The women's ProLite is Therm-A-Rest's tried and true sleeping pad. Its time-tested self-inflation system and durable materials make it an easy choice for summer backpacking trips. It boasts a low weight and packs down to one of the smallest of all the self-inflating pads we tested. However, it is much thinner than the other models in this review and is less comfortable; it also has a lower R-value. If you're looking for the best lightweight, comfortable sleeping pad for backpacking, you might as well splurge and go for the Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite - Women's. If you don't care about packed size and can sacrifice a little weight for comfort, the Therm-A-Rest ProLite Plus - Women's is a warmer and cushier option.
Therm-a-Rest ProLite - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Lightweight, compact, versatile, non-slip surface, self-inflating
Cons: Low R-value, not as comfortable as other thicker pads, bulkier and heavier than others
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The lightest and smallest self-inflating sleeping pad we tested, the Therm-A-Rest ProLite falls a little short in the warmth and comfort departments.
At 3, the ProLite has the lowest R-value of the women's sleeping pads we tested. We recommend this pad for 3-season camping as long as the temperatures don't drop too low. We would not recommend sleeping on snow with the ProLite, but if you want to extend the season of this pad, you could supplement its warmth by using a foam pad such as the Therm-a-Rest Ridge Rest SOLite (underneath your ProLite).
Compared to standard non-inflatable foam pads like the Therm-A-Rest Z Lite Sol, the ProLite is a definite step up in comfort. Our testers found it to be relatively comfortable; however, it is only one inch thick and is the thinnest inflatable air mattress we tested. It is also slightly narrower than the Therm-a-Rest Trail Lite - Women's even though the specs say they are both 20 inches wide. The most comfortable pad we tested was the REI AirRail 1.5 Self-Inflating - Women's, which is a whole 3 inches wider and is super cushy.
The ProLite shines in this category. Though it is the lightest inflatable pad we tested, it is also one of the most durable. It features a burly 70 Denier fabric on its bottom, making it much tougher than the NeoAir XLite's fragile 30 Denier bottom. A testament to its durability is that one tester used the women's ProLite for her entire thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, and she never had to patch it once. The new ProLite is a darker red color and shows dirt less than previous models.
The ProLite weighs in at one pound two ounces, making it one of the lightest self-inflating air mattress we tested. It is not as lightweight or as cushy as the NeoAir, but it is a much more affordable option and is more comfortable than a standard non-inflating pad.
At 10 x 4.25 inches, the ProLite also has the smallest packed size of all the self-inflating mattresses we tested, though it is still not as small or light as the NeoAir XLite.
The ProLite is a good choice for any 3-season backpacking trip; where it shines over the NeoAir XLite is in its durability. If you are going somewhere where abrasion or rough, unprotected sleeping conditions are likely — such as the desert - the ProLite would be a good choice.
The ProLite costs $90, and there are better pads out there for the same price or less money. You can spend $10 more and get the ProLite Plus, which is almost double the warmth and more comfortable, but also heavier and bulkier.
If you're looking for something that is small, light, durable, and self-inflating, especially in a women's version, the ProLite may be ideal. We like all of the above-mentioned things about this pad, but wish that it were just a little warmer.
— Jessica Haist