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Walking Equipment and Accessories

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Sleeping Mat | Review

One of the most interesting gear releases of the year, the Therm-a-rest NeoAir Uberlite has the potential to be a backpacker’s best friend

Why We Chose The Therm-a-rest NeoAir UberLite Sleeping Mat: Very light, very packable, comfortable.

Therm-a-Rest were the original pioneers of lightweight inflatable sleeping mats and with this new release, they don’t seem to have taken their foot of the gas. Quite simply, you won’t find any other mat like this; one that’s able to provide comfort at such a phenomenally low weight and packed size.

Let’s introduce the all-important figures first then. Weight: a mind boggling 250g – about as much as your average hamster. Packed size: well, very similar to your average hamster as well. It’s so phenomenally convenient in those regards. But what about the performance?

“Quite simply, you won’t find any other mat like this; one that’s able to provide proper comfort at such a phenomenally low weight and packed size.”

The NeoAir UberLight has the same twist valve and stacked triangular chamber construction (‘the Triangular Core Matrix) as the original NeoAir XLite. The depth isn’t any different either at 2.5 inches when fully inflated, so expect the same levels of comfort. However, with this ultralight offering they’ve used a 15 denier nylon – half the strength of the previous XLite. It’s very, very thin, so you’re going to want to use it with caution for sure. Still, Outdoors Magic editor Will Renwick said he used this in a tent pitched in a field full of rocks, stubbly grass and frozen earth (could it get much worse?!) and he says it survived unscathed.

Therm-a-Rest’s warranty doesn’t cover punctures unfortunately, but if it’s any reassurance, it does come with a puncture repair kit, and there’s also the option of sending it off to Therm-a-Rest for repair (at a cost).

The NeoAir UberLight has the same twist valve as the original NeoAir XLite. Photo: Chris Johnson
A pack weight of 250g and smallest pack size of any NeoAir ever is pretty hard to beat. Photo: Chris Johnson
This is a mat for the minimalists. It’s absolutely perfect for thru-hikers who need to cut down the gram count wherever they can. Photo: Chris Johnson

As well as using thinner materials, Therm-a-Rest have removed the Thermacapture Reflective Layer that previous NeoAir models featured. This isn’t designed to be a winter mat, so to bring the weight down it makes sense that it was sacrificed here. Ultimately, this is a mat for the minimalists; something that’s absolutely perfect for thru-hikers who need to cut down the gram count wherever they can, and who also normally have the time at the end of their hiking day to pick a flat, hazard-free spot to sleep. If you’re going to be hiking something like the PCT, the AT, or over in the UK, something like the Cambrian Way or South West Coast Path, this, we think, will be a worthwhile investment.

Tester’s Verdict

Nic Hardy, munro bagger

“As a thru-hiker this has been an extremely exciting piece of kit to test. Its packed size and weight are its biggest draw for those wanting to travel light in warm climates. At 250g that’s a fraction of the weight of most other air insulated sleeping mattresses and at 15cm x 9cm I could easily see myself losing it in the bottom of my pack.

“I noted it was a lot shinier than my Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm so had some concerns I’d slide around on it but these fears were unfounded. On the nights I’ve tested it, I’ve stayed put all night and slept really well.

“It has comparable comfort to the NeoAir XLite and XTherm but at a lower weight. As a woman, and a side sleeper, my hip sunk into the UberLite without hitting the cold ground. The customer base are already calling for a wider, shorter version of the UberLite but this size was perfect for me.

“I would have some concerns about getting a rip/tear as the fabric feels paper thin but this is most definitely a risk I will take and I’ll just make sure to carry its repair kit with me.

“I’m excited to try coupling the NeoAir Uberlite with a camping quilt for an ultralight thru hiking summer sleep system at some point.”

Whilst the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite isn’t designed for winter use, it’ll make a great three-season mat. Photo: Chris Johnson

Trade Secrets

Lindsay Morrison – Therm-a-Rest Marketing Staff

“Continuing the legacy set by Therm-a-Rest’s very first NeoAir mattress, the new UberLite is by far the lightest insulated air mat on the market today. Ideal for those looking to pack light, this versatile mat shrinks down to the size of a can. You won’t believe it until you try it!”

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Sleeping Mat

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