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)!!!