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  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Washington, DC

    Default sleeping pad recommendations

    For the last 10 years or so, I have been using a Therma-Rest Prolite Plus that weighs in at about 23 oz. This seems like a good place for me to lose some weight.

    What do you recommend?

    I'm a section hiker, maybe 20 nights a year on the trail, mostly 3-season so I'm looking more for comfort than insulation. I sometimes stay in shelters but mostly use an REI Superlight Bivy.


  2. #2


    There are plenty of air pads to choose from. I have a 1st gen Therm-A-Rest NEO-AIR, which after 12 years of frequent use is still holding up. I probably have at least 500 nights on it by now.

    Just try to get one which doesn't sound like your crushing potato chips every time you roll around.
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  3. #3
    GSMNP 900 Miler
    Join Date
    Birmingham, AL
    Journal Entries


    I'll second the advice of the Thearm-a-rest Neo-Air

    I've got the xLite - Large (wanted the extra width because I used to be a stomach sleeper and hated my arms hanging off the sides). The weight is quoted at 16oz.
    But if you are more of a side sleeper, the regular size is quoted at 12oz.

    They also make an extra light weight version... but the material is so thin, people who have seen it seem to want to question it's longevity. It hasn't been out very long (not like the now decade long history the xLite has).

    Some of the Neo-Air styles have been loader than others. The first generation that were rectangular were known for being very loud when you rolled around. I've got the mummy shape it it's quieter (and the level to which it is blown up also plays a part in the loudness).

  4. #4


    Agree with Neo Air mummy style. The more you use it, the quieter it gets. It can be a bit "crunchy" sounding when new. Mine is very well used and quiet now.
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  5. #5


    I don't recommend anything in particular. Thermarest NeoAir XLite and Exped Hyperlite would be the first things I looked at, though.
    I chose Big Agnes over NeoAir ~8yrs ago, because I felt the vertical baffles were more comfortable, and wasn't willing to pay Exped prices. A couple years later, an Exped Downmat UL7 replaced my leaky BA Insulated Air Core. Maybe another year later I bought a Synmat Hyperlite for 3 season use, and slept happily ever after.

    I already had a short ProLite and ZLite, plus an uninsulated Klymit X Lite for summer, but tried everything I could get my hands on before switching to a full-length inflatable.
    That's my recommendation-try everything you can before buying, because what's comfortable for someone else might not be for you.
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  6. #6


    I find the NeoAir more comfortable to sleep on than the Hyperlite, but haven't had any reliability issues with either. The Downmat is the best, but it's relatively heavy. That comes out only for the coldest trips. If Thermarest would finally replace their valve system it would be a massive improvement. The Exped inflate/deflate unit works far, far better than stretching the plastic over the ancient thermarest valve and praying it doesn't slip back off while you squeeze air into it.

  7. #7
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
    Join Date
    Essex, Vermont


    I know a lot of people prefer full-length pads, but here's my setup for ground sleeping: 6 to 8 sections of z-rest, with a Nemo Tensor short mummy pad. The z-rest is one ounce per section, and the Nemo is 8 or 9 ounces depending on whether or not it's insulated. Total 14-17 ounces.

    Upside: the z-rest provides extra insulation, protects the inflatable from puncture, is handy to toss down for a sit pad or afternoon lounging, and serves to get you through a night if the mattress springs a leak (obviously, this strategy works with any air pad). The Nemo is not too expensive.

    Downside: I don't know how durable the Nemo is, but so far so good. The only real downside is the short pad - if you don't like that, you don't like that!

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