/  Gear   /  Thermarest Neoair Xlite Sleeping Pad

Basic Description:
Therm-a-Rest’s ultralight three season inflatable sleeping pad that replaced the original NeoAir sleeping pad. The new XLite weighs 12 ounces in the regular size and 8 oz in a small. It has an R-value of 3.2. The original NeoAir weighed slightly more at 14 ounces with a slightly lower R-Value of 3.1. This pad is extremely compressible and consumes little space in your backpack. An ideal sleeping pad for mountain hunters and backpackers who spend multiple days out on the mountain.

Randy Johnson Gear Editor
A simple definition of R-value is that it is a measure used in the construction business to rate the thermal resistance of insulation under specified testing conditions. Of course, the higher the R-value the more effective the insulation is. It should be noted that R-value testing is done in a 70 degree F with the absence of air movement so it doesn’t always reflect the conditions we experience while sleeping on our pads out on the mountain. Based on my field testing conditions, with an R-value of 3.2 Thermarest’s XLite pad will get the job done with an insulating value that is perfect for your early spring or late fall hunting/backpack adventures. In extremely cold temperatures I would recommend utilizing a foam pad underneath your XLite to increase the insulating value.

Just the Facts:
This lightweight, inflatable sleeping pad has one of the very best insulation to weight ratios of any pad I’ve used and I found it to be very comfortable. Very much like the original NeoAir the XLite is lighter in weight. Thermarest’s engineers were able to save ounces by cutting down the pad’s corners. You will find the XLite to be slightly more rounded in shape as the NeoAir was more rectangular. Therm-a-Rest achieved their remarkable insulation/weight ratio with the cutting edge design of their revolutionary reflective barrier and special Triangular Core Matrix baffle construction. This pad doesn’t contain any insulation, yet it is slightly more than three times warmer than any other un-insulated air mattress on the market. In layman terminology the Core Matrix of the XLite is a welded-nylon grid of chambers that increases the total number of air cells by 10 times when compared to other traditional air pads. The aluminized urethane film material that holds the Core Matrix together reflects heat back to your body while deflecting the cold air from the ground. To top it off, the NeoAir XLIte is only 2.5” thick with the regular size weighing a remarkable 12.6 oz. When compressed and rolled up it is almost as small as a Nalgene bottle.

Thermarest has changed the fabric on the XLite so that it is more translucent. I really like the new fabric. For me it is not as crinkly as my old NeoAir although some individuals believe it still sounds like a space blanket. I’m very used to the fabric and it has never bothered or hampered my sleeping at all.

The XLite comes in a warm yellow color. When you spend days of hardcore backpacking time out on the mountain saving vital storage space in your pack, reducing the overall weight you have to carry, and having a sleeping pad that is comfortable is extremely important. Thermarest’s XLite is the most comfortable ultralight sleeping pad on the market that I have had the opportunity to use.

Inflating the NeoAir XLite is simple, but does take slightly more effort than inflating one of my self-inflating mattress’ I own. I personally have never found this to be an issue as I can have my XLIte fully inflated in a couple of minutes. To ensure my desired comfort level I like to deflate the pad slightly so it is not as rigid and hard. This is simply a personal preference. To deinflate all you do is open the valve, lay on the mattress and squeeze out as much air as possible. I like to fold my mattress in thirds lengthwise before rolling it up from the end opposite the valve to push any remaining air out.

NeoAir XLite Inflation Valvethermarest neoair valve

THERMAREST NEOAIR XLITE NEXT TO MY NALGENE BOTTLEthermarest neoair packed

TECHNICAL FEATURES:
• 2.5″ thick.
• Weight – 12 ounces (Regular Mattress, 72 inches long).
• Warmth – 3.2 R-Value. Reflective barrier recycles body heat and create
• dual air pockets that conserve warmth.
• Packed Volume – 1 liter. Very compressible, compact and small.
• Stuff sack
• Repair kit included.
• Length – 47”, 72” and 77” long. Women’s available in 66.”
• Width – 20”
• Made in Seattle, USA.

STORY:
I have field tested my NeoAir XLite under the toughest of backpacking conditions. Just like the original NeoAir the XLite has never let me down. I have been very careful with the ultralight material, afraid that I might puncture a small hole and always utilize a tent floor or ground cloth to sleep on. If you are a die hard backpack hunter or mountaineer I don’t recommend using any inflatable sleeping pad on hard rocky ground without a ground sheet underneath it. I’ve used the XLite in southwest Utah’s rugged desert terrain and in the cold of high rocky mountain alpine settings while chasing mountain goats. It has performed flawlessly. I have been a huge fan of the NeoAir but I like my XLite even more due to the fact that it is lighter and compressible. The ultralight weight and compact features make this pad a backpacker’s dream. It would take some major convincing for anyone to sell me on trading my XLite in for another sleeping pad if I’m going to be backpacking. I own multiple sleeping pads and the XLite is by far my 1st choice when I head into the mountains! I just love how small it compresses.

Sleeping comfortably out on the mountain is very important to me when I’m out on extended day hunts or trips. With the NeoAir XLite, the 2.5 inches of thick padding helps me to not only rest comfortably but it has great insulating R-Value. I don’t feel the hard surface of rough terrain beneath me and I can adjust the pad by releasing the desired amount of air. I like to “hollow” out a small bed in the ground beneath my tent or ground sheet that the XLite form fits perfectly in.

With the XLite I’ve found a sleeping pad that compresses so small I can fit it easily into my pack. I no longer have to worry about carrying my sleeping pad on the outside of my backpack where it can get damaged or wet from inclement weather. When you are out on the mountain saving space, bulk and weight is critical.

NeoAir XLite Tapered Foot/ Bafflesthermarest neoair foot pocket

NeoAir XLite – 2.5″ Thick in Regular Lengththermarest neoair air mattress camping

By shopping on the internet you can find the Neoair XLite selling from $120 to $160. You won’t be sorry for paying a little extra for this purchase. I would recommend the Thermarest NeoAir XLite sleeping pad to any serious backpack hunter or outdoor enthusiast. Not only is it ultralight but you just won’t find a better, more compact, durable and comfortable sleeping pad.

WHAT THEY COULD DO BETTER:
Thermarest has done an incredible job with the XLite sleeping pad. Great product. The fabric used can be a little noisy but nothing that is an issue.

Randy grew up in a small, rural area, and developed a passionate love for wild places and mountain hunting at an early age. He worked hard to put himself through college and has been a successful collegiate athlete, high school coach, teacher, educational administrator and superintendent in Utah for 40 years. He's a published author and in his spare time has devoted years of his life to successfully guiding countless hunters in taking trophy rams and other big game animals. His knowledge of the sheep hunting terrain in southern Utah is legendary as well as his passion for chasing giant desert mule deer bucks! He is a hardcore backpack hunter and understands what it means to make difficult personal and family sacrifices to pursue your hunting dreams as he completed his Full Curl™ of North American sheep in 2001. He is “diehard” passionate about hunting and works tirelessly to ensure the success of his clients! Randy has been a great resource to countless hunters and shares our common vision of going the extra mile to help the average man/woman become the very best at mountain hunting. In 2010 Randy was inducted into the inaugural Full Curl Hall of Fame for sheep hunters. He is the Lead Field Editor for iReview Gear and is a Hunting Consultant for Worldwide Trophy Adventures. To learn more about Randy you can check out his personal website at www.highdesertsheepguides.com.

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