Trail Lite Updates
Since we last tested the Trail Lite, Therm-a-Rest has given it their new WingLock valve. This valve is wider than the previous valve and is designed to allow more airflow. The "wings" toggle the valve open in a way that allows air to move in, but not out, helping you battle that pesky loss of air while inflating. The R-value has decreased a bit, from 4.9 to 4.5 on the new pad. The two pads are shown side-by-side for comparison; the updated one is pictured first.
Since we haven't tested the updated Trail Lite, we can't yet vouch for the updates. Be aware that all text below is still our account of the previous pad with the old valve.
Hands-On Review of the Trail Lite
The women's specific Therm-a-Rest Trail Lite Features 75D polyester outer fabric and new urethane foam that has reduced the pad's weight by an ounce or two. This pad is now made in a brighter green color and only available in the "regular" size. The price, dimensions, and 4.9 R-Value remain the same. We've kept some photos of the older version in this review to show some of the features that remain the same.
This all-around excellent value pad will work well for women who are looking for extra warmth and comfort on their camping adventures and are willing to carry the extra ounces to pay for it.
The Trekker and the Trail Lite holding it down at base camp.
The Trail Lite is the third warmest women's sleeping pad we have tested by a hair. Both the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus SI and the REI AirRail Plus's R-Values are 5.2 and the Trail Lite's is 4.9, which are considerably close to that of a 4-season pad. (The ProLite Plus is marketed as a 4-season pad and it has a lower R-value.) Therm-A-Rest uses fewer die-cuts (holes) in the insulating foam to create warmer spots with more padding and insulation in the torso and foot areas. This pad also has a less tapered silhouette at the feet to create a larger sleeping area for greater warmth and comfort. Some models, like the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite are more tapered and considerable to sport a slim, mummy style profile.
The closest competitor in this review is the lighter, smaller Therm-A-Rest Prolite Plus - Women's that has an R-value of 4.6; however, the Trail Lite is rated warmer and is $20 cheaper. According to the diagram on Therm-A-Rest's website, an R-value of 4.9 puts the comfortable sleeping temperature down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Check out our Buying Advice for more about R values.
Thanks to its extra foam and wider shape, our testers found the Trail Lite to be one of the more comfortable sleeping pads. The most comfortable is the REI AirRail 1.5 Self-Inflating - Women's, which has inflated, cradling side-rails to keep you from rolling off your pad and allows you to feel like you're wrapped up and cozy. Although they are supposed to have the same thickness (1.5 inches), we think the Trail Lite is thicker and more comfortable (when comparing the ProLite Plus and the Trail Lite side by side). The added comfort comes from its wider cut and the cushier foam under our torso.
The rectangular shape makes it easier to lay side by side with another sleeping pad for those times when you may want to cozy up to your tentmate. If you're looking for entirely rectangular mats, the REI Trekker Women's and the Big Agnes Q-Core SLX Short are very comfortable options that also have rectangular shapes.
The Trail Lite is the warmest pad we reviewed and our testers think it is one of the most comfortable because of the extra padding in the torso area.
The Trail Lite's top and bottom are made from a durable 75 denier polyester material, making it one of the more durable sleeping pads in this review, along with the AirRail. This pad would do well somewhere you are tentative to bring a less durable pad to, such as the desert (sharp things) or somewhere with sharp rocks. We like the new lighter green color of the top materials but are a bit worried that it could start to show dirt over time.
The Therm-a-Rest Trail Lite for women is a durable choice at a great price.
With the alterations to this product, the Trail Lite's weight has dropped by a few ounces to 25.6 ounces. We've added a few heavier items to our ranks including the Sea to Summit Comfort Plus (34.4 ounces) and the Trekker (30.7 ounces). The Trail Lite is no longer the heaviest sleeping pad in this review. However, we would still be hesitant to carry this sleeping pad on an extended backpacking trip and would instead reach for the featherweight Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite - Women's. The saying on the trail goes: ounces equal pounds and pounds equal pain!
You can see where Therm-a-Rest has attempted to lighten the pad up by removing strategic pieces of foam in the mattress near the head and feet; they do keep the foam intact around the torso to maintain warmth. Many women's products include extra insulation around the hips and feet as these are areas where women typically get colder.
You can see the Therm-a-Rest Trail Lite's die-cut holes that make it lighter weight.
The Trail Lite is one of the bulkiest of the pads we tested. Its packed size as we measured it is 10.5 x 6 inches. The Therm-A-Rest Prolite's packed size is 10 x 4.25, and the ProLite Plus is 10 x 5.75 — a slightly smaller package. A bigger packed size equals a bigger backpack. The Trekker has the bulkiest packed size now because it does not fold in half and is a big long tube that is awkward.
The Therm-a-Rest Trail Lite's packed size is quite large.
This sleeping pad is great for 3-season campers who are cold sleepers. It can also be stretched to 4-season use by pairing it with a non-inflating foam pad. This model is a decent option for short backpacking trips or any kind of supported camping like car camping or river trips.
The Women's Trail Lite provides an excellent bang for your buck. At $80, you can't go wrong. This sleeping pad is warmer, more comfortable, and only slightly heavier and bulkier than the Prolite Plus Women's, which retails for $20 more. If you would rather sacrifice a few ounces on your back for a few more pennies in your wallet, and potentially a few more winks of sleep, go with this pad. If you're looking for a slightly warmer and more deluxe base camping pad, you can pay a premium of $200 for the Comfort Plus. We'd prefer to land somewhere in the middle price wise and would drop $160 for our Editors' Choice the NeoAir XLite.
The Therm-a-Rest Trail Lite is a great value for a warm and comfortable mattress. For cold sleepers, it is a good solution for 3-season camping; paired with a foam pad, it can be used all four seasons. The added padding in the torso and foot areas makes this pad slightly more comfortable than the ProLite Plus, and it is $20 cheaper to boot. It went on a diet recently and dropped a couple of ounces, which means it is no longer the heaviest of the bunch. This sleeping pad is durable and comes in a pretty shade of green.
The Trail Lite is self-inflating, but sometimes we were impatient and blew it up ourselves because we wanted to lie down on it!