Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm

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

Reviews

12

This is a great 4-season sleeping pad. From the Manufacturer:…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample provided by Therm-a-Rest for testing and review)

Summary

This is a great 4-season sleeping pad.

Pros

  • Warm
  • Durable
  • Light
  • Compact

Cons

  • Maybe price

From the Manufacturer:

New for 2012: The XTherm mattress is the warmest mattress in the NeoAir collection, allowing you to go lighter than ever in winter conditions. Patent-pending Reflective Barriers give the XTherm mattress true 4-season warmth without the weight or bulk usually found in a winter-worthy mattress. The result is a mattress that weighs less than a pound, takes up less pack space than your water bottle, and provides serious comfort in extremely cold conditions. Pump sack and repair kit included.

First Impressions

Yes, everything I’ve read from Thermarest about the new XTherm mattress is true in my opinion. Over the years I’ve owned more than a few pads for sleeping in the outdoors ranging from yoga mats to full sized four seasons inflatables. I’ve owned the Walmart blue mats, the “Z” pad, the ‘90’s version of an ultra-lite inflatable from Thermarest weighing in at over 2 lb., and I have slept on pine branches spread out to look like the pad that I forgot at home. I have slept in weather down in the minus digits, and always, without exception, when I get cold at night... It is from the ground up.

I don’t go out without some kind of sleeping pad. For me, it is as essential as the tent that surrounds me, and the sleeping bag that keeps everything except my big nose covered. I am not over exaggerating when I say that I love ground pads. Heat conduction from the ground is very hard to combat due to the fact that our rated sleeping bags often don’t do a good job of protecting us when we smash them down under our body weight. Our bodies can only heat up the bag that has loft, and loft doesn’t happen under my big butt.


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Sleeping pads put a barrier between you and the ground in two ways: They give your body a cushion from the hard ground, and they give you a thermal break to stop conduction up to your body that a sleeping bag can’t. Sleeping pads are rated just like a sleeping bag. Some are rated for 3-season use and are often lighter in weight and more compact.

The NeoAir XTherm has an R rating of 5.7. That is an insulation rating that is comparable to other 4-season pad on the market. The NeoAir XTherm is a true, compact, lightweight 4-season sleeping pad that has lived up to my expectations.


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Opening the Box

My NeoAir came shipped from the manufacturer in perfect condition. The instructions, repair kit, inflating sack that you carry the pad in, and the pad itself were all undamaged. The fit and finish is nice. Out of the 8 pads that I’ve owned over the past 25 years, this is by far the nicest (and most expensive).

For a four season pad I couldn’t get over the size and weight of this thing. I tested the large, full size pad and it weighed in at a more than respectable 20 oz. The regular size pad is only 15 oz.  It also packs down to the size of a water bottle, and that’s not hype. It really does pack that small.

After opening the package, the first thing anyone would do is blow it up and let their 4- and 8-year-old daughters jump and play on it in the living room for an hour. That’s what I did. It held up just fine, and to be honest, I probably couldn’t have done that kind of torture test in the field. I left it inflated for two more days looking for any leaks. There were none.


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Quality and Durability

At the time I’m writing this, I’ve spent 8 nights on the XTherm without any problems. The R rating for this pad is 5.7, and has I feel has lived up to the rating. It’s definitely warmer than any 3-season pad you’ll likely use.  The bottom has a more durable fabric, and the top is reflected to be able to use your own body heat that has escaped from your bag and push it back up to you. All the fabrics used seem sturdy as well as the valve which seems to be the standard Thermarest twist valve.  

The Thermarest NeoAir XTherm comes with a stuff sac that doubles as a inflation bag. I have used this method and found that while it wasn’t as fast as using your mouth, you avoid getting condensation into the pad itself which could be a problem when using the sleeping pad in below freezing temperatures. It was a good idea to include this feature in a true 4-season pad.


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I also like the thickness of the pad. At 2.5 inches It has enough loft to it to where I can fully inflate it, then use the valve to let out air once I’m on the pad to find that “sweet spot” of comfort. I’m glad I went with the large pad over the regular. The large gives you an additional 5" of width giving you 25" overall. At 6' and 200 lb. I’ve never owned a more comfortable pad.

Some of my testing happened indoors. My two daughters fall asleep much faster at night if Daddy is lying on the floor in between their bedrooms. I thought this would be a good test of the NeoAir XTherm. It usually takes them about 20 minutes to fall asleep in which I lie there, checking my e-mails or playing a game on my smart phone. Once they are asleep, I go back downstairs and usually clean up from the day’s events.  

