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Therm-a-Rest ProLite - Women's Review

A lightweight and somewhat compact mattress that doesn't seem to have a particular niche these days
Therm-a-Rest ProLite - Women's
Photo: Therm-a-Rest
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Price:  $95 List | $94.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 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
Manufacturer:   Therm-a-Rest
By Jessica Haist ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 8, 2020
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51
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 11
  • Warmth - 25% 4
  • Comfort - 25% 4
  • Durability - 10% 7
  • Weight - 25% 6
  • Packed Size - 15% 6

Our Verdict

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 a decent choice for summer backpacking trips. It has a relatively 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. Therm-a-Rest has upgraded its valve system to a more efficient one-way valve, but its R-value got knocked down. If you're looking for the best lightweight, comfortable sleeping pad for backpacking, you might as well splurge and go for a higher rated sleeping pad than this one.

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Price $94.95 at Backcountry
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Star Rating
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Pros Lightweight, compact, versatile, non-slip surface, self-inflatingComfortable, light, small packed sizeComfortable, good valve system, warmInexpensive, comfortable, durableComfortable, warm, non-slip surface
Cons Low R-value, not as comfortable as other thicker pads, bulkier and heavier than othersNot very warm, can feel boaty, expensiveHeavy and bulkyBulky and heavyHeavier and bulkier than the Therm-a-Rest ProLite
Bottom Line A lightweight and somewhat compact mattress that doesn't seem to have a particular niche these daysThis air mattress inflates to a huge comfy pad but packs down very smallA comfortable, warm sleeping pad with unique "rails" that will cradle you when you sleepNotable for its price and performanceThis warm and comfortable sleeping pad is a great choice for 4-season camping, but it is on the heavy and bulky side
Rating Categories ProLite Big Agnes Q-Core SL... Co-op AirRail Plus Trail Lite Therm-a-Rest ProLit...
Warmth (25%)
4.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
7.0
Comfort (25%)
4.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Durability (10%)
7.0
7.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
Weight (25%)
6.0
7.0
3.0
3.0
5.0
Packed Size (15%)
6.0
10.0
6.0
4.0
5.0
Specs ProLite Big Agnes Q-Core SL... Co-op AirRail Plus Trail Lite Therm-a-Rest ProLit...
Measured Weight 18 oz 16.6 oz 25 oz 25.6 oz 22 oz
ASTM R Value 2.7 3.2 3.7 4.9 4.2
Thickness 1 in 4.5 in 1.5 in 1.5 in 1.5 in
Width 20 in 20 in 23 in 20 in 20 in
Packed Size 11 in x 5.8 in 8.27 x 3.94 in 9.84 x 5.51 in 11.02 x 5.91 in 9.84 x 6.3 in
Tested Length 66 in 66 in 66 in 66 in 66 in
Bottom Material 50D mini hex rip polyester Ripstop nylon 75D polyester 75D polyester 50D polyester

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. Therm-a-Rest has given it an updated one-way valve system that helps with inflation and durability.

Performance comparison


The Therm-a-Rest ProLite is relatively light and durable.
The Therm-a-Rest ProLite is relatively light and durable.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Warmth


With new testing standards, the ProLite has been downgraded to an R-value of 2.7. This is one of the lowest R-values in our fleet. We recommend this pad for summer 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 pairing it with a lightweight foam pad.

The ProLite (top) and the ProLite Plus, the Prolite is very thin and...
The ProLite (top) and the ProLite Plus, the Prolite is very thin and not very comfortable.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Comfort


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 other foam pads we've reviewed. If you're looking for comfort, any of the other pads in this review would be a better choice.

The women's ProLite is not very comfortable for side sleepers...
The women's ProLite is not very comfortable for side sleepers because it is so thin.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Durability


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 pads with fragile 20-30 Denier materials. 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. With its valve upgrade, this model is probably more durable as there had been complaints that the old valve would leak easily.

The Therm-a-Rest ProLite Women's new Wing Lock valve system is...
The Therm-a-Rest ProLite Women's new Wing Lock valve system is greatly improved over the old valve.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Weight


The ProLite weighs in at one pound two ounces, making it one of the lightest self-inflating sleeping pads we tested. It is not as lightweight or cushy as others in this review, but it is a much more affordable option and is more comfortable than a standard non-inflating pad.

Packed Size


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 nowhere near the smallest packed size overall.

The Therm-a-Rest ProLite has the smallest packed size of the foam...
The Therm-a-Rest ProLite has the smallest packed size of the foam insulated models but isn't the smallest overall.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Value


The ProLite is not a great value, and there are better pads out there for the same price or less money. You can spend $10 more and get a comparable model, some of which are almost double the warmth and more comfortable, but also heavier and bulkier.

Conclusion


If you're looking for something small, light, durable, and self-inflating, especially in a women's version, the ProLite may be ideal. 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. We like all of the above-mentioned things about this pad, but wish that it were just a little warmer and more comfortable.

The Therm-a-Rest ProLite is much easier to roll up now with its new...
The Therm-a-Rest ProLite is much easier to roll up now with its new valve system.
Photo: Ian McEleney

Jessica Haist