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Hands-on Gear Review
Therm-a-Rest Ridge Rest SOLite Review
Cons: Uncomfortable, grooves collect dirt and snow
Bottom line: Built for ultralight backpackers and hammock sleepers who place low weight and simplicity over everything else.
R Value: 2.8
Weight (oz.): 14 oz.
The Therm-a-Rest Ridge Rest SOLite is the updated version of the ultra classic Ridge Rest. This improved pad adds a reflective layer that increases warmth without adding any weight. The Ridge Rest SOLite is the go-to sleeping pad for anyone who prioritizes price, durability, and weight and works as well big walling as it does car camping. Unfortunately, this is one of the larger pads on the market and is not the most comfortable. Get the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite SOL for a more compact closed cell pad, or the Therm-a-Rest Ridge Rest Solar for a thicker and warmer closed cell pad. For the best all-purpose inflatable pad out there, read up on the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Because it is made with foam, the Therm-a-Rest Ridge Rest SOLite is extremely durable, but comes a such a low price that it's nearly disposable. The downside of this pad is that it isn't very comfortable.
Many climbers and backpackers take comfort in the fact that the this foam pad will not fail them during month-long expeditions, thru-hikes, and big wall climbs. But there isn't much comfort to be found when sleeping on the Ridge Rest SOLite. Do not be mistaken, this pad yields a sleep surface that's much more comfortable than the bare ground, but while sleeping on it, you'll be very aware that you're sleeping on the ground. If a pine cone or rock happens to be under you, you can expect to feel it. Sleeping pads achieve comfort when they contour to your body and disperse weight evenly throughout. To this end, there is only so much that .6 inches of foam can do!
Compared with plush, inflatable pads, the SOLite performed pitifully. Its closest contender is the Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite SOL.
The regular size SOLite that we tested tips the scales at 14 oz. This is heavier than some of the lightest weight inflatable pads, but this extra weight buys you extreme durability. The small version weighs just 9 oz! Another benefit of closed cell foam pads is that you can easily shave the sides or the length with scissors to save weight.
If you don't need a super durable pad and don't mind spending more money, we loved sleeping on the Therm-a-Rest XLite that weighs just 12 oz and is much more comfortable than the SOLite.
A 2.8 R-value works well for three seasons. A popular use for this pad is to add it to an inflatable pad for winter camping. When used in this way, you'll have a versatile, durable sleep system for year-round use. Both this pad and the Z-Lite Sol are commonly seen on winter expeditions across the globe. They are also great for use in a hammock or on a port-a-ledge. Make sure to use with the reflective shiny side up for maximum warmth.
If you are determined to put this pad inside your pack, know that it eats up a lot of space. One good way to do this, however, would be to use the pad as a pack liner. This is a great option in haul bags as the pad will help protect your gear from wearing the inside of the bag. Among backpackers, most people will opt to put the pad on the outside of their packs. While we all hate the loss of style points associated with strapping stuff to the outside of your pack, at least you won't have to worry about damaging this pad while you scrape through brambles.
If you're looking for a foam pad that isn't quite as bulky, be sure to check out the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite SOL that uses an accordion design to save space.
Because it is constructed with foam, this pad earns a 10/10 for durability. It will withstand heaps of abuse year after year. Taking an extended break on the trail? Just pop the pad off your pack and you're all set to nap in comfort.
When stowed, we like to wrap a small cord or strap around the pad to keep it secure in a bundle. In camp, use this vertically as a stool or sit on it for a comfortable seat. Often we place this pad on top of logs to form a bench for several people.
In our opinion, the SOLite really shines when supplementing another pad for winter use. It also works really well for ultralight backpacking especially when you shave the sides down for maximum weight savings. Further, it is a great pad to use when sleeping in a hammock.
For $30 in the size medium and $20 in the small, buying this pad should be a no brainer. This pad will pretty much last you indefinitely and isn't likely to need replacing. If you're on a budget and need a cheap pad that won't let you down, look no further than the SOLite.
The Therm-a-Rest Ridge Rest SOLite is an excellent closed cell foam pad that boasts a high level of durability and is very inexpensive. It has been used across the globe and is especially well suited to ultralight backpacking and winter expeditions. The nice thing about foam is that you don't have to worry about durability, and the pad's low cost makes it relatively dispensable. Some of our testers love bringing these foam pads on backpacking trips because they make rest stops much more enjoyable. Just slip the pad off your pack, throw it on the ground, and enjoy a nap or at least a good seat! While foam pads like this have largely been replaced by more comfortable inflatable models, the durability of foam affords them a place in our gear repertoire.
— Jeremy Bauman
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