Thermarest standard vs. lite

1:07 p.m. on October 7, 2009 (EDT)
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Ok, I'm looking at possibly purchasing a standard thermarest that has the staytek covering to prevent slipping. They don't make this one anymore, so I don't know how much it's worth. Never been used, and $50. Would I just be better off buying the trail lite for the same price? The are the same dimensions but the standard is 8oz heavier. The trail lite is supposedly kind of slippery. Not really concerned about the weight difference. I emailed thermarest and they said the old one would have a 5.2 R value, which is much higher than the trail lite. Is it going to be no good if it's been rolled up in the package for a few years? Sorry for all the questions, I've never owned a self inflating pad before.

3:13 p.m. on October 7, 2009 (EDT)
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Well to ansew this I need to know a few things, like which of the Therm-a-Rest pads are we talking about? The Prolite Plus, Base Camp, Trail Pro, NeoAir, and there are others... If you are looking for something for winter, I use the Prolite 4 and would highly recommend it. There are many heavy pads out there with a good R rating. Check out the revew section.

It is a heavy choice for summer use though. NeoAir is nice and light. Big Agnes makes some of the best insulated air core pads around.

If you are concerned about slipping, buy any pad and just add a few dots of Aquaseal along one side. This will not damage the pad and will act like the "staytek" you are looking for to prevent slipping. Apply a line of dots spaced about 3" o.c. along the length of the pad.

As far as the "Never been used" pad for $50, you can buy a good new pad for REI or some other company for that price. That way if there is a problem, you can return it.....

Just my thoughts.

3:21 p.m. on October 7, 2009 (EDT)
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Yeah, what I'm specifically looking at is a therm-a-rest standard. They don't make them anymore. The trail lite is the one that I would buy if I were going to buy one they make now, but I think the standard might be a bit better for the money.

4:21 p.m. on October 7, 2009 (EDT)
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I would be careful buying something that has been sitting around that long. Why so set on the Standard. There are some real nice options out there now. If you want something cheap and light go with the Big Agnes Clearview. It looks fragile, but I have put it through its paces and have not damaged it yet. The long is about $50.

5:22 p.m. on October 7, 2009 (EDT)
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I don't think the Standard's been made in a long while, based on the fact that we don't even have any product info on it. For $50 I'd buy a new pad, not one that's been sitting around for maybe five or so years in someone's closet.

There are plenty of self-inflating options around or even under the same price:

As with all gear decisions, think about how, when, why you'll use a piece of gear and then find what that matches your criteria. In this instance you need to know how important weight, warmth and comfort are to you. Don't buy something just because it's available, though if someone wants to give it to you for free, there's no harm.

7:39 p.m. on October 7, 2009 (EDT)
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The dilemma with current Thermarest models is finding a truly winter pad with a high R value. They used to make an excellent winter pad(along with the old Standard)called the Expedition, large, and I used it for years as my winter pad. Once again, Thermarest in their corporate identity crisis disbanded with several product lines and so it's hard to keep up:

Standard discontinued
Prolite 3 and 4 discon
Trail Comfort discon
Camp Rest discon
Camp Lite discon
Ultralite discon
Backpacker/Explorer discon??
Expedition discon
LE Megarest discon
Guide Lite discon
Fusion discon
Classic discon etc etc

I imagine by next year all the current Prolites(Plus)will be discontinued along with the Trail Pro and NeoAir and all the rest. They can't seem to stick with a product line or model name.


Recently, the Trail Comforts were the go-to pad for winter backpacking and sleeping on ice and snow. The Prolite 4s were also moderately good(Rvalue 3.2)and the Prolite Plus at 3.8R has got to be better. Sadly, the only pad they make now for winter backpacking with a high R value is the Toughskins, though they can be bulky, hard to roll and very firm, even stiff.


So, what to do? I use the Prolite 4 large for 3 season backpacking, and for the worst weather with zero temps I've gotten used to taking the Base Camp(used to be called the Camp Rest), 6.2 Rvalue but at 3.10lbs.

In storage I have an old Ultralite(very thin and no good in winter), a couple long Standards, etc. But I've moved to the large pads now at 25 inches wide. My elbows and knees appreciate it.

7:41 p.m. on October 7, 2009 (EDT)
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Thanks for the advice guys. I was sold on therm-a-rest brand, and went with this one even though it is a slight gamble. I think it will be fine. I think it will be a little warmer than the trail-lite, but who knows.

May 24, 2018
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