All of us on the Expedition Portal team spend a lot of time in the field, and in doing so, spend many nights sleeping on the ground. We’re a particular bunch, and a good sleeping pad is always an essential part of our personal kits. The Nemo Equipment Astro series of pads have been favorites of ours for some time now with their 2.5 inches of sublime comfort. The most important attribute of an Astro pad is the latitudinal direction of the baffles, which greatly add to the pad’s stability. Sleepers roll side to side, so having the baffles run in that direction is of critical importance. Longitudinal baffles make pads feel like pool toys and fight the natural contours of the sleeper’s body. The Astro’s oversized pillow baffle is pure genius, and helps keep your pillow from squirting off the end of the pad. That’s a feature every pad should have.
The Astro Insulated pad improves on an already great system providing additional insulation against the creep of cold air from the ground below. A layer of PrimaLoft synthetic insulation gives the pad a great R-value, but doesn’t increase the packed bulk by all that much. At a shade under two pounds with a rolled sized scarcely larger than a Nalgene bottle, the Astro Insulated pad slips into the most confined spaces.
Inflation is achieved manually and takes very little effort, but can be made easier with Nemo’s very clever Disco Pad Pump. For those people without lungs, or a desire to use them, many of the features of the Astro Insulated pad can be found in the Cosmo Insulated pad which has a built-in foot pump.
Having spent countless nights on Astro pads, we think they’re not just great, they’re a solid value. At only $119, the Astro Insulated is a bargain. When paired to the Nemo Pillow Top cover, the overall thickness grows to nearly 4 inches. Who says sleeping outside has to be “roughing it?”