Gear Review: Exped SIM Lite 2.5 Short Sleeping Pad

A shortie summer pad that offers surprising comfort for its size and weight.

In summer, why carry a full-length mat when the insulation is superfluous and you really only need cushion from head to hips? This one-inch-thick shortie packs down to cantaloupe-size, and air channels in the perforated foam deliver a surprising amount of cushion, given its trim weight. “It turned a rocky meadow into a tolerable bed,” reported our tester after using it in Colorado’s Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness.

The brushed polyester fabric kept testers from sliding off. Warm sleepers might push it to shoulder-season use (put your empty pack underfoot), but the SIM Lite is primarily a summer-only pad, as the weight-saving holes in the foam limit insulation. Want more length and warmth? Go with Therm-a-Rest’s Neo Air (Editors’ Choice Award 2009; starting at $120; 13 oz.; $59; 15 oz.; 20”x47”x1”;