Welcome to my review of the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite NXT Sleeping Pad! As a seasoned broke backpacker, I’ve tried my fair share of sleeping pads. From the ultra-lightweight to the ultra-comfortable, and let me tell you, the XLite NXT is a real game-changer.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, nothing compares to getting a good night’s rest while out in the great outdoors. While there are many factors that can play into how well you sleep, from your sleeping bag to your tent, few are as important as the sleeping pad.
Back when I was first starting out on my backpacking journeys, I was naive enough to believe inflatable and foam sleeping pads were unnecessary and that I would be “strong” enough to survive a few nights without one. Boy was I wrong. I was okay most of the summer, but my first winter night that hit below 25 degrees proved to be my undoing. I think I got about an hour of terrible sleep before packing up and getting the fire going again. Needless to say, I went out the following week and picked up my first sleeping pad.
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Thermarest NeoAir Review
Lucky for you all, I’m here to spread my wisdom from my many, many failures! Starting off with something I learned the hard way, did you know heat loss to the ground can sometimes be 3 times that of heat loss to the air? Not to mention your body temperature can lose a degree or two of body heat while sleeping, all contributing to you having a rough night out in the cold. Now you see why a sleeping pad should be on every camping checklist!
But don’t lose hope just yet, sleeping pads can offer you protection from this. When shopping for a sleeping pad, R-Value is one of the most important decision factors you can look at to see what will be a right fit for you. The higher the R-Value, the more insulated protection the pad is going to offer you on those icy winter nights. The scale ranges from R1 to R5, with R1 offering protection in the summer months to R5 being the warmest you can get from a sleeping pad.
Now that you have a bit more of an idea of just how essential a sleeping pad can be to your gear buildout, let’s dive into my review of the Therm-a-rest NeoAir NXT Sleeping Pad and what makes it one of the top contenders for an all-around best all-season sleep system and also why it’s one of the best sleeping pads on the market in 2024.
Packed Size and Weight
For my fellow ultralight backpackers out there, at the end of the day, it’s all about the ounces and where you can cut them from your pack. I’ve definitely been guilty of packing lower quality or less comfortable sleeping pads just to shave a few ounces of my final pack weight. I’ve also been one to hunt down the cheaper gear, truly putting the broke in Broke Backpacker. That being said, when you utilize both ends of the quality spectrum, you get a good grasp on what gear is worth spending more money on and what gear you can go cheap. Through a lot of trial and error, sleeping pads are no longer the gear I cut corners on.
One of, if not the best part about the pad for me is just how small it packs down to. It’s about the exact size of a 32oz Nalgene bottle, sitting at 9 in x 4.1 in packed into the included stuff sack. My previous pad was about four times this size deflated, yet inflated to the same dimensions.. so it may have been love at first sight for me. I also backpack with a 55 Liter pack, so being able to have more space for a few extra snacks and extra water is a huge bonus for me.
This therm-a-rest pad also weighs in at just 13 oz, so you’ll have no problem keeping your packed weight down without sacrificing a good night’s rest. Overall, I found it rather impressive how light and small this thing is while providing all-season comfort.
Now, you could spend a fat chunk of $$$ on the WRONG present for someone. Wrong size hiking boots, wrong fit backpack, wrong shape sleeping bag… As any adventurer will tell you, gear is a personal choice.
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I don’t know about you all, but after a hard day on the trail, the last thing I feel like doing is inflating my sleeping pad. It’s cumbersome, and I always seem to get light-headed while blowing the last of my tired body’s air supply into the pad. One of the things many forget to consider when planning their camping trip is the extra time and effort spent on things like pitching tents and pumping up sleeping pads!
I’ve used a few self-inflating pads in the past, but I feel like more times than not they wouldn’t work quite right and I’d still have to finish blowing it up in the end. The NeoAir XLite actually comes with an included pump sack that connects to the pad’s WingLock Valve, allowing you to inflate the pad without wasting your own breath. The pump sack can also be squeezed into the stuff sack with the sleeping pad, so you’re not taking up much more space bringing it along.
This pump sack works all right, though it’s not my favorite method of inflating. I think it’s good in theory, but knowing myself, I’ll probably just shave the ounces and blow it up the old-fashioned way with a little mouth-to-mouth action.
Comfort & Warmth
The NeoAir XLite NXT kind of sounds like the name of a futuristic spaceship, not a sleeping pad, but hey if sleeping on this pad feels like floating through space and keeps me warm, I’m all for it.
The thing that struck me the most when laying on this pad was how quiet it was. Previous pads I’ve used would threaten to wake up the entire camp if I readjusted, but this one allowed for all the tossing and turning I please with less than a peep. My occasional snoring was another issue, but therm-a-rest assured me this was more of a me problem and to seek help elsewhere.
Now down to the nitty-gritty. The NeoAir XLite NXT boasts an impressive R-value of 4.5 (R5 being the highest value), meaning it’ll keep you warm on even the chilliest nights. And let’s be real, there’s nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night feeling like a human popsicle.
Combine this pad with one of the best sleeping bags on the market and you’ve got yourself a comfy and warm set up that will leave you fresh and rejuvenated for the adventures ahead.
You never know what life will throw at you while out and about traveling. One second your sleeping pad is used for sleep, the next you’re trying to impress your buddies by floating out onto the lake on it. Now, I don’t recommend the second one, but my point is you want a sleeping pad you can trust not to break on you at the first turn away from normalcy.
This NeoAir pad is constructed from 30D rip HT Nylon, an ultra-lightweight synthetic material that is no stranger to the outdoor world. This material is used in hammocks, lightweight backpacks, and gear sacks, going to show how trusted this material is in the outdoor sphere. Whether on the floor of a tent or in the dirt for a night of stargazing, you should have no worries about this thing failing you.
In the unfortunate event your Therm-a-rest pad does get punctured by a jagged rock, fear not, for the brand has also provided a compact instant repair kit. This handy tool allows you to mend any tears or punctures in your pad, preventing you from enduring an uncomfortable night’s sleep on the ground.
Now if you had to pick one fault with this pad, this would probably be it. I guess being a super advanced all-season ultralight pad comes with a hefty price tag, but that doesn’t mean that I have to be happy about it. The Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite NXT comes in at $209.95 for the Regular size and $239.95 for the Large, putting it on the more expensive side of sleeping pads on the market.
In conclusion, while the price of the Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite NXT may be a bit steep for some, it’s important to consider the advanced features that come with it. For those who are serious about backpacking and camping, the pad is likely to be a worthwhile investment, providing years of comfortable and reliable use in a wide range of weather conditions. Think carefully when planning your backpacking packing list as to whether or not you’ll really make sure of it.
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Final Thoughts on The Theramrest NeoAir Xlite NXT
With a price tag over $200, you are getting one of the lightest and most advanced sleeping pads on the market, but it does come at a high cost. With this pad, you’ll definitely have to look at this as an investment into a good night’s sleep on the trail and decide what that’s worth to you.
Overall, the Therma-a-Rest NeoAir XLite NXT Sleeping Pad is a winner in my book. It’s lightweight, warm, and comfortable – everything you could want in a sleeping pad. And if you’re looking to upgrade your camping setup, the NeoAir XLite NXT is a solid choice. Just be warned: once you’ve slept on this pad, you may never want to go back to your old, lumpy mattress.
Thank you all for checking out my review of the Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite NXT Sleeping Pad, I hope this gave you some needed inside into what this sleeping pad is all about! Cheers and happy backpacking.
So, now you’ve got your pad sorted out, it’s time to check out this Therm-a-Rest sleeping bag round-up to pick out your next sack!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!