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May 2020 Issue
Home / Gear reviews / Sleeping mats

Therm-A-Rest NeoAir Xtherm

Featured mat: Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm ($499.99). Distributed by Ampro Sales

Price:

$499.99

Our Rating:

At a glance
Pluses: 
Warm, light, comfortable.
Minuses: Expensive, tapered, pump bag valve connection is not secure.

7.2 R-value / 430g

Features: The mat’s whopping all-season R-value is achieved with a ThermaCapture lining that radiates heat back onto the body, and through its Triangular Core Matrix construction which creates hundreds of internal air cells that help slow heat loss and provide support. The mat uses the new WingLock valve which allows for faster inflation and deflation than the previous valve. The top fabric is a textured 30D ripstop and the bottom fabric is a tougher 70D.

Weight: Weight for (purported) warmth, it’s the lightest mattress I’ve used. It also takes up hardly any pack space because it rolls down to slightly larger than the size of a 330ml can. 

Comfort: The mattress inflates to 6.4cm thick and provides excellent support – I was comfortably cradled and never once felt the ground, even when turning from one side to the other. I found it luxurious – where my body touched the mat, heat was radiated back onto me. It’s 51cm across at its widest and tapers at the foot, and I found my legs easily fell off, so used my sleeping bag’s mattress connectors to stay put. 

In use: I camped in autumn and without a fly over my tent with a sleeping bag that has an EN comfort rating of 11℃. I woke up in the night cold, but this was due to my sleeping bag rather than the mattress. I found my back, or the part of my body resting against the mat was warm. On my second night, I put my fly over the tent and slept much warmer. Inflating the mattress took a bit of practise as the pump bag easily pops off the valve if you force too much air inside too quickly or pump from the wrong angle. I found the best method was to kneel next to the mattress to pump the air in. It took 5-6 pumps in around one-minute to get it firm. I would prefer the pump sack was integrated into the stuff sack, rather than them being separate items, as it could get lost or left behind if careless.

The WingLock valve is excellent for deflating the mattress – air gushes out and the mattress is soon pancake-flat. It’s easy to get it back into the stuff sack, looking like it’s come straight from the factory. 

Value: The weight, warmth and packed-size of this mattress are hard to beat, but there are plenty of cheaper options available. The fabrics and welded construction method feel durable and the mattress is capable of rough handling. 

Verdict: An expensive option if you’re not using it in all seasons, even winter, but for those who value weight, small pack-size and durability, it’s a winner.

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