NEMO - Switchback Sleeping Pad

Category: Sleeping Pads, Cots and Hammocks

I am hiking the CDT and the Nemo Switchback is the most used piece of gear I am carrying. It serves so many purposes on the trail. From cactus spines in the NM bootheel to locusts and rocks in the Black Mountains it has held up amazingly to everything a rugged trail can throw at it.

Purchased the Switchback for comparison to the ZLite Sol. Had several others also give them a comparative try. Verdict at first comparison is that the Switchback is a bit more comfortable. Thermal performance is likely similar, and durability will need lengthy use to compare. The popularity of the ZLite demonstrates the excellence and acceptance of a well-made Accordion Foam pad to likely lighter-weight, smaller build backpackers, and the Switchback may well measure a notch higher. So from that user-class standpoint of satisfaction, five stars is reasonable to award. Obviously someone who NEEDS greater thickness and padding for adequate comfort to sleep will find both of these pads just a bit less unacceptable than a plain blue foam pad. The rating here is comparative for this class of product.

I've slept on this one on every type of ground from Louisiana to California and I adore it. I've never slept this good while hiking. Amazing softness and isolation RELATIVE TO ITS SIZE and weight. For anyone who, like me, dislikes inflatable mattresses - this is a very good choice. P.S it is very durable.

been a diehard fan of the reflective ridgerest, but find this one more comfortable.

So far, so good. I purchased this to lighten my pack, simplify setup / teardown, and avoid paying an arm and a leg for a decent air-based sleeping pad. It hits all those marks. I've also found it surprisingly warm and comfortable, and I love that it's dual-use (as a back pad, seat, or cheap umbrella). Couple it with additional ultralight pad (e.g. 1/8", 3oz foam that can be used at full length or folded in half for torso only) or unused clothing for additional padding and insulation.

Have used many different pads high tech and low and keep coming back to the lower tech pads. This one is very nice - is at least as good as the Z-Lite, so flip a coin if you're trying to pick between the 2. Or just get this one since it packs up smaller and is the same price.

Bought this for a recent camping trip and I definitely slept very comfortably. Can't wait to take this out candy and backpacking next

The pad is pretty comfortable for a foam pad. I enjoy the fact that it is more comfortable than the Z-lite and folds smaller. These companies must have magic scales, but this pad actually weighs 15.5 oz (not 14.5) for a regular.

No complaints so far have used it once found it to be comfortable easy to carry!

Comfortable sleep esp on rocky ground, no pumping up and no puctures! Bed made in seconds, doubles up as an emergency signal

It’s too narrow for an adult male, and I’m not even that big of a guy: 5’11” at 155lbs. My arms end up hanging off the sides. Not to mention if you happen to move around a little while sleeping. E It needs to be longer as well otherwise my feet hang off too. Yeah, sure it’s 72” long and I’m only 71” long but it’s not like I can position myself perfectly with its range. Even my girlfriend felt it was too narrow and she is tiny.

I chose this as a sleeping pad because it was super light and not susceptible to punctures. However, It is so bulky and no way to pack in backpack. I attach to the outside of backpack at the bottom with straps and still it's bulky and hits everything. I would return it, but i do not keep the box that came with it. Great for car camping, not for hiking. Price around $45. Should not pay more than $10 for it.

I am a novice when it comes to camping. I wanted to get a new sleeping pad for the last trip. Man is this thing the least comfortable thing I’ve ever laid on. My back hurt from sleeping on it two nights in a row. I now realize that it is meant for backpackers and not regular campers.

We tried out all kinds of sleeping pads at REI, but this one wasn't available to try, but highly recommended by the staff, so we bought them.After about a hour of trying to sleep, we pulled out the ol air mattress in the middle of the night, pumped it up, and slept like babies. They looked great, but we have bad backs and these just made it worse.

It’s hard foam it’s not soft at all. It hurt my back really bad!!!! I exchanged it for a Z lite and it’s incredibly comfortable compared to the switchback. First time buying and using foam pads.

This thing has a lot of comfortability to it, but for 50 bucks it better! I slept on it in my backyard the other day and it was pretty darn good!

I don’t know how this is so highly regarded and frequently recommended. I felt like I was sleeping directly on the floor of my tent. Thank goodness I was car camping, because after 4 hours of fitful, uncomfortable sleep I bailed and slept in the car. Returning ASAP.

I used it for 10 days hike and it served me well. However, I feel that the durability is not as I would expect for 50$ foam pad (it looks pretty used already after 10 days of use). But with discount price (-25%) it's valid buy and I would recommend it (unfortunately, I bought it without any discount).

It definitely is lightweight, and insulated really well, but every single time I moved at all it would be so loud, I’ll be looking for a less noisy one next time

Gifted to me by my girlfriend..I want to give a positive review but I can't. It's too narrow to put under sleeping bag and needs to be cut to stuff inside sleeping bag. Outside of the bag it just shuffles right out from under me so I wind up sleeping on the ground. It's so thin that if it is under me, I can't tell. I woke up often to try and reposition it...I finally folded it up and used it like a pillow. Getting ready to go out camping today and I discover the foam is already torn and damaged from one trek in the Appalachians. I don't mind things getting worn, but I don't want something that is going to be leaving little chunks of foam in the woods either. It's bulky so it mounts externally....and proceeds to get every stick and briar stuck to the nubs further ripping it apart. Using straps or cord to secure it the bag means a single use and its no longer fit to get's torn up. After one use I will be leaving this landfill behind. I find my $15 amazon yoga mat is just as comfy, less bulky, cheaper...and I cut it to fit inside my sleeping bag without having the sense that I wasted money doing so. It's overpriced for what it is. You're better off with a cheap yoga mat. I would return it but it's already garbage.



Nemo says it uses two types of foam. One which like the Zlite will flatten over time, but the other layer within the pad will fluff back up. Has anyone used this long enough to attest to the "lesser flattening over time" compared to a zlite?

​Good question! We recommend reaching out directly to the NEMO team.


how long is the short pad?

The short length is 51 inches.

Elvis Snoozington

In comparison to the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite version. Is this one noticably more comfortable? 

​This pad is slightly thicker and will provide a little more cushioning overall.


What is the R value of the Nema switchback pad?

NEMO does not use R-values, instead they use a temperature range. For the Switchback, the temperature range is 20° - 35°F.

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