Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Camp Tables and Seating > Seating Pads > NEMO Chipper Closed Cell Foam Seat Pad > Test Report by Richard Lyon

Test Report by Richard Lyon

Initial Report July 25, 2021
Long Term Report November 27, 2021


Male, 75 years old  
Height: 6' 3" [1.91 m]
Weight: 205 lb [(91 kg])
Email address: Montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Outside Bozeman, Montana USA, in the Bridger Mountains

I've been backpacking for half a century, most often in the Rockies. I do at least one weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-day trips.  I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 10000 ft [1500 - 3000 m].  I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp.  Though always looking for ways to reduce my pack weight, I still tend to include my favorite camp conveniences. I always sleep in a floored tent and like hot meals. Backcountry trips are often planned around skiing or ski touring in the winter or fishing opportunities in warmer weather.

INITIAL REPORT - July 25, 2021


The NEMO Chipper may look like an ordinary fold-up foam pad, but it's special. This multicolored seat is, in its manufacturer's words, not merely a seating pad but a "sustainable seating solution." NEMO makes the Chipper entirely from the dregs of the polyethylene used to make its sleeping pads. NEMO asserts that this recycling saved 8.8 tons of scrap foam that would otherwise be discarded or incinerated and removed 48 tons of carbon dioxide from the foam process in the first year alone. The Chipper's packaging is also 100% recycled.

er: NEMO Equipment Inc.,
Size: listed 13 x 17 x 0.9 in/32 x 42 x 2.3 cm; measured 12.5 x 17 x 0.9 in/32 x 42 x 2.3 cm
Packed size: listed 13 x 4 x 2.25 in/32 x 10.5 x 5.7 cm; measured 12.5 x 4 x 2.25 in/32 x 10.5 x 5.7 cm
Weight: listed 5.6 oz/160 g; measured 3.8 oz/108 g
R-value: listed 2.0
Color: Due to use of leftovers each piece is unique. NEMO calls this wabi sabi.
MSRP: $19.95 US
Warranty: Lifetime against defects in workmanship and materials to the original owner, with proof of purchase from an authorized NEMO dealer.

The only feature is a small removable snap-together loop for "hanging, lashing, or staking;" the loop is too small to hold the pad's folds together. I added a stout rubber band for this purpose. The seat's design might rate as a feature; its combination of hexagonal bulbs and divots allows the four panels to nest flat, reducing packed size.

The Chipper was waiting for me when I returned home from last weekend, so I haven't had a chance to try it in the field. In addition to backpacking, foam seats are very useful outside the house for chores and gardening, picnics, day hikes, breaks when fishing, indeed any activity performed on hands and knees. I promise to give the Chipper much use.

LONG TERM REPORT - November 27, 2021

Nemo 3Since filing my Initial Report I have used the Seat on at least a dozen day hikes, a weeklong backpacking trip, and a supported six-day village-to-village hiking vacation in the Tuscan hills, Italy. I've found it to be a useful, solid product that's a fine addition to my backpacking kit.


The day hikes in July and August, which included a couple of fishing trips, all occurred within easy driving distance of my home outside Bozeman, Montana - from Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming to popular hiking venues no more than ten miles [16 km] from my home, within sight of the city and the valley in which it sits. We've had a hot, dry summer - and consequent very high fire danger - in Montana this summer, with temperatures regularly approaching 90 F [32 C] at midday, slightly lower in the higher elevations in the Park. Rain has been scarce. I stashed the Seat in a side pocket of my day pack, often cinched down with a compression strap. I pulled out the Seat at rest stops and lunch or snack breaks, for sitting on a log, rock, or the ground.

Cinched up with a rubber band the Seat fits easily in the rear pouch of my fishing vest. It's been useful at lunch and at streamside breaks when fishing the local Gallatin and Yellowstone Rivers and Paradise Valley spring creeks. This use was sometimes on hard ground, others on benches or picnic table seats. Comparable temperatures to the day hikes, regrettably.

In the last week of August I did a seven-day, six-night backpack in Isle Royale National Park, Michigan. Temperatures from 45 F [7 C] in the early morning to 75-80 F [24-27 C] during the day. We had only one rainy hiking day, and that alleviated by much hiking in fairly dense forest corridors. We did meet some light rain a couple of mornings, but the only serious thunderstorm occurred in the middle of the night, with my pack, with the Seat, safely stowed inside my tent. I used the Seat in camp only, on rocks, bare ground, and a couple of times on picnic table seats in the Park's more luxurious campsites.

At the end of October I did an outfitter-arranged hiking tour in Southern Tuscany, Italy, starting in Siena and ending in Montepulciano. On five days I did a day hike to the next town on the itinerary, with my luggage transported separately. Distance varied from 11-14 km/7-9 miles, with regular ups and downs among the rolling hills and usually a steep climb at the end to one of the hilltop medieval [or earlier - one town, Bagno Vignoni, dates to the Roman Empire] towns. [The photo at right, showing Montepulciano in the distance, may give some idea of the final climb.]  I stashed the Seat in the shovit pocket of my daypack and used it at lunch or rest stops, usually on the ground. Nearly perfect hiking weather, with most days in the low 70s F [18-21 C] in sunny or partly cloudy conditions. On one day the mercury reached 82 F [27 C], and on the last day I spent the last hour or so in light rain.

Day hikes in Montana in November - all on hard ground, sadly no significant snowpack yet - occurred in temperatures from 25-60 F [-4 to 16 C], in sunny or overcast conditions, with no precipitation.


As it's not a multitasking piece of gear, there's not too much to say about a seating pad. It works or it doesn't. The NEMO Seat works very well, thank you. In all circumstances it kept my trousers and gluts dry and comfortable. I had worried needlessly that the pockmarked texture might prove disconcerting or uncomfortable. I didn't notice it at all; the sensation was identical to every other seating pad I've used - more comfortable than a rock or log, also drier. A very useful piece of gear that's worth a few ounces'/grams' weight.

I was especially grateful for the seat in chillier temperatures. The closed-cell foam and perhaps the dimpled texture insulate well. The Seat is definitely easier to use and store than a pad that requires inflation, though its thicker width requires a bit more storage space than my other pad. The splotchy texture and random wabi sabi [
multicolored] surface can draw comments from passers-by. The Seat shows no deterioration or even minor wear and tear from several months of regular use. And of course this is a product that makes good use of what otherwise would be waste material. 

The hanging loop came in handy the few times the Seat got wet from rain or the wet surface upon which I had placed it. I'd like to see the loop extended a bit to allow holding the folded Seat together for storage. Rubber bands break easily and are easy to lose. Not a problem with my backpack but my day pack lacks compression straps to press the folds against the pack. That's my only criticism of a functional piece of gear that does what it's supposed to do quite well.


Does what it's intended to do - keeps my backside dry.
Well worth its size and weight


It doesn't stay together when folded.


My Test Report ends here, with thanks to NEMO and for the testing opportunity.

Read more reviews of NEMO gear
Read more gear reviews by Richard Lyon

Reviews > Camp Tables and Seating > Seating Pads > NEMO Chipper Closed Cell Foam Seat Pad > Test Report by Richard Lyon

Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

All material on this site is the exclusive property of
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson