Great Sleeping Pad
I bought this sleeping pad for my wife to use because she has always wanted me to pack a blow-up mattress for her while backpacking, despite my explaining how much those things weigh.
We currently have the Thermarest Trail Lite sleeping pads and she would complain that she could feel the ground when she slept on her side. I was looking at the Thermarest NeoAir when it came out, but I kept reading reviews of them leaking down in the middle of the night; then I saw the NeoAir Trekker (large). It is 21 ounces lighter than our Trail Lite, and compresses so much I can easily store it inside our packs. No more strapping those bulky pads to the side of our packs! I was also pleased with the fact that it came with it's own stuff sack. I had one last test in store for the Trekker -- the wife test. When the package came in, I inflated the pad, which isn't that bad to inflate if you do it in sections. I'd give 5 or 6 good long breaths, then close the valve and do something else for a few. There's really no need to get light-headed trying to blow it up all at once, but you could if you had to with minimal jaw cramping.
Now it was time for the test. I couldn't wait for my wife to get home, so I stretched out and could tell instantly that Thermarest had knocked this one out of the park. I'm 6' 270 lbs, and while lying on my side, I couldn't feel the ground. I knew there was no way my 5'9" 140 lb wife would feel any discomfort.
The expression on her face told the story when she finally got home and tried it for herself. "Oh, this is good", she exclaimed! She finally got her blow-up mattress.
What a great sleeping pad! I've owned mine for over a year now and I love it. I had previously owned another therm-a-rest sleeping pad that was designed for women (I'm a female) and that pad was not comfortable for whatever reason. I returned that one for this one. This has been a great choice. I've slept on this thing at least 40x in a year and every time I wake up or lay down to sleep, I think... man, along with my pillow (Thermarest Compressible Pillow) this is awesome! I love sleeping on this after a long backpacking trip and my back is a little achy from the weight of my pack. This thing is lightweight, packs small and great for backpacking, staying as a guest at a friends house who doesn't have a spare bed, car camping, etc. This does take a little more time to blow up than my previous same brand pad, but it's worth the extra 20-seconds of effort. I usually don't fill it up all the way and I'm more comfortable. If I am car camping, I put a yoga mat under it and find that the yoga-mat significantly decreases the noise it makes when I roll over. The noise also decreases over time. I've recommended this pad to family and friends who have also purchased it and love it. I've also recommended this pad to people in my backpacking Meetup group and they have also been pleased with it. If I were looking at replacing this pad, I would opt for the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad - Women's because it's a little lighter, but I'd go back to this one if it isn't as comfortable. I highly recommend this pad!
Always looking to lighten my load w/o sacrificing comfort or functionality Went to REI recently expecting to buy new Exped air mattress but thinking I would try this one too. Found myself drawn to this one and purchased two, for my wife and me. Comparison: Exped, with traditional lengthwise tubes felt more like a traditional air mattress. This one felt much more like an open cell self-inflating mattress. That is, much firmer and more comfortable. The inflating valve was also like a traditional simple Therma-Rest valve, much easier to use. (The Exped even suggested an extra air pump which would add a few ounces to the weight.) We had it out overnight last weekend in low 30's (it snowed briefly) with 40 degree bags and it was adequate for those conditions. The R2 insulation value seems accurate and this pad is probably not adequate (without adding say a blue pad under it) at temperatures much below that. As for comfort, you would have to use at least a 2 inch open cell self-inflater to match this comfort and those weigh a couple of pounds. I never touched the ground at all no matter how I turned. The 72 inch model is several ounces lighter than the 47 inch open cell Therma-Rest my wife was using and more comfortable. I most recently was using a full length blue pad together with a 47 inch Z-Rest Therma-Rest. (Getting older.) So I didn't save any weight, but gained a world of comfort. Finally, this is easy to inflate and a breeze to deflate, and packs to next to nothing in a small included bag that very easily contains the pad with absolutely no stuffing involved.
More durable than neo air
I bought the trekker after my ultra light neo air continually popped on me leaving me cold and uncomfortable all night. So far my experience with the trekker has been significantly better. You can feel the difference in the fabric. The traditional neo air is so light because the fabric is so thin and also a bit sticky (this is to prevent you from slipping) but this results in constant punctures. Just to note, I always used the neo air in a clean tent.
The trekker has a rugged cloth fabric like other therma rest self inflating mattresses. You can expect much better results from the more durable mattress.
The trekker is 6 ounces heavier than the original neo air. This six ounces is well worth the extra weight. Dealing with a leaking air mattress in the middle of the night can not only be aggravating, but potentially dangerous (the recommended way to spot a puncture is to bring the pad to the river and look for air bubbles).
Also wanted to mention, my girl has the Big Agnes sleeping pad and it is also excellent quality and has survived 6 different backcountry trips without a single leak. It is slightly narrower than the neo air. I prefer the thermarest because of the horizontal baffles, but the price is about 66% more for essentially the same thing.
Comfortable and Compact
As someone with a chronic joint condition, I picked this up in hopes of finding something to increase my sleeping comfort while camping. I'm pleased to say that this was an excellent buy!
