Reviews

The Evolite weighs in at about 1.5 pounds and has…

Rating: rated 4 of 5 stars
Source: received for testing via the Trailspace Review Corps (Sample provided by Therm-a-Rest for testing and review)

Summary

The Evolite weighs in at about 1.5 pounds and has a comfortable two inches thickness of loft. It’s pretty warm and plenty comfortable. If you’re looking for a three-season comfortable sleeping pad, I suggest you take one of these for a test drive.

I can readily recommend the EvoLite sleeping pad for those who need comfort and 3-season warmth, lightweight, and compactness from a pad. I would recommend the Evolite to backpackers who primarily sleep on the ground. This pad is designed for and best suited to ground-dwelling, lightweight backpackers, but could also be used for hammocks with accessories.

Pros

  • Light
  • Moderately compact
  • Multiple uses/applications

Cons

  • Self inflation is minimal
  • Width for hammocks

Warmth

The EvoLite pad proved true to its three-season rating and was comfortable with an R-value of 2.1  I successfully and comfortable used it in temps down into the 30s F (see my tests below).

Packability

The EvoLite also compacts well enough (7.75 x 4.9 in / 20 x 13 cm) to earn a deserved spot in a hiker’s, as well as car camper’s, gear closet. This is not a surprise as it’s sold under Therm-a-Rest’s Fast & Light line.

Below is a comparative picture of the EvoLite with my Jacks-R-Better Greylock 3 20° 3/4 UQ with the Dutch Sit-pad I use for my feet. The UQ is not in a compression sack and can be compressed easily. There is a 6" ruler between the stuff sacks.

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Weight

I found the EvoLite’s light weight was true to Therm-a-Rest’s published specs (1 lb 1 oz / 480 g for the Regular). It also comes in Small (11.5 oz / 330 g) and Large (1 lb 7 oz / 650 g) sizes.

Self Inflation

Therm-a-Rest claims: “just a few breaths to top it to your desired firmness.”

As for the self inflation aspect of the pad, “a few breaths” was not my experience. For ground sleeping I needed about seven breaths, with 9.5 breaths being about all I could get in the pad.

For hammock use, about four breaths left the pad supple enough to conform to the hammock.

Comfort

I can readily recommend this pad for those who need comfort and three-season warmth, light weight, and compactness from a sleeping pad. The real test in my household was that my wife found the EvoLite comfortable enough to agree to use it on an outing soon. So it has gained one tough fan from my favorite non-camper who never stays at a hotel without her pillow.

In the Field

Test 1: Weekend at Lake James Campground (N.C.)

Equipment Used: tent with Ozark Trails 32° bag

Conditions: mid 70s for the high and upper 30s for the low

This test was in a campground in a 4-season tent with a Walmart Ozark Trails 32° bag that is really good to about 40° or a little cooler. The evenings were great: clear skies with slight breezes as the campsite was on the lake.

The EvoLite proved comfy on the perfectly level tent spot. Warmth was not an issue with the pad at all. The low of 32° did prove a good test for use with the 32-degree bag, and I also needed my Columbia bag liner with those magic silver dots to make the night’s sleep comfortable. The pad proved warm though.

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Test 2: Overnight in Kings Mountain National Military Park (S.C.)

Equipment Used: tarp with a 40° top quilt with a bag liner in reserve

Conditions: highs of 70° and low of 37°

This was a bit of an experiment for me as I used some hammock gear to try out tarp camping. The 5’ x 7’ tarp was my ground cover, a bottom entry hammock bugnet kept the creeping things out, and my Warbonnet Edge tarp (10.5’x7.5’) with doors on each end kept me dry, other than a little water that ran down my bugnet’s interior ridgeline.

The results were better than expected for my inaugural tarp outing, and the pad performed well. The EvoLite pad fit nicely in the bugnet and covered the shock corded open bottom well. I was comfortably warm with just my top quilt, shorts, and a short sleeve shirt.


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Hmm...Hammock Use?

The EvoLite is designed for the fast and light, backcountry crowd, typically users sleeping in tarps and tents. However, since I’m an avid hammock hanger, I was curious to test the EvoLite’s application in my hammock.

Test 3: Hammock Hanging Overnight at Crowder’s Mountain State Park (N.C.)

