Nemo is one of the first brands that pop into mind when talking about quality and convenient camping gear, and the company’s Tensor and Astro models are the two most popular sleeping pads in its line. In this Nemo Tensor vs Astro article, I’ve compiled everything you should know about both of the pads before selecting the suitable one for you.
If you want the quick answer, Nemo Tensor provides the perfect optimization of weight, packed size, insulation, and comfort which makes it the most suitable option for those who like ultralight camping adventures but still need a good night’s sleep. On the other hand, Nemo Astro is heavier, less insulated, and bulkier than the Tensor, but it’s more durable and pocket friendly, it still offers good comfort. If you’re a car or base camper and tight on the budget, Nemo Astro would be a suitable sleeping pad for you.
If you’re already familiar with the sleeping pads skip my reviews and go straight to the detailed comparison.
Nemo Tensor Review
With the options of 5 different sizes, Nemo Tensor is the most popular backpacking sleeping pad in the company’s line.
This popularity is based on its great comfort with a considerably low weight. It’s the lightest sleeping pad that has a 3″ of cushion depth.
I pointed out the 3″ of thickness because with thinner sleeping pads it’s very common to feel the ground, especially if you’re a side sleeper, but with Nemo Tensor it’s nearly impossible to sink in and feel the ground even when you’re sitting on it.
One of the great things about Nemo Tensor is, it offers several sizes of both insulated and uninsulated versions to allow you to pick the suitable one for you.
- If you’re into ultralight warm weather backpacking trips you can go with the Uninsulated Regular Mummy version, it only weighs 15 oz and packs down to 8.0″ x Ø 3.0″.
- Or, if you’re a big fellow who needs a sleeping pad for 3 season car camping, you can go with the Insulated Long Wide version, it weighs 1 lb 8 oz and packs down to 9.5″ x Ø 3.0″ but it offers you an R-Value of 3.5 (which can keep you warm down to 20 °F).
Also, even though it doesn’t strike the perfect balance among warmth, weight, and durability as Thermarest NeoAir XTherm, it still provides a good balance considering its deep cushion.
One con of the pad is, it’s made of low denier fabric, therefore it’s not the perfect option if you wanna just lay it directly on stones and grass, you need to be extra careful with this pad, or you can also purchase Nemo Switchback and lay it under the Nemo Tensor, not only it will protect it from the stones and sticks on the ground, it would also provide better insulation for colder weathers.
Nemo Astro Review
For those who like a big cushion and willing to sacrifice some weight and packed size, Nemo Astro is the perfect option.
Firstly it’s important to mention that if you’re looking for a backpacking sleeping pad Nemo Astro would be bulky for you, it’s mainly used for base and car camping.
- It offers only two sizes: Regular (72″ x 20″) and Long Wide (76″ x 25″)
- Warmth-wise it features two types: Insulated (R-Value: 2.6) and Non-insulated (R-Value: 1.5)
It features a built-in pillow, this pillow is very comfortable for back sleepers but it’s a bit low for side sleepers, you might need to carry a small pillow if you sleep on your side, but rather than that due to its 3.5″ of cushion, the pad itself is perfect for side sleepers.
It’s one of the thickest sleeping pads on the market, in addition to being deep, being plushy and offering a built-in pillow make it very comfortable.
But I should add that some people find Nemo Astro a bit bumpy to sleep on. The common idea about sleeping pads is the thicker the sleeping pad the more comfort it offers. That is true up until to some level (roughly 3″) but after that, it starts to feel bumpy (some people like it though). But if comfort is your first priority Nemo Tensor would be a better option for you.
And the most important feature of Nemo Astro is its durability, with 75D PU Polyester on both the bottom and top layer, Nemo Astro is as durable as it gets when it comes to air sleeping pads.
Nemo Tensor vs Astro Detailed Comparison
Specifications: Tensor vs Astro
I’ve prepared this comparison table of insulated regular sizes of the Nemo Tensor and Astro, so you can get the main difference of the sleeping pads, but below I will get into the details for both insulated and non-insulated versions of every size.
|Nemo Tensor||Nemo Astro|
|Weight||1 lb 2 oz / 505 g||1 lb 10 oz / 730 g|
|Dimensions||72" (Length) x 20" (Width) / 183 x 51 cm||72" (Length) x 20" (Width) / 183 x 51 cm|
|Thickness||3.0 in / 8 cm||3.5 in / 9 cm|
|Packed Dimension ||8.0" x Ø 3.0"/ 20 cm x Ø 8 cm||8.5" x Ø 4.5"/ 22 cm x Ø 11 cm|
|Size Options||- Short Mummy|
- Regular Mummy
- Regular Wide
- Long Wide
- Long Wide
|Fill Material||Aluminized Film||PrimaLoft|
|Top Material||20D PU Polyester||75D PU Polyester
|Bottom Material||20D PU Polyester||75D PU Polyester
|Check Prices||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon|
Sizes of Nemo Tensor
- Short: This size can be used by children or thru-hikers.
- Regular Mummy: This size has a tapered design to save on weight and the packed size it’s recommended for ultralight outdoor events.
- Regular: This size has a Rectangular design, offering you more room at the feet area, it’s a little bit heavier but still can be used as a backpacking sleeping pad though.
- Regular Wide: This size has the same length as the Regular size but it’s 5″ wider, if you move around when sleeping or if you like a bigger room it would be the better option for you.
