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#143984 - 12/26/10 05:41 PM Very specific NeoAir question
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I have a very specific question about NeoAir pads. I'm thinking of taking one (instead of a Prolite Plus) on a trip where the ground will definitely be cold, if not quite frozen yet, and the nighttime temps will fall into the mid or low 20s. My tent and sleeping bag are known quantities, and I have no concerns about them.

I'm wondering how cold you have used a NeoAir, without any additional pad (such as a CCF pad), and not gotten cold. For example, I know Oregon Mouse's answer: 40 degrees.

That simple, two-word answer is all I need from any of you. I have my own suspicions, but I've got no experience with mine below about 35 degrees, when it worked OK. (A BA IAC pad was cold at 25.) I'm not looking for hints on how to "improve" the range, just for anecdotal information on the coldest unassisted use you've had.

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#143988 - 12/26/10 09:28 PM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: Glenn]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Unfrozen ground, Oct., 7 degrees F, 15 degree WM bag.

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#143996 - 12/26/10 10:17 PM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: Glenn]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
October 2009, the first snowstorm of the season slammed down on me on the second night - did not realize it was in the low 20s until early morning when we woke to snow. A testimony to the NeoAir and the JRB Hudson River.
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#144009 - 12/27/10 01:55 AM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: Glenn]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2928
Loc: NorCal
Mid twenties in a 25-degree bag wearing longjohns and a knit cap, and was comfortable. Short NeoAir.

Cheers,
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#144010 - 12/27/10 03:12 AM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: Rick_D]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 1008
Loc: Australia
Short answer : about 34 f for me.
(you can stop reading now....)
So far we have from 7f to 40f , that should be enough to make anyone realise that there is no correct nor an easy answer to that question.
Maybe there is a better way.
Thermarest rates (using the same standard...) the Prolite Plus at R 3.8 , the Neo Air at 2.5 and the Z Lite at 2.2.
A blue mat is about 1.5.
( if you combine a blue mat and a Neo Lite (1.5+2.5) you get about the same thermal resistance as the Pro Lite Plus (3.8))
So if you like you can think that a ProLite will take you down (at least) to a temperature twice as cold as a blue mat.
The problem here is that there is no good answer to , say, : what is twice as cold as 32f?
So how can you work this out ?
Well you could ask : having used the two mats, at what temp you are still comfortable with a Pro Lite 3 and the same for a Neo ?
The person that matches your temp for the ProLite may be close to what you expect for the Neo....
Averages tend to work in statistics, but in reality no one has 1.5 children.
Franco

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#144011 - 12/27/10 03:25 AM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: Franco]
William Offline
member

Registered: 09/21/04
Posts: 27
26 degrees.

END OF REPLY

I _really_ would like to have added: F.

For others: This was a Neo large. Reference point: I am a cold sleeper (for WM bags, for example, I need a 10 degree margin above their rating). This is lowest temperature I've experienced without having brought along an insulating pad, so I really don't know what the lower limit is of the Neo alone. But it's clearly lower than that, for me, because I was a little under-bagged on that trip (a sleeping bag I rarely push down past 30 F) and was still comfortable. With a more suitable bag I'm sure I had another 5-10 degrees on the Neo.

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#144022 - 12/27/10 11:52 AM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: Glenn]
phat Offline
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Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By Glenn

That simple, two-word answer is all I need from any of you. I have my own suspicions, but I've got no experience with mine below about 35 degrees, when it worked OK. (A BA IAC pad was cold at 25.) I'm not looking for hints on how to "improve" the range, just for anecdotal information on the coldest unassisted use you've had.


I don't use a Neo-air - I haven't yet been convinced enough to buy one. However, if what you mean for a BA IAC is a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core - that is my goto winter pad. I use it down to about -15 Celsius (a lot colder than 25F) and I am warm and toasty on it. below that I add a blue foam pad to it.

So based on that assumption, if you were cold on the big agnes at 25, I'm suspecting you'll find the neo-air pretty darn chilly without a topper of some kind. (i.e. a foam pad on top.)

So see, there's really no simple two word answer - a lot of it is based on the individual, and the rest of your gear - based on your answer (that you find the BA cold at 25) *I* might even find the neo-air ok at your temps, just because I know I'm comfortable on the BA down a lot colder than you are.

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#144029 - 12/27/10 01:44 PM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: phat]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2928
Loc: NorCal
I hate to quibble with a Canadian, especially from here in California, but use the foam pad on the ground and the mattress on top, not vice versa. Reason: you don't want the mattress in direct contact with the cold ground/snow, losing heat via convection.

