This is the Ultimate TopNotch Field Tested Review of the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite Air Mattress 2021.
Specifically, we investigated:
- Durability and Workmanship
- Warmth & Comfort
- Ease of Use & Pack Size
- Lots More
Our Top Pick always goes to products that excel in a particular area, even if they don’t perform so well in others.
In this case, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite Ultralight Backpacking Air Mattress fits that bill, delivering excellent packability and more value than any of the mattresses in its class.
And It gets better.
It’s our TopNotch Top Pick in this category.
Let’s take a closer look.
- Available in 3 sizes
- No-slip fabric
- Repair kit included
- No pump required
- Suitable for 3 seasons
- The tapered end doesn’t suit everyone
- Slightly slippery
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite Air Mattress
When you’re heading for a multi-day backpacking trip in the mountains, one thing’s for sure.
You need to keep the kit light.
If you’re trying to cut down every ounce, a heavy mattress really is a luxury.
That’s why we loved the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite.
It cuts through all the bells and whistles to give you a minimalist-type sleeping pad.
And the end result is…
Even though it’s so light, there’s enough warmth for cold nights. Thanks to the advanced technology.
Do you yearn for a comfortable bed after a hard day of hiking?
I sure do.
With its great level of comfort, the Xlite is the right choice to relax after a tiring day. Moreover, it comes with a tapered design that offers great stability.
Apart from the low weight and excellent packability, we loved the superb features.
Take, for example, the special WingLock valve.
Honestly, we weren’t so sure about it at first.
But then we found this one addition takes the overall performance to five-star levels.
But more on that later.
On the other hand, the Therm-a-Rest pad is on the narrower side. So if you prefer a spacious bed in the tent you might be better to look elsewhere – though it does come in a wide size – check that out or see our link at the end.
Having said that, the weight to comfort ratio this mattress offers is simply unbeatable.
So even though it’s a bit pricey, we think this super-versatile pad is a must-have in your outdoor gear kit.
And finally, we voted unanimously for it to be crowned TopNotch Top Pick in this category. Honestly, no other product could beat the Xlite in terms of overall performance.
So let’s explore the details…
There’s a lot more to learn.
Related: 10 Best Air Mattress
Analysis Comparisons and Test Results
Sometimes, finding the right mattress can be a problem for taller campers.
The good news is, the Xlite comes in multiple sizes for you to choose from.
Now, even between the multiple sizes, there’s not much change in the weight.
Beyond that, Therm-A-Rest makes their products durable for more than one reason.
And one important reason is…
Long-lasting gear is more eco-friendly. Without a doubt, the optimized use of resources is the aim of the game here.
At TopNotch, we welcome any effort by a brand to make a positive impact on the environment.
That’s one more reason tipping the scales in favor of this outstanding sleeping pad.
Ease of Use
Here’s one basic truth of life…
If you want the comfort of a mattress on an outdoor trip, you gotta inflate it.
And the good news is, the NeoairXlite isn’t difficult to inflate.
Note that the kit also includes a pump sack to make it easier.
Ease of Use Rating
We inflated it without using the sack. Depending on your lungs, it usually takes anywhere around fifteen to twenty breaths.
If you use the airbag, 5 to 6 bags of air will do the job.
Let’s move to the exciting part…
The superb valve system that makes dealing with the pad a lot easier.
The WingLock valve is a new design from Therm-A-Rest.
Basically, it’s a one-way check valve that stops air escaping while you’re blowing it up.
It did a great job every time we used the mattress. It also handles larger air volume than the older valves we previously saw in Therm-A-Rest products.
Moreover, with a slight twist of the wings, you can allow air to escape, making deflation even easier.
Also, it’s very solidly built. So durability will never be an issue.
On the whole, a great addition that makes the overall user experience simple and smooth.
We tested the overall durability by using it on a few rough surfaces. Even after two weeks of total use, we couldn’t find any weak points on the outer surface.
The 30D rip HT nylon fabric gives a solid performance while reducing the weight.
But, a field repair kit is also included for emergency repairs.
However, we wouldn’t recommend using the pad directly over rocky surfaces or a sharp gravel bed, that would be tempting fate.
Needless to say, the mattress received full marks under this metric.
The truth is, cold ground can really suck heat away from your body – big time.
A never-ending process that goes on through the night, leaving you cold and achy.
Basically, every time you toss and turn at night, an amount of body heat is lost through convection.
That’s where the insulation of a sleeping pad comes into play.
The NeoairXlite comes with an R value of 4.2 in line with ASTM F3340-18 standards.
What does that mean?
It offers the right level of warmth for all-year use. We wouldn’t recommend it for extreme weather or high altitudes though.
At the same time, there is special Thermacapture technology to reduce heat loss.
Let me explain.
Actually, it’s a special reflective coating that radiates the heat back into your body as you rest.
But that’s not all.
There’s also a Triangular Core Matrix technology that further reduces heat loss.
Therm-A-Rest doesn’t elaborate on the details but mentions the use of “two stacked layers of triangular baffles” while keeping the weight low.
Believe it or not…
This combination can boost the warmth levels by almost 50% on a cold night.
Last year, one of our reviewers carried this pad on a trek to Nepal.
