Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Lightweight, takes up very little space in your pack
Cons: Not very durable, not very warm
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Our Analysis and Test Results
This pad's closest competitor is the Insulated AXL from Big Agnes. The AXL has a thicker, more "life raft" feel, putting a few more inches between your weary back and the cold hard ground, but Big Agnes doesn't state an R-value, and testers didn't notice any difference between the insulative properties of the ALX and the Uberlite. The AXL packs down incredibly small, albeit not as tiny as the Uberlite. Both of these pads are intended for summer use only, so the warmer, heavier NeoAir Xtherm is a more versatile quiver-of-one 3 season solution for those who don't want to run out and buy five different pads.
The Uberlite has a huge advantage over the Z-Rest and the other foam pads in our review. Among the inflatable pads, it's bested by the massive Nemo Tensor and the dual-chambered Sea-to-Summit Comfort Plus Insulated. Both of these pads are wider than the Uberlite and more stable on the sides, though the Comfort Plus weighs three times more than the Uberlite. For the minimalist who has a strict weight budget and sticks to it, this pad will add comfort to your kit without going over your weight limit. Compared to more insulated offering from the NeoAir series, the Uberlite is much quieter and doesn't crinkle when you roll around on it.
Weight and Packed Size
The Uberlite is king when it comes to weight and packed size; only the Big Agnes AXL Air comes close at 12.9 oz. The Uberlite is almost five ounces lighter and packs down a little smaller - around the size of a beer can.
To improve the warmth of the Uberlite and stretch it into truly three season use, you'll want to double up with a foam pad like the Thermarest Z-Lite. This foam pad will increase the R-value and protect your Uberlite from sharp rocks and pointy sticks, with a weight penalty of an additional 14 oz.
An R-value of 2 is impressive for an eight-ounce pad, no doubt. For the strictly summertime fastpacker, you won't find a better, more comfortable option. For the alpine lite climbing of the Sierra summer, this is a perfect option, sleek and packable, plus you can put a little more between yourself and the rocks by flaking out your rope and putting your pad on top. For mountaineering with multiple bivvys on snow and Ice, The NeoAir Xtherm with its R-value of 5.7 is your best bet for warmth and weight savings from an inflatable pad. Just remember to bring your repair kit, since a popped sleeping bad can lead to an uncomfortable or even dangerous night out.
Ease of Inflation
Remember the ancient times when we all used to just blow up our air mats with perfectly adequate power of our lungs, and it worked, and no one complained? The Uberlite brings us back to those simpler times, and after unscrewing the 2-way valve, we were able to inflate the Uberlite with 18-20 deep breaths. If you hate blowing up your mattress, you can purchase a pump sack from Thermarest, adding another three ounces to your load, and in the opinion of our testers, not really making it any easier on yourself.
This pad is constructed from nail-bitingly-thin 15 Denier nylon. We didn't manage to puncture during our "average" use while slumbering on flat granite or bedding down in the pine duff with the occasional pinecone thrown in, but did we agonize! This puppy has got some thin skin, and we highly recommend putting down a ground tarp, a rope, a space blanket, or anything to protect your comfy prize. It includes a patch kit; never leave it behind.
This isn't a budget option. You could get an equally or even better night's sleep on the REI Co-op Flash, but you're going to be carrying more than twice the ounces and taking up twice as much space in your pack. For the dedicated fast packer, a decent night sleep on a sub ten-ounce pad is worth price.
We're always impressed with the balance of light weight and comfort from the folks at Thermarest, and the Uberlite is no exception. While the Neoair Xtherm retains its status as Editors' Choice because of its three-season warmth and versatility, the Uberlite earns its place in our packs for long summer days warm summer nights on the go.
— Matt Bento