Monday, May 13, 2013

BLOG 45. Nemo Cosmo Insulated Sleeping Pad and Fillo Pillow

by Cliff Jacobson

The Cosmo Insulated Sleeping Pad with Pillowtop cover is the most comfortable and luxurious sleeping matt I’ve used. Here’s what sets this pad above the crowd:
NEMO pad with Pillowtop

·      The air chambers run crossways—they follow the curve of your spine; this eliminates the “sinking between the tubes” feeling common to air mats with longitudinal tubes.

·      The luxurious polyester microsuede Pillowtop cover (an optional accessory) is a show-stopper. On hot nights you can comfortably sleep bare skin on the Pillowtop cover and use your sleeping bag as a blanket. There is none of the annoying skin-to-plastic feel common to traditional uncovered pads. I have long believed that every sleeping pad should have a porous cover. Again, Nemo got it right. I am aware of only one other high end air-pad (Exped) that has an optional factory cover. Manufacturers please take note!

·      The Cosmo is 25 inches wide, about five inches wider than most competitors. Those extra five inches are enough to keep your elbows from sliding off the pad onto the cold ground.  I love the extra width!

For decadent luxury, add the (optional) layer of one-inch thick mesh-covered, open-cell memory foam. It rests on top of the pad, under the cover. Ties inside the Pillowtop cover keep it place. Now, you have a super-insulated trail pad that is nearly as comfortable as your mattress at home. When used together—Cosmo air pad, memory foam layer and Pillowtop cover—the comfort and warmth are remarkable. For car camping, or where weight and bulk are no object, use the entire system; for canoeing and kayaking where bulk is more important than weight, remove the memory foam. Ultra light hikers will carry the Cosmo pad alone or opt for the ultra light polyester Slipcover which weighs almost nothing.

A built-in pump at the head allows fast inflation—one minute if you use both hands, 30 seconds if you use a foot (impractical in a tent). The pad is about three inches thick when inflated so it smoothes out everything below. A locking oral inflation valve allows you to let out excess air if you over-inflate. You can also inflate the pad by mouth if you don’t want to use the hand pump. A huge dump valve completely deflates the pad in about three seconds.  No kidding! 

The Insulated Cosmo has a thin layer of polyurethane foam welded to the inner surface. The foam stops convective air currents and creates consistent and even insulation. I used an Insulated Cosmo with Pillowtop cover (but no memory foam layer) on a two week wilderness canoe trip in Norway and Finland. We were 200 miles above the Arctic Circle and it was never T-shirt weather. The Cosmo was never cold. I can’t comment on its performance on snow or permafrost, but for three seasons, it’s fine. The insulation adds just five ounces to the weight of the basic (non-insulated) pad. Note: the pad goes completely flat when the air is exhausted and the insulation value drops to near zero. So don’t use this pad on snow or ice unless you can repair a puncture in the field.

Size: 25” x 76”
Thickness: 3”
Packed size: 9” x 6.5”
Weight (pad alone): 34 ounces
Weight of Pillowtop cover: ???
Weight: Memory Foam layer: ???
Price of pad alone:  ???
Price of Pillowtop: ???
Price of Memory Foam: ???

PS. I also regularly use an Exped insulated pad, and I love it, so a comparison here may be in order.  The Exped is narrower than the Cosmo, so you may want to pad your elbows (which fall off the pad) when you sleep. The two pads are about equal in comfort on rough ground.  The Cosmo pump is located at the foot end of the pad; the Exped’s is at the head.  If your tent has just one entry you’ll have to reverse the Cosmo to inflate it—an inconvenience. The Exped gets the nod where space (in a pack or tent) is a concern.  It may also be warmer on bitter cold ground. Both pads are excellent—like comparing a BMW to a Mercedes Benz.


The Fillo pillow may be the most comfortable camping pillow on the planet. It mates a layer of three inch thick open cell foam to a one-inch thick layer of memory foam. The foam is covered with Nemo’s luxurious micro-suede Pillowtop cover. A locking oral inflation valve controls air flow and pillow thickness. An elastic net on the pillow bottom secures clothing (to add thickness) and keeps the pillow in place on a car or airline headrest.  Another “A” product!
Fillo Pillow and jacket.  Note elastic cords that hold the jacket in place
Filo pillow weight: 11 ounces
Size: 10.5 x 17”
Packed size: 6” x 4”
Fabric: Washable Polyester Microsuede
Price: ???


You can find NEMO products online at Piragis Northwoods Company and the Boundary Waters Catalog by clicking here

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