We've had a lot of people ask us about what we use for sleeping pads. "How can you be comfortable sleeping on the ground?" they ask. They seem to think that sleeping on the ground is...hard.
Well, to be fair, the ground is hard, and we've made some adjustments over the years.
I slept for many years on a 1/2 inch piece of closed cell blue foam. My wife was always trying something new, and usually in combination with at least one other pad--the best combination was a Thermarest Z-rest mattress over 1/2 of foam pad.
But then one year for her birthday, I bought her a Thermarest Neo-Air mattress--the modern version of that old inflatable plastic thing that we used as scouts. It was a revelation, and she was in heaven.
I remained unconvinced. "Goldurn fancypants foolishness" or something like that, was what I could be heard to mutter under my breath.
Until, that is, one day when I accepted her offer to borrow her Neo-Air to take a nap in the afternoon. Holy Mackerel was that nice! I quickly bought one for myself. One order of fancypants foolishness to go, and make it snappy!
They are relatively light (about 12 ounces, all in) and inflate to a VERY comfortable 2 inches or more. Of luxury. All part of our home away from home.
So we used these pads for about four years, and were pretty darn happy with them. Over time they began to leak and flatten out over the course of a night. And after living with them for a couple of years that way, re-inflating them in the middle of the night, we finally contacted Neo-Air about getting them fixed.
Very simply process, and they made it easy. We sent them our mattresses, and they promised to fix them for very little money indeed--all in the course of a promised 4-6 week turnaround. Can't beat that.
Well, you can beat that.
Because about two weeks later, instead of fixing all of the leaks in our older model mattresses, they sent us brand new ones that don't leak.
We're sold. Again. We can hardly wait to sleep on them. Again.
The first iteration of the Neo-Airs I did not like, and quickly sold mine. They changed, I bought my wife the new women's model , but it would deflate very slowly right from its first night on the trail. I also bought another. After 4 years, I sent the wife's in for repair after wasting lots of time with tub dunkings and soap bubble sprayings trying to find the leak after it started going dead flat 1/2 way through a night. They sent us a new one, but charged me shipping. It was a faulty seam. I received the bill after the fact, about 2 weeks later. It was for 30 bucks. Cheap for a new pad, but it tempered my enthusiasm a little.
Yeah, I was more skeptical of the IR reflection model than the appeal of going back to an air mattress after foam pads and self-inflators, but darned if it doesn't work and it's perhaps the most significant volume-saving gear swap I can think of. Turns out the horizontal tubes (vs. lengthwise) do a great job eliminating typical air mattress bounce. My main "discovery" achieving best comfort was avoiding over-inflation.
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
I too have gone through several iterations of sleeping pads. We used to use something called Insolite and two of them in winter. Blue foam pads are the equivalent nowadays. I advanced to a closed cell foam ridge rest (48") for quite some time, but a few years ago I purchased a ThermoRest Scout (48") and I admit I sleep very well on it. Not as thick or as light as your NeoRest, but when people ask me how my pad worked the next morning I tell them "I don't know, I was sleeping all night." In snow I don't feel I need as much padding because the snow conforms to my body shape so I use a 72" Ridge rest and it insulates well enough and weighs only 14 ounces. I wonder how that compares with the insulation provided by the Neorest.