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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
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Price:  $95 List | $59.99 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 22, 2018
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59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#11 of 11
  • Warmth - 25% 4
  • Comfort - 25% 6
  • Durability - 10% 8
  • Weight - 25% 6
  • Packed Size - 15% 7

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 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 Sea to Summit Ether Light is a warmer and cushier option.

New Version Available

This pad has a new valve; scroll down to learn more.

November 2019


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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Lightweight, compact, versatile, non-slip surface, self-inflatingComfortable, quiet, lightweightVery light, super compact, comfortable, versatile, warmer than normal XLiteLightweight, small packed size, included pump sackComfortable, good valve system, warm
Cons Low R-value, not as comfortable as other thicker pads, bulkier and heavier than othersExpensive, heavier than the NeoAir XLiteEdges collapse when weighted, noisy, expensive, delicate materialsNot as comfortable as Ether Light and same weight, thinHeavy and bulky
Bottom Line A lightweight and somewhat compact mattress that doesn't seem to have a particular niche these days.This versatile sleeping mat is super comfortable and a great choice for all your backpacking needs.This super light and compact sleeping pad is a great choice for someone looking to got fast and light.This lightweight sleeping pad is relatively comfortable, but we think it's a Jack-of-all-trades and master-of-none.This comfortable and warm sleeping pad with unique "rails" that will cradle you when you sleep is a great value.
Rating Categories ProLite Ether Light XT Insulated NeoAir XLite Ultralight Insulated Co-op AirRail Plus
Warmth (25%)
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4
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6
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10
Comfort (25%)
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6
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8
Durability (10%)
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6
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9
Weight (25%)
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Packed Size (15%)
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Specs ProLite Ether Light XT... NeoAir XLite Ultralight Insulated Co-op AirRail Plus
Measured Weight 18 oz 15 oz 11.8 oz 14.6 25 oz
Thickness 1 in 4 in 2.5 in 2 in 1.5 in
Width 20 in 21.5 in 20 in 21.5 in 23 in
Type 3 season 3.5 season 3 season 2.5 season 3 season
R Value 3 4.2 3.9 3.3 5.2
Packed Size 11.02 x 3.94 in 11 x 4.5 in 8.27 x 3.94 in 4 x 9 in 9.84 x 5.51 in
Tested Length 66 in 66 in 66 in 72 in 66 in
Bottom Material 50D Mini Hex Rip Poly 40D nylon 30D High Tenacity Nylon 40D nylon 75D Polyester

Our Analysis and Test Results

ProLite Updates


The ProLite sports a new valve since we last got a night's rest on it. The updated valve (pictured here) is Therm-a-Rest's WingLock valve, which boasts one-way inflation and a wider opening. Their website states that the updated valve allows for 3 times faster inflation and 5 times faster deflation. Though we can't vouch for those specs since we have yet to test the WingLock valve ourselves, we are excited at the prospect and look forward to checking it out.


The review from here on pertains only to the previous model of the ProLite that we tested.

Hands-On Review of the ProLite


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.

The ProLite is the lightest self-inflating sleeping pad we tested  a great choice for longer backpacking trips.
The ProLite is the lightest self-inflating sleeping pad we tested, a great choice for longer backpacking trips.

Warmth


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 pairing it with a lightweight foam pad.

From top to bottom: Therm-A-Rest's ProLite  ProLite Plus and TrailLite
From top to bottom: Therm-A-Rest's ProLite, ProLite Plus and TrailLite

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 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 Plus Women's, which is a whole 3 inches wider and is super cushy.

Andrea Rodgers relaxing on the Therm-A-Rest ProLite Women's in the MSR Hubba Hubba NX after a satisfying day of hiking and swimming in the Grand Canyon.
Andrea Rodgers relaxing on the Therm-A-Rest ProLite Women's in the MSR Hubba Hubba NX after a satisfying day of hiking and swimming in the Grand Canyon.

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 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.

Weight


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.

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 still not as small or light as the NeoAir XLite.

Becca packing up the compact Therm-A-Rest ProLite Women's sleeping pad.
Becca packing up the compact Therm-A-Rest ProLite Women's sleeping pad.

Best Application


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.

Value


The ProLite costs $95, and there are better pads out there for the same price or less money. You can spend $10 more and get the ProLite Plus or the AirRail, which are almost double the warmth and more comfortable, but also heavier and bulkier.

Conclusion


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.

The Therm-A-Rest ProLite is a good choice for any 3-season backpacking trip. Where it shines over the NeoAir XLite is in its durability. Seen here at Upper Boyscout Lake near Mt. Whitney in a Black Diamond Beta Light.
The Therm-A-Rest ProLite is a good choice for any 3-season backpacking trip. Where it shines over the NeoAir XLite is in its durability. Seen here at Upper Boyscout Lake near Mt. Whitney in a Black Diamond Beta Light.


Jessica Haist