Even on a freezing night at around 11,500 feet, the combination of a high-quality sleeping bag along with this mattress kept him warm and cozy.
Therm-A-Rest joined hands with Thermetrics, a company that specializes in thermal engineering.
So apart from field tests, their pads are also tested using special equipment to ascertain the R-value.
A 4.2 R rating is good enough for a few cold nights. Just make sure you can’t slip off of the pad.
If you need a pad for freezing temperatures or winter camping, choose something with an R-value of above 6.
The overall versatility of the NeoairXlite is excellent.
And one main reason for that is the lightweight design. The pad’s available in four different sizes, weighing between 0.8 oz to 15 oz.
And yes. Add another 2.3 ounces for the sack and the pump sack.
Point to be noted – the weight to warmth ratio is simply TopNotch.
The top-level comfort makes this a great choice for all types of outdoor adventures.
In addition, you can use it throughout the year, no hesitation.
When it comes to sleeping pads, choosing the right size can be a challenge at times.
The NeoairXlite comes in 4 sizes, making this easy – small, regular, large, and regular wide.
I know what you’re thinking…
What exactly is regular wide?
Well, it combines a regular length and a large width. The overall dimensions are 72 x 25 inches.
That adds an extra five inches of wiggle room over the regular width of 20 inches.
It’s not the widest but we feel it’s just perfect for camping.
Now, trust me when I say this…
If a foam pad is your favorite choice, allow the comfort and versatility of this mattress to make you change camps.
You only need a small pack space in your backpack. Weight and space are no issue here.
On top of that, it comes with a lifetime warranty to cover material and workmanship defects.
In the end, it emerged as one of the top scorers in this metric.
Here’s another metric under which the NeoairXlite aced the performance.
Frankly, we loved its superb packability more than any of the other sleeping pads we tested for this review.
Packed Size Rating
The packed size of the mattress is 11 x 4.6 inches for the largest variant. All in all, it’s less bulky than a one-liter water bottle or flask.
In fact, you’ll barely notice it among the other kit in your pack.
For sure, there are lighter products than the NeoairXlite on the market.
But, neither of them has the TopNotch versatility of this.
To put it another way…
If you compare packability with a traditional foam pad, the Neoair is light years ahead in terms of design.
And it does so without compromising on comfort levels or the warmth.
No wonder this was another metric where the sleeping pad achieved top marks.
Quite simply, this is the main purpose of a sleeping pad…
To provide a comfortable night under the stars, in the spare room, wherever.
When fully inflated, the air pad is 2.5 inches thick.
The level of cushioning was perfect for a restful night.
I loved the horizontal baffles on it. They provided the right kind of stability and stopped any slipping.
I’ll tell you what though…
The NeoairXlite felt extremely smooth even when it was fully inflated and the baffles weren’t bouncy at all.
Now the combination of nylon and polyurethane made this pad a bit noisy. Especially when you twist or turn.
It wasn’t a problem for us. But if you’re a light sleeper and easily disturbed, you might notice it.
Next, we come to the shape of the pad.
The NeoairXlite has a tapered shape and is almost a foot wider at the head end.
Bottom line: Some may not like this shape as the overall surface area is reduced.
However, this design keeps the weight of the pad on the lower end. As we mentioned before, if you like spacious beds, try the wide version below.
Also, if you find yourself slipping off, try deflating it a bit… a TopNotch hack right there!
And another thing…
The Neoair pad is washable so you can easily keep in clean. But make sure you dry it up properly to prevent condensation.
Keep in mind any trapped moisture can even lead to mold forming.
Also, don’t leave it inflated under the hot sun. The expanding air inside might damage the pad.
On the whole, it’s a really outstanding comfort level from such a lightweight sleeping pad.
Just pair it up with the right sleeping bag and you’ll have night-long comfort.
Our Final Verdict:
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite Air Mattress
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite Air Mattress
Time to sum up our Therm-A-Rest Neoair Xlite review.
Obviously, we’re big fans of this sleeping pad. There are plenty of features that make it a perfect companion for all kinds of outdoor adventures.
Don’t be deceived by its ultra-lightweight design. Therma-A-Rest packs a few superb features in it without adding to the bulk at all.
And the combination of an R-value of 4.2 along with a top-class comfort level works like magic after a tiring day.
And when it comes to packability, it’s definitely one of the best pads on the market today.
The NeoairXlite sleeping pad lacks auto-inflation but honestly, inflating it wasn’t an issue for us.
On top of that, the addition of the Winglock valve system is a masterstroke.
It hugely improves on the ease of use and durability from the Therm-A-Rest sleeping pads of the previous generation.
In general, durability was never an issue during our tests. The Xlite is built to last and will be good for years with the right level of maintenance.
Strictly speaking, the NeoairXlite isn’t the best choice for budget buyers who aren’t particular about quality.
But you know what?
Price is a relative concept. And with its TopNotch performance, we think it’s excellent value.
To sum up, if you’re a frequent camper and prefer using quality gear, the NeoairXlite is definitely worth investing in.
In the final chapter, there’s no suspense here.
We’ve done the hard work testing and putting this review together – now we hand over the baton to you to make your choice……Will it be the Therm-a-Rest NeoAirXlite or our Editors Choice below?
See owner reviews and check out current prices by clicking on the link below.