Remember the Windcatcher Air Pad Kickstarter campaign from a couple of years ago where a unique wide mouth valve system enabled you to inflate and deflate your sleeping pad almost instantly? Well it appears Therm-a-Rest has come out with a similar technology, as the new NeoAir Camper SV for Spring ’16 features what Therm-a-Rest is calling their Speed Valve for rapid inflation and deflation.
Therm-a-Rest claims the new NeoAir Camper SV can be inflated and deflated within seconds using the revolutionary Speed Valve. Via this extra-large valve, ambient air gets pulled in with your breath to inflate the sleeping pad up to 10 times faster than conventional valve systems–within just two to three breaths.
So how does this work exactly? We can tap Bernoulli to explain this one. Fast moving air has a lower pressure than the air around it and high pressure air is drawn to areas of lower pressure–it’s the classic shower curtain effect. Therefore, when you blow into the Speed Valve, you create a fast-moving, low pressure stream of air that sucks in the ambient air, resulting in 10 to 15 times more air entering the chamber than what you could produce with just your breath alone. Something to be thankful for at 10,000 feet.
With a thickness of 7.6 centimeters (3 inches) and a R-value of 2.2, the new NeoAir Camper SV provides a nice and cushy sleep environment. To make rolling up your sleeping pad in the morning that much easier, the Speed Valve uses an invertible release that keeps air in as you inflate, but allows you to bypass it for instant deflation.
For those of you who can’t wait until next spring, the Windcatcher AirPad 2 is available now for $99.95 and is a 4-inch thick pad that weighs just under 2 pounds.
UPDATE: I spoke with a Therm-a-Rest today to get more details on the new sleeping pad. Looks like the company did not license the inflation technology from Windcatcher. Instead, they created their own single valve system (Windcatcher uses a dual valve system) and of course incorporated all the other great Therm-a-Rest technology such as WaveCore construction and ThermaCapture layers for warmth. Initially, the Speed Valve will be used in the Camp & Comfort line, with the NeoAir Camper SV as the first product. The Large size will retail for $139.95 and the XL for $169.95.