Most big sleeping pads for car camping are super comfortable but they’re enormous. That’s just what you get with self-inflating foam in a mat that’s 4 or 6 inches thick.
NEMO somehow works their design magic and has made a car camping mat that’s 4″ thick, self-inflating, full of foam but still packs down smaller than all the rest.
In this NEMO Roamer XL sleeping pad review I’ll show you my test results of multiple nights of inflating, sleeping on and, deflating the Nemo Roamer and why I love it.
What is the NEMO Roamer Sleeping Pad?
NEMO does things differently. They have very thoughtful designs and unique ideas. The Roamer is not different.
It is similar to many other sleeping pads that it’s 4″ thick, 78″ long and 30″ wide. It self inflates and is crazy comfortable to sleep on.
But instead of just filling up inside with foam. They’ve cut out specific air channels to make it faster to inflate and deflate. Cutting out more foam usually results in a bouncy air mattress feel. With the Roamer it doesn’t.
Cutting out more foam also means it’s smaller and lighter to pack.
True to NEMO’s mission, all fabrics in the Roamer are Bluesign certified, 100% post-consumer recycled.
We tested the 30″ wide XL size in this NEMO Roamer Sleeping Pad Review. Each XL Roamer has toggles to connect another Roamer but there is also another 52″ wide Double size.
Best Camping Mattresses of 2023
The Roamer was part of our Best Camping Mattresses of 2023 test. See the rest of the mattresses here:
- Exped MegaMat Max
- NEMO Roamer XL
- Big Agnes Captain Comfort Deluxe
- REI Camp Dreamer XL
- Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D XL
- Alps Mountaineering Vertex Twin Air Bed
- Elegear Double Sleeping Pad
- Inflates and deflates fast
- Packs down smaller and lighter than other large mattresses
- 100% recycled materials
- Pump sack works well
- 3 valves to organize
- ‘in’ valve sometimes pops out completely when opening
- XL and Double sizes
- XL: 78 x 30″ (198 x 76cm)
- 16 x 10″ packed size
- Flow Core Construction
- Lifetime Warranty
- Stuff sack, Vortex Pump Sack, Repair Kit included
- $249.95 USD ($329.99 CAD)
- 5 lbs 8 oz (2.5 kg)
- R-value: 6.0
- 4 inch (10cm) thick
- zero-profile valves
- 50d polyester on top
- 75 polyester on bottom
Inflating the Roamer is a little different than other mattresses. Where most mattresses have one, maybe two, valves, the Roamer has 3.
- Left: Dual valve, 1 way in and wide open
- Centre: 1 way out
- Right: Wide open
Little graphics explain how to inflate and deflate the fastest.
- Pull both caps on the left so it’s wide open
- Pull the cap on the right so it’s wide open.
- Close the cap on the right
- Insert the 1-way valve on the left.
- Blow up with the pump sack or your breath.
Though it doesn’t self-inflate quite as much as other mattresses, it’s fast; about 30 seconds to self-inflate.
|Inflate from self-inflated – Blowing up||:30|
|Inflate from self-inflated – Pump sack||1:30|
|Inflate from self-inflated – Pump||1:00|
|Inflate from nothing – Blowing up||2:00|
|Inflate from nothing – Pump sack||2:00|
|Inflate from nothing – Pump||3:00|
Once it’s self-inflated blowing it up or using the pump sack doesn’t take long: 30 seconds to blow or 1:30 with the pump sack. I haven’t used pump sacks a lot so you could probably do it faster.
Put the final cap on the left when it’s inflated to your liking.
The Vortex Pump Sack is included with the Roamer. The end snaps into the ‘in’ valve on the Roamer and stays put very well. They recommend blowing into the pump sack from 6″ away and then rolling it down. The pump sack has rubbery strips around the opening that makes it easy to open and close and keeps air in well. The narrow opening means you can’t use it for much other than blowing up the Roamer. Other pump sacks can be used as dry bags as well. For car camping this isn’t much for a worry.
My only issue with the Roamer is that the 1-way ‘in’ valve can pop out when you pull on it with the pump sack or the second cap. Make sure to hold the valve in when pulling on it otherwise it pops out and lets air out. Overall a very small issue though.
The Roamer doesn’t take long to inflate so it’s easy to get it very firm. Hard as a rock doesn’t lead to a great sleep though so I find I fill it fairly firm and then tweak.
