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Nemo’s new Tensor sleeping pad offers unparalleled backcountry comfort


Tensors for Nemo devices Sleeping pad is my introduction to ultralight sleeping padI’ll admit, when I opened the Tensor (I opted for the insulated version) and inflated it for the first time five years ago, I immediately thought of a hiker joke I saw on Reddit: Inflatable sleeping pads for those Want to sleep on the floor, but not right away.

How could such a thin, light, flimsy-looking sleeping pad not keep me on the ground after a few nights on the road? Fast forward five years and the same sleeping pad has been sleeping under me for over 40 nights, and I’m still not there. That’s not to say it won’t fail—many pads have put me on the floor over the decades, but the Nemo Tensor is still going strong.

Last fall, the company sent me samples of its new Tensor series, which has been revamped for 2024 and consists of three pads, each with varying degrees of thickness and R-value (how much insulation a pad provides) sex, I explained this) in my Guide to the Best Sleeping Pads), tailored to specific remote area needs.

three small pads

These three pads include tensor trajectorythe lightest but with the lowest R value; tensor full seasonits R value is 5.4; Tensor extreme conditionswith an R-value of 8.5 and the highest warmth-to-weight ratio on the market.

The trio comes in four sizes: regular, regular mummy, regular wide and long wide. Put them together, and you have 12 pads to choose from – a single product range from one manufacturer. That’s why we have a whole line of pads. Special Guide to Sleeping Pads Helping you choose the one that best suits your needs.

Photography: Scott Gilbertson

Two of the pads, Tensor Trail and Tensor All-Season, are newer. They see marginal temperature improvements, but the structure remains the same as previous iterations. Nemo still uses a quilt-like design that helps the baffles stay inflated and eliminates your stretchy feel with vertical baffles. The insulation consists of multiple layers of bonded polyester film.

The difference in R-value between Trail and All-Season depends on how many layers of insulating metal film each pad has. Trail uses one layer, All-Season uses two layers, and Extreme uses four layers of what Nemo calls thermal mirror insulation (metallized film). It also uses different baffle types (more on that below). New this year is a sturdier fabric on the bottom of these pads. The Nemo now uses 40 denier nylon on the base, which is made from 30D nylon, which makes it more durable. Take that, Reddit funny guys.

Nemo’s new pads are made of Bluesign approved nylon (Bluesign certification looks at environmental impact and worker safety) and comes with the company’s Vortex pump bag, which does a great job of inflating your bag with a zero-profile valve. I wish there was a standard for these valves so I could use Nemo pump bags and other pads, but there isn’t. There’s also a stuff bag for storing the pads, and there’s a handy repair kit on the closing lid. The Nemo lifetime warranty covers any manufacturing defects, which is great, but a more immediate solution is needed For those worrying punctures, remember the repair kit is in the stuff bag.

Suitable for all seasons

If you want an all-around sleeping pad that will keep you comfortable not just in the summer but also in the shoulder seasons, then all seasons is the right choice. All-Season’s second layer of polyester film increases the R-value to 5.4 and adds only 2 ounces to weight. Packaging dimensions are almost the same. At only $30 heavier and almost twice the weight of a pad with an R-value, I think this is the best sleeping pad for most people in Nemo’s current Tensor line.

Three small bags containing rolled up air mattresses

Photography: Scott Gilbertson



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