Expert Review: Nemo Astro Sleeping Pad

Published on 09/10/2022 · 6 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the sleeping pad, which I purchased with my own money in August of 2022.
Elizabeth H., Camping Expert
By Camping Expert Elizabeth H.

Happy to be waking up on my Astro. All photos courtesy of Elizabeth H. 

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the sleeping pad, which I purchased with my own money in August of 2022.

My take

The Nemo Astro sleeping pad is an affordable and lightweight summer backpacking pad. It’s geared towards budget-friendly backpackers looking for a lightweight and packable option.

It comes with a stuff sack and velcro strap

About the gear

  • Model: 2021 Nemo Astro
  • Size: Regular (72in by 20in by 3.5in)

Test conditions

  • When I bought it: August 2022
  • Days tested: Two
  • Pack: I haven’t taken it backpacking yet, but I have a Gregory Kalmia 60
  • Used for: Backyard testing
  • Where I’ve used it: My backyard: Logan, Utah
  • Seasons I’ve used it in: Summer

About me

  • Height: 5’6”
  • Weight: 225 lbs
  • Experience: 22 years of backpacking

How it performs

Durability
5/5
Packability
5/5
Versatility
5/5
Weight
5/5
Comfort
3/5

What I was looking for

I was looking for a smaller and lighter sleeping pad that I could bring backpacking or for travel as a backup sleeping option. My current sleeping pads are all heavy, self-inflating pads that aren’t practical when space and weight are considerations. I adore my MegaMat 10, but it unfortunately isn’t backpacking-friendly.

Why I chose this gear

I chose the Nemo Astro since it was the smallest packed option at the price point that I was interested in. I was looking for the best pad under $100 when I started my search. I considered the Klymit Static V as well as a few different Thermarest options before deciding on the Astro after comparing the price point and features.

First inflation

What I love about it

  • Durability: The Astro comes with a repair kit for any punctures that may happen. I’ve only used it two nights so far, so I can’t speak to its long term durability yet. Other Nemo products that I have had for 5+ years have held up well and all of their products come with a lifetime warranty, so I’m covered even if I do have issues.
  • Weight: The Astro weighs 19oz (just over 1lb) which is a bit heavier than some of the ultralight sleeping pad options but much lighter than my MegaMat, which weighs 4lbs 9oz.
  • Packability: The packed size is 8in by 3.5in, which is about the size of a 32oz Nalgene bottle. It comes with a stuff sack and velcro strap for easy storage and transport. I have done test runs and the Astro fits inside of my pack when I have all of my gear loaded.
  • Shape: The Astro is a rectangular pad (72in by 20in), so there is a decent amount of space. It is a bit heavier compared to some of the mummy-shaped sleeping pads, but a few ounces isn’t a big deal for me.
  • Noise: I was pleasantly surprised at how quiet it is. One of my hesitations with a fully inflatable pad was the noise factor, since I move around a lot. The pad is wrapped in 75D polyester, which means it is more durable and softer than some other inflatable pads.
  • Features: One of my favorite features is the LayLow multi-value: a stacked valve of one-way inflation and rapid deflation. It lays flat against the pad and is easy to open and close. Opening up the top layer reveals the one-way inflation and micro-adjust flap to dial in the firmness level. To deflate, I pull out that layer and it's ready to roll up in seconds. The other, more unique feature is the Pillow Baffle, which is a taller section on the head of the pad which can be used as a pillow and helps hold any extra pillows in place.
  • Ease of use: The model that I purchased did not come with a Vortex pump sack, so I had to blow it up. It took me about a minute or so to fully inflate it. Deflation takes seconds. The new 2022 models come with the pump sack, and it is also sold separately, so I might buy it for future use.
  • Backpacking: The Astro is marketed as “stellar backpacking comfort,” which is partially true in my opinion. The small packed size and light weight are ideal for backpacking.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Durability: I have not had any durability issues yet, but fully inflatable pads are typically more prone to punctures than self-inflating pads.
  • Comfort: Comfort is average; it is 3.5in thick, which is similar to my MegaMat, but it is only 20in wide instead of 25, so I slid off a few times during the night. I’m also a “gas station hot dog sleeper” (self-described), so I move around a lot at night, and I don’t blame the pad for that. The top baffle is larger than the others on the pad; this adds extra head height and is supposed to keep the pillow from escaping off the top of the pad. The micro-adjust feature of the valve is also something that I can play around with more to make it more comfortable.
  • Insulation and R-Value: With an R-value of 1.5, it is warm enough for most of the summer camping and backpacking that I do, but I am worried that it won’t be warm enough for shoulder-season backpacking trips in my area. I do a lot of high elevation (7,000 plus feet) backpacking, so I do worry about getting too cold during the night if temperatures drop below what I’m expecting.
  • Car Camping: I could take my Astro car camping, but why would I do that if I can bring my MegaMat, which is the ideal car camping pad? If the Astro was my only option, I would be happy sleeping on it, but I much prefer the luxurious comfort of the MegaMat.
  • Mountaineering: The R-value is too low to be used in alpine situations.
  • Thru-Hiking: I think that the Astro would be a good option for thru-hikes. The R-value of the pad is very low for anything but summer temperatures, and I would rather err on the side of more insulation for a trip that takes me through a variety of weather conditions and climates.

Ready to be tested in the backyard

Favorite moment with this gear

I nearly passed out the first time that I inflated this pad, whoops! I am prone to lightheadedness due to some medical conditions, and I had just arrived back at home after work. I was so excited to test it out that I immediately opened the box and started to blow it up (which was my first mistake). After three or four breaths I started feeling lightheaded, so I laid down on my dining room floor and kept blowing it up. Once I had it blown up, I was thankful to have a soft place to rest for a few minutes until my body was ready to be upright again.

I foresee a future favorite moment of waking up well rested on my next backpacking trip with friends and enjoying early morning alpine light. But now I know that I need to be sitting down while I inflate it.

Value for the money vs. other options

The Astro is a good value in my opinion. It offers the same packability as much more expensive options and is only a few ounces heavier than similar pads like the Exped Airmat. If budget is the biggest consideration, pads like the Klymit Static V or Big Agnes Air Core are less expensive.

Final verdict

Overall the Nemo Astro is a solid summer backpacking pad that offers unique features at a reasonable price.

  • We price match
  • Returnable

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