Holy grails do not exist, in spite of our best efforts to keep their … holiness … in context, design them according to our exact specifications, or even wish them into that stature.
That’s exactly why I was expecting the new Cascade Designs NeoAir pad (winner of lots of awards because of its in spite of its lack of consumer market testing) to realize HG status. Popular Science, Backpacker, The Gear Junkie – it seems that the number of patents this pad holds has jaded enamored journalists into believing that the NeoAir really is going to solve the problems of the backcountry traveler, like carrying 3 oz torso pads and having to look for a comfortable place to sleep.
If you’re smelling the sour yawn of “here we go again, hot new gear”, then you’re right. A consummate skeptic, I pretty much believe that anything patentable is also, well, fogged up with what people say rather than what the product can do.
And then I slept on the pad out in the woods on a 15 degree night.
It was just about the dreamiest night’s sleep I’ve ever had. My initial feeling is that I think this is going to be a pretty good product, but I’ll reserve more rational judgment until my testing over the winter is complete.
Stay tuned for the review over at BPL in a few months.
PS: Oh, and for the record, no, you cannot sleep directly on snow with this pad and expect to stay warm. I’m using a 1/8″ Evazote torso pad underneath it, which makes a good snow system.