Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Light, durable, easy to set up, inexpensive.
Cons: Mildly comfortable, bulky, grooves collect dirt.
Best Uses: Budget or occasional use backpacking.
The Therm-a-Rest Ridge Rest SOLite is the updated version of the ultra classic Ridge Rest. This improved pad adds a reflective layer that increases warmth without adding any weight. The Ridge Rest SOLite is the go-to sleeping pad for anyone who prioritizes price, durability, and weight. It works in just about any situation, whether on a big wall in Yosemite, backpacking, alpine climbing, or car camping. Unfortunately, this is one of the larger pads on the market and is not the most comfortable. Get the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol for a more compact closed cell pad, or the Therm-a-Rest Ridge Rest Solar for a thicker and warmer closed cell pad.
For the best all-purpose inflatable pad get the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm. See our complete Sleeping Pad Review for complete scoring.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
You can stumble into camp late, thrown down the Ridge Rest and sleep in moderate comfort just about anywhere. This is the ultra classic sleeping pad. It works well in a variety of environments, is moderately comfortable, highly durable, very light, and is a great value. Whether you're big wall climbing, backpacking, alpine climbing, mountaineering, or just getting into camping, the Ridge Rest is a stellar all-purpose pad. You can also use it for other things such as yoga, sports games, and even moving furniture. Its price and durability make it a steal.
We found that the grooves collect dirt and the ridged surface isnt the best to lay your head on directly. The pads large volume forces you to strap the pad to the outside of your pack. This can lead to problematic snags when hiking off trail or simply may not be an option for some activities. We prefer to get the pad in a small, which is more compact and only weighs 9 ounces.
Superior value for a pad that will last for years.
Personal Stories from Chris McNamara
This has been my go to pad for two decades. Sure inflatable pads are a little more comfy and more compact, but I have always loved the durability and ease of set up of a Ridge Rest. Most of my camping is near the car or on rocky terrain and it is nice to pull up to spot late at night and just throw down a pad without worrying too much about it popping. Also, the Ridge Rest is by far the best option for big wall climbing. I buy it in the small size (48 inches) and use one or two to line the haul bag for low angle routes. This protects the haul bag from getting holes. Last of all, you can't beat the price. I would not hesitate to buy this as a first pad or just about anything. If you want a warmer but bulkier version of this pad, get the Therm-a-Rest Ridge Rest Solar.
If you're looking for something similar, the Therm-A-Rest Z Lite Sol, $45, wins our Best Buy Award, as it is the most versatile lightweight closed-cell sleeping pad we've tested. The pad works in just about any camping situation, whether on a big wall in Yosemite, alpine climbing, mountaineering, backpacking, or car camping. This is also the most compact closed-cell foam pad we've tested and the main thing that distinguishes it. An aluminized reflective layer makes it roughly 20% warmer than the traditional Z-Lite.
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite, $130, is the most comfortable lightweight sleeping pad in existence and wins our Top Pick Award. 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 in all conditions. This is our testers' favorite sleeping pad for multi-day trips.
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm, $150, wins our Editor's Choice Award, as it 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.
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Pump Sack, $30, is our favorite sleeping pad pump. By inflating your pad with clean, dry air your pad remains lighter and may last longer.
The Therm-a-rest NeoAir Pillow, $35, or the Down Pillow, $40, are ultralight pillows that are great for those that might get a stiff neck when sleeping without a pillow.
Therm-a-Rest Compack - $50. This Compack Chair turns any 20" wide sleeping pad into a portable camp chair.
— Chris McNamara and Max Neale
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: February 27, 2012
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