Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite

12 reviews
5-star:   4
4-star:   8
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   0

Reviews

7

Man, this thing sure is light...and comfortable! I…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $115

Summary

Man, this thing sure is light...and comfortable!

Pros

  • lightweight
  • compact

Cons

  • not self-inflating
  • pricey

I recently upgraded from an old Thermarest self-inflating pad, which at the time I bought it, it was the bomb. But I've been seeing people with these newer, trimmer, thicker, and lighter (did I mention lighter?) pads and started feeling envious. Given Cascade Design's track record (excellent), I decided to splurge for the best again, counting on another 15 years of service from this pad.

It sure is a different experience from my old Thermarest. For one, you have to blow it up. I always used to put additional puffs into my old mattress to give it the max 'cushyness' but you do have to huff and puff with this a lot more. It's not that bad though. I've found that you can open the value, go make dinner, and come back to find that it has self-inflated somewhat, so this helps.

Oh, but all those extra breaths are worth it when you lay down on this sucker! I have slept so comfortably, on my sides and stomach even, not bottoming out like I used to. I've never gotten a better night's sleep out in the wilderness, in fact.

And although I haven't really needed it down here in Florida, the pad is very insulative (almost too hot in fact). I also love the contoured shape...why carry around a square pad if you don't need it? Leaves more room in the tent and can be used inside a sleeping bag or bivy.

Also, this thing rolls up into the size of a Nalgene 1 L bottle...amazing. Just be sure to unroll it when you get home and let it breathe...you can actually see through the fabric to see all the condensation from your sweaty breaths, and in Florida, there is a lot of humidity too...don't want mold becoming a problem in there.

Some reviewers had a problem with the pad being noisy...due to the built in metallic material, kind of like a space blanket...but I don't find this to be a problem. The other concern is durability. Mine has had no holes yet but they will undoubtedly come with use...my old one got a few pin-pricks too, easily fixed if you have the skills to fix a flat on a bike. It comes with patches, the same glue-less type you can get at a bike store for tubes. Carry a few of these and you will be fine.

If you get a major rip, well, I'd be willing to bet that the company would replace it for free. They have repeatedly serviced or replaced my Platypus bladders when they went bad, all for free. So I feel confident they will stand behind this product too. Which is why I felt justified in spending so much on this pad. Wait for the 30% REI member discount as I did and the pain won't be so much. The lack of pain in your back will be worth it!

One final note, this pad is very temperature sensitive...keep in mind the scientific principles of gases and temps. On my first trip with this pad, I inflated it in the late afternoon while the Florida sun was beating down on my tent. The temp dropped about 20 degrees by the time I went to bed and the pad shrunk too...thought it already had a hole but no, was just the temp difference. A few more breaths and it stayed firm throughout the night. You may need to adjust accordingly.

UPDATE:

A few more nights using this pad and I am upgrading my rating to a full 5 stars. I have never been so comfortable sleeping outdoors...it truly is a revolutionary product.

The pad has also been invaluable during some freezing nights with an insufficient sleeping bag. I would have been very cold with any other pad. The space/weight savings, thermal properties, and comfort level are well worth the price of this pad. And so far, no problems with durability.


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5

Small, light, Therm-a-Rest pretty much says it all.

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $120 (on sale)

Summary

Small, light, Therm-a-Rest pretty much says it all. An industry leader brings quality and function in a small package.

Pros

  • Light and packs small
  • Comfortable
  • Durable

Cons

  • Manual inflation
  • Limited thermal protection

Purchased as part of my go lighter to go higher effort last year, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite has worked quite well for me.  Replacing a 2.6lb TrailPro the XLite lives up to its name at 12.7 oz on my scale, including stuff sack and repair kit included with purchase.  After use in all four seasons I've found it surprisingly comfortable for an air mattress and have had no issues with leaks or other failures.

On first unrolling the NeoAir I was struck by how thin and light the material felt.  That made me a bit nervous about durability and I was really careful rolling over the first time I used it.  Since then I've grown confident it won't pop if I roll around a bit at night since there have been no problems.

The next thing that struck me was that unlike my trusty TrailPro, which mostly inflated itself, this one would require me to blow it up.  I learned quickly that getting some air inside, closing the valve and then pushing that air around to open up the cells a bit before trying to fully inflate made things easier by far.

Research prior to purchase had shown a lot of folks talking about how noisy this pad was.  Having been on a trip with someone using a Big Agnes pad that squeaked all night long I was expecting the worst but have found the XLite to be quiet enough not to really bother me.  It has quieted over time though still makes some noise and that can be damped if I use my Therm-a-Rest Fitted Sheet.

