Sleeping Pad – I’m Putting My Foot Down on NEMO Backpacking Vector Insulated Pad
NEMO may be that guy who is late to the party, but everyone notices when he makes his grand entrance. Definitely the new brand in the world of camping and backpacking, NEMO has quickly made a name for themselves with their impressive line of tents, sleeping bags, pads, and accessories. I’ve had the chance to try out a few pieces of their gear in recent years, and I’ve been blown away by the quality and durability of the fabrics and design. In this article, I will be talking specifically about the Vector Insulated Sleeping Pad.
As someone who once spent over 150 straight nights in a backpacking tent, I know not all sleeping pads are created equal (though it doesn’t take that long to figure out). Some pads are lightweight. Some pads are insulated. Some pads come with an integrated foot pump that allows you to inflate your pad in 30 seconds without a single breath of air. Yes, the Vector Insulated Pad has all of this. I had the opportunity to use this pad a couple years ago for a short multi-day trip in the Chattahoochee National Forest in the Southeast.
Right off the bat, the first thing I noticed was its size. The pad came in a stuff sack roughly 8” long and 5” in diameter – not going to find many insulated inflatable pads that pack down to that size. The minimum weight is approximately 1.25 lbs, which is not exactly ultralight, but it’s not like I’m thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail either – if that was the case, then I would carry my NEMO Astro Air Lite Pad. Gram counting aside, the weight to warmth ratio is nearly impossible to beat.
The main (and obvious) difference that sets the Vector Insulted Pad apart from the majority of pads on the market is the integrated foot pump. Unroll your pad, tap your foot about 40 times, and its ready to go. As my group of friends huffed and puffed to get their pads full, I pumped up my pad, made a smart-ass comment about how easy it was and said I must have done it wrong. So, I deflated my pad and inflated it again before they could finish just to rub it in a little bit. I decided that would be the only time I’d mess with the crew. I didn’t want to wake up one morning on the ground because my pad had mysteriously “ripped” in the middle of the night.
The next key feature for the Vector Insulated Pad is the lateral baffling. The baffling allowed the weight of my body to sink evenly into the pad – unlike pads with vertical baffles, which tend loose their form and allow air to spread around the pad. Do I need to talk comfort? That was the best part! I would wake up each morning ready to hit the trail. I never woke up in the morning where my butt was touching the cold ground because air had slowly leaked or moved. No neck stiffness or ache back to work out before packing up and blazing the trail. I tend to toss and turn in my sleep and have found myself completely off of inflatable sleeping pads in the past.
The thermal film layering over the nylon cover reflects heat by to your body so you can stay warm when the temperatures drop below freezing. This film, along with Primaloft insulation, allows a comfort rating in temperatures below freezing – again, something you don’t typically see in pads this light.
Another amazing advantage to the construction design of the Vector Insulated Pad is the ability for the baffling to remain level. When pressure is placed on the pad, air is dispersed laterally to create stability. This allows a side sleeper like myself to turn over without rolling off the pad and into the side of my tent. If you find yourself sleeping sideways on a slight incline, this baffling construction will keep you off the person next to you – which I can only assume will keep both parties happy. If the air in a pad is distributed vertically instead, then it is pushing the air (along with it’s stability) away from the body’s core.
Like I mentioned before, if you are the type of hiker that counts in grams instead of ounces, then this pad probably isn’t your first choice (but you should give it a try anyway). For everyone else who prefers NOT to get light-headed every evening after a trek, this pad was made for you. It is a perfect option for comfort, whether it’s an overnight camp out or a multi-week excursion. No matter the adventure, you’ll hit the trail refreshed in the morning.
Vector Insulated Pad BETA:
Integrated Foot Pump
Flat Feel Construction
High Velocity Valve Plate
Minimum Weight: 1 lb 4 oz (565 grams)
Minimum Temperature Zone: 15 to 25F (-9 to -4C)
20D PU Ripstop Polyester
20” Wide, 72” Long, 3” Thick (fully inflated)
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