To my surprise, I awoke to my laughing daughters taking pictures of me sleeping on the floor at 9 a.m. I had slept in the hallway all night which was certainly not the plan. I guess that shows just how comfortable this pad really is.


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I like to talk about price in the Quality and Durability section. As of 2012, the large pad would sell for $219.  The regular pad is $189. I don’t know how you might feel about those prices, but let me put it into my perspective: I’ve owned a $40 inflatable 3-season pad from Thermarest for 19 years, and I’ve never had one problem with it. It has more than paid for itself over the years, and in fact, my wife used it just last weekend and loves it.

I’m confident now after using the XTherm that this pad will also hold its value for years to come. When I first saw the price tag I was hesitant; now I feel it’s properly priced. Remember, The NeoAir XTherm is a 4-season pad with advanced material and technology that makes it an ideal choice for winter outings. Sometimes the best just costs more.

Packability

I count every ounce in my pack, so it’s no surprise that I like how the NeoAir XTherm is lightweight and very compact. I use my sleeping pad as structure in my backpack due in part that my packs are frameless. I’ve hiked with this pad both on overnight and day hikes, and it’s everything the manufacturer says it is.

Let me add: Versatile for frameless packs, and small and compact enough to take along for a rest nap on a day hike.


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Bottom Line

I can’t see how anyone who tries the NeoAir XTherm is going to have much bad to say about it. There are always pros and cons to everything, but in my opinion the pros far outweigh the cons. Perhaps if you are used to a rectangular sleeping pad, the mummy style pad might be a con, but I found it to be adequately roomy. It gets a 5 star rating from me. 

So far I’ve had no leaks, I’ve stayed warm and toasty on some cold nights, it packs small and light for backcountry use, and Thermarest is a company known for quality, innovative products that I’ve trusted for years.  

I don’t think you can go wrong with the NeoAir XTherm by Thermarest.

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trouthunter MODERATOR

A nice review!


2 years ago
Alicia TRAILSPACE STAFF

Great job, Arson! Thanks for testing and reviewing the XTherm.


2 years ago
ratski

Does it make any noise when you move on it? My friend has a winter rated pad that makes sounds everytime he turns over. I find that most irritating.


2 years ago
Michaelrn

I agree. I have one as well and it is the best pad that I've owned. My son says it makes noise when I turn over in my sleep but it has not woken me up. I wish it was about 2 inches wider. I'm 5'10" and 250 and sometimes I have a hard time staying ontop of the pad while I sleep. But my hips no longer hurt when I wake in the morning after using this pad.


2 years ago
Arson

It does make a noise when you turn over, but I never thought about it bothering someone enough to keep them awake. I'm such a light sleeper that I've worn ear plugs for years so I didn't get woken up by the sleeping pad. If you've had problems with noisy sleeping pads in the past, then this pad might be a problem. It's not as noisy as the regular NeoAir because of the heavier materials used to make it a 4 season pad, but it does make noise when you turn over. I'm sorry for not thinking about that as a possible problem when doing my review.


2 years ago
Middle aged campers

We just bought the NeoAir XLite at Campmor for half price because they were irregularly colored. They do not have the inflation bag stuff sack (at least it does not appear it would work the same way.) I got the Women's which is 66 inches and R 3.8 and my husband got the large which was 77 inches (25 inches wide) and R 3.2. Same mummy pad shape as the one reviewed. We'll be interested to see how they measure up to our old Thermarest self-inflating which had a similar R value. They are certainly smaller and lighter to pack. I'm sure they will be more comfortable although we'll miss the chair adapter kit we had for the old pads. Check Campmor to see if they are still in stock and on sale. Good price although the yellow is kind of a weird off-color.


2 years ago
Ozarks Walkabout

Great review, thanks, you don't mention 'party balloon' effect - you know where you push down on one place and in another place the displaced air pushes it up. I ask because my wife can't use our NeoAir Allseason for this reason - the displaced air from her hips 'digging in' makes her feel that it's trying to push the rest of her body off the pad. Other pads use internal bracing to minimise this - what's your opinion on the XTherm? Also Google 'InstaFlator' for a very lightweight, small, inexpensive and clever inflator meant for inflatable toys etc. We use in for our inflatable pads and it cuts the time in half.


2 years ago
Arson

I've had the "balloon effect" in every inflatable I've ever owned. I simply use the valve to deflate the pad to the desired pressure in order to minimize this.


2 years ago
Ozarks Walkabout

@middle aged campers: I have a 77" x 25" NeoAir. I bought a 25" Trekker chair and it works a treat with the pad.


2 years ago
1

Warm, lightweight and horizontal baffles made it the…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $175

Summary

Warm, lightweight and horizontal baffles made it the most comfortable pad to date IMO.

