Rating: 8.5 / 10
Value for Money 2.1
I am a light sleeper at the best of times – I feel every lump, and hear every noise and minor disturbance. Getting to sleep isn’t usually my challenge – the issue for me is staying asleep. So when I’m sleeping in the great outdoors, I need all the help I can get to stay comfortable (and asleep) during the night.
My search for the right sleeping mat has been a long one. Some years ago, I asked an Army mate for advice and the response I received was ‘After a few nights of not sleeping, you’ll sleep anywhere with little effort’. From first hand experience I have to say this is not the case – I just become grumpy and more zombie-like as the hike progresses.
While a sleeping mat can’t help me with animal and human noises, it can help me drift into deep slumber that will minimise the impact of such things. So what am I looking for in a sleeping mat? My sleeping mat needs to:
The Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite Women’s sleeping mat ticks most of these boxes. This sleeping mat provides plenty of insulation and padding. It is very comfortable to lie on and really cuts out the cold. This mat has a 3.9 R rating which is higher than the 3.2 R rating for standard NeoAir XLite. This may not sound like much but believe me, it makes a big difference. While this mat is designed for women, it is ideal for anyone who is needing a thicker insulating layer underneath.
Other important things for me are the shape and the padding. The Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite Women’s has been designed for women in that it is a little more generous in size – particularly around the hips. It also inflates to a generous depth which means I can sleep on my side without feeling the ground underneath. At 340 grams this mat also ticks the ‘super lightweight’ box and rolls into a compact size!
Like Tim, I also progressed from a foam pad then to the Therm-a-rest Prolite before moving to the NeoAir XLite Women’s pad (Tim uses the long version of the NeoAir XLite). When we have the two mats in the one tiny tent, it is a cosy fit!
There are two negatives with this sleeping pad. The first is the price and at $370 AUD it is definitely at the top end. You can find it on sale but even at full price, it represents good value for money. The second negative is that its noisy – not as much as others but more so than I prefer. I have found I can reduce the noise by placing my mat inside my sleeping bag liner – a bit weird I know but it dampens the noise well. The added benefit is that it also stops my sleeping mat from shifting away from me during the night!
I am very happy with this sleeping mat and I get a good night’s sleep which is the main criteria for me! I definitely recommend this mat for those seeking warmth and comfort.
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$370 AUD but worth it for the comfort and warmth
Therm-a-rest make a large range of sleeping pads however the following are in the same range and provide alternatives depending on your needs:
This review was done with product purchased from a retail store by Australian Hiker
Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite Women’s with a 1 litre water bottle for size comparison
Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite Women’s sleeping mat inflated