Nemo Equipment Tensor Trail Ultralight sleeping pad: Tested

By Mark Watson 10 July 2024
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Very light in weight, and compact when packed down, does the Nemo Tensor Trail Ultralight offer a good night’s sleep in the outdoors? We find out

There’s nothing worse than lugging around an oversized trekking pack, only to crumple at camp at the end of the day to discover your fellow hikers’ ultra-light setup allowed them to sneak in some extra chocolate or, even worse, a cheeky craft brew. And so, to provide the best possible service to all chocoholics and craft-brew loving-trekkers amongst us, our happy-snapping Weissbier-wanderer Watto decided to check out the all-new Nemo Tensor Trail Ultralight sleeping pad to see if it might be the perfect pad for mild-weather meandering and creating that much-needed space in your pack.

A sleeping pad that packs down nice and small provides the perfect excuse (and room) to add some camp luxuries to your backpack. And yeah, we like the name of that craft beer, too…


There is little doubt the Nemo Tensor Trail Ultralight Insulated sleeping pad is aimed fair and square at the weight-weenies amongst us, and the crew at Nemo Equipment have hit the nail on the head in that regard. Weighing in at a featherweight 369 grams (g), the Tensor Trail Ultralight Insulated fits the bill for the gram-shavers and packs down to a respectable 25.5cm x 9.5cm. Nemo tech boffins have snuck in an internal layer of metallised Thermal Mirror film to help reflect body heat, in turn delivering an R-value of 2.5, perfect for warm weather wanderings.

The micro-adjustable Laylow valve is a design highlight of the Tensor Trail Ultralight, sitting flush with the pad when not in use and offering fast inflation/deflation.

Inflating to 182cm x 51cm (regular mummy), the Tensor Trail Ultralight uses a Spaceframe baffle design of fabric trusses to distribute weight evenly, offering side sleepers a generous 8.9cm thick cushy platform. The bluesign-approved 20-denier (D)nylon (top) and 40D nylon (base) balance weight-saving with durability, and the micro-adjustable Laylow valve allows rapid inflation and deflation. The Nemo Tensor Trail Ultralight Insulated is delivered in four sizes: the 183cm long regular (395g), regular wide (491g) and regular-mummy (369g) and for the six-footers amongst us, a 193cm long-wide (520g). All pads come packaged with a compression strap, Vortex pump sack, and stuff sack that boosts the trail weight an extra 80 odd grams, but kudos to the Nemo team for publishing a 451g ‘trail weight’ in addition to the 369g ‘sleeping pad’ only weight. 

In the field

In evaluating sleeping pads here at AGA, we tend to consider six key elements: size, weight, warmth, noise, comfort, and cost. The Nemo Tensor Trail Ultralight Insulated sleeping pad excels in most of these areas, with a highlight being the 8.9 cm thickness delivered in a 450-ish gram package. We say ‘450-ish’ because… 

When we rolled our 369g regular mummy with the Vortex pump sack, compression strap and stuff sack, our scales weighed it in at 455g. Still, this pad can happily be considered exceptionally lightweight, making it ideal for backpackers focused on minimising their load. The compressed pad is comparable in size with other similarly specced ultra-light sleeping pads, but with an asking price of $299, it happily falls in the more budget-friendly segment of the market. 

At 8.9cm thick, the pad offers plenty of cushioning and comfort when camping in the outdoors, plus it is very quiet, with minimal ‘rustling’ when you’re sleeping on it.

The Vortex pump sack works exactly as it should, and the micro-adjustable Laylow valve is a real highlight. It sits flush with the pad when not in use but easily inflates it, offering rapid deflation via a simple tab pull. One of the key features of the Nemo Tensor Trail Ultralight is its quiet construction. Unlike many inflatable pads that like to rustle like a koala convention in a pile of eucalypt leaves, the Tensor Trail Ultralight sleeps quieter than some other ultralight pads we’ve tested. With an R-value of 2.5, the Tensor Trail Ultralight is most certainly best suited for mild to moderate three-season use, so certainly not alpine expeditions, but it was warm enough for our outings on mild winter nights on the NSW coast.

The final word on the Nemo Tensor Trail Ultralight Insulated

The Nemo Tensor Trail Ultralight Insulated is best suited for activities where weight and packability are crucial and conditions do not demand the highest level of insulation. It offers a great combination of light weight, compact packed size, comfort, and adequate insulation for three-season use, making it a versatile choice for hikers, backpackers, and campers in temperate climes, especially those who might want to sneak in a crafty brew or two… 

With high-end build quality and ease of use, the Tensor Trail Ultralight Insulated is an option worth looking at for a three-season sleeping pad.

RRP: $299 See Nemo Equipment for more info on its complete sleeping pad range.