Nemo Switchback ($55)

Table of Contents

Closed-cell foam

14.5 oz.

0.9 in.


Cheap and will never pop; thicker than the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite.

Not nearly as comfortable as inflatable sleeping pads.

It’s important to note that the Switchback by Nemo isn’t the ideal choice for anyone who want a comfortable and comfortable mattress. It comes with less than 1 inch of closed-cell foam as well as a reflective layer specifically designed to absorb the heat of the sun. We love this pad due to two important reasons: it’s a steal at $55 for the basic model, and it’s guaranteed to not pop. Despite its simple and thin quality of foam we’ll choose the Switchback over an air pad that costs more than $150 with holes any time. It’s also extremely versatile. You can use it as a seating area around camp, swap it for your backpack’s foam backpanel to help save weight, or slip under your self-inflating pad or air cushion to add warmth or protect. In fact, we make use of this foam cushion to keep our dinner warm or even water warmer (wrapping in a pot) in our kitchen at camp.

In comparison to the hugely popular and long-running Therm-a-Rest Z Lite SOL below, the Switchback beats it out in a lot of ways. At the same cost, the Nemo is more substantial (0.9 in. in comparison 0.75 in. 0.75 inch.) Yet it’s approximately the same length. It also feels somewhat more comfortable but it’s still a close call between both. But that, you’ll feel the rocks and roots underneath you more than the more expensive air options below and above as well as an R-value of 2 it will not shield you from the frigid ground during the summer months. As a flexible accessory or as a dedicated U-Lock pad that doesn’t explode it, the Switchback is a fantastic item to include in your kit.