As a quilt user insulation is important to me in a pad and I have found the NeoAir XLite to work well enough for me down to about the freezing point. If I am expecting temps around there or colder I use the XLite on top of the Trail Pro. Combined I have used them down into the teens with great success.

Over all I have been very pleased with my purchase of the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite and would definitely recommend it to anyone in the market for a full length inflatable pad.  I've found a lot of comfort on it and the weight/space savings have been worth the expense.


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Folded and rolled to 9" x 4" it tucks easily into the sleeping bag compartment with my quilt.


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The valve design has long made me a fan of Therm-a-Rest pads. Used properly it really works to prevent damage to this vital part of the pad. I was glad to see it was carried over to the modern inflatable pads.

Ben Rivers

Thanks for the review, this pad caught my eye a few weeks back but it will be a little while before I can fork out the money for one!


6 months ago
Joseph Renow

Nice review Lonestranger...I use the same two pads:-) I sometimes marvel at just how much mattress the X-Lite is for 12oz!


6 months ago
LoneStranger

@Ben You may have noticed almost all of my reviews are on gear I bought on sale ;) I research here and elsewhere on line so I know what to watch for sales on. @JR The Trail Pro is a marvel in terms of the abuse it can take. I have torn holes in the stuff sack on trail but the pad lives on forever


6 months ago
G00SE MODERATOR

I'm with you LS. I rarely pay full price for items. If I can get them on clearance or factory seconds, I do it. It goes back to my college days of working retail--I learned that a $100 dress sold off the clearance rack at $9.99 still provided the store with a profit. After a full retail cycle, the unsold clearance rack would be bundled and sold to Burlington Coat Factory by the pound. The store STILL made a profit. BCF would cut the tags off the garmets, sell them for $3-$4 and make a profit. That's why I just won't pay $$$ for any piece of gear or clothing.


6 months ago
Bill S

Couple of added facts - Barb's very similar NeoAire XTherm measures 13 5/8 oz, compared to your XLite's 12 oz (from the Thermarest website, they are both the Regular length. Its R-value is 5.7, compared to your XLite at 3.2, a pretty substantial difference in warmth for 1 5/8 oz in weight. The XTherm is a bit more expensive, but worth it since we snow camp and I go on high altitude and polar climbs. I borrowed hers for my outing near Carson Pass this weekend, and the XTherm was indeed quite warm on the snow. Second thing is, thanks to someone's posting here on TS, we bought 2 Instaflators at a local toy store (intended use is pumping up beach toys) for $2 (I, too look for bargains - list is $4). Light at 2 oz and pumps the XTherm up in about 30 sec, no use of your lungs. Their website is http://flyweightdesigns.com/?product=the-instaflator. Only problem with the Instaflator is you can't really use it easily inside your tent.


6 months ago
David Drake

I've have the NeoAir, the predecessor to the XLite, which now resides beneath my girlfriend each time her and I sleep beneath the stars. We fondly call it the "potato chip" because of the distinct crunchy sound it makes. In addition, it loses approximately 20% of it's air each night. Sounds like T-a-R is doing a better job keeping air in their pads with this one.


6 months ago
LoneStranger

@Bill S Dunno if that is your store or not but you made a sale on the inflator ;) Just ordered a couple to try out. I don't mind the heavy breathing to blow up the pad but I'm liking the idea of avoiding the moisture especially for extended use. Thanks for the tip!


6 months ago
Lah

Great review and agree wholeheartedly about all your comments...good to make mention of blowing some air inside and then working it into the bottom. After doing this, I also find that if you leave the pad laid out with valve open, it self-inflates to some degree. I also hated seeing all the condensation inside so I bought the exped mini pump (on sale:) and modified the inflator with a piece of bicycle tubing so that it couples with the thermarest's. it's 1.8 oz.


6 months ago
Lah

@David Drake love the name 'potato chip'! fits with the color too!


6 months ago
2

The real benefit is the warmth it adds. This is true…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $149

Summary

The real benefit is the warmth it adds.

Pros

  • Light weight
  • Weight-to-warmth ratio
  • Ease of use
  • Comfort

Cons

  • None so far

This is true space age gift....light weight, rugged, and warm.

I am a big guy...250 lbs and a side sleeper. I do not have any issues with hard spots. I've been backpacking since 1971, and this by far is the best pad ever. I use a quilt and this pad keeps me comfortable well into the 20s.

This is a must buy addition in my humble opinion and extended experience.

1

Great pad. 45 now and love backpacking still but not…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $130

Summary

Great pad.

Pros

  • Weight
  • Ease of inflation
  • Comfort

Cons

  • Price

45 now and love backpacking still but not the ground. Have tried a number of different pads but have been unwilling up until this point to try the NeoAir, mostly due to price. Based on recommendations from others I decided to give it a try and have enjoyed my first good night's sleeping in a long time.

