Testing for NEMO Tensor All-Season Ultralight Insulated Sleeping Pad Review

NEMO Tensor All-Season Ultralight Insulated Sleeping Pad Review

Comfier and Higher Warmth-to-Weight Ratio than NeoAir NXT

February 11, 2023 – Wow, the NEMO Tensor All-Season Ultralight Insulated is a dang impressive sleeping pad. With an R-Value of 5.4, and weighing only 14.1 oz, it clocks the highest R-Value-to-weight-ratio among 3-season pads, narrowly beating out the esteemed Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite NXT, despite being an ounce heavier in total. Shop now.

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  • Price: $200
  • Weight: 14.1 oz
  • R-Value: 5.4 | R-Value/Weight: .38
  • Thickness: 3.5”
  • Fabric: 20d/40d
  • Sizes: Regular, Regular Mummy, Regular Wide, Long Wide
  • Pros: Incredibly high R-value-to-weight ratio. Comfy. Disperses weight. Thick. Reasonable quiet. Ultralight.
  • Cons: Expensive. Arguably too warm for hot summer nights.

Compare to more great options in our guide to the best backpacking sleeping pad.

Close up on spaceframe baffles
NEMO Tensor thickness

Construction & Features

For any sleeping pad to get high marks from us, we insist that it have a high R-value-to-weight ratio. Ultralight quilt users require this, and sleeping bag users appreciate it. And the NEMO Tensor All-Season Ultralight Insulated Sleeping Pad exemplifies it.

What makes Tensor All-Season so effective and warm are its dual layers of suspended thermal mirror film, clocking an R-value of 5.4 in a 14 oz pad. For reference, the marginally lighter weight summer version, called Tensor Trail, uses a single layer of thermal mirror, and the winter-weight Tensor Extreme Conditions uses three layers. This hyper-efficient design is built with the same technology found in Therm-a-Rest NeoAir pads. The floated thermal mirrors reduce, but do not entirely eliminate, crinkly noise as you move about on your pad.

The SpaceFrame baffles are stable and comfortable to sleep on, and do a good job of dispersing pressure for side and back sleepers. The top surface is pleasing to the eye, looks comfy, and we’re willing to bet the comfy experience is even enhanced by a placebo effect. Unlike a stiffly inflated NeoAir, it does not look or feel like sleeping on a surf board.

NEMO Tensor All-Season is 3.5″ thick, which is the gold standard for top tier pads. With 3.5″ you can basically ignore small lumps and roots. But perhaps just as importantly, it creates wiggle room for you to sleep with the pad slightly underinflated without worrying about sagging down to the ground. Underinflating a pad, in addition to being slightly more comfy, reduces it’s insulative abilities/R-Value, and can be an important strategy for staying cool on warm nights.

One issue that had plagued past Tensor iterations was durability. However, they appear to have resolved this by upgrading the NEMO Tensor All-Season, (and all other Tensors) to a 40d underside fabric, up from 20d. The top surface remains 20d.

The valve is intuitive and you probably won’t think much about it or notice it, which means its doing its job well. The optional inflation bag weighs 2 oz, and is not a multi-purpose item. Effective at it’s job, but you can probably leave it at home to save a couple of ounces. We’ve never found them to be necessary.

Perhaps the only thing that isn’t best-in-class about this sleeping pad is its total weight. While far lighter than average, 14.1 oz is still a smidge heavier than NeoAir, and not pushing any boundaries.

valve of nemo tensor all-season
underside of tensor sleeping pad with enhanced durability

NEMO Tensor All-Season Ultralight Insulated Sleeping Pad Review Verdict

Barring any surprises after a full season of use, NEMO Tensor All-Season Ultralight Insulated Sleeping Pad has become our de facto preferred option. With best-in class R-value (for a 3-season design), best-in-class R-value-to-weight-ratio, and top tier thickness, quietness, comfiness, and enhanced durability, it’s hard to argue that any sleeping pad is better. Sorry NeoAir!

Compare to more great options in our guide to the best backpacking sleeping pad.

NEMO Tensor All-Season ultralight insulated
NEMO Tensor All-Season sleeping pad