The Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm is the best sleeping pad ever. I’ve been fortunate enough to have tried out a number of Thermarest’s products. I saw 2700 uncomfortable miles on the Thermarest Z-Lite Sol, and 200+ miles on the Thermarest ProLite sleeping pad.
But after finding the Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm, all subsequent searches for sleeping pads have ceased. I can die happily. My life is complete. I’m not just telling you this because Thermarest is a great company. Seriously…
Imagine sleeping on a warm cloud. The scent of pine trees wafting through the air. The nearby river rushes by, collecting snow melt as it runs. A soft bed of powder lies beneath your tent. You could be using a garbage bag for a sleeping bag, and you’d still be in perfect bliss. That’s what life is like with the NeoAir Xtherm: complete satisfaction.
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Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm Sleeping Pad Overview
Weight: 15 ounces
The Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm was designed with winter backpacking in mind. It’s lightweight, easily packable, and warm like a tropical island. Like its sister sleeping pad, the NeoAir Xlite, the NeoAir Xtherm ditches the mainstream, rectangular build for a contoured build. This makes it overall more weight-effective, without compromising comfort.
The Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm does a terrific job of retaining heat. Pretty much all of the mainstream gear testers have showered the Xtherm with rewards for the duration of its life. Overall, reviewers have given the Xtherm a 4.7 star rating.
Pros: The Xtherm has the highest R-value to weight ratio in the world. This means that you cannot find a sleeping pad that is as warm as and weighs as little as the Xtherm.
Cons: Like the Xlite, the Xtherm is pretty noisy when you move around. But the Xlite has also been known to soften with time. And I imagine the Xtherm will follow in those footsteps. And you’ll get a little lightheaded when you blow this sleeping pad up.
Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm Highlights
- No-slip fabric
- Reflective Therma-Capture™layers
- Stuff-sack and Repair kit included
- USA built
- 96% Positive feedback
- Lifetime manufacturer’s warranty
What’s New with the NeoAir Xtherm?
The fabric: While the Xlite is made out of 30D rip HT Nylon, the Xtherm is made out of 30D rip HT Nylon on the top and 70D nylon. The 70D nylon makes the difference in both weight and R-Value capacity, making the Xtherm the best 4-season sleeping pad on the market.
Thermarest Xtherm Weight Efficiency:
The Xlite has always been seen as an incredibly efficient sleeping pad at 12 ounces (R) with a 3.2 R-Value. But the Xtherm has taken the evolution of sleeping pads to the next step. weighing just 15 ounces and boasting an impressive 6.9 R-Value.
Thermarest Sleeping Pad Comfort:
I’m not going to lie to you. After I hiked the Appalachian Trail with Hennessy’s Explorer Hammock, my expectations revolving around sleep comfort became jaded. In my mind, there was no way that any sleep system that kept you on the ground could offer the same kind of comfort as hammock sleeping. And then the Xtherm came into my life like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
Now my world is being turned upside down. I’m not sure that hammock sleeping can be as efficient and comfortable as sleeping on the Xtherm. I’m a side sleeper, which makes ground sleeping tricky. But the Xtherm offers an interesting solution.
Sleep comfort is SO important while you’re putting yourself through an extended hike. If you’re not sleeping well, you probably won’t hike well. And your sleeping pad is one of the biggest parts of your sleeping experience, so it’s important to get it right and choose wisely.
Sleeping Pad Reliability and Durability:
Part of the reason it took me so long (2 years) to allow myself to go with an inflatable sleeping pad is because I’m always terrified I’ll puncture it and end up sleeping on the ground for an extended period of time. So far, the Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm has not disappointed in terms of reliability and durability. The 70D Nylon is particularly durable.
And Thermarest is known for having really terrific customer service, so at the very least, they’ll probably fix whatever problems you might encounter.
Important things to take into consideration: Any time you’re sleeping on an inflatable air mattress, it’s really important to adjust the air volume to adapt to the expected air temperature. Meaning that when it’s cold outside, the air in your mattress will compress. And when it’s warm, it’ll inflate.
