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 light self-inflating sleeping pad and a great choice for longer backpacking trips.
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
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.
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.
Becca packing up the compact Therm-A-Rest ProLite Women's sleeping pad.
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 $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.
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.