Sleeping on this pad was very comfortable. Couldn't feel the ground at all and it was easy to sleep on from any position, both sleeping on my side and on my back. I woke up without any unusual joint pain, so mission successful!
It seems pretty durable too, surviving my over-enthusiastic dog tramping all over it while fully inflated. It packs down very compact and is easy to deflate and roll up. Takes a bit of effort to inflate, but not too bad even for someone of small stature like myself. It's pretty lightweight, too.
The only minor downside is that it's terribly noisy. Moving around on it seems quite loud in the quiet dark of night. But that's to be expected with an inflatable and is no big deal. Although, my dog did give me a dirty look whenever I rolled over and made a racket.
All in, I'd say this is an excellent sleeping pad. Tested and approved by someone with nasty joint issues, so ought to be super comfy for just about anyone.
In summary, this is a durable, comfortable, compact (when folded of course), and the most affordable pad in the neoair series, which for me, makes it the perfect 3 season pad. You can certainly shave couple of ounces by going to xlite or xtherm. But for the criteria that I use, the trekker is the better choice for the following reasons:
1. I find the rectagular shape of the trekker to be personally better than the xlite and xtherm (just find the shape to be more comfortable).
2. I found the occasional "crinkly" sounds to be minimal compared to the xlite and xtherm as well (xlite being the worst - relatively speaking).
3. And of course this one is the least expensive.
I do think that the all season is the best overall buy however (if you must have a single pad for all four seasons), because it does have a higher R value, not much more expensive than the trekker, has similar rectangular shape, and comparable in weight - but I don't in any way regret getting the trekker. (well, my gf got it for me for b-day....so I'll use it regardless cause I appreciate it).
Furthermore, if you're weight sensitive and/or require higher R-value, you'll have to go up to the xTherm....or XLite obviously.
Worth the investment
We decided to upgrade from the Therm-a-rest Ridgerest this year, and am thankful we did. The difference is night and day from the bulky rolled pads. We opted for the short and extra wide size, which weighs the least. Who needs padding under their feet, anyway? Plus, the larger size allowed us to but them up together, without the dreaded "falling in the hole" if you happen to roll over. I did not feel the ground at all, and slept better than I ever had while backpacking.
We've only had them on one 2-night trip thus far, but am pleased. I cannot speak to their durability, and did notice that a couple of additional breaths to increase firmness again after a night of sleeping are needed for the second night.
Happy to not have the bulky pads sticking out the side of my pack now, and it deflated surprisingly easy, despite some other reviews. Just flip it over (black side up), deflate some, then fold in thirds along the original lines lengthwise, and roll from the bottom toward the valve. Much easier than stuffing a sleeping bag in a stuff sack!
Bring a Foam Pad Too . . .
First the pluses: The NeoAir Trekker is a very cushy pad that inflates quickly and at 19 oz is wonderfully light-weight. The material doesn't seem to stretch like cheap air mattresses so it holds its firmness once inflated and the valve doesn't seam to leak at all. It also deflates quickly and packs up tightly. During a recent three-night backpacking excursion in the Olympic Mountains it proved quite durable. However . . .
Like all uninsulated air mattresses, the NeoAir Trekker does tend to wick away body heat through convection such that by itself, on cold ground, it simply doesn't provide much insulation. So we stuck a closed-cell foam pad underneath then inflated the NeoAir Trekker only minimally (to reduce convection). This improved things quite a bit.
In the end, what I'd hoped would be a 19 oz sleeping pad solution has turned into a 36 oz hybrid system, albeit a warm and comfortable one. And there is something to be said for having a layer of protection from sharp objects under this rather expensive air pad.
Great upgrade from the Prolite series
The first use of the Neoair Trekker was on a two-week camping and backpacking trip to Colorado in July. The pad saw nearly continuous use for the full two week period. Found the Trekker to be a great improvement, comfort-wise, over the Prolite 4 I had been using. With night-time temperatures ranging into the low 40s, the pad kept me plenty warm with a bag rated at 15 degrees. Except for extreme winter conditions, this pad can probably be considered a four-season piece of equipment. Also, I never had a problem with the pad leaking down. Another great advantage is that the Trekker packs down much smaller than the Prolite 4 and still offers plenty of comfort. That's a big plus for someone trying to reduce the bulk of their backpack. Although the pad is not self-inflating, light headedness can be avoided by taking your time to blow it up. Only time will tell if the Trekker rates 5 stars instead of 4. All and all, a great buy.
I recieved this as a gift and have used it about 10 nights in the backcountry so far. The weight and packed size of this pad is what cought my attention and made me want this pad. It is comfortable to sleep on, but the only downside is the width of it (20" for the regular size). A few times I found myself starting to fall off the side of the pad while I was sleeping. I am only about 5'10" so I had no need for the large size, but now I am thinking it may be useful to have the extra 5" in the width. I have used this on a few winter trips, and two nights setting up camp in the snow. (temps ranging from 15F-25F) I paired this with my Marmot Never Summer bag and I was warm all night! Overall a great pad, but you may want to consider getting the large if you like a wider pad.