The long-awaited Nemo Switchback is finally here! Since June we have been following the news on the Nemo Switchback which is the first real competitor to the Zlite Sol by therm-a-rest in the closed cell foam sleeping pad market.
Since I saw it finally came out I purchased it last week and it came in this weekend. This will not be a full review since I have not taken it out camping yet, but I will give some quick initial thoughts and do a side by side comparison of the Nemo Switchback with my Zlite sol which I have taken on many trips.
The obvious first difference between the Nemo Switchback and the Zlite Sol is the coloring, the Nemo Switchback coming in at a little less obnoxious orange instead of bright yellow.
The next interesting design choice by Nemo is that when folded up the reflective material is on the inside "hidden" away instead of on the outside like the Zlite Sol. Yes, I did flip the Nemo Switchback over when folded up and the Orange is both on the top and the bottom, while the Zlite Sol has the reflective material on both the top and bottom when folded.
In a side by side comparison, the Nemo Switchback is just slightly thinner when compressed. In my picture below its a little exaggerated since my Zlite Sol which has more miles on it Bows out at the ends.
Even after putting a little weight on the Zlite Sol end to fix the bow out, it still was ever so slightly thicker than the Nemo Switchback.
The last side by side picture comparison I have for you of the Nemo Switchback is it layed flat on top of the Zlite Sol. It looks like the Zlite Sol is just a tad longer.
Since I haven't had time to take it out and test it on the trail and sleep on it yet, I can only give you a very rudimentary first impression of comfort between the two sleeping pads.
Weight is where things get interesting in this comparison. I initially thought the Nemo Switchback was supposed to also be lighter than the Zlite Sol. Even holding the two the Switchback felt slightly lighter in my hands. But when I weighed them, the Zlite Sol one out in terms of weight.
On the respective website here is what each size regular comes out to be:
When I weighed mine, I had to use a rubber band to make to keep them on my scale, but I used the same rubber band for both. Here were my results. First I weighed the Zlite Sol:
Next, I weighed the Nemo Switchback:
My first test was a little by accident, but I just happened to step on both mats while walking around my small apartment and I could tell very much so that my foot sunk much more into the Nemo Switchback. The loft of the Nemo Switchback was pretty impressive for how thin it was and it really caught me off guard how soft it felt.
The second test was lying on my back and the third was lying on my side. Again the Nemo Switchback definitely cradled my body a bit more than the Zlite Sol.
I do realize this is a pretty un-scientific test, and my Zlite Sol is at a bit of a disadvantage in the comfort area since I have a lot of miles on it. My Zlite Sol may be a bit compressed just from use over the years, so I would love to know if anyone has a new Zlite Sol and a New Nemo Switchback that they could compare the comfort of and let us know if its just cause my Nemo Switchback is brand new.
If you have any questions or comments please chime in below!