Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $85
Pros: Comfortable, durable.
Cons: Packs larger than Therm-a-Rest ProLite and Nemo Zor; weighs more, too.
Best Uses: Car camping and backpacking,
The Lite-Core 1.5 is REI's best all around inflatable sleeping pad. It has attractive styling, reasonable features, and is comfortable and warm. Although the Lite-Core is a reasonable value for an entry-level pad, we recommend spending a few extra dollars for the Therm-a-Rest ProLite, the our highest rated inflatable foam pad.
If you want to branch out from air/foam construction – and therefore get a warmer, more comfortable and lighter pad – consider a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir. At 12 ounces, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite is the best ultralight pad available and the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm, just three ounces more, is the ultimate, do-it-all sleeping pad for multi-day trips in all conditions.
For those who spend less time backpacking and more time base and car camping, opt for the Nemo Astro Insulated, a cheaper and slightly more comfortable alternative to the expensive and fancy above-mentioned NeoAirs.
Go for a closed cell pad if you need something really durable or are on a budget. We recommend the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite SOL if space is a concern and the Therm-a-Rest Ridge Rest SOLite if it’s not.
If comfort is top priority get yourself a Car Camping Mattress. These luxurious portable beds turn roots and rocks into plush, heavenly clouds. You won’t want to go home.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The REI Lite-Core 1.5 is nothing to write home about. It’s a basic inflatable pad with average quality foam and fabrics. We like the anti-slip surface, which is grippier, but less uniform, than the Therm-a-Rest ProLite’s surface.
The Lite Core 1.5 weighs 27 oz. and consumes over four liters of your backpack. Aside from being heavy and large, this pad has few technical flaws. It’s the best at nothing, and therefore slightly more affordable than the better pads. The Nemo Zor and Therm-a-Rest ProLite have better foams that are more comfortable, more compressible, and lighter.
The Lite-Core 1.5 retails for $10 less than the Therm-a-Rest ProLite. The ProLite is well worth this additional sum.
— Chris McNamara and Max Neale
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: September 11, 2013
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