I'm a side sleeper, 6'1" and 220. I found filling it up and laying on it and then slowly letting out air until I'm almost touching ground at the low spot makes for the most comfortable bed.  

Concerned about durability but having a 4 year old jump on it didn't seem to phase it (probably not recommended).

Long trip planned this summer, interested to see how it holds up.

0

Great when you are going ultra-light!!! SO much more…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $80

Summary

Great when you are going ultra-light!!! SO much more comfortable than the egg-crate foam we took last year! A little noisy and sticky on warm nights. Takes up barely any room in my pack!!

Pros

  • Ultra-light
  • Packs very small...water bottle size
  • Comfortable...plenty of cushion between you and the ground.

Cons

  • Noisy....crackles when you move
  • Sticky on warm nights
  • A little too narrow to sleep on your side

My friend and I went on our first backpacking trip last year...we're both 50. We went 35 miles out into the canyons in Utah by ourselves to see ancient ruins. We drove her car up 18 miles of the most hair-raising road you will ever drive on to get to the trail head.

Even after removing stuff from the packs we hadn't even tried on they weighed 62 pounds each...and we're not big girls...LOL. We thought we needed all that stuff!!

Because we'd already laid out so much cash on backpacks, etc we skimped on pads. We didn't even know if we'd want to go again, so instead of laying out big money on expensive pads we simply took cheapo egg crate foam.  Ten minutes after laying down for the night we both sat up and looked at each other...this was NOT working! Who knew the clay in Utah was going to be harder than a paved road???  Not us! 

We wound up overlapping our foam, then we overlapped our sleeping quilts and then we put on ever stitch of clothing we'd brought with us to stay warm...we still ended up pulling the tarp we'd brought into the tent and using it for a blanket...needless to say a sleeping pad was one of the very first things we put on our new gear list!! 

I researched for a week all the types and styles of pad...all the while determined to also cut the weight!! What I found was the Therm-a-Rest X-Lite pad....2.5 inches between us and the ground....packs VERY small and most importantly LIGHT...and priced right! We actually put them on our Christmas lists and made our husbands buy them...LOL!!

I would definitely recommend them!!

Alicia TRAILSPACE STAFF

Welcome to Trailspace, Lori. I'm glad you and your friend found something that works for your backpacking trips.


3 days ago
0

Light, easy, comfortable, but SLIPPERY! I was impressed…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $159 USD

Summary

Light, easy, comfortable, but SLIPPERY!

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Small
  • Easy to deflate
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Noisy — crackling, crinkling sounds with movement
  • Sleeping bag slides off.
  • Expensive

I was impressed with the tiny size and light weight. But it took many more than the "20 breaths" to inflate! Quick and easy deflate. Comfortable, even though it looks too thin when inflated.

BUT very slippery, despite using same brand sleeping bag with the "system" of two straps meant to keep sleeping bag on the pad. I woke every morning with some part of me on the ground — shoulder, hip or entire trunk of body — while head was on pad! Very expensive system to end up sleeping on the ground.

I used the pad on a 6-day canoe trip.

0

Exceptional super lightweight sleeping pad that offers…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: borrowed it

Summary

Exceptional super lightweight sleeping pad that offers a great night sleep.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Very comfortable
  • Warm

Cons

  • Crinkley sound
  • Expensive
  • Narrow

I recently had the privileged to borrow a NeoAir Xlite from a friend for an overnight trip after he was raving about it. I must say I am blown away by this product! Not only is the NeoAir super light, it's also thick and warm — the perfect trifecta when it comes to a sleeping pad on the trail. 

Lightweight: As any backpacker will tell you, it's very important to keep your weight down when putting your feet to the trail. At well under a pound and super packable this pad will not burden you over the long haul.

Comfortable: For years I have conceded that I would wake up with sore hips and back every morning after a long hike, because I sacrificed comfort for a lighter pad. The NeoAir is incredibly thick and still manages to stay warm even without the added weight of insulation. By far the most comfortable pad that I'd be willing to strap to my back.

Warmth: Just about every other pad is either cold, or heavy. This pad reflects your body heat back at you to stay reasonably warm without any heavy/bulky insulation!

While I do love the NeoAir, I have to mention a few things...  First of all it's expensive — about $120-150. Also, it can be pretty loud when you are moving around and can wake you or others up with 'crinkle' sounds. Also, while I didn't have any issues sleeping on it, it is a bit narrow. 

My final concern is the durability. Because it's so lightweight, it concerns me that it could get punctured or possibly pop a seam. While it does come with a repair kit, I would hate to be out the $120-150 that it would cost to replace.

