View Full Version : Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite vs Exped SynMat UL 7 Air Pad
I know these are pricey pads and I'm willing to spend the money for the weight savings and more comfort. My main concern is the noise. Last year a guy in the shelter had one of the older TR that was so noisy I didn't sleep! I use earplugs now but never hike alone and would be concerned about disrupting anyone else.
Can anyone give input on this issue or any other suggestions of comparable pads?
I've got the NeoAir XLite. It is a bit noisy but it doesn't bother me. I went out on an overnighter with a few friends once and they told me that if I ever brought that pad again they'd throw it in the fire as soon as I pulled it out of it's stuff sack.
I think the older models were noisier. I have the new Xlite and don't really find it all that noisy. I love it.
Do you guys regularly use something under the xlite? I'm worried about punctures even though I try to be careful with site selection - its not always possible.
Something like a thin evazote pad?
I have the Exped Synmat 7 and a friend has the Neo Air...the Exped is much quieter and softer to the touch.
I have both an exped and an xlite. I find the exped is more comfortable, but the difference is not huge. The xlite is so easy to set up and to pack, and packs in such a small volume that it is my choice of the two when I plan to be out for a longer hike. I found that the xlite made very little noise compared to the older neoairs. I've also been amazed at the durability of the xlite; I try to take care of it some, but don't baby it too much. It has yet to have its first puncture after over 6 weeks use on the AT.
I had the NeoAir XLite, used about 10 times and it would not stay inflated. REI then ordered the Synmat UL 7 to replace the Neo Air.
I used the SynMat on a camping trip to the beach this week. It's so easy to inflate and not noisy at all when you roll over. However, for my back which lacks normal curvature, it was not nearly as comfortable.
My friend and I shared a divided tent, and she has the newest NeoAir, the women's. its very noisy.
When I had my NeoAir no one complained, and I'm going back to it.
BTW, the salesperson at REI said his air mats always get leaks, he's gone through 3 now. I have to have it....it's the only way I can sleep on the trail..
I went with the Sunmat UL7 because of noise fears, but noise aside, there's something to be said for how easy the UL 7 inflates. Because of its larger uni-directional valve you can take in deep lung-fulls of air and exhale fully...even take your mouth off the valve for a rest. With the XLite (and most other inflatables) you have to keep your lips on the valve to stop air from escaping and do most of your breathing through your nose.
My Exped UL7 has been great. Got it from Bivouac Outdoors cheaper, and faster than I could have from REI.
Cool, on sale again, save $70 over REI. Buy $5 more, or the bigger size, it's free shipping.
I've had two Exped UL7s. The first was used for about 20 nights before taking it on my thru hike this year. Made it to Eliza Brook Shelter near the Kinsmans from Katahdin when the glue on one of the chambers let go, luckily it was only about a foot long at the foot of the pad, it got me to Manchester Ctr Vt where REI shipped me a new one at no cost. So total nights on that pad about 45. The second which I sent home and returned for the Xlite when I got home made it to just outside Pearisburg Va, this time the glue let go on the whole length of the pad leading to two(luckily) terrible nights before I had my Big Agnes mailed to Woods Hole. About 70 nights on that one. A pad that costs over 150 should last far longer than 45-70 nights. Go with the Thermarest, its a bit noisy, but far better value, guy I hiked with had one and it wasn't noisy enough to keep me up and it lasted the whole thru hike.
Oops, my bad. You'd have to buy 2 to get free shipping. So you could get 2 pads for about $15 more than 1 pad at REI, since REI has free shipping right now.
Having owned both, I can say for sure that the xlite is noisier than the exped. The exped is pretty much silent but the xlite has a potato bag crinkle to it. The original neoair was not that noisy, but because of the overzealous use of aluminum baffling, the new xlite has a ton of crinkle to it.
The Neoair Xlite is very tough, no problem with leaks.