very well. This was my bed for 5 weeks through my eastern Europe and has been on countless trips in the Blue Mountains without any wear patches / holes / etc.

Gold standard sizing – 1L waterbottle

So if you are currently in the market for a light weight sleeping mat, check out the Neo Rest(s) but I also suggest you get your hands on an Exped UL mat to compare (T2’s  review will help you do this very soon…). From my playing with the Exped mat I have to say I’m pretty jealous of it’s nice fabric and the dry bag used to inflate it using a fraction of the time or effort.

The crunch:

  • Cost 3/5
  • Size, weight 4/5
  • Hard-wearing 4/5

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