Thermarests

11:50 a.m. on January 7, 2009 (EST)
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Looking at buying a Thermaest trail pro and while browsing the Thermarest website I noticed the women's version has a far higher R-vlaue (5.1 over 3.8)

The women's is 15cm shorter, 30grams lighter and has a smaller roll size. Some of the weight saving would be in the shorter length, leaving very little weight for more foam(which the women's version has), yet it has a 38% increase in R-value!

Assuming this is correct, surely a full length mens version with an added 30-35grams of foam would equal an R-value of 5.1 and sell a lot better?

Am I missing something here??


Just noticed that this difference in R-value is across most of the women's/mens lines.

If you are a guy approx 5ft7,(170cm)or under then surely the women's version would be a far better buy, especially for winter use.

Beggining to think the R-values on this site are not exactly accurate.

8:31 p.m. on January 7, 2009 (EST)
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There are several differences in the women's versions that are not immediately apparent. First, the shorter length will result in less weight, simply because there is less material there, even for a slightly thicker pad. Second, R-value is related to thickness and density of the foam, and has nothing to do with length). Third, there are differences in the internal construction of the various Thermarest (and other brands) inflatable pads. Some are made lighter by slicing the foam in a pattern that cuts out the total amount of material. Some are made with "tunnels" running through lengthwise or crosswise. These "voids" make for a lighter pad that is softer, but allow air to convect, which drops the R-value. I got a 3/4 length Thermarest that was 2 inches thick in the belief that it would be warmer for my Arctic trips, not having seen the R-values. A couple years later, when Thermarest made the R-ratings available, I realized that the "Standard" 3/4 length not only was lighter (1.5 inches thick), but had a higher R-value, since the foam is continuous, with no tunnels and no slit patterns. It also packs smaller (these models are no longer available, having been replaced by the more "fashionable" newer, greater, etc versions).

4:34 a.m. on January 8, 2009 (EST)
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Thank you for your reply.

using the trail pro as an example

http://www.thermarest.com/product_detail.aspx?pID=127&cID=2

womans is 51cm*168cm, 5cm thick, 880g, 53*11 packsize,r5.1
mens is 51cm*183cm, 5cm thick 910g, 53*12 packsize,r3.8

The amount of extra foam/density of foam used cannot be that much as the roll size is still less than the mens, if the women's version had a lot more foam, it would not pack as small, and would weigh more.

I suppose i'm trying to say that the extra foam in the women's, equals a 38% increase in r value, without weight or roll size being affected.

A confused me.

10:09 a.m. on January 8, 2009 (EST)
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There's a lot you could be missing as Thermarest has changed model names so much over the years that even I get turned around and confused by the endless modifications. First there was the orange standard and shorty. Intervening years brought forth the Ultralite(1 inch thick and very light), the Expedition(1.75 and very warm-my current winter pad), the Explorer, the Backpacker, the Guide Lites and the Trail Comforts.

It's so confusing that even their website mentions in their Trail Lite section: "Thinner than Trail Comfort for smaller roll size", and yet they don't even make the Trail Comfort anymore! What the heck . . . And then there used to be the Prolite 4, a decent winter pad. Where is it now? Replaced by an even more expensive Prolite Plus.

If I had to upgrade today and replace my winter pad with a current model(I only use the large 25x77 pads), here are my choices(it's all about R values):

Basecamp large 3.10 pounds(ouch) 6.2R
regular 2.12 lbs 6.2R
Trail Pro large 2.11 lbs 3.8R
regular 2 lbs 3.8R
Women's Trail Pro 20x66(too narrow, too short) 1.15 lbs 5.1R ????? Weird numbers.

Trail Lite large 2.1l lbs 3.8R

Tough Skin large(new addition, the large) 3.4 lbs 5.2R Even though this pad is only 1.5 inches thick(I like the 1.75 pads), I'd probably either try this one or the Prolite Plus.

By next week they will probably all be renamed.

12:31 p.m. on January 8, 2009 (EST)
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If I was comparing an old model with a newer one, then the difference in R value would not stand out as much, but these are the same model, just mens/womans, I have also noticed that the new prolite versions have this same difference, though not as profound, probably due to the reduced thickness

It seems the women's versions have a considerably higher R-value across the whole line of products without weight/rollsize penalty

10:00 p.m. on January 13, 2009 (EST)
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I even remember the old thermarest with the small metal valve!What a pain that was to both blow up and deflate.But they were the best for their time.

10:33 p.m. on January 13, 2009 (EST)
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I like to keep things simple, browsing throw a bunch of numbers and options trying to pick the most optimum product tends to stress me out.
Not that I don't appreciate quality gear, I do, it is money well spent.
I think it's because my job is technical & stressful and my backpacking gives me a break from that.


For a number of years I have just used a Ridgerest, one for quick & light trips, and two for comfort. Just roll them out and go to sleep.
I also pile leaves/pine straw under my tent for more padding sometimes.
My friends keep trying to get me to get an inflatable pad.
I call them Thermarest Thumpers! HaHa!
They call me stuborn, I am.

I'm sure if I was in colder conditions I might feel differently.

12:38 a.m. on January 14, 2009 (EST)
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mckain says

womans is 51cm*168cm, 5cm thick, 880g, 53*11 packsize,r5.1
mens is 51cm*183cm, 5cm thick 910g, 53*12 packsize,r3.8

If you calculate what the men's should weigh based just on the extra length, it should be 959 grams, where it is 95% of that. This says to me that the foam is denser, or rather that their "uniquely perforated foam" is effectively a bit denser. I seem to recall when the current generation of Thermarests were introduced (great fanfare and drummrolls at the OR Show), the women's were supposed to be denser, especially under the hips, for more support "for a woman's shape" or some such nonsense (as if all women were the same shape and all men are the same shape). Also there was some noise about making the women's version with a higher R value because women sleep colder (right, all women sleep colder than all men - makes for good ad copy, I guess). Anyway, I do know from experience that the various fiddling with holes of different shapes and orientations in the foam do make a difference in how warm the pad feels. The holes also make a difference in how small the pad rolls up.

9:39 a.m. on January 15, 2009 (EST)
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I have decided to go for a Trail lite(mens), at 3.8cm thick, 3.8 R-value and a good price. I will compare it with my thick foam mat for comfort and insulation.

Is the R-value calculated at the part of the pad which has the higest rated R-value?(most likely) or the lowest rated part of the pad(how it should be, though unlikely)

Anyway, thank you for all your feedback

September 20, 2014
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