Gear Reviews

Gear Guide 2012: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite Sleeping Pad

High-performance and ultralight, this pad offers comfort and great packability.

[Editors’ Choice update]

We gave the original NeoAir an Editors’ Choice Award (2009) for its unprecedented comfort-to-warmth-to-weight ratio, and this latest tapered version has even more performance for six ounces less. The internal reflective barrier now returns 25 percent more body heat: One tester used it in lieu of his standard four-season pad on an early-winter summit of Mt. Whitney, and reported staying warm in below-freezing temps on snow (it’s not, however, as insulative as the Exped, above).

Another tester thru-hiked the John Muir Trail and says, “I never ceased to be amazed with its comfort and packability (a miniscule 9 x 4 inches), and deceptive durability.” Downsides: price, and broad-shouldered users might not like the mummy shape. $160; 12 oz.; 72” x 20” x 2.5”;