Micro-adjustments are easy. Pop the cap off the 1-way ‘in’ valve and then push on the valve inside. This lets air out slowly as you push it. Hold it for longer to let more air out.
My only issue here was the same as inflating. If you pull out the 1-way ‘in’ valve out, all your air goes with it. Holding the 1-way valve part in while removing the cap keeps the valve in.
The fabric on top of the Roamer is nice and soft. It’s easy to sleep right on the roamer if you want though I use a sheet most of the time if I’m car camping to keep it cleaner.
Even though there’s less foam in the Roamer than others, I didn’t find it bouncy like a regular air mattress. Somehow NEMO have found out how to cut foam out while keeping the bounce. I slept great every night on it.
The vertical sides made the top feel very flat and spacious. Some mats roll down on the sides which reduces usable room but the Roamer doesn’t.
The thickness of the Roamer easily kept me off the ground. Unless it was half-inflated, I could feel the ground. Being a side sleeper I needed a taller pillow sleeping on an air mattress than at home but once I sorted the height, I slept great. I wish I could sleep like this on backpacking trips too.
Deflating and Packing
Just as the Roamer is faster to inflate, it’s faster to deflate than all the other mats I’ve tested.
Opening all 3 valves and doing a quick roll to get the air out dumped air as fast I could roll it. Once most of the air was out, I put the left and right caps on, leaving only the 1-way ‘out’ valve. From here, folding and rolling nicely was easy. Less foam inside makes for easier rolling.
NEMO includes a velcro strap here which isn’t totally necessary but a nice addition. Once it’s velcro’d, it’s easy to put back in the stuff sack. The stuff sack is fairly roomy so as long as you get a decent roam, it tucks back in quickly. At only half the length of the larger mats, it’s a quicker stuff job too. It took my just over a minute to deflate, velcro and stuff into the sack. I’m sure I could get it under a minute with more practice.
|Deflate and pack time||1:10|
The bag is pretty simple: a stuff sack with a draw string. A small pouch inside holds the repair kit. A pouch on the end of the bag could hold something but there’s no closure to it so it would just fall out. I usually just put the Vortex Pump Sack in first and then the Roamer.
The Roamer is lighter than most of the other large pads we tested at 5 lbs 8 oz (2.5 kg). With less foam inside it’s slightly heavier than a straight air mattress but not much. It’s a great combination when you don’t have as much room.
You could shave an ounce by not bringing the pump sack but with car camping, there’s probably not much point.
The Roamer XL is 78″ long by 30″ wide (198 x 76cm); a standard size for car camping mats.
The extra length is nice for staying on the mat at night with bigger pillows and blankets.
Most car camping mats are a full 30″ wide you roll them up but NEMO have cut the amount of foam needed while keeping the comfort and self-inflating convenience. This makes the Roamer half the size rolled up.
The space savings by being able to fold the Roamer in half is substantial. You can fit 2 Roamers in the space of 1 other large mat in the car and closet.
Packed it’s 16″ x 10″.
Who is Nemo?
In 2002, NEMO’s founder was trying to sleep on the side of Mount Washington in a poorly designed bivy. After spending 5 sleepless hours in the bivy, he knew he could do better with thoughtful design.
NEMO was born.
The name is inspired by both the idea of “New England Mountain Outfitters” and Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo.
Cam had and still has the goal of being the best outdoor gear company, not just the biggest.
Part of their mission is sustainability. No point in going outside if it’s filled with garbage. They design products that use fewer resources and last longer. They track carbon emissions with the goal to half emissions by 2030. Here’s their sustainability report.
They’ve started work on their Endless Promise Collection. Products that are 100% recycled and 100% recyclable.
I really liked sleeping on the NEMO Roamer. It’s smaller and lighter than comparable mattresses but just as comfortable. It’s faster to inflate and deflate and easy to pack. 2 Roamers can find in the space of one other large mattress.
My only issue is with accidentally pulling the ‘in’ valve out when letting a little air out or pulling the pump sack off. Small issue though; It’s easy to work around when you know what to do.
Vertical sides, a flat top, and soft fabrics made for a great sleep on the Roamer every night. Top that off with Bluesign 100% recycled fabrics and you’ve got one my favourite products ever.
Verdict: Highly recommended (Editor’s Choice) see our rating system
Usual Price: $249.95 USD ($329.99 CAD)