(See the "Pro Tips" in this FAQ)

http://www.cascadedesigns.com/Therm-A-Rest/FAQ

Cheers,


Edited by Rick_D (12/28/10 01:20 AM)
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#144036 - 12/27/10 07:18 PM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: Franco]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
As usual, Franco, we're not that far apart - I was looking for the anecdotal info to help inform my decision on whether the NeoAir should even be considered; I'd already decided to carry a thin CCF pad, too, with whichever pad I chose. (I'd already done the math on the R factors - same logic as yours.) Naturally, I'd like to save the weight by using the NeoAir - but based only on OM's anecdotal evidence, the CCF wouldn't have made enough difference. With the additional input, I might yet take a chance with it. Like I said, a very specific question with a very special, limited-purpose motive.

I also agree with you about averages. Another hiker once told me (on a particularly strenuous day) "for every uphill there's a downhill, but on the average trails are level - too bad mountains don't know how to do averages."

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#144042 - 12/27/10 08:58 PM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: Glenn]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 1008
Loc: Australia
Glenn
Yes I like that avarage..
What amused me when I was fully employed was the "average" wage here in Australia. Funny thing is that not many earned that much...
I have used my "Neo" booster under the Neo a few degrees below freezing and that worked well , inside both a Moment and a double wall Scarp.
Made that "booster" as a smaller and lighter version of the Z Lite. A side effect is that it helps keeping the Neo in place on the sil floor.
I put some strps of Elmer's glu on the underside . (PVA is the glue for Tyvek)


Franco

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#144068 - 12/28/10 06:55 AM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: phat]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Hi, Phat: just to clarify, I wasn't "cold" at 25, as in "I'm shivering, I'll get up, put more clothes on, and light a fire." 25 was the temperature at which I could start to feel cold air seeping up through the pad (yes, I had it right side up so the insulation hung down.) It was enough to make me think, "Huh, that's interesting" at which point I went back to sleep for a couple more hours, until daybreak. I suspect that it happened at the coldest point in the night; a pad underneath, or putting on more than my long johns, would have solved it. I was also using a 30-degree bag (WM Megalite), so a warmer bag might have made it unnoticeable, too. (It was definitely a case of cold seeping up from underneath; my top and sides were plenty warm, so it wasn't the bag.) As I re-read the post, it does appear to be a bit IAC-bashing; that wasn't the intent. It was just meant to be an example of the parameters of the answers I was seeking.

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#144071 - 12/28/10 09:23 AM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: Glenn]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
Glenn,

I can not answer your question as asked because I use a ccf pad to protect my NeoAir.

I have used both the NeoAir and BA IAC in a hammock. I consider the BA IAC to be a 25 pad and the NeoAir to be a 32 degree pad.


Edited by ringtail (12/28/10 09:25 AM)
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#144081 - 12/28/10 12:52 PM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: Rick_D]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By Rick_D
I hate to quibble with a Canadian, especially from here in California, but use the foam pad on the ground and the mattress on top, not vice versa. Reason: you don't want the mattress in direct contact with the cold ground/snow, losing heat via convection.

(See the "Pro Tips" in this FAQ)

http://www.cascadedesigns.com/Therm-A-Rest/FAQ

Cheers,


Ahem - only works when the ground is colder than the air..

In my world -30C air is a lot colder than snow on the ground. snow is an excellent insulator..

(now having said that by the time I'm at those temps I have foam top and bottom)

Anyway, I usually don't buy that "accepted wisdom". The ground is often warmer. if you're on cold exposed rock it's different. use your brain and decide based on where you're lying.
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#144082 - 12/28/10 01:02 PM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: Glenn]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By Glenn
As I re-read the post, it does appear to be a bit IAC-bashing; that wasn't the intent. It was just meant to be an example of the parameters of the answers I was seeking.


And I didn't take it as bashing.. the intent of my reply was to try to put your apparent sleeping comfort level in context to give you an idea of what you might expect from the neo air given what I know I experience on a BA aircore.


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#144083 - 12/28/10 01:28 PM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: phat]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
phat, you should be warmer sleeping in cold air than on top of something cold/hot due to convective heat loss I believe is the term we learned in Community College. In water or out of water, there is also a thin layer of heat (radient I believe) around you. However, if you are swimming or the wind is blowing, it takes that layer away. Been a long time since college.

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#144088 - 12/28/10 02:27 PM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: hikerduane]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

As I said.. cold rock would be different smile

I can tell you guys don't sleep on snow a lot.

snow is *not* cold smile

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#144089 - 12/28/10 03:43 PM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: phat]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Thanks, everyone - the answers you gave were exactly what I needed. If the temps are going to stay in the 20's, I'm going to give the NeoAir a try (and carry that CCF pad, just in case); any colder, and I'll take the Prolite Plus (and CCF.)

I'm still caught in that no-man's land of "lighter is better" v. "there's such a thing as too light for conditions." It's a good place to be caught, though - a much better place than, say, "should I go to work, or stay home and paint the living room." grin

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#144090 - 12/28/10 03:44 PM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: phat]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By phat

As I said.. cold rock would be different smile

I can tell you guys don't sleep on snow a lot.

snow is *not* cold smile



One of the things you learn in search and rescue - snow caves are (relatively) warm. Sleeping *in* snow can keep you in the low 30s while the world outside goes subzero.

