On Test: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm

I was once a die-hard advocate of closed-cell foam mats. After all, you can’t puncture foam! But having used the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm on the majority of my exploits over the past two years, it’s fair to say I’m now an inflatable pad convert!

From UK wild camping to Alpine snow holes, I quickly found that the benefits of the XTherm far outweighed any perceived pitfalls. Although it’s marginally heavier than its ultralight sibling; the NeoAir XLite, the difference is negligible and pack size remains exactly the same. What you get for the additional 80g is a far more durable and puncture resistant base fabric as well as heat reflective baffles that raise the XTherm’s thermal rating [R-Value] to a mind-boggling 5.7. That’s almost double that of the NeoAir XLite, which already had a very impressive R-value of 3.2.  But what does that all mean Dave? Well, basically, even if the ground temperature was -30’C, you won’t feel a thing!

Therm-a-Rest XTherm

XTherm: 4-Season Bliss!

With such high thermal properties, the XTherm is suitable for a wide range of environments.  Those living in temperate climates, such as the UK and Europe, will appreciate the added warmth over other pads when temperatures fall at night.  The same is true in both arid and desert environments. However, where the XTherm really comes into its own is during winter. It far exceeded my expectations during two winter seasons in the Scottish Highlands as well as numerous nights spent in emergency snow holes in the European Alps!  Having used it myself in temperatures as low as -20’c (-4’F), the XTherm performed superbly and without even a hint of cold seeping up through the pad.

Accessorise……

The stuff sack doubles as an inflation pump.  This is a good feature, particularly if you want to avoid breathing moisture into the internal baffles which has the potential to freeze.  However, I’ve always opted to self inflate, which only takes around 15 breaths and I’ve never had any issues.  Therm-a-Rest also offers a lightweight, battery-operated mini pump, although you honestly don’t need it.  On the other hand, carrying the puncture repair kit that comes supplied with the XTherm is an absolute must! While I’m yet to suffer a hole in my XTherm (and I’ve slept on some pretty gnarly ground), should the unthinkable happen, you may as well sleep directly on the floor!  Therm-a-Rest also make a fun and lightweight accessory that converts the NeoAir range into an inflatable chair. This increases the pad’s utility even further and, although I’ve not used it myself, it does look pretty cool!

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm

Summary

OK, I admit, I do still reach for my trusty Thermarest Z-Lite for when I go backpacking significantly further afield or during extended trips where I need something to withstand an untold amount of abuse. But in general, the XTherm is by far the best and most versatile sleeping mat I have ever used and its warmth to weight ratio is unquestionably the best on the market.  Coupled with its small pack size, the NeoAir XTherm ticks a lot of boxes that are important for adventures who value a good night’s sleep!


The Specs:

R-Value: 5.7!

Weight: 430g

Size: 183cm x 51cm x 6.3cm

Pack Size: 23cm x 10cm

Top Fabric: 30d Rip Nylon

Base Fabric: 70d Nylon

Price: £120-150 (but worth every penny!)

Buy It!


Alternatively…..

For the ultralight minimalist, you should check out the multiple award-winning Klymit Inertia X-Frame. Packing down to about the size of a can of coke, at 258g, it is the lightest full-length inflatable mattress on the market and is ideally suited to lightweight summer based activities. I admit that its cut-out ‘loft pockets’ do look a bit odd and the concept of sleeping with the mat inside your bag may seem alien to some. However, the logic is sound and I can attest to many comfortable nights sleep on this skeletal looking mattress, particularly if you’re a back sleeper. It can be fully inflated in just 4 breaths too! Magic!Klymit Inertia X Frame

3 Responses to “On Test: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm

  • Anonymous
    11 months ago

    This looks like a very nice mattress for travellers and very comfortable.

  • A very comfortable mattress for all adventurous people.

  • Anonymous
    9 months ago

    I think a friend of mine has this. He likes to travel and keeps an eye out for stuff like this.

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