User Review: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample provided by Therm-a-Rest for testing and review)
This is a great 4-season sleeping pad.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.