The NEMO Quasar 3D Sleeping Pad (regular, non-insulated) is an inflatable sleeping pad with body-mapped baffles that are designed to gently prevent you from rolling off the pad at night. When inflated, it provides three and a half inches of luxurious support, perfect for side sleepers when used with or without a pillow. When deflated, the Quasar 3D packs up incredibly flat and small, making it ideal for smaller volume backpacks, where storage space is at a premium.
Specs at a Glance
- Claimed Weight: 20 oz
- Actual Weight (incl pad, stuff sack and inflation sack): 23.6 oz
- Pad 21 oz
- Stuff sack 0.7 oz
- Inflation sack 1.9 oz
- R-Value: 1.8 (best used in warm weather)
- Thickness: 3.5 in / 9 cm
- Dimensions: 72 x 20 x 3.5 in / 183 x 51 x 9 cm
- Shape: Rectangular
- Packed Dimensions: 8.0 x 4.0 in diameter / 20 x 10 cm diameter
- Inflation sack: Included
The problem with many inflatable sleeping pads is that they’re flat, hard, and really uncomfortable to sleep on. You don’t sleep on a board at home, so why would you want to sleep on one while camping or backpacking.
The NEMO Quasar takes a very different design approach, molding the surface of the sleeping pad to cup your body so that you can sprawl naturally when you sleep, on your back, side, or multiple positions if you move around at night. All of the Quasar sleeping pads have a body-mapped depression in the middle of the pad that keeps you from rolling off the sides. The head-end of the pad (the end with the valve) is inclined to help hold a camping pillow in place or to elevate your head comfortably if you sleep without one.
The pad is also covered with a thick 30-denier fabric that gives it a luxurious feel against your skin as well as increased durability. When inflated, the pad is still firm, but you can adjust the firmness by letting a little air out of the valve. It’s also a very “quiet” pad and won’t keep your tent partner awake when you toss and turn at night.
Stomach and Side Sleeper Comfort
While anyone will benefit from the 3-dimensional design of the Quasar, it’s particularly well-tuned the needs of stomach and side sleepers with its unique shape. While the recessed area in the middle of the pad helps prevent you from rolling off the sides, it provides space for your limbs and hips to relax in a way that a flat pad doesn’t. The slight incline at the head end also makes it more comfortable for people who sleep with their cheek on a pillow, even if you don’t bring one when you camp or backpack. If you have trouble sleeping on a uniformly flat surface, like a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite, the comfort of the Quasar will be a welcome change.
One of the overlooked benefits of inflatable sleeping pads or air mattresses, as they’re also called is that they pack up small when compared to foam sleeping pads or self-inflating ones. The thing I really like about the Quasar 3D is just how small it is when it’s rolled up and packed away in my pack.
Be forewarned, however, the pad reviewed here the non-insulated version of the NEMO Quasar 3D sleeping pad. With an R-value of 1.8, it’s a pad that you can only use in warmer weather down to about 40 degrees F (6 C). As a point of reference, closed-cell foam sleeping pads like the NEMO Switchback or the Thermarest Zlite both have R-values of 2.0, so the Quasar 3D can be used just about anywhere they are (unless you’re a very cold sleeper.)
NEMO does make insulated versions of this pad (R=3.3) which are designed for 3-season use and may be a better choice if you sleep cold. There are a lot of different variations available in the Quasar product line, so you need to be careful in choosing the right one. The one reviewed here is indicated with an asterisk, below.
- Non-Insulated, Regular*
- Non-Insulated, Regular-Wide
- Insulated, Regular Size
- Insulated, Regular-Wide
- Insulated, Long-Wide
- Insulated, Double
The Quasar 3D has a flat valve with a wide opening, which is much more durable than pads with stick valves. Deflation is very fast and it’s also easy to let a little air out if you want to reduce the level of firmness inside.
The pad also comes with NEMO’s Vortex pump bag which makes inflation quite easy. It isn’t a stuff sack however and doesn’t have any multi-use benefits. However, the Quasar valve is compatible with Exped’s Schnozzel combination pump bag and pack liner, which you can use instead.
Comparable Sleeping Pads
|Make / Model||Type||R-Value||Weight||Price|
|Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite||Air||4.2||12 oz||$190|
|Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm||Air||6.9||15 oz||$215|
|Sea-to-Summit Ether Light XT Insulated||Air||3.2||16.3 oz||$190|
|NEMO Tensor Insulated||Air||3.5||15 oz||$160|
|NEMO Tensor Alpine UL||Air||4.8||17 oz||$225|
|Big Agnes Q Core SLX||Air||3.2||18 oz||$150|
|Sea-to-Summit Ultralight Insulated||Air||3.1||16.9 oz||$140|
|Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol||Foam||2||14 oz||$45|
|NEMO Switchback||Foam||2||14.5 oz||$50|
|Exped Synmat UL||Air||2.9||16.8 oz||$179|
The NEMO Quasar 3D is a comfortable sleeping pad, particularly for people who are stomach or side sleepers, and has a three-dimension shape that provides room for your limbs and hips to splay out and a slight incline for your head or pillow to rest on when you sleep. While the pad reviewed here is not as lightweight as other pads, one could argue that that isn’t as important as getting a good night’s sleep. If you struggle to get to sleep with a flat sleeping pad today, the NEMO Quasar 3D or one’s of its variants is definitely worth a shot. Sleeping on a three-and-a-half-inch thick pad can change your mind about what’s important to carry on a backpacking trip and what’s not.
Disclosure: NEMO provided the author with a sleeping pad for this review.