This is a gear review about the Therm-a-Rest Neoair X-Lite which is the older version of the newly released Therm-a-Rest Neoair Xlite NXT.
Looking for a backpacking sleeping pad that is comfortable, lightweight, and packs down to a small size? If you are, the Therm-a-Rest Neoair X-Lite could be for you. It is the most popular sleeping pad in the world for good reason but with the introduction of the updated version, this mat is quite noisy in comparison. But if you are looking for a high-quality bargain, then this could be for you.
I have been testing and using the Neoair X-Lite for almost 7 years and have spent hundreds of nights sleeping on this pad over the years. Keep reading to see if this is the best sleeping pad for you.
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In-Depth Review: Therm-a-Rest Neoair X-Lite 2023
Weight – 12oz / 340g
R-Value – 4.2
Temperature Rating – (23F / -5C)
> Very Small pack size
> Great lifetime warranty
> Noisy crinkly sound, especially when new
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir X-Lite was first introduced to the market in 2009 as the Neoair and was an immediate success. It has seen several improvements since then.
The current upgraded Therm-a-Rest Neoair X-Lite weighs in at 12 oz / 340 grams and has an R-Value of 4.2 (more on that later). In 2020 it was upgraded to include the Winglock Valve system which is larger than the previous inflation valve but seems to lock in place better. It also comes with a suitable inflation sack to reduce the need to use your own breath to inflate the pad.
The continuous improvement over the years means you are now getting a premium-grade sleeping pad that has good reason to be the most popular inflatable sleeping pad in the world.
It also comes in several size versions so whatever shape or size you are looking for, there is an option for you.
Overall, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir X-Lite is a sleeping pad you buy when you are not sure what sleeping pad to buy. Whether, you are an ultralight thru-hiker, weekend backpacker, or heading off trekking around the world, this will work for you.
The regular-sized Therm-a-Rest Neoair X-Lite weighs in at 12 oz / 340 grams. This is at the lightweight end of the market for an insulated, inflatable sleeping pad.
The Therm-a-Rest Neoair X-Lite comes in a small pack size that is slightly bigger than the best-in-class Therm-a-Rest Neoair Uberlite.
The Neoair X-Lite has a pack size of 9 inches x 4.1 inches / 23 cm x 10 cm.
R-Value – Warmth Rating
With an R-Value of 4.2, the X-Lite is a true 3-season sleeping pad with good insulation for the weather. In 2020 when the Winglock valve was introduced, the R-Value of the sleeping pad increased from 3.2 to 4.2. According to Therm-a-Rest, nothing changed with the insulation or structure of the pad, the way the pad was assessed had changed. This bought about an increased temperature rating to an R-Value of 4.2.
Once the snow starts it is time to look for something warmer such as the more insulated X-Therm. But for most people, the X-Lite is the best balance between insulation, weight, and compact size.
Thickness and Comfort
With a 2.5 inch / 6.4 cm thickness, it has a good level of comfort. With the updated Winglock valve it is easy to adjust the air pressure within the pad will allow it to be suited to anyone.
Overall, the Therm-a-Rest Neoair X-Lite is not as thick and comfortable as the best-in-class Sea to Summit Ether Lite but is still very comfortable.
Dimensions and Shape
The regular-sized X-Lite is sized 72 inches x 20 inches / 183 cm x 52 cm and has a slight mummy shape so it will taper a little at the base. If you use a mummy sleeping bag or backpacking quilt it is the perfect shape for you.
The Therm-a-Rest Neoair X-Lite is quite durable and able to withstand a fair degree of abuse. If you sleep on a bed of thorns you may get a hole in the mattress but that is no different than any other inflatable sleeping pad. For such an environment it would be suitable to add another layer to the floor such as a tent footprint, Tyvek, space blanket, or similar. If you are camping on really spikey ground a foam mat would be a better option. But for most people and most campsites, this will not be necessary. If you are unfortunate enough to get a hole, it comes with a repair kit so you can fix it in the field.
During testing and use of the Therm-a-Rest Neoair X-Lite, I had only one puncture when camping on the spikey ground. Not bad for hundreds of nights of use. It was easily repaired with the supplied repair kit.
Inflation Value Type and Pump Sack
It seems that these days every new sleeping pad comes with a stuff sack for inflating the sleeping pads. The X-Lite is no different, using a large to inflate the pad. This inflation staff sack is separate from the packing stuff sack and I can’t see too many people carrying the inflation stuff sack with them on a backpacking trip. But if traveling in a group then it would be wise to only take one to inflate the pads of the whole group. Most backpackers will inflate the pad with their breath which is a simple process.
Since the Therm-a-Rest Neoair X-Lite was first introduced it came with the same inflation valve that Therm-a-Rest had been using for many years. But in 2020 they changed and upgraded the inflation valve to the new Winglock Valve. Despite being bigger it does a good job and makes opening and closing easy.
The Therm-a-Rest Neoair X-Lite is not the most quiet sleeping pad on the market. But has seen a significant improvement over the years. Especially when new, the pad will make a crinkly sound every time you roll over. Much to the annoyance of others at camp. Over time the noise reduces quite a lot but never seems to completely go away. When compared to the best-in-class Nemo Tensor and Sea to Summit Ether Lite, the Therm-a-Rest X-Lite is slightly noisier. The noise is one area that the X-Lite can improve.
Like all of the best sleeping pads for backpacking, just wash the outside of the sleeping pad with a mild detergent or tech wash. You can air-dry it or wipe it dry with a clean cloth.
X-Lite vs the rest
The Therm-a-Rest Neoair X-Lite is the most popular inflatable sleeping pad in 2023. It does everything well and gives you little to complain about. It has a compact size, is comfortable, is quite durable and most of all, it just works as promised. It is not the lightest, cheapest, or most comfortable. It just works. I guess that’s what makes it so popular.
It is slightly noisier than some of the competition but not so much that you should avoid it. It is a vast improvement from the first generation of Therm-a-Rest Neo Air Pads which were very noisy indeed.
Price and Value
The Therm-a-Rest Neoair X-Lite is not the cheapest sleeping pad on the market. But if you want a lightweight inflatable sleeping pad it will be a good purchase. Check the current prices below.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Therm-a-Rest Neoair X-Lite is the most popular inflatable sleeping pad for backpacking in the world. The combination of lightweight, compact pack size and comfort make this a worthy option for anyone looking for a sleeping pad for their next multi-day backpacking or hiking trip.
BikeHikeSafari Gear Review Process
The author, Brad McCartney from BikeHikeSafari is a small independent adventurer and outdoor gear tester who owns and runs BikeHikeSafari.com.
BikeHikeSafari is not part of a large blog network and is proudly independent. All reviews on this site are independent and honest gear reviews of outdoor products by the author.
The author, Brad McCartney is a very experienced triple crown thru-hiker, adventurer, and bike tourer having spent 1000s of nights sleeping in a tent and sleeping bag (Read more). He was a manager of an outdoor retail store and is very experienced in what is important when using and testing gear for reviews like this.
BikeHikeSafari will never receive any money for reviews and they do not accept sponsored reviews on this website. All the comments about the gear reviews are from the author based on his years of experience. Hope this independent review was helpful for you.