Hands-on Gear Review

REI Lite-Core 1.5 Review

REI Lite-Core 1.5
By: Chris McNamara and Max Neale  ⋅  Feb 5, 2012
Price:  $85 List
Pros:  Comfortable, durable.
Cons:  Packs larger than Therm-a-Rest ProLite and Nemo Zor; weighs more, too.
Manufacturer:   REI

Our Verdict

The Lite-Core 1.5 is REI's best all-around inflatable sleeping pad. It has attractive styling, reasonable features, and is comfortable and warm. Although the Lite-Core is a reasonable value for an entry-level pad, we recommend spending a few extra dollars for the Therm-a-Rest ProLite, our highest rated inflatable foam pad.

If you want to branch out from air/foam construction — and therefore get a warmer, more comfortable and lighter pad — consider a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir. At 12 ounces, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite is the best ultralight pad available and the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm, just three ounces more, is the ultimate, do-it-all sleeping pad for multi-day trips in all conditions.

Our Analysis and Test Results



The REI Lite-Core 1.5 is nothing to write home about. It's a basic inflatable pad with average quality foam and fabrics. We like the anti-slip surface, which is grippier, but less uniform, than the Therm-a-Rest ProLite's surface.


The Lite Core 1.5 weighs 27 oz. and consumes over four liters of your backpack. Aside from being heavy and large, this pad has few technical flaws. It's the best at nothing, and therefore slightly more affordable than the better pads. The Nemo Zor and Therm-a-Rest ProLite have better foams that are more comfortable, more compressible, and lighter.


The Lite-Core 1.5 retails for $10 less than the Therm-a-Rest ProLite. The ProLite is well worth this additional sum.

Chris McNamara and Max Neale

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Most recent review: September 11, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

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Average Customer Rating:  
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0% of 1 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
2 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
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3 star: 50%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 50%  (1)

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   Sep 11, 2013 - 03:05pm
noodle · Backpacker · Bay Area, CA

Beware when buying REI-branded products, as they may not stand behind these products as well as higher-end outdoor product manufacturers do. (More on that below.)

My sleeping pad leaks air in large areas directly through the fabric. This was confirmed using soapy water over all surfaces. I suspect that the inside coating is coming off in large areas, allowing air to pass through the fabric. The overall appearance is good and does not suggest abuse or hard service at all. My pad is of the same exact design as the pad pictured, having numerous rubberized nonslip circles on the orange surface.

When I approached REI about a replacement for this pad, they told me they required proof of purchase--even though this is an REI-branded product. I have no such proof of purchase, as I got this pad from someone else who was the original purchaser, and I'm no longer in contact with that person. I understand that people have for years abused REI's previously liberal return policy, without proof that they even purchased the products at REI. But not accepting an REI-branded product for warranty was totally unexpected, as they *are* the manufacturer and I have nowhere else to turn with this defective product. I have never had such a problem with other outdoor equipment manufacturers, and I likely will not purchase an REI-brand product in the future, as saving only a marginal amount of money for an inferior product with an inferior warranty simply does not make sense to me.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.

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