Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $48 - $120 | Compare prices at 11 resellers
Pros: Lightweight, compact, versatile, non-slip surface, durable material
Cons: Thicker pads (such as NeoAirs) are more comfortable, heavier and bulkier than Nemo Zor.
Best Uses: Light and fast activities such as traveling, alpine climbing, and backpacking
The Therm-a-Rest ProLite is the finest minimalist self-inflating foam sleeping pads on the market. It weighs a reasonable sixteen ounces, packs down to just over 2 liters, and employs a durable time-tested design. Though the ProLite is heavier and bulkier than the Nemo Zor, weve found it to be both more comfortable and more durable. The ProLite Plus is warmer and more comfortable, but also heavier and bulkier. We prefer the ProLite.
If you want to branch out from the air/foam construction- and therefore get a warmer, more comfortable and lighter pad- consider a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir. The two most noteworthy of the four models are the NeoAir Xlite, a minimalists dream come true. The XLite weighs 12 oz., packs to one liter, and is, by most accounts, considerably warmer than the ProLite. For winter use, opt for the warmer and slightly heavier NeoAir XTherm. Weighing less and packing smaller than the ProLite, the XTherm is the ultimate all-purpose all-season sleeping pad.
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 abovementioned 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 its not. Both pads weigh only 14 ounces.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Therm-a-Rest ProLite is one of our favorite sleeping pads. It weighs a reasonable sixteen ounces, packs down to just over two liters, and is more durable than other lighter inflatable foam pads, namely the Nemo Zor. The ProLites non-slip surface enables you and the pad to remain together throughout the night better than most pads and much better than the Big Agnes Air Core. The ProLites adequate foam is moderately warm and reasonably comfortable- it prioritizes weight savings over comfort. This is an excellent and time-tested pad. Our testers have spent more than a year sleeping on this pad and recommend it to anyone who favors the flat surface of a self-inflating foam pad, or doesnt want to cough up the money for a NeoAir.
While the ProLite is, light, compact, and versatile its not as comfortable as the ProLite Plus, Pacific Outdoor Equipment Peak Oyl Mtn, or any pad from Therm-a-Rests NeoAir series. From a performance perspective, the NeoAir series have left inflatable foam pads in the dust. Inflatable foam pads are heavier, bulkier, and not as warm. The two main reasons to get one are: 1) price (the ProLite is about $50 cheaper than the NeoAir AllSeason and $90 cheaper than the XTherm) and comfort (some people prefer the flat surface of inflatable foam pads to the ridged surface of the NeoAir).
This pad excels at all three-season fast and light activities. Whether it is hiking the Pacific, spending a few nights kayaking on the Maine Coast, or traveling internationally, this pad is a tried and true, versatile performer.
The ProLite is totally worth $100 if you need a small and light full-length pad that can do almost anything. The NeoAir All Season is a better all-purpose multi-day pad, but youll need to cough up another $50 for that. The Nemo Zor is slightly cheaper than the ProLite, but, due to durability concerns, we prefer the ProLite.
For inflation consider the Nemo Disco Pad Pump, a 2.2 oz foot pump or the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Pump Sack (3.8 oz.), which doubles as a campstool, stuff sack, or backpack liner. We recommend one of these for inflating the pad in the winter, when water vapor from your lungs condenses inside the pad.
The Therm-a-Rest Compack Chair (6 oz.) turns almost any pad (from any manufacturer) into a comfortable camp chair with back support.
There is a women's version of this pad. There are three differences between the normal ProLite and the Therm-a-Rest ProLite Women's: warmth, size and color. The Womens version is 6 shorter, slightly warmer, and comes in a different color with a floral type pattern.
— Chris McNamara and Max Neale
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: February 23, 2014
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