I purchased a NeoAir, and two BA Air Core pads (one insulated). All regular sized. Considering the NeoAir cost as much as both BA AC pads together, I expected it to be not just lighter, but also better. But better is subjective. Is 8 oz worth a poor nights sleep? Should I save even more weight and not carry a pad at all? What is a good nights sleep worth?
I climb a lot and my current cold weather sleep system is a z-rest with a MH Highmountain 72 pad. Combined I get about R-10, enough to be cozy when sleeping on a snowfield or glacier in temps around freezing. For alpine sites, both pads is a heavy luxury (40oz!).
The best use I found for my older 1" therm-a-rest was as a flotation device while camping near a lake. It doesn't provide enough insulation or sleep comfort to justify its weight. The MH has twice the R and weighs only 5 more oz. Then I saw the 3" thick NeoAir in another climbers kit. It was time to check out inflatables again.
To test the three new pads, I aired up all three and my wife and I 'test drove' them on the hardwood floor in our living room. I'm a back sleeper, she's a side sleeper. For maximum comfort, after airing them up, I deflated them until they were just firm enough to sleep on without body parts touching the floor under them.
I slept on the NeoAir first, with no insulation between me and the pad. I woke up an hour later, chilled because my backside was cold. Since my back was cold while sleeping in a 65° house, I determined that the NeoAir provides an insignificant/negligible amount of insulation. So I put a blanket over the NeoAir and tried again. In my bed, I fall asleep and stay that way until morning. On the NeoAir, I awoke every couple hours, needing to roll into a new position to relieve discomfort. Not too bad.
On the second night, I slept on the Air Core and she tried the NeoAir. I slept VERY well on the Air Core, and only recall rolling over once. She tried the NeoAir for a couple hours and then tossed it aside in favor of the other Air Core pad.
I had great expectations for the $$$ NeoAir and I have no explanation for why we both found the Air Core pads to be significantly more comfortable. You can see that the baffles in the AC run the length of the pad, where the NeoAir baffles run the width of it. The pad material itself is thicker/heavier on the AC pads, and likely to be more durable. Plenty of reviewers love/hate the texture of the NeoAir. I liked it.
In addition to not being as comfortable, where the NeoAir really falls short is value. You can buy two or three Air Core pads for the price of the NeoAir. The AC pads include a stuff sac. The AC pads include a repair kit. Anyone that has used an inflatable pad for very long KNOWS how necessary a repair kit is. The NeoAir includes neither.
If the pads were on par for comfort, I could overlook the horrendous value proposition of it. After all, I have plenty of stuff sacks and sleep pad repair kits. But I just can't imagine a time when I'd sacrifice a good nights sleep for 8 ounces.