Equipment Used: hammock with 40° top quilt

Conditions: low of 38°

This was a good trip to test the pad under conditions I would use a pad as a hammock guy. Expected lows of 35°, clear skies and winds gusting to 20 mph looked like the perfect conditions to test the pad in the hammock.

I arrived at the trailhead with about 20 minutes of daylight left. After signing in and getting underway it was only a short walk into the woods. The headlamp was required, but the hike in the dark was short lived since the only designated campsites are a scant 1 mile in from the trailhead. But hey, the short walk makes this a great family spot, test spot, or a nice place for a quick getaway for steaks around a fire.

The precut and split unlimited firewood that is included on the $13 fee with fine tent sites, fire rings with grills, tables, plumbed water source, and restrooms make this a fine place to introduce folks to camping. And there was a rather boisterous pack of coyotes very close by that could make for great campfire fun.

Ease and Comfort of Hammock Use

It took some gymnastics to get onto the EvoLite pad in my hammock and find my hammock’s sweet spot. iIt was a chore to get the pad and the hammock and the sleeper in correct alignment. Once the sweet spot was found, the pad was actually quite comfortable though.

Once everything was aligned, it was great! The pad produced a comfortable lay with enough insulation under me to keep me comfortable down to around 35°.

Warmth

I can sleep on my back and stay still all night in a hammock, so I experienced no cold spots on my thighs or knees. However my shoulders and upper arms were another story. I had a summer under quilt hanging off to the side waiting so I could just grab it and pull it under when my shoulders and arms got cool. I did reach over for the quilt in the wee hours as my arms began to feel the cool morning air.

The EvoLite pad worked as designed and it kept me warm wherever I did not contact the hammock directly. It has ample width for the legs for back sleepers.

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For the shoulders and hips the width was a little lacking though.

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I noticed that the pad’s width (20 inches) was insufficient to keep the outsides of the shoulders, arms, knees, and thighs warm. I suggest a segmented pad extender for this application.

Note that the Large version of the EvoLite measures 25 inches in width, adding an extra 5 inches of length (77 in versus 72).

Time lapse of the gymnastics:


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Test 4: Hammock Hanging Weekend trip to Kings Mountain National Military Park (S.C.)

Equipment Used: hammock with 40° top quilt

Conditions: lows of 46° and 48°

With overnight low temps of 46° and 48°, this trip provided more favorable conditions for using a sleeping pad in a hammock.

After the initial 4.5-mile hike into the only permitted campsite in Kings Mountain National Park, setting up the hammock with a pad as my sole bottom insulation was a first for me. I settled in for the first night with my tarp folded in half to enjoy the night sky, but ready to deploy if the dry forecast proved less than accurate. 

As long as I stayed still, centered, and kept the top quilt tucked, all was well, not toasty, but not cool enough to keep me awake.

Conclusion

The EvoLite pad will not take the place of my hammock under quilts anytime soon, but if you are looking for a lightweight pad the new EvoLite from Therm-a-Rest could be your three-season go-to.

It’s light, compacts pretty well, and proved to be a viable option in a hammock with the addition of a segmented pad extender or even a few pieces of Reflectix.

I can readily recommend the Therm-a-Rest EvoLite sleeping pad to to backpackers who primarily sleep on the ground who need comfort and 3-season warmth, lightweight, and compactness from a sleeping pad. It’s pretty warm and plenty comfortable.

snigjs

Thanks for the review. I have the prolite and prolite plus pad which are 1" and 1.5" thick. It's interesting that the evolite is thicker (2") but the R-value is the same as the 1" thick and lower than the 1.5" thick.


4 years ago
snigjs

R-values: evolite: 2.1, Prolite plus: 3.8, prolite: 2.2-2.4.


4 years ago
dirtwheels

You are most welcome, the pad is comfortable even for side sleeping and the lower R value appears to be due to the foam not covering the entire surface area of the pad.


4 years ago

Good brand, but bad product. These break after couple…

Rating: rated 0.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $80

Summary

Good brand, but bad product. These break after couple of weeks. Design flaw.

Pros

  • Light

Cons

  • Durability
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Welcome to Trailspace, Joni. Too bad about your pad breaking. Can you tell us more about how and where yours did?


1 year ago
Joni Mustonen

Glue break up and created huge buble.


1 year ago

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