But talk about wet!
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#144091 - 12/28/10 04:09 PM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: phat]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Yes I have, twice last year for a total of four nights on the small NeoAir w/blue pad. Snowcaves are warmer, just never done them.

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#144323 - 01/03/11 10:33 PM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: phat]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I put my BA insulated air core on top of my blue foam just because I am afraid of puncturing the darn thing. I paid $70 for it and do not want a hole. Of course, I am rarely below 0F. The neo is even more expensive. I wonder if I would be brave enough to even take it out and sleep on it, if I had one.
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#144369 - 01/04/11 01:13 PM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: finallyME]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2928
Loc: NorCal
FWIW I used both a BA AirCore and POE Insulmat (which are identical and probably made in the same factory) for several sesons without any puncture issues. Never on bare ground though, which I'd definitely avoid.

So far so good after two NeoAir seasons with the same treatment, but I do police my tent site carefully (and I don't camp around cacti).

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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#145340 - 01/23/11 05:49 PM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: Rick_D]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Didn't make it to Virginia - too much snow, too cold to be experimenting (my buddy went, and bailed after a day and a half due to the snow.)

However, I did go out yesterday with a small group to a local park that allows backpack camping. It was 23 degrees, with about 4 inches of snow on the ground, when we left the trailhead. It was a 3-mile hike, so a perfect chance to test the NeoAir (and some other new gear.)

I stamped down a tent site (snow was powdery, so it didn't turn to ice when stamped; it also didn't melt and soak things - just brushed off.) It's been cold here; only above freezing about 1 or 2 days since New Year's. The ground was hard, but not completely frozen; I could push a needle stake in with my boot. I didn't use a footprint. I inflated the NeoAir pretty full, put it in the tent, and never messed with adding or letting out air. (Didn't want to add any more variables than I had to - gee, that makes this almost sound quasi-scientific!) I was using an MSR Carbon Reflex 1 tent, with the vestibule zipped shut; a non-mesh tent might have affected the results a bit. It was also dead calm, with no breeze whatsoever.

I was using a 20 degree WM Alpinlite sleeping bag, and started out wearing midweight long underwear and socks with just the 48 inch NeoAir (my empty pack was under my feet.) When I went to bed, it was right at 20. As it dipped below 15, I added a wool balaclava and some down booties. I could feel the pad getting cool, but not uncomfortably so, so I didn't do anything about it.

At 10 degrees, I finally put the Z-Lite pad underneath the NeoAir and put on my WM Flash jacket (hooded) and Flash pants. Slept plenty warm at that point until it hit zero around 5am, when I woke up from being a bit cold in the small of my back. (You know, that little spot of cold that's just enough to keep you from getting back to sleep.) At that point, I put on a WM Flash vest under the jacket, and conked out until about 7:30, when everyone started rousing.

So, I'd probably trust the NeoAir to about 20 degrees, and carry a Z-Lite backup pad below that. I do want to stress that this is specific to my own use, in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, when it's cold but the ground isn't completely frozen. With a different sleeping bag, different body size or metabolism (i.e., being a "hot" or "cold" sleeper), and different conditions, this range may not be accurate for you. About the only thing this thread really does is collect a lot of anecdotal evidence about the NeoAir in one place - and that might help someone else.

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#145361 - 01/24/11 05:45 AM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: Glenn]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2124
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
There's a couple other threads on the NeoAir also. Lucky you had all the clothes with you, if I have the need, I just drape my coat over my chest. The most I wear to bed is thermal underwear and a wool cap. Some also say, if you don't wear all your clothes to bed, you brought too much. I don''t care too.

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#145363 - 01/24/11 07:11 AM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: hikerduane]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
Since I'd originally started this thread, with a very narrow, specific question, I just thought all the folks who had shared a lot of really good information with me might like to know how things worked out.

Actually, the clothing was planned, not just luck. I'd assembled the whole system after reading the same posts you did that said you should wear everything. Like you, I don't agree with that; I'd prefer to use clothes as a safety margin. So, I assembled my gear with the idea that I wouldn't really head out if predictions were for lower than 20 degrees, and that the clothing would provide a 10 degree safety margin if one night got a bit colder than predicted. The trip I described above was simply one of those rare opportunities you get to test out your theory in a "safe" environment, where I could have walked back to the car pretty easily if the theory fell apart.

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#145366 - 01/24/11 09:15 AM Re: Very specific NeoAir question [Re: Glenn]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I met a mountaineer who said he uses the Neo without a foam pad down to 14F - we were on a winter training for search and rescue, and he was about to set up in a snow cave with it. He had it pair with a Feathered Friends bag.

I'd take a foam pad. Guys aren't typically cold sleepers like me...
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