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June 2019 Issue
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Therm-A-Rest ProLite Apex



Our Rating:

Weight: 630g

R-value: 4.0

Construction: A simple four-season mattress with a continuous layer of thermal-foam insulation nestled between alternating ridges of air and foam. It’s self-inflating with a single inflation/deflation valve and has a durable 50D polyester fabric.

Weight: Despite having a tapered design, there’s no denying this is the bulkiest and heaviest of the mattresses reviewed. The layer of thermal foam makes it difficult to compress and it packs down to the size of a roll of paper towels. The 50D nylon fabric is more robust than the fabrics used on other mattresses, which contributes to the weight of this one.

Comfort: A major benefit of the thermal foam is it makes this a supremely comfortable mattress. Even uninflated it is nice to lie on – an unexpected benefit should you get a puncture in the wild and not be able to fix it. It has a padded feel when inflated, too. Rolling around, I found it to be silent.

In use: This is Therm-A-Rest’s warmest Prolite mattress and comes with a durable 50-denier fabric that suggests it won’t puncture easily. The mattress self-inflates when the valve is opened, allowing the foam inside to expand and draw air into the mattress. I would leave it for 10 minutes and then top it up
with 5-8 breaths to get it super firm.

At 5cm thick, it is the thinnest mattress in our review, but offered excellent support. Lying on my side, and when changing position, I never felt the ground. The mattress also held air exceptionally well – it remained firm during three nights of use and did not lose air when kept inflated for two weeks afterwards.

This mattress comfort cannot be overstated – the foam provides a genuine padded base that is nice to sleep on regardless of how much air is inside.

With a tapered foot, it also has a smaller footprint than some mattresses. There is a risk a restless sleeper might slide off it more easily, but in the confines of my one-man tent, I did not have this problem.

Packing it away was simple and could be done in one go by opening the valve, folding it in half lengthwise and then rolling it up, expelling air as you go.

Value: This mattress is made from reassuringly durable materials and, because it uses foam insulation, even if it did spring a leak you won’t be sleeping on the cold hard ground.

Verdict: Yes it’s heavy, but this is balanced by comfort, durability and simple operation compared to the stuff-sack inflated alternatives. A reliable choice for all year use.

At a glance
Plusses: Ease of use, comfort, durability
Minuses: Weight, bulky pack size.

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