Nemo Tensor Sleeping Pad Review

I tested the Nemo Tensor sleeping pad and this is my verdict.

September 08, 2023
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The Nemo Tensor Insulated Sleeping pad is a thick, yet very quiet sleeping pad used by campers, bikepackers, and thru-hikers. It is highly customizable coming in multiple shapes, sizes, and temperature ratings. It is on the expensive side though.

Product Overview

Nemo Tensor Sleeping Pad

nemo tensor sleeping pad

✅ Very comfortable for both back sleeping and side sleeping

✅ Dries very quickly

✅ Well-designed valve

✅ Lifetime warranty

✅ Works well in a variety of temperatures


❌ Expensive

❌ Takes longer to blow up by mouth

❌ Patches are difficult to work over the baffles


  • Weight: 1 lb, 3 oz/540 g (Regular Wide); 1 lb, 5 oz/595 g (Long Wide)
  • Packed Weight: 1 lb, 6 oz/620 g (Regular Wide); 1 lb, 8 oz / 675 g (Long Wide)
  • Packed Size: 9.5 x 3.5 in diameter (Regular/Long Wide)
  • R-value: 4.2 (Insulated); 2.5 (Non-insulated)
  • Thickness: 3 inches
  • Insulation: Aluminized Film
  • Fabric: 100% PCR PU Polyester, Bluesign Certified

The Nemo Tensor Insulated Sleeping pad is a thick, yet very quiet sleeping pad used by campers, bikepackers, and thru-hikers. It is very customizable coming in multiple shapes, sizes, and temperature ratings to give you the perfect fit for the rest of your sleep set up whether you use a quilt, or a sleeping bag.

It features a very slick valve for inflation and deflation that stays clear out of the way when you are sleeping. I use the Long/Wide insulated version and it feels as close to a bed as it gets when I am out in the backcountry.

To see reviews on other ultralight sleeping pads, see our post on the best sleeping pads.

Performance Test Results

How We Tested:

I have thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, Bikepacked the Ring Road in Iceland, and done many smaller weekend hikes all using the Nemo Tensor sleeping pad. I have used this pad on soft grass, wooden shelter floors, rocks, and roots, and on the sand. The temperature range that this was tested in was 0 degrees to 88 degrees Fahrenheit. This sleeping pad has been used for a total of 170 nights in all kinds of different weather.


This sleeping pad went my entire thru-hike without getting a single puncture or leak, however after letting it sit for several months after my hike, it deflated overnight the first time I took it back out to the trail. Once I found that one small hole in the baffles, it took me 3 tries with 3 different kinds of patches to get it resolved. Then when I took it out for 3 weeks in Iceland, I had no issues.

On the Appalachian Trail, this sleeping pad was definitely put to the test. I set this up on many roots and rocks over the course of my hike, and not only did the sleeping pad endure, but was thick enough to where I never felt any of the larger rocks poking into my side.

nemo tensor sleeping pad

I tested the Tensor on the Appalachian Trail, and they were thick enough to endure larger rocks and roots.

One little tip for inflatable sleeping pads that I do believe helped is to get a ⅛ inch foam pad and slide it underneath this sleeping pad. This helps to prevent sliding as well. One more recommendation, don't buy this pad pre-owned. I know of three other hikers that I personally met on my thru-hike who bought this pad used, and all three of them immediately started finding punctures in the baffles.

One of these hikers found 8 holes in the first month of their hike. I bought my pad new and never had this issue, but now that it has been used as much as it has been, I expect to start finding more holes here very soon, at that point I will just replace the pad with a new one.

nemo tensor close up feature


I have tried many different sleeping pads over the years, from cheap Amazon pads to foldable foam pads, Swiss pads, and some Thermarest inflatable pads. The Nemo Tensor is the only pad I have ever laid on and felt like this could almost replace my home bed. I got to a point on my hike where I actually preferred my sleeping pad over most hostel and even hotel beds.

I don't always sleep the same way every night. Some nights I am on my back, and some nights I am on my chest and my sides. This pad handles all of those positions just fine. My hips would never hit the ground while I was on my side. The only downfall that I have found with the comfortability of this sleeping pad is that inflatable pillows tend to slide around a great deal on the fabric of the pad.

nemo tensor close up feature

The Nemo Tensor sleeping pad is the closest thing to a comfortable bed on a hike.

Packability and Weight

When I roll up this pad nice and tight, its dimensions are 10”x4”, which fits very well inside of my Zpacks Arc Blast backpack and does compress just a little bit more once I get the rest of my gear in my pack. I 100% recommend bringing the inflation sack; it makes the blow-up process much easier and quicker.

Most hikers who did not bring this with them originally ended up buying another one because of how long and winding of a process it is to blow it up. It would take me about 25 deep breaths to inflate these pads, when it only took me 6 breaths and ¼ of the time when using the inflation sack.

The total weight including the inflation sack, is 1 pound, 8 ounces. This pad does end up being a tad bit heavier than a lot of other pads out there, but I believe that its comfort and durability make up for it.

nemo tensor sleeping pad packed

Its weight is heavier than other pads on the market, but its comfort and toughness make up for it.


I got stuck in near zero-degree temperatures up in the Roan Highlands for several days, and having the combination of the Nemo Tensor, Outdoor Vitals 15 degree quilt, Thermolite 15 degree sleeping bag liner, long johns, a REI down jacket, down socks, and a single hand warmer, I ended up being warm enough to sleep.

I was not nearly as comfortable as I was during warmer nights, but I stayed warm enough… at least until I had to get out of my tent in the morning. I would not recommend using this pad at temperatures under 15 degrees Fahrenheit just to be safe, but as the temperatures increased, this pad really did shine.

As it got to be summertime, the Nemo Tensor was perfectly comfortable up until it got above about 75 degrees at night. Above that, things did get to be a little bit warmer and stickier, but still tolerable. This sleeping pad did very well with the two quilts that I switched between on this trail, my other quilt was an Enlightened Equipment Enigma 40 degree quilt.

hiker using nemo tensor insulated sleeping pad

Final Thoughts

After using the Nemo Tensor for two amazing journeys, I plan on sticking with it for all of my future treks. This has exceeded all of my expectations for what a sleeping pad should be. Growing up, I absolutely hated camping, purely because I could never sleep at night. Finding this sleeping pad really was a game-changer.

The last thing to mention that I did not talk about earlier is how important it was for me to have gear that dried out quickly since the Appalachian Trail is known for being pretty wet and humid. It only took a few good minutes to dry this sleeping pad when it got wet in my backpack. I would just blow it up and set it in the sun or the wind for a few minutes and it would be good to go.

I recommend this sleeping pad to anyone who is looking for something versatile for a long trek.

hiker using nemo tensor

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About Wizard

Wizard thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2021 and bike-packed Iceland in 2022. He now spends his time trail running and working as a personal trainer until he can get back out for more trips and Vlog them on his YouTube channel.

About Greenbelly

After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Chris Cage created Greenbelly to provide fast, filling and balanced meals to backpackers. Chris also wrote How to Hike the Appalachian Trail.

Stoveless Backpacking Meals
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  • No Cooking
  • No Cleaning