Therm-a-rest NeoAir XTherm

Two weeks ago I ordered the Therm-a-rest NeoAir XTherm Medium at Bergfreunde.de.
Up till now I’ve been using an old (well it must be about 10 years old now) Therm-a-rest self-inflatable 3/4lenght mat. But in the last few years it started to lose air during the night, leaving me to wake up on a cold tent floor. Maybe it’s a womans thing but I kind of didn’t want to bother searching for a hole, so instead of fixing it, I started using a foam sleeping pad under it. As I wasn’t doing any distance-walks (just camping) I didn’t think of it as a problem. 
Though now the John Muir Trail is coming up and things are different! 
I’ve been going through and forth comparing different sleeping mats but I always ended up looking at the TaR NeoAir. So I went to Globetrotter in Frankfurt and tried them out. First I tried the yellow Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite. It appeared to me being brittle yet comfortable. Then I tried the XTherm and I actually didn’t want to get up anymore… If not all those people would have been walking around, I could have taken a nap there! Compared to the XLite the XTherm appears to be more durable… Whether that is really the case or not, I cannot say… Yet the bottom of the mat has a different material, which also has some sort of anti-slip feature, that feels stronger. Writing this post I found out the bottom fabric is 70d Nylon Soft Grip. As for the XLite the bottom fabric is the same as the top fabric: 30 d High Tenacity Nylon.
After all the XTherm is some grams heavier than the NeoAir XLite:
NeoAir XLite Woman: Weight: 310 g, Size: 51x168cm, Packed: 23x10cm
Neo Air XTherm Medium: Weight: 430g, Size: 51x168cm, Packed: 23x10cm
Both mats (inflated) about 6,3 cm thick!
Now why did I pick the XTherm and not the NeoAir XLiteWoman? 
It didn’t pick the XTherm because of the more durable appearance (ok, now I would lie if I’d say it didn’t influence my choice at all, yet that wasn’t the biggest factor). I picked it because of the R-Value, being 5,7… meaning it should keep my bottom warm even at -23°C!

Being a slim and “quickly freezing” woman I thought this to be the safer choice!
The XLite Woman might have kept me warm till -10°C… which actually might have done it too… Hm, seems like the durable appearance influenced my choice more than I wanted to admit. Well and there was something else in my mind.
Earlier I bought the sleeping bag Western Mountaineering Apache MF, having its comfort zone at about -4°C. I thought that’d definitely be warm enough for the JMT! Till a friend told me: No way a bag with 500g down filling will keep you warm at -4°C. (I’ll write a review on that one -not on the friend – on the sleeping bag of course- later)… So I started doubting, as we woman tend to do quite offen…
This is what was going through my mind, which might have convinced me buying the NeoAir XTherm: “I don’t have the money to buy a warmer lightweight sleeping bag, so I’m gonna have to do it with the Apache. The cool thing is that I can shake the down in the apache from the back/bottom to the front/top. So if I do that, shaking all the down to the top, I might have a sleeping back that keeps me warm on top… not on the bottom… Now if I buy the NeoAir XTherm it will keep my bottom warm for sure sure sure! Tadaaa…my warm sleep system!”

So… I bought the XTherm and tested it during my “sleep alone in the woods adventure” yesterday.
Temperatures were at about -5°C, no rain/snow.

  • Inflating: The XTherm comes with a pumpsack. The system does work, but I can’t image inflating a whole mat with that sack… It’d take me ages (or am I doing something wrong?). I inflated the mat the old fashioned way and it took me quite some time too. Somewhere (can’t remember where) I read it only takes 20 big breaths… well not for me… Anyway, it didn’t really bother me. I do have a question some more experienced users might be able to answer: Is it better to use the pumpsack when using the mat in cold temperatures? I read (and again, I can’t remember where, I’ll have to start making notes) that the warm air coming out of your lungs, when cooling down, might damage the mat… Or is that total nonsense? I know the mat might -because of the air cooling down- appear thinner by the time it’s morning, but hat doen’t really bother me… As long as I don’t lay on the cold floor…
  • Durability: As I have used the XTherm only once and I have put a woolen blanket under it, it still is “as new”
  • Most important: Did the XTherm keep me warm? It did it did it did! I felt as if I was lying on a bed with a stove under it! Great at -5°C!!! Though I must say I do am curious how it’ll feel sleeping on the mat during summer nights… 
  • Comfort: Waw! Even while lying on the side or leaning on my ellbow, I didn’t touch the ground!!! The mat is quite narrow, but being a slim person, that luckely doesn’t bother me. I can image, bigger persons who like to turn around at night might not feel as happy.
  • Wrapping up: Even after a sleepless night (definitely not caused by this wonderful sleeping mat!) it is easy to roll up and pack away the XTherm. I just open the ventile, lay down on the mat (which pushes out quite a bit of the air inside), then I fold it in 3 (lenghtwise) and I start rolling it up at the bottom end. It’s a 2minute thing! 
  • Last but not least: Noisiness. Some people are bothered by the noise the XLite and XTherm produce while using it. It you punctually squeeze the mat it sounds as if using a rescue blanket. Laying on it with your entire body changes that. I wasn’t bothered by the noise at all, I could hardly hear it through my sleeping bag (and I do am a woman quite sensitive concerning noise whilst sleeping!). It might bother people sleeping next to you… But I didn’t have to chance to ask anyone yet… As soon as someone complains, I’ll make an update here :cP
  • All in all: I slept like hell yesterdaynight (actually I haven’t slept at all), but the TaR NeoAirXTherm ist the warmest and most comfortable lightweight sleeping mat I ever had!!!

Bottom line: The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm appears to be a perfect womad lightweight sleeping pad (at least in winter and so far)!!!

2 thoughts on “Therm-a-rest NeoAir XTherm

  1. Do you still like it? I'm looking to upgrade my 12 year old TaR inflatable that has suddenly sprung a leak. My aging back has me looking at the xtherm before taking my son to the Smokies this summer.

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  2. Hi Dan, I still absolutely love it. If you don't need a winter pad you could go with the Xlite as well, it gives you the same comfort as the Xtherm, is a little lighter but has a lower R-value. You might wanna try one out in your local outdoor strore though before buying one. I've heard of some men who think it's too narrow. But then again if you're used of sleeping on a TaR, o I guess you'll be fine and you'll totally enjoy the comfort of the NeoAir ;c) Have fun in the Smokies!!! Cat

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