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Hands-on Gear Review

Therm-a-Rest Ridge Rest SOLite Review

   

Men's Sleeping Pad

  • Currently 3.0/5
Overall avg rating 3.0 of 5 based on 1 review. Most recent review: January 17, 2016
Price:   $30 List | Varies from $20 - $30 online
Compare prices at 9 resellers
Pros:  Light, highly durable, easy to set up, inexpensive, simple
Cons:  Uncomfortable, grooves collect dirt and snow
Manufacturer:   Therm-a-rest
Review by: Jeremy Bauman ⋅ Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ January 17, 2016  
Overview
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 you're on a big wall in Yosemite or you're 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 out there, read up on the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm.

RELATED: Our complete review of men's sleeping pads

  • Photos
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

Because it is made with foam, the Therm-a-Rest Ridge Rest SOLite is extremely durable, but comes a such a low price that it's nearly disposable. The downside of this pad is that it isn't very comfortable.

Performance Comparison


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The Ridge Rest is ideal for snow camping especially when used in conjunction with another pad. For maximum warmth, use this pad with the shiny side up.
Credit: David Clark

Comfort


Many climbers and backpackers take comfort in the fact that the this foam pad will not fail them during month-long expeditions, thru-hikes, and big wall climbs. But there isn't much comfort to be found when sleeping on the Ridge Rest SOLite. Do not be mistaken, this pad yields a sleep surface that's much more comfortable than the bare ground, but while sleeping on it, you'll be very aware that you're sleeping on the ground. If a pine cone or rock happens to be under you, you can expect to feel it. Sleeping pads achieve comfort when they contour to your body and disperse weight evenly throughout. To this end, there is only so much that .6 inches of foam can do!

Compared with plush, inflatable pads, the SOLite performed pitifully. Its closest contender is the Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite SOL. The self-inflating Nemo Zor scored nearly as low as these two, but scored a little higher because it does a better job of absorbing the irregularities of the ground.

Weight


The regular size SOLite that we tested tips the scales at 14 oz. This is heavier than some of the lightest weight inflatable pads, but this extra weight buys you extreme durability. The small version weighs just 9 oz! Another benefit of closed cell foam pads is that you can easily shave the sides or the length with scissors to save weight.

If you don't need a super durable pad and don't mind spending more money, we loved sleeping on the Therm-a-Rest XLite that weighs just 12 oz and is much more comfortable than the SOLite.

Warmth


With an R-value of 2.8, this pad is warm enough for three-season use. A popular use for this pad is to add it to an inflatable pad for winter camping. When used in this way, you'll have a versatile, durable sleep system for year-round use. Both this pad and the Z-Lite Sol are commonly seen on winter expeditions across the globe. They are also great for use in a hammock or on a port-a-ledge. Make sure to use with the reflective shiny side up for maximum warmth.

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Here the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Camper and Ridge Rest are combined for a comfortable winter set-up. Combining pads has the advantage of redundancy in case something happens to one of your pads.
Credit: David Clark.

Packed Size


If you are determined to put this pad inside your pack, know that it eats up a lot of space. One good way to do this, however, would be to use the pad as a pack liner. This is a great option in haul bags as the pad will help protect your gear from wearing the inside of the bag. Among backpackers, most people will opt to put the pad on the outside of their packs. While we all hate the loss of style points associated with strapping stuff to the outside of your pack, at least you won't have to worry about damaging this pad while you scrape through brambles.

If you're looking for a foam pad that isn't quite as bulky, be sure to check out the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite SOL that uses an accordion design to save space.

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Credit: Jeremy Bauman

Durability


Because it is constructed with foam, this pad earns a 10/10 for durability. It will withstand heaps of abuse year after year. Taking an extended break on the trail? Just pop the pad off your pack and you're all set to nap in comfort.

When stowed, we like to wrap a small cord or strap around the pad to keep it secure in a bundle. In camp, use this vertically as a stool or sit on it for a comfortable seat. Often we place this pad on top of logs to form a bench for several people.

Best Applications


In our opinion, the SOLite really shines when supplementing another pad for winter use. It also works really well for ultralight backpacking especially when you shave the sides down for maximum weight savings. Further, it is a great pad to use when sleeping in a hammock.

Value


For $30 in the size medium and $20 in the small, buying this pad should be a no brainer. This pad will pretty much last you indefinitely and isn't likely to need replacing. If you're on a budget and need a cheap pad that won't let you down, look no further than the SOLite.

Conclusion


The Therm-a-Rest Ridge Rest SOLite is an excellent closed cell foam pad that boasts a high level of durability and is very inexpensive. It has been used across the globe and is especially well suited to ultralight backpacking and winter expeditions. The nice thing about foam is that you don't have to worry about durability, and the pad's low cost makes it relatively dispensable. Some of our testers love bringing these foam pads on backpacking trips because they make rest stops much more enjoyable. Just slip the pad off your pack, throw it on the ground, and enjoy a nap or at least a good seat! While foam pads like this have largely been replaced by more comfortable inflatable models, the durability of foam affords them a place in our gear repertoire.

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As you can see, the RidgeRest is quite thin. Also notice the ridges along the surface. These help reduce weight and help the pad roll more easily. However, they can also collect dirt and snow.
Credit: Jeremy Bauman

Other Versions


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Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite and Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite - Women's
  • Cost - $160
  • Top Pick Award Winner!
  • Most comfortable lightweight sleeping pad available
  • Regular size weighs 12oz
  • Small size weighs 8oz
  • Women's specific includes reflective layer for added warmth
  • Packs down to 1L size

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Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm
  • Cost - $200
  • Editors' Choice Award Winner!
  • The best winter sleeping pad available
  • Ideal for cold weather camping (recommended as the pad to buy if looking to own a single, multipurpose inflatable pad).
  • Regular size weighs 15oz.
  • Packs slightly larger than 1L in size
  • Consistently proven to be the warmest, most comfortable, lightest and most compact sleeping pad available.

Accessories


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Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Pump Sack
  • Cost - $30
  • Used to inflate any Thermarest pad
  • Functions as a stuff sack also, doubles as a camp seat by placing rolled and partially inflated NeoAir pad inside sack
  • Ideal for wintertime use when air from your lungs condenses inside the pad, decreasing the warmth
  • 3.8 oz

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Therm-a-Rest Compack
  • Cost - $30
  • Turns any pad into a camp chair with back support
  • Works with all Thermarest Pads, including NeoAir and self-inflating pads
  • 6oz.

Jeremy Bauman


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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: January 17, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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