Brand: NEMO Equipment, Inc.
Model: Tuo Cub
“This is the only sleeping pad I’ll ever need—for my ounce-counting backpacking trips and my weight-be-damned, luxe car camps,” says one tester. That’s because the Astro combo is a pad system that allows you to strip it down or amp it up, depending on the trip. At its heart is a 2.5-inch, full-length mattress that’s insulated with open-cell foam and packs down to about eight by four inches. Alone, it’s as comfortable and warm (down to at least 15°F) as any pad we’ve tried, with a rugged, 75-denier polyester shell that fended off abrasion even on sandpapery slickrock.
The Astro takes some lung power—and three to four minutes—to inflate, but the handy push/pull valve let’s you easily cap it for a breather. (You can also opt for the foot-powered Disco Pad Pump, which weighs 2.2 ounces and costs $40.) For trailhead throw-downs, basecamps, and drive-up campgrounds, slide the Astro into its Pillowtop sleeve. Made of open-cell polyurethane foam, it adds a pound and a half, a few inches of girth when packed, and an entirely new level of comfort.
The combo is like a portable mattress, a full 3.25 inches thick. “It turned our lumpy, rock-strewn trailhead campsite in Capitol Reef into a featherbed,” says one tester. And the price? It looks high, but consider this: If you were to buy a lightweight backpacking pad and a decadent car-camping mattress, you could easily spend more and not sleep as well. Astro: $100; 1 lb. 8 oz.; 20x72x2.5”; Pillowtop: $80; 1 lb. 9 oz.; nemoequipment.com
The Tuo Series of inflatable backcountry accessories brings a new level of comfort to the sleeping pad. Literally. The Tuo sleeping pads have a thin film inside that divides the pad into two separate airtight levels, each with their own valve. Not only does this give you complete redundancy in the event of a puncture, it means you can inflate the base layer firm for protection from rocks and roots and keep the top layer partially inflated for maximum comfort. Accessories for Tuo include colorful slipcovers and a Pillowtop slipcover that offers an inch of foam for added comfort and insulation. Tuo Cub packs to 9 X 5 and includes compression style stuff sack and repair kit.