|Rating:||8.9 / 10|
|Value for Money||1.6 / 2|
|Weight||1.6 / 2|
|Comfort||2.0 / 2|
|Durability||1.8 / 2|
|Warmth||1.9 / 2|
Therm-a-rest has a reputation for producing some of the world’s best sleeping mats and the Therm-a-rest Neoair Xtherm Max is another great product. My main reason for testing this mat was twofold:
The Xtherm range is a group of mats aimed very much at outdoor activities in cold conditions having a R value of 6.9. While there are mats that have higher R-ratings around, the Therm-a-rest Xtherm range has long been considered the pinnacle mainly because of the combined set of features. So what are the features of this mat?
Size-wise I tested the regular mat and it surprised me given its 183cm long. I was able to comfortably lie on this mat without having my feet hanging over which is not a common thing for standard length mats. Width-wise this mat is 51cm wide and a depth of 6.4cm. When I compare this to my well-loved Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite the dimensions were almost identical with just an extra 10mm thickness being the difference. This particular mat is also rectangular in shape and again it surprised me greatly that it is only 60 grams heavier coming in at 490 grams than the hiking version, which is tapered and has rounded ends. Even when compared to the Xlite model which weighs in at 350 grams there is still only a 140 gram differential. Another surprise is that for a mat that has such a high R-value it packs down to a very small size. In fact is smaller than many cheaper mats that don’t provide the warmth.
This mat also comes with an inflation bag and while in theory I like the idea of these ‘bag pumps’ which are starting to come with a number of mats these days, I am equally happy to inflate manually and this is where the WingLock valve comes in handy. As a valve its larger than the one on the older model which makes it significantly easier to inflate and also allows you to take a breathe without having to rapidly close off the valve. In addition the wing lock mechanism allows rapid deflation. Again a nice feature but typically I will just open the value on my mat while I’m still in my tent and allow my weight to do all the work. That said this value is a nice upgrade and one that many Therm-a-rest lovers will appreciate. My old Xlite which has the older value system takes 35 breaths to inflate and if I do it quickly I almost feel like passing out.
Now this mat is a Therm-a-rest and their high grade mats tend to have a crinkly sound to them which I don’t really notice but can drive your fellow hikers insane if you are someone who tosses and turns like I do. That’s one of many reasons I don’t tend to do much group hiking. In the case of this Xtherm while there was a bit of noise it was significantly quieter than the ultralight, and ultra compact, XLite range which tends to ‘squeak’.
Comfort-wise the rectangular shape provides extra space and means that if you do move your feet about then they won’t fall off the mat.
These really are an excellent mats to sleep on; they are toasty warm as you would expect, the rectangular shape is a bit of a luxury and you notice it compared to the more compact hiking versions, and it packs down to a relatively small size compared to many other cooler and less expensive mats.
Now for the negatives. There really is only one mat as a RRP of $558.95 which places it at the top end of the sleeping mat segment however if you look closely you can often find these mats on sale.
So why then would you buy one? For me I see this mat fitting a number of different niches. Firstly this would make an excellent all weather car camping mat. Secondly if you are camping in cold and damp conditions and are trying to stay warm at night then you need to ensure your mat and your sleeping bag are matched otherwise the world’s best sleeping bag won’t help you very much. This mat out performs just about every other mat on the market in keeping you warm and in doing so weighs less than many cheaper mats that are meant for warmer weather. In fact it is more compact and lighter than many mats I have seen on the trail; but you do pay for that financially.
If you think that staying warm at nighttime is important then the additional (minimal) weight and additional price are worth this great option. If you are trying to save a bit of weight then look at the hiking version that will save you around 60 grams!
Therm-a-rest NeoAir Xtherm Max Mat
You can purchase the Therm-a-rest Neoair Xtherm Max Sleeping Mat online from Outdoor E store
You can purchase the slightly lighter and more streamlined hiking versions from Snowys
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$558.95 AUD RRP
Therm-a-rest makes a large range of sleeping pads however the following are in the same range and provide alternatives depending on your needs. In the Xtherm range you can also find:
Thermarest Xtherm in the box
Therm-a-rest NeoAir Xtherm Max Mat out of the box
Therm-a-rest NeoAir Xtherm Max Mat compared to a 1 litre water bottle. The mat is in its storage sack and for an R-Value of 6.9 this is relatively compact
Inflation an Therm-a-rest NeoAir Xtherm Max Sleeping Mat with a pump sack. This is just one option to inflate this mat
Pump Sack Instructions
Manual inflation on a Therm-a-rest NeoAir Xtherm Max Sleeping Mat. We own two other Therm-a-rest mats and this mat was by far the easiest to inflate with the new Winglock valve system
Therm-a-rest Winglock valve. A great improvement over older models with the old valve system
Therm-a-rest NeoAir Xtherm Max Sleeping Mat with all the bits. Mat (inflated), pump sack, and repair patches
Laying on an Therm-a-rest NeoAir Xtherm Max Sleeping Mat. I’m about 183cm and found this to be very comfortable
Therm-a-rest NeoAir Xtherm Max Mat showing the 6.4cm thickness. I tend to be a disturbed sleeper due to various injuries and even when I bounce on my side I still don’t bottom out on this mat
This review was done with product provided on loan from the Australian distributor of Therm-a-rest