So, if you’re in a warm area with an inflatable sleeping pad, don’t blow it up all the way. Or it’ll pop. And you’ll be stuck on the ground until you can find your way to civilization. This can be a particularly uncomfortable issue to face if you’re in the middle of the Sierras and you won’t see a road crossing for several days. So take some precautions and keep your sleeping pad inflated on the cautious side. A lot of the issues that customer service representatives see are actually completely preventable.
Making Sure You Get the Right Size Sleeping Pad:
The Xlite comes in Small, Regular, and Large. While the Xtherm only comes in Regular and Large. However, this actually makes sense for a winter product.
Hikers often opt for small sleeping pads during the warmer months. It’s not the end of the world if your feet hang off the end if temperatures are only getting down to the low forties. Sleeping on a short sleeping pad is actually a nice approach to saving weight and space. But I wouldn’t personally cut corners like that while winter backpacking. It’s a lot safer to opt for a sleeping pad that fits your body when temps drop below the thirties.
Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm Weight:
As an ultralight hiker, I’m always looking for ways to slice the strain I put on my body. The Xtherm does a really nice job of eliminating weight without compromising efficiency. A lot of three season sleeping pads still weigh more than 15 ounces. The Xtherm is currently the most efficient sleeping pad on the market for that reason. It’s both insanely light and ridiculously warm, making it extremely badass.
Will this backpacking sleeping pad break the bank?
If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re an experienced hiker who’s looking to get into some intense backpacking. If you’re looking to just get your feet wet, the Xtherm is a pretty pricey option. But if you’re hoping to make an investment into your comfort in the outdoors, the Xtherm is worth the cost. You can certainly cheap out on things like trekking poles, and cook pots. But when it comes to sleep systems, your choices can dramatically affect your journey.
Now, you could spend a fat chunk of $$$ on the WRONG present for someone. Wrong size hiking boots, wrong fit backpack, wrong shape sleeping bag… As any adventurer will tell you, gear is a personal choice.
So give the adventurer in your life the gift of convenience: buy them an REI Co-op gift card! REI is The Broke Backpacker’s retailer of choice for ALL things outdoors, and an REI gift card is the perfect present you can buy from them. And then you won’t have to keep the receipt. 😉Buy on REI!
The best sleeping pad options for camping
Depending on the type of adventure you’re getting yourself into, there are a number of different types of sleeping pad that could work for you. Each type of sleeping pad has strengths and weaknesses.
Air pads like the Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm, are generally pretty expensive. While air pads weigh more than their closed-foam counterparts, they’re generally pretty weight-efficient. This type of sleeping pad packs down to a small size and is super comfortable.
Foam sleeping pads are not very comfortable and are generally pretty bulky. But they’re cheap and very durable products. If durability is your end game, I recommend the Thermarest Z Lite Sol.
Self-inflating sleeping pads tend to be the heaviest option. But they’re pretty comfortable and a great option for car camping. I’ve had good luck with the Thermarest Prolite sleeping pad.
Compare & Contrast
So you’ve determined that an air sleeping pad is best for you. The warmth to comfort ratio is just too high to pass up. I’ve selected a number of sleeping pads that are comparable to the Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm in terms of warmth and cost. Take a look to figure out which might be best for you:
|Sleeping Pad Model||Type of Product||Cost||Weight (oz)||R-Value|
|Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm||Air Pad||$$||15||5.7|
|Sea to Summit Comfort Deluxe||Air Pad||$$$||35||5|
|Sea to Summit Comfort Plus||Air Pad||$||28||5|
I made the above selections based off of their R-Value and price range. All measurements were based on “Regular” sized sleeping pads. Believe it or not, there aren’t a ton of reliable 4-season sleeping pads on the market. Both of Sea to Summit’s sleeping pads come close to Thermarest’s NeoAir Xtherm in terms of cost and insulation.
