Gear review: Sleeping pad (Posted 23 May 2012, 10:23am)
34.3089, -117.4706


After walking all day a good sleep is important and the Thermarest NeoAir XLite sleeping pad really helps. I have the regular length which is taller than me and weighs just 350 grams.

The XLite was released this year so it has yet to pass the test of time. It is also just the beginning of this trip but it has already survived almost a month of daily use.

Like its predecessor the NeoAir the light weight material is a bit noisy but it certainly hasn't kept me awake. It takes about 25 breaths to inflate fully and is easy to fold and pack away.

A great feature is the reflective shield which directs warmth back towards the body. I have yet to test it in cold conditions but it feels warm so far.

The main disadvantage of all inflatable pads is their vulnerability to puncture. The XLite came with a repair kit which would fix small holes but a large tear would render it useless which would be problematic in the middle of a long isolated part of a journey. With this in mind I have been taking good care of it and am a bit envious when other hikers throw their foam pads on the ground for a quick siesta at lunch time!

Overall this is fantastic piece of gear and if it goes the distance will be a contender for the gear of the trip award!

It packs down really small - that is a 1 litre water bottle.


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