Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Neo Air Competitors: Peak Elite AC, Ether Elite 6, and SynMat

Don't have the money for the listed retail value for Therm-a-Rest's new NeoAir? It's $150 retail price and guess what Cascade Designs forgot to do again? They forgot to include a bag to put your NeoAir in. "That'll be $15 extra, please," says Cascade Designs in their ongoing low-blow marketing scheme. Come on guys, who sells an unfinished product? And we all know that's what an inflatable mattress without a stuff sack is: incomplete product. And if you haven't read all the bogus reviews, the frequency with which the internal baffles "pop" on the NeoAir is absolutely unacceptable for a mattress with a $150 price tag. Overall the NeoAir is too expensive, poor insulation, and terrible durability.
I'm going to do all of you NeoAir freaks a favor and expose you to a few more economical choices that rival, or surpass the features of the NeoAir. Here they are.

Pacific Outdoor Equipment Peak Elite AC
The POE AC has got the NeoAir beat hands down. It should be available early spring 2011. Here's the quick and dirty:

  • Peak Elite AC = 15oz (L) --->  NeoAir = 19oz (L)
  • Peak Elite AC has vertical baffles ---> NeoAir has horizontal baffles

        *Horizontal baffles allow the pad to conform to your body shape better and hold you in place

  • Peak Elite AC R Value is 4.4 under the torso and 2.5 on extremities ---> NeoAir R Value is 2.5
  • Peak Elite AC pad size 20"x78"x2.5" ---> NeoAir 77"X25"x2.5"
        *Peak Elite AC is narrower, however the vertical baffles help hold the sleeper on the pad, thus
          allowing the pad to be smaller while still being effective. Plus the shaved down size also shaves  

  • Peak Elite AC and NeoAir are both manually inflated, meaning you must blow them up like a ballon.
  • Peak Elite AC pack size 4"x12" ---> NeoAir 4.5"x11"

Pacific Outdoor Equipment Ether Elite 6
Extremely similar to the POE Peak Elite AC, the "old" Ether Elite 6 has all the same features except it lacks the new "Radiant Heat Return" technology. So a slightly lower R Value. However the Large EE6 was priced at only $69 versus the NeoAir's (large) $169. That's a huge difference! And guess what? Pacific Outdoor Equipment didn't try to cheat us out of a stuff sack, they sell those with their products. Wow!

Exped SynMat Basic 7.5
Is now available for purchase! It's heavier than the others we've talked about but it's 3" thick instead of 2.5". Exped boasts an R Value of 4 for this mat which they rate down to -11º C (12º F). It comes in at 9.5"x5.7" packed and 71.5"x19" as a mat. It's narrower, yet, than the POE AC, and 6" narrower than the NeoAir.
Exped's sister series; the SynMat Pump is a bit heavier but has higher R Value and, you guessed it, an air pump to fill them up.

1 comment:

  1. The Exped Synmat 7 is great I have one and find it great for wild camping!


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