Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Comfortable, warm, non-slip surface.
Cons: Heavier and bulkier than Therm-a-Rest ProLite and Nemo Zor.
Best Uses: Ideal for winter conditions, but also wonderfully comfortable in the summer.
The Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus is a high quality all-purpose inflatable foam pad. This is more comfortable and warmer than the Therm-a-Rest ProLite and Nemo Zor. But its also larger and heavier. We prefer the ProLite to the ProLite Plus because its lighter and more compact.
The best all-purpose portable pad is the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm, which provides the ultimate blend of warmth, comfort, weight savings, and pack ability. Taking weight savings a level further, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite weighs only 12 oz. and packs down super small. For those who spend less time backpacking and more time base and car camping opt for the Nemo Astro Insulated, a cheaper and slightly wider 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.
If comfort is top priority get yourself a Car Camping Mattress. These luxurious portable beds turn roots and rocks into plush, heavenly clouds.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The ProLite Plus is the warmest and most comfortable portable inflatable foam pad weve pad we tested. Its contoured shape provides ample slumber space while shaving off unnecessary ounces. The main thing that sets this pad apart from the companys ProLite, the Nemo Zor, and Pacific Outdoor Equipments Peak Oyl Mtn is comfort. The ProLite Plus is 50% thicker than the ProLite and 100% thicker than the Zor. This added air and foam makes sleeping on your side much more comfortable and warmer. Therm-a-Rest measures the ProLite Pluss R-Value at 3.8, which makes the pad close to twice as warm as the ProLite. This is a versatile, all-season pad that priorities comfort. The best part about the pad (and all other inflatable foam pads) is its flat surface, which is more comfortable to lay your head directly on than bumpy NeoAirs or other ridged sleeping pads.
Despite being warm and comfortable, the ProLite Plus weighs a pound and a half, which firmly sets it among the heavier backpacking pads weve tested. The pad packs to a passable 3.25 Liters (about a third larger than the companys ProLite and over twice the size of the NeoAir XTherm). Its therefore geared more toward the casual backpacker than the fast and fast and light crowd.
The NeoAir series offers much more performance and comfort. The NeoAir All-Season is our top rated all-purpose portable pad. Its warmer, lighter, and more comfortable (for side sleepers) than the ProLite Plus. We recommend the AllSeason if you can afford its $40 increased price.
The ProLite Plus is a good value if you favor the flat surface of self-inflating foam pads. If youre willing to give air core pads a try we recommend the Nemo Astro Insulated or Therm-a-Rest NeoAir All Season.
The Therm-a-Rest ProLite Women's, $100, is a women's specific version of this pad. It is the finest minimalist self-inflating foam sleeping pad on the market. It weighs a reasonable 16 ounces, packs down to just over two liters, and employs a durable time-tested design.
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite and Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Women's, $130, is the most comfortable lightweight sleeping pad in existence. A Regular size weighs only 12 ounces and the Small a mere 8 ounces. Both pack down ludicrously tiny. The XLite has become the standard pad for ultralight trips of all types i
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm, $180, is the best winter sleeping pad on the planet. It weighs a mere 15 ounces, packs to 1.4 liters, and its internal air baffles and reflective barriers keep you nearly as warm as a propane heater. From Alaska to Greenland to Patagonia, and all across the Lower 48, our testers have used the XTherm side-by-side, over the past two years, with top competing pads. Our tests consistently show the XTherm is the warmest, most comfortable, lightest, and most compact sleeping pad available. If we were to have one single pad for all activities it would be this one.
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.
— Chris McNamara and Max Neale
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: May 12, 2013
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