- Long Wide: This is the biggest size of the Tensor, offering you a 76″ of length and 25″ of width, if you’re a big fellow (more than 6′ 2″) you would be more comfortable with this size.
|Short||Regular Mummy||Regular||Regular Wide||Long Wide|
|Dimensions||48″ x 20″||72″ x 20″||72″ x 20″||72″ x 25″||76″ x 25″|
(Non-Insulated / Insulated)
|11 oz / 12 oz||15 oz / 17 oz||16 oz / 18 oz||19 oz / 22 oz||20 oz / 24 oz|
|Packed Size||8.0″ x Ø 2.5″||8.0″ x Ø 3.0″||8.0″ x Ø 3.0″||9.5″ x Ø 3.0″||9.5″ x Ø 3.5″|
(Non-Insulated / Insulated)
|1.6 / 3.5||1.6 / 3.5||1.6 / 3.5||1.6 / 3.5||1.6 / 3.5|
|Prices on Amazon||Check||Check||Check||Check||Check|
Sizes of Nemo Astro
Nemo Tensor offers only Regular size and Long Wide size, Regular is recommended for normal size people, and Long Wide is recommended for people taller than 6′ 2″ or for those needs more room when sleeping.
|Dimensions||72″ x 20″||76″ x 25″|
(Non-Insulated / Insulated)
|20 oz / 26 oz||26 oz / 33 oz|
(Non-Insulated / Insulated)
|8.0″ x Ø 3.5″ /|
8.5″ x Ø 4.5″
|9.5″ x Ø 3.5″ /|
9.5″ x Ø 4.5″
|R-Value||1.5 / 2.6||1.5 / 2.6|
|Prices on Amazon||Check||Check|
Since it’s made for mainly ultralight camping adventures Nemo Tensor is by far the winner in this department. With a weight of 16 oz, the Uninsulated Regular version of Nemo Tensor weighs %20 less than Nemo Astro (20 oz).
But if you think you would need an even lighter sleeping pad, I would recommend Thermarest NeoAir Uberlite it only weighs 8.8 oz and offers better insulation than Nemo Tensor Uninsulated. Check the price of Uberlite on Amazon or to get a better idea read my review about the Thermarest Uberlite.
Because it’s made for ultralight outdoor adventures such as backpacking, Nemo Tensor packs down smaller than Nemo Astro.
The packed size difference of non-insulated versions are not big, Non-insulated Nemo Tensor (Regular) packs down to 8.0″ x Ø 3.0″ whereas Non-insulated Nemo Astro’s packed sizes are 8.0″ x Ø 3.5″ (36% bigger).
Because they use a different type of insulation, there is a big difference between the insulated versions though. Insulated Nemo Tensor (Regular) packs down to 8.0″ x Ø 3.0″ whereas insulated Nemo Astro‘s packed sizes are 8.5″ x Ø 4.5″ (2.4 times bigger).
If you’re on a budget and looking for a backpacking sleeping pad, you can go with the non-insulated Nemo Astro, but the insulated version would be too bulky for backpacking.
For the Nemo Tensor, in the packed size department, there is almost no difference between the non-insulated and insulated versions, both pack down small enough for your backpacking, thru-hiking experiences.
If you want a sleeping pad that packs down even smaller than Tensor, I would recommend Thermarest NeoAir Uberlite with a Ø 3.6″ x 6″ packed dimension it’s the smallest sleeping pad on the market. Check out my review about the Uberlite, or view at Amazon.
This is where Nemo Astro shines, with a 75D PU Polyester material, it’s one of the most durable air sleeping pads on the market.
Therefore, if you don’t mind the extra weight and packed size, Nemo Astro offers you great longevity for years of use.
Nemo Tensor on the other hand is made of 20D PU Polyester (not very durable) to be ultralight. If you’re planning to use your pad only in your tent or other places where it can’t face sticks and stones directly, then 20D PU Polyester would be enough for you.
BUT, if you’re planning to lay it directly on the ground or grass, you need to be extra careful with Nemo Tensor since it can be damaged much easier than the Astro.
One trick here is, you can buy Nemo Switchback separately and put it under the Nemo Tensor to increase both durability and insulation, it would cost you an extra 14 oz though.
For the comparison of Nemo Tensor vs Astro, Nemo Tensor is again the winner in this department.
Both sleeping pads offer insulated and non-insulated versions. The insulated and non-insulated versions of Nemo Tensor respectively have R-Values of 3.5 and 1.6
The insulated and non-insulated versions of Nemo Astro on the other hand respectively offers R-Values of 2.6 and 1.5.
You can see the correlation between the R-Value and Lowest Temperature below:
The non-insulated versions of Nemo Tensor and Astro don’t have a noticeable difference though, they both can keep you warm down to 45 °F.
I have pointed it out above, but since we’re talking about insulation, it’s important to mention that there is no packed size difference between the insulated and non-insulated versions of Nemo Tensor.
That is not the case with Nemo Astro though, it’s insulated version packs down approximately %75 bigger than its non-insulated version.
If you want a lighter sleeping pad that offers an even higher R-Value, Thermarest NeoAir XTherm provides the highest warmth to weight ratio on the market. It weighs 15 oz but it can keep you warm down to -15 °F (R-Value: 6.9). Check out my review of XTherm or view at Amazon.
To be fair, both sleeping pads are highly comfortable, also Nemo Tensor and Astro are respectively 3″ and 3.5″ thick therefore both are deep enough for side sleepers.
It’s impossible to sink in and feel the ground with neither of the pads. The only differences here are, Nemo Astro comes with a built-in pillow and also some people tend to find the pad a bit bumpy.
In my opinion, you would find both Nemo Astro and Tensor very comfortable, but there’s a slight chance that you might not like the bumpiness of Nemo Astro. Nemo Tensor on the other hand is less risky, if you don’t have the chance to test them out, I would recommend the Nemo Tensor.