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Gear Review: Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad - Next Adventure

Gear Review: Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad

Value Rating: 8 Durability Rating: 8 Overall Rating: 8 Location of Test: All over the place Duration of Test: For the past three years this has been my only sleeping pad Product Name: NeoAir XLite Product Brand: Therm-A-Rest Best Use: Backpacking or any other time you need to carry a comfortable bed to sleep on the ground. Men's: Small - 47'' | Medium - 72'' | Large- 77'' Women's: One size - 66'' Thermarest NeoAir XLite The Full Review: I grew up canoe camping in the spectacular Boundary Water Canoe Area of Northern Minnesota. This is where I learned to camp and one great thing about canoe camping is that neither weight nor volume are of much concern on the typical canoe trip. You can bring it all, your iron skillet, camp chairs, games, books, you name it! A bulky self-inflating sleeping pad was of no concern. I quickly learned that this is decidedly not true when backpacking, however. After my first trip on a section the AT three or four years back a new sleeping pad was the first piece of gear I replaced. Enter the Thermarest NeoAir XLite. I have loved and trusted this sleeping pad from the beginning. It is light and packs down very small while also offering remarkable comfortable and warmth. I am six feet tall have the Men's size medium. When packed away it is smaller than a water bottle and weighs just 12oz. It also offers impressive insulation for being as slim as it is. It also impressively warm. It's considered a three-season pad, but I have spent relatively warm nights on snow and felt fine. For true winter camping, the XLite paired with closed cell foam pad would offer plenty of insulation and comfort. I have also been very pleased and honestly a little surprised with its durability. I certainly haven't babied this pad over the years and it has never gotten a hole or leaked or had any other issue. If it were to get a hole it is easily patched using the included patch kit. The XLite comes in four sizes, 47'', 66'', 72'', and 77'', with the 66'' length being a little warmer than the others. Thermarest calls the 66'' the women's specific pad offering an extra layer of insulating foil. If you're a cold sleeper or just want a pad that will be comfortable down to a colder temperature you may consider the 66'' women's size. If I were to do it again this is what I would buy and use a pillow to make up the extra room. A shorter pad means less weight and more importantly, less time spent blowing it up. The Good Comfortable, packable, lightweight, and warm. Excellent for the weight minded person who wants a versatile sleeping pad. The Bad: Two main complaints about the NeoAir XLite is that it is crinkly and loud and that it takes a long time to blow up. I've found both to be true, but only partially. The crinkly sound does go away with time as the foil insulation layer wears in. This can be expedited by crumpling up the pad and laying back out repeatedly while binging your favorite new show on Netflix. There's no denying that it does take time to blow up these pads, especially compared to self-inflating options out there. I choose to think of it as deep breathing exercises before bed. Thermarest does sell a very slim airbag/stuffsack that will make inflation go faster and with less effort. I've tried using this but never got the hang of it- it does work though. The Bottom Line: This is a top-notch, lightweight, versatile sleeping pad that has treated me very well for years of backpacking, boating, car camping, more. I would certainly buy this pad again.
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