A good friend once stated that nothing good happens after midnight. While I believe she was referring to spending a wild night on the town, it also had me thinking about the importance of sleep; with both duration and comfort playing a big role. Nemo Equipment Sleep System As I spoke about in my first look of the Nemo Equipment sleep system in the spring, I am not one of those ride-all-night type of bikepackers. As a recreational rider and not racer, I want to have a good rest each night so that I can get up feeling strong and refreshed in the morning. This is especially true when you are going to be out in the backcountry for many days in a row. I have now used the Nemo Astro Insulated Lite sleeping pad, and the Nemo Tango Solo down comforter, throughout an entire summer of bikepacking adventures, and here are my thoughts. ASTRO INSULATED LITE SLEEPING PAD As far as sleeping pads go, this one is on the top of my list. It may seem to be on the large side for some, but it fits with the Tango Solo down comforter and a bivvy in a compact Oveja Negra saddlebag without a hassle and plenty of room to spare. With the Astro Lite Series, Nemo has created a 64cm x 193cm pad for lightweight travelers who are looking for a little comfort. At 4 inches (10cm) thick, you can pretty much lay this pad anywhere and on any surface and not have to worry about rocks or roots disrupting your sleep. Nemo Equipment Sleep System The pad is constructed using Nemo’s Ultralight Airlock Elite 20D polyester fabric which packs down small and easily. The fabric is also very soft, which I appreciated while sleeping directly on the pad with the Tango Solo backless comforter. They do sell a thin slipcover as an accessory for the pad, but I didn’t feel like it was necessary as the polyester ripstop was soft enough, and not sticky like some pads. The oversized baffle at the head of the pad provides extra loft and proved to be an effective pillow through all of my adventures. The intentional use of horizontal baffles allow you to toss and turn without any worry of the pad curling up around your body. This is key. I have yet to test the Astro Lite in the winter, but as it is insulated with PrimaLoft, it has served me well during a range of temperatures and terrain, including frosty nights in the desert and cold high alpine nights in Colorado. The larger size of the product has never been a problem for packability. When you inflate the pad, it’s hard to believe it can pack so small – I am astounded every time. If you are riding sun-up to sun-down, and have the intention of having a full night sleep each night of your trip, this pad is well worth it. The comfort to weight ratio is second to none. It is worth noting that the width of the pad can be difficult to pair with all bivvys. Be sure to measure the width of your desired bivvy prior to purchase to make sure the pad will be compatible. I have tested the system with a few different bivvys, and some are too narrow to allow much body movement once the pad is in place. So far the MSR E-Bivvy has been the most effective with this system due to it’s wider profile. Nemo does make a 20L width pad, which would help eliminate this issue. This pad exceeded my expectations and has outperformed the intended function of the product. With a plush 4 inches of padding, a minimum temp zone of 35 F (2 C), and weighing in at 512 grams, the Astro Insulated Lite 25L has quickly become my one and only preferred sleeping pad for all adventures. TANGO SOLO DOWN COMFORTER   I am a cold sleeper regardless of the weather. I had never thought in a thousand years that I would use a backless sleeping bag or a sleeping quilt versus a full sleeping bag. All of my assumptions were disproved when I first received the Nemo Equipment Tango Solo down comforter. Nemo Equipment Sleep System Affectionately dubbed “the mummy killer” the Tango Solo is a play off of Nemo’s duo series which features a two person down comforter and integrated pad sleep system. If you have ever been the person who feels constricted in a mummy style sleeping bag, this down comforter design is for you. The Tango Solo creates a home-like lightweight sleep system for backcountry enthusiasts. Don’t let the backless design fool you, it is big on comfort and is extremely cozy boasting 700 fill power with DownTek water repellent down. The quilt has a thin fabric sleeve on the top detachable hood, and the foot box which allows the quilt to stay in place on your pad. I was weary of this system to begin with as I constantly suffer from cold feet while camping. The footbox stays warm and toasty, and I have never had an issue with the quilt failing to stay integrated with the pad. This quilt is compatible with any 50cm – 63cm width pad and weighs 810 grams. If you care to cut a little weight, you can detach the hood using the buttons on either side and leave that at home. As with the pad, I have yet to use the quilt in winter conditions, but have used it in temperatures as low as 28 F (-2 C). The Tango Solo has a comfort temperature rating of 30 F (-1 C), and I will admit, the night at 28 F was a little chilly. In some car camping situations, I have used a thin fleece liner as a luxury in conjunction with the quilt for a bit of extra warmth, but as I said, I sleep cold. In a few situations, the outside of the Tango Solo became wet with frost and condensation in the morning after a night in the bivvy. The DownTek performed flawlessly as it kept me warm and dry under the quilt. A few minutes in the sun and it was dry and ready to pack. The Tango Solo packs down so small, it is about the size of a water bottle with compression. With comfy warm down and room to move, the Tango Solo is my new favorite bag, and has transformed my thoughts about backless sleeping quilts. Overall, the Astro Lite Insulated pad and the Tango Solo down comforter work flawlessly as a team, and are both individually strong products. Both have provided me a home-like comfort while in the backcountry, and have allowed me to have that much needed trail-side rest.

Visit Nemo Equipment to learn more about their extensive lightweight backcountry gear list, and their other bikepacker friendly products..

4 Comments

  1. Hola Lindsey,

    It looks like an awesome setup when combined with a tarp! Have you got any info regarding their bikepacking combo ( The Apollo 3P tent, the Escape Pod 1P bivy, and the Moonwalk sleeping bag)?
    I would have loved to test it during my 4000 miles bikepacking trip along the Cordillera de los Andes 🙂

    Saludos,
    Federico
    http://www.theironlyportrait.com

    • Neil Beltchenko
      Neil Beltchenko

      Federico,

      It is something that Nemo is working on, but it will not be available until 2016. We will certainly keep you up to date when it is in our hands

      Cheers,

      Neil

  2. Nice review, this was really helpful. What is the main advantage of using this system over a full sleeping bad and minimal pad or something like the Big Agnes system (featuring a sleeping pad pocket)? Is it mostly that you save precious pack space with the quilt/pad?

    • Lindsay Arne
      Lindsay Arne

      Amanda, I think the weight versus warmth and comfort ratio is one of the biggest advantages. It is still a 30 degree bag, but you save weight and space by having it backless. A personal advantage for me versus using a bag with a sleeve in the back (such as the Big Agnes bags), is that I love having room to move while sleeping, and bag systems with the back pocket tend to make me feel constricted. With this Nemo system I can sleep in any position I want without feeling like my knees are stopping me from being comfortable. I hope that helps!

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