User Review: Therm-a-Rest Men's NeoAir XLite
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $115
Man, this thing sure is light...and comfortable!
- not self-inflating
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.