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Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite

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

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)


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


  • Light and packs small
  • Comfortable
  • Durable


  • 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.

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


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!

26 days 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!

26 days ago

@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

26 days ago

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.

25 days 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.

24 days 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.

24 days ago

@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!

23 days ago

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.

20 days ago

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

20 days ago

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


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


  • Lightweight and packable


  • 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!


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

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


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


  • lightweight
  • compact


  • 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.


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.



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

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


The real benefit is the warmth it adds.


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


  • 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.

rated 4.50 of 5 stars All NeoAir XLite versions

In addition to the 4 men's reviews above, there are 3 reviews for other versions of the NeoAir XLite. Read all reviews »

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