THERM-A-REST PROLITE PLUS REVIEW: SLEEPING PADS
The Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus has been a firm favorite amongst backpackers for some time now. This lightweight sleeping pad gives you a firm, smooth, and stable surface to sleep on, plus it has a quick and very easy self-inflating design that can be completed in under ten minutes. It self-inflates most of the way and only requires a couple of breaths to set it at your preferred firmness.
The Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus has a great design that has seen improvements to make it warmer than previous models. It gets its all-season warmth from the diagonal-cut foam that gives you a lot more warmth than you will get from conventional vertical channels.
Ideal an excellent sleeping pad choice for adventures out in the cold weather, ski touring, and winter camping. The new Patent-pending diagonal-cut foam is very efficient, and it gives you almost 20% more warmth overall with no additional weight. It also comes with an included stuff sack for convenient storing.
Weight & Packed Size
Ease of Use
|Sleeping Pad Type||Self-inflating Pad|
|Sleeping Pad Shape||Semirectangular|
|Stuff Sack Included||Yes|
The Therma-a-Rest ProLite Plus has a flat surface which is more comfortable to sleep on compared to many pads which have a ridged design. One of the best aspects of this pad is that it does not have the bouncing feeling that you get from a typical mattress.
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The ProLite Plus is nice and firm, although as it is only one inch thick if it there is something bumpy underneath the mattress, you will know about it. However, if you generally sleep on the flat ground found in most campsites, you should be pretty comfortable.
This is a semi-firm bed with a fantastic baffling system. The sleeping pad does not bulge on the sides when you sit on it. The texture on the bottom and top of the pad keep the sleeping pad from slipping, and it isn’t noisy like its competitors.
The ProLite Plus gives you an additional layer between your sleeping bag and the ground, which can make a huge difference. It may be a little narrower than you expect, but it will fit an average sized person comfortably, and your sleeping bag will not slip on it.
The internal foam gives you even padding all through the sleeping pad that your standard inflatable pads don’t have. Instead of pressing on the pad and feeling a bubble, you will feel a cushion. It feels more like a bed with the Atmos Foam compressing under your body weight. This is a great feature when you are a stomach or side sleeper where it is vital to have the mattress contour to your body and distribute your weight evenly. You will not have the typical problems of your arms falling asleep with the Therma-a-Rest ProLite Plus.
The Atmos Foam is one of Therm-a-Rest’s newest innovations. It is made in a closed and controlled atmosphere, so the foam is allowed to rise unobstructed creating more foam with less dense spots. They also bored the foam at angles which lessens bulk and increases its packability. The pad self-inflates when the foam is returned to its natural shape and sucks air in along the way. The attached small plastic valve lets you easily inflate and deflate.
Reviewers that are side sleepers were surprised and thrilled by the amount of cushioning the ProLite Plus gave them. It was a comfortable and quiet experience with no slippage with their sleeping bag. Other reviewers commented on its comfort through all four seasons, and that it has remained a comfortable pad despite constant use outdoors.
At around 20 ounces (for the regular size), this is not the lightest sleeping pad on the market, but it is certainly lighter than many others. If you are looking to reduce weight, you can opt for the Therm-a-rest NeoAir XLite or the Exped Synman Hyperlite, although expect to pay approximately 50% more for either of these options.
Many self-inflating pads have been found to be bulkier than those made with air construction. The ProLite Plus has a perforated foam construction that does somewhat help to reduce the bulk in comparison to previous models.
It does take a bit of compression to get the mattress to fold, and it can be a bit cumbersome until you get it deflated. Once deflated, the Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus packs up to around 11 x 4.8 inches (regular size), and you won’t have any trouble attaching it to your backpack with one strap. It can be actually easier to store it without the sack as you can slip it along the spine of a pack or behind a sleeping bag.
The ProLite Plus uses the exclusive Atmos foam that lessens the weight of the sleeping pad by almost 10%. It also increases the compressibility of the pad to make your backpack even lighter.
The Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus has a 3.4 stated R-value making it warm enough for four seasons of outdoor adventures. Reviewers have been very happy with the pad, even on especially frigid nights where no-one felt the cold creeping in from underneath the pad.
The crowning glory is the self-inflating design, which is a great feature of the Therm-a-rest ProLite Plus. The pad does most of the work; you only need to add a few breaths at the end to set the mattress to your personal preference.
Once you unroll the mattress and open the valve, it immediately begins to inflate. It takes about ten minutes to inflate completely, and then you will need to add a few breaths of air to get it to your desired firmness. This leaves you plenty of time to cook, or just simply enjoy the view while the Therm-a-rest ProLite does the hard work for you.
It inflates faster when you are in warm weather, but is much slower when it is around 20 degrees. The self-inflating feature is very convenient as it allows you to do other vital tasks while it takes care of itself.
The ProLite Plus is constructed with 50d mini Hex Rip Polyester making the sleeping pad extremely durable and long lasting. As long as you take care of the pad, there isn’t any reason it shouldn’t last for several years.
If you do happen to puncture the pad, it is easy to patch in comparison to other pads with baffling systems that are much harder to mend, especially when you are out in the wilderness. One reviewer commented that when there appeared to be small punctures holes in the mattress a little Seam Grip took care of the problem quickly enough.
The ProLite Plus has exceptional overall durability and build quality. It is tougher and thicker than its competitors, and it has an excellent slip-free surface made with the silky nylon of a tent. It is a sleeping pad you can feel comfortable using outside your tent without fear that it will fray, leak, or get cut.
The Therm-A-Rest ProLite Plus one of the great all-around sleeping pads that isn't particularly a master of any one area. Great for any season, good for either car-camping or thru-hiking it's a reasonable choice at a reasonable price for many different adventures.
The ProLite Plus also comes in a standard "ProLite" version which is lighter but does not have as high a R rating meaning it is only suitable for 3 season camping.
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The Therm-a-Rest Z Lite SOL is one of the most versatile sleeping pads on the market. It is a lightweight closed-cell sleeping pad that will work in pretty much any camping situation including mountain climbing, backpacking, or car camping.
The Z Lite Sol is part of the Therm-a-Rest's Fast & Light series of mattresses that lets you feel unparalleled comfort without the added weight. The Z Lite Sol packs smaller and weighs less than other mattresses, and it is one of the best ultra-light three-season camping mattress on the market.
It is created with a new proprietary foam that is dense on the bottom for increased durability and soft on the top for added comfort. It has enough substance to keep you comfortable while on a camping trip and packs up smaller than its competitors due to its accordion-style design.
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite is a high-performance product that offers you comfort and great pack size in only 12 total ounces. This pad is perfect for use in most weather conditions in the spring, summer, and fall.
Like the Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus, the XLite has patent-pending technologies that give it excellent performance with little weight and bulk. It is small enough that it can fit inside a one-liter water bottle. The XLite is made of a softer fabric that is still pretty durable and adds to its comfort level, all without adding more weight.
This is the best choice for those looking for both comfort and something to keep the weight of your pack down. It is a slightly more expensive, but it is worth slightly more for the warmth and comfort you’ll have.
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Venture is not the lightest or warmest pad on the market, but it is extremely comfortable. And if you are someone that prefers comfort over having a light pack, this is the sleeping pad for you. Plus, it comes at a great price.
Its unique construction has over one hundred insulating cells that double the warmth an uninsulated mattress will give you without additional bulk, weight, or concerns about the long-term durability of the synthetic or down fills.
In an age when everyone seems to be locked to their small blue screens, I am vehemently passionate about getting more people outside to enjoy the wonder of nature. I grew up with the outdoors on my doorstep, and when I headed off to university I picked a degree in geology that allowed me to spend a lot of time outside on field trips! Over the last 30 years, I have camped or hiked through the wilderness on 5 continents. I hope my posts are informative for both the grizzled veteran and the complete novice alike.