Rest and Wild

Gear Review: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm

June 13, 2019

The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm is an inflatable sleeping pad offering an excellent warmth to weight ratio, with an R-value of 5.7 while weighing only 15 oz and packing down to about the size of a 1 L Nalgene. This pad's become essential to my winter-camping kit and, in the other seasons, lets me shed weight by carrying less clothes.

The main downside to the XTherm is the cost. Currently retailing for around $200, you could buy 3–4 entry-level pads for that amount, stack them, and achieve a higher R-value. But sillies aside, how much pack weight and bulk trimming is worth is a question only you can answer. For me, the prospect of fastpacking always offers an excuse to go lighter and smaller, as does backpacking with a toddler.

Another downside is that the pad is rather noisy. Its amazing warmth is partly achieved by an internal lattice of reflective foil that kind of crunches and crinkles when you change positions during the night. Not that big of a deal unless you're tenting with a toddler or some other light sleeper, and some people report the noise decreasing with use, but it's worth being aware of.

Finally, it's a large volume pad, which means it takes a while to inflate. The included stuff sack cleverly operates as a manual pump, to save you from hyperventilation and introducing moisture into the pad, but even then, it takes a while.