ProLite Plus Updates
Therm-a-Rest introduced their new WingLock valves, which are designed to make inflation and deflation quicker and easier. They are a bit wider to allow for more airflow, and the valve toggles into a position allowing airflow in, but not out. Below, the updated ProLite Plus is pictured first, and the version we tested shown second.
Since we haven't tested the updated pad, the text below still tells our account of the previous model.
Hands-On Review of the ProLite Plus
A warm and cushy sleeping pad, the Therm-a-Rest Prolite Plus - Women's is the four-season version of the ProLite - Women's, and as a result is a little bulkier, heavier, and slightly more expensive.
The Women's ProLite Plus is a great winter camping option, especially when paired with a foam pad for extra insulation.
The ProLite Plus is a warm sleeping pad, but no longer near the top of this bunch in terms of R-Value, it does have more insulation in the torso and foot areas than the men's version. It has an R-value of 4.2 while the men's regular ProLite Plus only has an R-value of 3.8. This model could be a good choice for men who are 5'8 or shorter, or who are willing to sacrifice a bit of length to their sleeping pad for more warmth. This sleeping pad would be a decent choice for winter expeditions, especially ones that are base camp oriented, or for winter camping in general. It is warm enough on its own, but add a lightweight foam pad underneath for extra warmth on especially cold trips.
The ProLite Plus is a comfortable choice for cold weather camping.
Therm-A-Rest uses a lot of foam in the ProLite Plus model, making this mattress quite cushy. While the Plus is a comfortable pad, its shape is not cut quite as wide as the Trail Lite or the super comfortable Sea to Summit Ether Light which is wider in the hip area than the shoulders. The ProLite Plus has a stickier bottom material intended to prevent it from sliding around; this is clever, but it tends to pick up dirt more easily.
The ProLite Plus has lightened up its materials and has less durable 50 Denier materials that are still abrasion resistant, but less so than the old 70D version. We like that its darker red/orange color hides dirt and stains more easily than the lighter colored REI AirRail and Trekker.
Our furry friend helped us test the ProLite Plus' durability.
This category is the reason why we have not selected the Therm-A-Rest ProLite Plus as one of our favorites. Although it is a warm and durable sleeping pad, the ProLite Plus is heavy. Weighing in at 22.4 ounces, we would hesitate to bring this pad with us on longer backpacking trips when we have to carry it. Instead, we would reach for the much smaller and lighter Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite - Women's and pair it with a standard foam pad to make up for the lower R-Value. If you plan on car camping and weight is not an issue, this pad may be of significant interest to you.
You can see the die-cut holes in the ProLite Plus' foam for weight savings.
The ProLite Plus is also quite bulky and hard to roll up. Its packed size is 10 x 5.75", significantly larger than the NeoAir or the ProLite. Getting it back in the stuff sack is a challenge.
The ProLite Plus is about middle of the pack in terms of packed size. Shown here with a Nalgene for reference.
The ProLite Plus is a great choice for any kind of base camping activities like mountaineering and winter camping. It is comfortable and warm but heavy. It's not the best choice for trips where you will be carrying it around, such as long backpacking trips. It is very durable, so if you feel like you are hard on your sleeping pads, it could be a good alternative to the NeoAir, but you would sacrifice on weight and packed size.
At $105, the ProLite Plus isn't the best value. The Therm-a-Rest Trail Lite is slightly heavier and bulkier, but just as durable and has a warmer R-Value, and it retails for only $80. The Trail Lite also makes a great option for any base camping activity. If you want an exceptionally lightweight option, we recommend splurging for the Therm-A-Rest NeoAir.
The Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus is warm and comfortable and would be a decent choice for winter expeditions and car camping trips, especially for cold sleepers or for men who are willing to sacrifice a bit of length. That being said, for these uses, you may be better off going with the much cheaper Therm-A-Rest Trail Lite. It is durable, so if you're looking for a mattress you can be a bit rough with, it would be a good solution. Otherwise, if you're going to carry it around on your back frequently, we recommend the much lighter Therm-A-Rest NeoAir.
The ProLite and the ProLite Plus' packed size.