Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm Review

Neoair inflating competition! I lost.

Neoair inflating competition! I lost.

Bottom Line:

Super light, super packable, very comfortable, air mattress. Might need to be babied on uneven or sharp ground to avoid puncturing it and it does make a crinkling noise when you move around on it but overall it’s an amazing piece of gear. Highly recommended. We use ours 12 months a year.

How I chose it:

Before buying this pad I had been using a Big Agnes Insulated Air Core, the largest one they sold. It weighs ~0.9kg and took the better part of 10 minutes to blow up, usually leaving my lips feeling like rubber but it was really comfortable. I slept like a log. I still use it now for car camping.

But, there came a time when I wanted to climb higher in the mountains and do it faster and to make that endeavour easier I started to research ways to reduce my pack weight. The Big Agnes was also too large to fit in the tent I wished to buy, The Sierra Designs Convert II. I needed a pad with a mummy shaped design that took up as little space when inflated as possible.

After some research I decided upon the Neo Air XTherm. Some friends I knew were already using it and it came highly recommended online.

Observations since using it:

I’ve used this pad exclusively since purchasing it for every backpacking trip that I’ve been on. It’s incredibly light and packs down really small. In regards to comfort, which is subjective, I’ve found it to be reasonably comfortable.

It inflates quickly. It is recommended in Winter to not inflate these pads by breathing into them as the water vapor from your breath will condense back to a liquid when it cools and remain in the pad. Therm-a-Rest supplies a stuff sack with this pad that has a valve attached to it so that you can inflate the pad by opening and closing the stuff sack and rolling the air from it into the pad this way.

I’ve never used this method of inflation. I find it slow and laborious compared to just blowing into it. I’ve been using the pad through all 4 seasons for the last 2 years and, so far, I’ve noticed no water staying inside it.

Two XTherms in our Convert II tent

Two XTherms in our Convert II tent

Pros:

Light: The regular size, which I bought, weighs 430g’s/15oz’s. For a pad that inflates to 6cm/2.5” thick which can be used through the depths of Winter on top of snow and ice this weight is simply amazing.

Packable: When deflated it’s like rolling a tents rain fly. You can roll it or stuff it anyway you want. I fold it in thirds lengthwise and then roll it and it ends up being around the size of a nalgene bottle.

Durable: Even though it is an inflatable pad, I seldom worry about puncturing it. I do take precautions to have no sharp items around it though but the material does feel adequately burly. The bottom side of the pad uses thicker material that has a tacky feel to it, this stops the pad sliding around on the slick floors of tents which is a nice feature.

Versatile: This isn’t a superlight pad that can only be used in the warm months below the alpine or a heavy pad that will only get carried during the Winter months. This is a true 4 season pad for use from sea to summit every day of the year. It’s light for the Summer months but also warm for the Winter months.

Warm: Dovetails nicely into the pads versatility. This pad is exceptionally warm for how light it is. It’s designed so that the warmth from your body is reflected back to you, and the cold from the ground below you is trapped in the bottom of the pad. I’ve slept out in a snow pit, with this pad directly on the snow and it felt as warm on my back as sleeping in my own bed. Amazing technology!

Cons or areas to improve:

Noisy: The material is crinkly. If you roll from side to side at night, like I do, it makes noise. I personally don’t notice it as I have my ears covered inside my mummy sleeping bag but other tent mates or cabin mates have commented on it. Something to consider.

Narrow: If you like to roll around as you sleep you will quickly find yourself off this pad. It’s narrow. My legs used to come off it in the night but I’ve found I’ve just gotten used to it over time. I rarely end up off the pad now.

Fragile: This is more a mental thing than anything and seems counter to the pro I mentioned earlier about the pad being durable. The nature of an inflatable pad means you do have to account for the fact that if it springs a leak or gets punctured you are going to have to repair it or end up with virtually nothing insulating you from the cold ground beneath you.

Expensive: Compared to a lot of other mattresses this one is pretty costly. The old adage “You get what you pay for” comes to mind. It’s the holy grail of sleeping pads in my opinion, it’s light and small but also durable, warm and comfortable. I’m willing to pay a little extra to not have to sacrifice on any of the features I’m looking for.

Specifications:

Size: Regular
Color: Reflex Gray
R-Value: 5.7
Weight: 15 oz / 430 g
Width: 20 in / 51 cm
Length: 72 in / 183 cm
Thickness: 2.5 in / 6.3 cm
Packed dimension: 9 x 4.0 / 23 x 10
Top fabric type: 30d High Tenacity Nylon
Bottom fabric type: 70d Nylon Soft Grip
Core: Nylon

Places to Purchase it:

Amazon: Thermarest Neo-Air Xtherm Sleeping Pad

Author: Leigh McClurg

I grew up in County Dublin, Ireland and moved to British Columbia, Canada with my wife in 2010. I fell in love with being in the Backcountry and Mountains that are all around me here and try to spend all of my free time exploring those wild places. My main goals are to chase happiness, see as much of this planet and its cultures as possible and grow every day through knowledge and experiences.

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