Pros

  • Warmth
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Easy to inflate
  • Nice tacky surfaces keep you at bay
  • Cool colors
  • Packs down small

Cons

  • Price

OK, so after using Big Agnes insulated and non insulated pads with vertical baffles for years, I've found what I think is the best mat around. The Xtherm large is lighter than my non insulated regular sized BA pad. It packs to the same size, but when sleeping on snow, I never felt the coldness of the ground one bit. Not the case with the non insulated mats where your expensive down sleeping bag compresses down to paper thickness and the cold air is basically a millimeter away from your body. A great sleeping bag is only as good as the pad it's on, take notes if you plan on being in cold areas.

With other pads, I would notice that I would find myself sliding towards the fall line of the slope even if it was barely any angle. With the Xtherm and the slightly rubberized finish, it holds me in place even when I roll from side to side. The horizontal baffle construction basically adds more chambers to disperse your body weight, and I felt that it conforms to the body way better equaling the most comfortable pad I've used. 

The stuff sack doubles as a fill sack, but it was discarded because it weighed a lot and was tedious. This is to eliminate putting so much moisture in via mouth. To help remove the moisture before packing up, I make sure to let about half of the air out, then let the pad sit in the sun and heat up to vaporize any moisture inside, then release again and leave the cap open. So far, so good...

I'm not a big guy at 5'9", but I think the large is the only way to go... I'm more of a comfort guy, but then again, good sleep leads to good hiking. 

This has been used in Sequoia and Mammoth for week long backpacking trips. One based on 3 feet of snow and 21 degree nights all proving that the Xtherm is no joke. Two thumbs up.
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1

TL;DR - nice warm and light pad, best for those thinner…

Rating: rated 3 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $169

Summary

TL;DR - nice warm and light pad, best for those thinner hikers that don't move around much at night.

Pros

  • Light
  • Warm
  • Tacky top surface holds sleeping bag well
  • Durable materials

Cons

  • Narrow
  • Loud
  • Tacky top surface not ideal for quilt users
  • Very expensive

Me: I'm not exactly a UL hiker - 5' 10" and 220 pounds. I move throughout the night sleeping on my back and both sides. I am a cold sleeper.

Use: Regular size (72 x 20), 2 nights in the 40s on a trip in northern Arizona. One night with my trusty Montbell #3 and one night with a EE quilt.

Results: 

The first night, I used the pad on slightly uneven ground (not completely flat and downslope left to right) in a sleeping bag. 

Good - Unbelievably small and robust. The fabric does not feel like it needs to be babied. The warmth was obvious. It wasn't particularly cold, but I'm still amazed that a pad with no insulation can provide such warmth. The thickness of the pad was sufficient to absorb the irregularities on the ground. The top of the pad has a sticky or tacky surface which did a great job holding my sleeping bag in place when I moved around during the night.

Not so good - with horizontal baffles, there is very little definition to the edges of the pad. Throughout the night, it felt like I really only had about 10 inches of usable pad when I rolled onto my side. I let some air out of the pad to see if I could stabilize more, but I still felt like I was essentially balancing in the middle of the pad when on my side. Noise wasn't a particular issue, but it the pad is loud compared to others I've used.

The second night, I slept on more even ground with an EE quilt on top rather than a sleeping bag.

Good: as mentioned, the pad is warm. It almost radiates heat.

Not so good: I still felt like I couldn't use the entire width of the pad when on my side. If I got too close to the side, the pad felt like it would escape. Additionally, the slightly tacky top surface that worked well with my sleeping bag, was a real issue when using a quilt. The pad kept *me* in place and made it difficult to roll onto my side. 

TL;DR - nice warm and light pad, best for those thinner hikers that don't move around much at night.

0

The NeoAir Xtherm is a great piece of gear because…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $170-ish

Summary

The NeoAir Xtherm is a great piece of gear because it is so light and warm. After having a traditional self inflating mat this is a big improvement.

Pros

  • Warmth
  • Light
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Noisy
  • Blowing up

Extremely light with great warmth and super thick to give lots of comfort due. Only disadvantages being that it is noisy to sleep on, doesn't worry me as I'm a heavy sleeper, and that it takes some time to blow up not being self inflatable. But I can put up with that for the benefits it has.

0

Warmer, lighter, more comfortable. I bought a regular…

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

Summary

Warmer, lighter, more comfortable.

Pros

  • lighter
  • warmer with R=5.7

Cons

  • expen$ive
  • noisy

I bought a regular size irregular for $125. It weighs less and is longer than my older Thermarest, and it is warmer and more comfortable.

It does take a long time to inflate, but as one reviewer wrote "I have to breathe anyway."