Meet NEMO Tensor Insulated: A Stable, Thick, Noise-Free Ultralight Sleeping Pad

The NEMO Tensor Insulated Sleeping Pad is an engineering marvel. Designed to give you three full inches height when sleeping on the ground, it uses unique baffling and valve closures to offer a premium ultralight sleeping pad experience.


The NEMO Tensor Insulated, fully blown up, in the NEMO Dagger 2P tent.

NEMO also includes a handful of small extras that go a long way to making the Tensor more user-friendly than most, and the result is an extremely packable, warm ultralight backpacking pad.

The Tensor line is a premium line from NEMO (which offers a whole host of other pads), and is offered in a range of sizes and in both insulated and non-insulated versions.

Without getting deep in the weeds of sleeping pad technology, know that the NEMO Tensor Insulated sleeping pad has an updated R Value of 3.5, which makes it weather-ready in all seasons of the year. The insulation adds about 3 ounces of weight compared with the non-insulated version, which has an R Value of 1.6, and is suitable for summer months.


The NEMO Tensor ultralight sleeping pad, fully deflated.

You can get the streamlined, cushy Tensor in either variety of warmth, and in a Short Mummy, Regular Mummy, Regular Rectangle, Wide Rectangle, or Long Wide Rectangle. Whatever floats your unique ultralight backcountry boat.

See the NEMO Tensor

Unique Features of the NEMO Tensor Ultralight Sleeping Pad

All of NEMO’s sleeping pads received major updates in Spring of 2020, and the Tensor line was given the high-end treatment.

The unique features that really make this pad shine are the new Laylow flat valve, which does away with the old, protruding twist and lock valve. The Laylow lays flat against the pad, so it won’t bother you in sleep, and it’s a multi-functional, adjustable two-way valve.


Note the new Laylow flat valve, which allows you to inflate simply, deflate all at once, and control pressure.

This means you can blow it up with your mouth or an included stuff sack and let air out through the same valve. You can even depress a small button in the middle of the valve to fine-tune the pad’s firmness.

The second unique feature remains the same: Spaceframe baffles. We refer to this design as a quilted baffle setup, because it looks a bit like egg cartons when fully inflated, but it creates a surprisingly stable surface for sleep.

Rolling around doesn’t depress parts of the pad, despite it being filled with air, and the full three inches of height keeps you high off the ground. This plus a noticeable lack of crinkling (which is a key trait of other pads), makes for a very enjoyable night’s sleep.

The NEMO Tensor Extras

What is especially impressive about the Tensor is that it comes with a patch repair kit, a velcro strap to help with packing, and the new Vortex pump sack. The velcro is handy in camp life, and when it comes time to pack up ensures the Tensor will fold neatly into a small package.


The NEMO Tensor, all packed up with the included velcro strap.

The Vortex is a new creation from NEMO, and allows you to easily pump air into the pad without your mouth. Simply attach the two valve ends, blow into the open end of the Vortex from about a foot away, seal in the air, and depress.


The Vortex has handy instructions built right in. Lock in the valves and you’re all set.

Three big bags of air will top up the Tensor, making the inflation part of camp life take about three minutes, tops. It saves your lungs, and reduces any moisture from your breath that would get into the pad.


The new NEMO Vortext pump sack inflates the Tensor with three big bags of air.

These small, lightweight extras come included in the Tensor, and make for a fully functional ultralight sleeping pad setup.

See the NEMO Tensor

Who is NEMO?

NEMO technically stands for New England Mountain Outfitters, and is one of the premier backpacking hard-goods brands in the outdoor industry. Known for ultralight tents, sleeping pads, and sleeping bags, the company focuses on unique design to solve problems of comfort, warmth, and durability.

See the NEMO Tensor in all shapes and sizes, and learn more about NEMO.

This article is sponsored by NEMO. Affiliate Policy: This guide contains affiliate links, which help fund our website. When you click on the links to purchase the gear we get a commission, and this goes a long way to creating guides, gear reviews, and other excellent content.

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2 responses to “Meet NEMO Tensor Insulated: A Stable, Thick, Noise-Free Ultralight Sleeping Pad

  1. Scottsays:

    What is the weight rating?

    1. Daniel Zweiersays:

      Hi Scott,

      Thanks for reading! We got in touch with NEMO and this is their response: “There is not a published weight limit! We design our pads for everyone. We recommend starting with the pad being lightly inflated then add air until their desired firmness. You can use the micro-adjust valve to let out some air if it is too firm!”

      Hope that helps!

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