0

This is a very comfortable and lightweight sleeping…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new

Summary

This is a very comfortable and lightweight sleeping pad, good for sleeping in any position. Take basic precautions in where you set it down, as with any air pad, but it generally holds up well.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Can be noisy
  • Might need to be careful of material

The first time I used this sleeping pad, I got two holes in it. It was getting dark and starting to rain, and I was in a very rocky area. I tried my best to find a rock-free spot to set up my tent, but once I was inside, it turned out there was one very sharp rock underneath me.

I patched the two holes however, and the patches have held up and no more have appeared in two years, including three months of constant use on part of my Appalachian Trail thru hike. So the first two holes were very obviously user error and I believe the material is sturdy despite its light weight.

I've always set it up either in my tent or on a wooden shelter floor, sometimes with a tyvek ground sheet underneath, and sometimes on yet more rocks, roots, or what-have-you, and it's held up just fine.

Setup takes about 20 breaths and is quick. I like the horizontal baffles for comfort. I've slept on this pad on my side, back, and stomach. It's a bit crinkly in the noise department, compared to some other air pads, but it's not enough noise to bother me. It's very lightweight for a full length air pad.

0

Super comfortable- the best in my 40+ years of backpacking.

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $120 on sale

Summary

Super comfortable- the best in my 40+ years of backpacking.

Pros

  • Lightweight and packable

Cons

  • Have to blow it up- no big deal

This was a large step-up from the old thermarest.  It packs so much smaller, is lighter and fits in my Big Agnes bag.  It is more comfortable and lighter than any other backpacking pad I have used.  My best acquisition in 2011!

0

Extremely packable, lightweight sleeping pad. Great…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $100 (irregular)

Summary

Extremely packable, lightweight sleeping pad. Great for those who love getting the most efficient gear. Would recommend it for those who sleep still and want the best lightweight, comfortable option out there.

Pros

  • Packability
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Crinkles a lot
  • Not self-inflating
  • Narrow bottom

This pad is extremely packable and lightweight. It's great for those who don't want to compromise comfort for weight and packability. I thought I could find a way to pump up the pad without having to blow into it and without buying the additional accessories, but I couldn't. Tried different methods that were recommended in different forums and reviews, but nothing beat blowing it up. Didn't purchase the inflating accessory because it was too expensive.

Though the pad is super light, I didn't like the fact that it narrowed at the bottom. Sleeping on the pad itself was very comfortable, but I tend to move around a lot when I sleep and kept falling off of it. The crinkling noise that a lot of people referred to didn't bother me or my husband much, but it did bother my friend who was in the same tent as us.

If pad is not fully blown up, I found it not to be comfortable. It needed to be fully blown up for it to be firm and comfortable enough to sleep on. Partially blown up left sagging spots and an odd distribution of air in the chambers.

Would recommend it for those who sleep still and want the best lightweight, comfortable option out there. Just not for me.

0

A better night's sleep than my expensive latex mattress…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: REI Clearance

Summary

A better night's sleep than my expensive latex mattress at home!

Pros

  • Comfort, comfort, comfort
  • Very lightweight
  • Very warm

Cons

  • I can't think of one

I love this pad!!! I would love to sleep on this at home (if only I had one wide enough for both me and my husband). The crinkle noise doesn't matter because you won't move an inch all night. (OK, no intimate encounters on this pad...guess that's a con.)  

Get one. If you don't love it, I'll eat my shoe.

0

Incredibly light, very packable, and very warm!!!

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: between $100 to $200 I can't remember

Summary

Incredibly light, very packable, and very warm!!! So far it is pretty durable, but I wouldn't sleep on anything unless there is a groundsheet or tarp of some sort. Crinkles when you move around, but you get used to it. I would still buy it again for its ultralightness. Consider the Regular size...I tried to save an ounce and got the Short, but now I wish I had more length!

Pros

  • Light
  • Packable
  • Warm

Cons

  • Crinkly sounding (like a potato chip bag)
  • Expensive

This is incredibly packable and light, just as it was reported to be. I got the "short" women's but I wish I'd gotten the regular one. A few extra inches of insulation at my feet would have been worth the extra ounce. (I am 5'4").

So far it has held up pretty well and I've used it in a bivvy, on a wood floor and a tent. It is not as durable looking as the old (and heavy) self-inflating pads but definitely worth it if you want ultralightweight and warmth!!! And who knows, it may prove just as durable a few months or years from now!

As a woman-specific pad, the R rating is a little higher, which I do appreciate. Fully inflated I find it too hard and almost too high and tend to roll off. Deflate it a little and it is more comfortable. It is a little loud (crinkles like a potato chip bag, but that's just a minor annoyance). Unless you are very petite, get the regular size.

Don't be fooled by the flowery design...it barely shows!