The Therm-a-Rest brand has been a staple for years. I have a BaseCamp mattress going on 13 years of use, but it takes up as much space as a folding chair in my car! When I started looking for something a bit more space friendly, the X-Therm was at the top of the list. Though it has been around for a few years and newer products have been released, it still beats others in the market with its warmth to size and weight ratio. As a colder sleeper, this means it takes up much less space than other warmer sleeping pads when camping. Though I have only used it car camping, it has been slept on in -10C, on snow and through a number of wet, rainy nights in the tent. The small packed size also means it doesn’t take up a lot of space when three people and their respective camping and climbing gear, and food, are packed like a tetris game into a Toyota Corolla.

Pros

  • It’s super light and packable! Weighing only 430-grams and small enough to pack down to the size of a 1L Nalgene, this sleeping pad is a backpacker’s dream!

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  • It’s warm. With an R-Value of 5.7, it is very warm for its size and weight. My BaseCamp mattress has an R-Value of 5.0, so I don’t notice much of a difference in terms of warmth, but the size difference is quite substantial.
  • You can blow it up yourself, or use the handy stuff sack to fill it up. The bottom of the bag has a plastic hole to act as a nozzle. Once the end of the cap is put inside, you can use the stuff sack to blow it up versus being light headed after using your lungs. It took me around 25-30 filled bags to get it inflated enough.

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  • It’s thick enough when blown up that there is a lot of space between you and the ground.

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  • It’s narrow, good if you’re sharing a tent with someone and want to save on space.

Thermarest_Neoair_Xtherm-1

Cons

  • I move around when I sleep, and found that with the tapered shape, my legs would end up on the floor of my tent. I personally would want something a bit wider like the X-Therm Max, which has a rectangular shape.

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  • Because the reflective thermal layer is a bit like thin tin foil, it makes a lot of noise when you move around. Not ideal if any of your companions are light sleepers.
  • I found that over a few nights of being used, I had to top up the air a bit each night.
  • As I sleep better on my side, and the X-Therm is an air-only mattress (no foam support), I have to sleep in a semi-fetal position to be comfortable. Sleeping on my back or stomach puts my spine at a weird angle meaning less sleep. Mattresses with foam provide support differently to allow for this. To compensate, I let out some of the air from my mattress to allow my hips and shoulders to sit straight.
  • Length – though I am only about 5’6’’, I ended up getting the regular length one. The shorter one tops out exactly at my height, meaning no room for a pillow, feet hanging off the end, etc.  I wish there was a mid-sized one.  

In all honesty, none of the cons listed above are big enough to suggest not owning one of these mattress. It is absolutely worth it to purchase the wider one, deal with the longer length, customize the air fill, and wear earplugs to have a packable, light, easy to inflate and very warm mattress to sleep on while camping. Everyone knows — good things come in small packages!

3 Comments

  1. Have you tried the Exped Winterlite (synmat or downmat)? I would be interested in seeing a review comparing the Exped mats to the X-therm. The winterlite mats are very light and warm, Winterlite Synmat R4.7 at 405gms and Winterlite Downmat R7 at 475gms. I have recently been using Winterlite and it doesn’t make as much as noise as my tent mate’s Neoair. Exped says that the outside baffles are larger to keep you on the mat more and it does seem I stay on the mat more then my old one. They do also come in a medium wide which is nice for those that like extra pad room. The use of the Exped UL Schnozel take only about 2+ bags to fully inflate the mat and I have been using it also as a stuff sack.

    I have been impressed with the Exped mat (I haven’t used a NeoAir mat to compare though) and I am curious to know your thoughts on it or better yet, a side-by-side review would be great.

    Cheers.

    • I haven’t tried the Exped Winterlite. Good idea though. I will see what we can do to compare.

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