But they both weigh a lot more than the Xtherm. If you’re looking to do some winter car camping, these Sea to Summit sleeping pads might do the trick. But the Xtherm’s weight is quite a lot more efficient, making it a better option for winter backpacking. For some additional ideas, check out this post where we compare some top-rated sleeping pads.
Why opt for a 4-season sleeping pad
It took sleeping in the snow-covered San Juans for a week for me to realize that your sleep system isn’t just about your sleeping bag. It’s called a “system” for a reason. I carried a 0-degree quilt and a very well-loved Thermarest Z-lite Sol for the duration of the Colorado Trail.
Most of the time, I slept alright on the Z-lite. But my last couple weeks brought a bunch of snow. And I pushed my sleep system to its breaking point. When the ground froze, I could feel the temperature through my sleeping pad. I probably should have retired the Z-lite Sol after the Appalachian Trail but I like pushing gear to its limit.
Sleeping Pad R-Value:
While your sleeping bag or quilt is certainly a key element in your setup your sleeping pad is just as important. But you only really notice the R-Value of your set up when you’re experiencing temperature extremes. A 4-season sleeping pad like the Xtherm helps resolve a lot of the issues you could see in extreme temperatures. It’s warm as Hell.
Is the Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm right for you?
Things to consider:
Do you winter camp? Do you sleep on top of 3-inch memory foam in your normal life? Are you a man or a woman (seriously, this is relevant)? Was your last sleeping pad a closed-cell foam pad? Do you mostly car camp, camp in the summer, or camp in the winter? Do you like to be able to pack your system up really quickly?
My advice to you:
If you don’t spend much time camping in the Arctic, you can find a cheaper sleeping with a lower R-value. But if you spend a lot of time in chilly temperatures and it takes you a while to fall asleep at night, I’d splurge on your sleeping pad. Women tend to need a little more insulation than men. It’s important that you explore your own levels of comfort because what works for your significant other may not work for you. If you’re committed to a life in the backcountry, adding this sleeping pad to your collection is an excellent life choice.
Looking for a good winter bag? Check out our guide to the best winter sleeping bags to see what options are out there.
The Great Sand Dune National Park, Colorado
Temperature: 16 degrees
Elevation: 10,234 feet
I had the opportunity to test the NeoAir Xtherm near the Great Sand Dune National Park in Colorado. I was a little bit worried that I’d turn into an ice cube overnight while camping near the Sand Dunes. It wouldn’t be the first time. But it actually took no time at all for the Xtherm to insulate my underside despite some pretty chilly temps.
I’m the girl who brings a zero-degree quilt everywhere I go because I’ve shivered through too many nights with warmer sleeping bags. I run really cold. Coupled with my zero-degree quilt, the Xtherm is literally unbeatable.
I have complete confidence in this sleeping pad. Other than the initial noise I made when trying to get comfortable, I have no complaints.
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Final Thoughts Regarding Sleeping Pads
Thermarest is dominating the world of sleeping pads for a number of reasons. The backpacking world is evolving to emphasize the importance of an ultralight setup. And Thermarest is on the forefront of engineering comfortable, warm, and light products. Every one of their products I’ve ever owned has lived an exceptionally long life, packed down to a very manageable size, and provided a nice bed away from home. The Thermarest NeoAir Xtherm is no exception to this evolutionary process.
Put simply, there is no other sleeping pad on the market that competes with the weight to R-value ratio, which makes winter backpacking a much more accessible activity. And not only that, it might even make winter backpacking comfortable. I’m not going to lie to you and say this is the only product that will do the trick. You’ll be able to find alternatives, but in terms of efficiency, the Xtherm is, hands down, the best product on the market. I hope you found this review to be informative and helpful in your search for the sleep system.
What is our final score for the Thermarest Neoair Xtherm? We give it a rating of 4.6 out 5 stars!
Thanks for reading – that was fun! 😀
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