We've been talking a lot about our new sleeping pads for 2011, but that's because we have so much more of a complete line planned for this year. NEMO first introduced our Tuo series sleeping pads in 2009. Looking back on customer reaction to these pads, they were certainly big on comfort but ultralight folks were left wanting a little more (or less, I supppose).
In the years ensuing, we've developed an ultralight sleeping pad called Zor that strips away all the unnecessary material, but doesn't leave you with an aching back in the morning.
How did we accomplish this? We developed an ultralight exterior material, Airlock Elite, that is a multilayer laminate fabric. Even though it is a very low denier, the lamination is engineered to hold strong welds and be completely airtight. Our NEMO shield pattern is also embossed on the front, which I think looks subtly classy (no bias here). The emboss is nice because it adds tear strength, doesn't use ink, and leaves a very nice surface texture, as opposed to the more plastic-y feeling of heat transfer graphics.
The open cell foam inside the pad is a key component of achieving such a low weight. We had to be careful here -- using too lightweight a foam (i.e. low density) can make the pad feel too flimsy. We use a specially selected foam that hits our density and loading targets, and employ a process called 2-axis coring to eliminate all unnecessary mass. You can see in the diagram below the vertical and horizontal coring in the foam.
The overall architecture of Zor is elegant and minimalist, but doesn't skimp on cushion when you're out on the trail. Suzanne and I took Zor on a gear testing trip earlier this fall on a thru-hike of the Wonderland Trail, and we are really psyched at how well it performed.
The 2 axis coring and Airlock Elite fabric help make the pack size ridiculously small.
For 2011, NEMO is offering a Standard mummy size (20" width, 72" length) that is 14 oz (405 grams). There will also be a Short version (20" width, 48" length) that is 10 oz (285 grams).
One of our favorite things about this sleeping pad is that it instantly transforms into an ultra cushiony car camping pad when you add the Zor Pillowtop. The Zor Pillowtop is made of 1" foam insert and a soft jersey knit cover. It weighs 1 lb, 2 oz (515 grams), so if you really love it, it wouldn't be out of the question to even backpack with it.