Going backpacking doesn’t necessarily mean that you will sleep on uncomfortable sleeping pads. Thermarest provides great comfort with a very low volume, in this article, I will compare the two of the lightest backpacking sleeping pads in the company’s line, Thermarest NeoAir Uberlite vs XLite
In summary, Thermarest NeoAir Uberlite is the lightest sleeping pad on the market, and it packs down half the size of the XLite, also Uberlite is much quieter than the XLite. Thermarest NeoAir XLite on the other hand is a little bit heavier than the Uberlite but it offers better durability, insulation, and more size options.
If you’re already familiar with the two pads skip the reviews and go straight to the detailed comparison.
Thermarest NeoAir Uberlite Review
- WEIGHT: 8.8 oz / 250 gr
- PACKED SIZE: Ø 3.6″ x 6″ / Ø 9 cm x 15 cm
- R-VALUE: 2.3
- FABRIC: 15D Nylon
With an 8.8 oz of weight Thermarest NeoAir Uberlite is one of the lightest sleeping pad on the market, and not only it’s feather-light it also nearly packs down to the size of a 0.5L water bottle.
It’s perfect for summer and early spring backpacking, thru-hiking trips, since it has an R-Value of 2.3, it’s not made for cold weather camping, but still, 2.3 of R-Value while weighing only 8.8 oz is a great performance.
If you’re not familiar with the R-Value I can say that this insulation can keep you warm down to roughly 40 °F (I will get into details below at the detailed comparison section).
With its compact design and feather-like weight, Uberlite is great, but as you might guess there are some trade-offs here, it’s not the most durable air sleeping pad on the market, it’s made of low denier (15D Nylon) fabric therefore if you decide to go with the Uberlite you need to be extra careful.
And as I’ve already mentioned it’s not a sleeping pad for 4 season camping. If you’re planning to camp below 40 °F, Uberlite shouldn’t be an option for you (Uberlite can be used in cold weather only if you mix things up a little bit, I will get into this below in the insulation section).
Thermarest NeoAir XLite Review
- WEIGHT: 12 oz / 340 gr
- PACKED SIZE: Ø 4.1″ x 9″ / 23 cm x 10 cm
- R-VALUE: 4.2
- FABRIC: 30D rip HT Nylon
The big sister of Uberlite (if you will), Thermarest NeoAir XLite, strikes the perfect balance among the weight, durability and insulation.
It’s not the lightest backpacking sleeping pad on the market, but with a 12 oz of weight, it’s in the top 5. But the great thing about this sleeping pad is not its weight, it’s that it offers excellent insulation and durability even though it weighs only 12 oz.
With an R-Value of 4.2, Thermarest NeoAir XLite offers the second-highest Warmth to Weight Ratio on the market after Thermarest NeoAir XTherm (check out my review or price on Amazon). If that number doesn’t mean anything to you, a sleeping pad that has an R-Value of 4.2 can be used roughly down to 15 °F.
For the backpackers out there, NeoAir XLite packs down to Ø 4.1″ x 9″, if you can’t imagine this size, it’s roughly the size of a 1L water bottle.
Another good thing about this pad is it’s made of considerably durable material (for an air pad) therefore it offers you a great longevity for years of use.
The one con of this pad is, it makes crinkly sounds due to the insulation material used in it.
Detailed comparison of Uberlite vs XLite
Specifications: Uberlite vs XLite
|Thermarest Neoair Uberlite||Thermarest NeoAir XLite|
|Weight||8.8 oz / 250 gr||12 oz / 340 gr|
|Dimensions||72" (Length) x 20" (Width) / 183 x 51 cm||72" (Length) x 20" (Width) / 183 x 51 cm|
|Thickness||2.5" / 6.3 cm||2.5" / 6.3 cm|
|Packed Dimension ||Ø 3.6" x 6" / Ø 9 cm x 15 cm||Ø 4.1" x 9" / 23 cm x 10 cm|
|Fill Material||Nylon, Polyurethane||Polyester, Polyurethane|
|Top Material||15D Nylon||30D rip HT Nylon|
|Bottom Material||15D Nylon||30D rip HT Nylon|
|Check Prices||Check Price on Amazon||Check Price on Amazon|
Weight & Compactness
With an 8.8 oz of weight, Thermarest NeoAir Uberlite is the lightest high-end sleeping pad on the market, it’s the perfect option for ultralight backpacking, mountaineering trips for the summer.
On the other hand, Thermarest NeoAir XLite weighs 12 oz. Even though it’s 3.2 oz heavier than the Uberlite thanks to Thermarest’s innovative design, it’s still one of the lightest sleeping pads on the market (I have a table of other alternatives below so you can get the main idea).
If you only do summer camping and if you think you would be careful to your sleeping pad, don’t hesitate, go with the Uberlite (I said “be careful” to your sleeping pad because, Uberlite is made of low denier fabric, and it’s not exactly the best option in the durability department).
If you’re thinking of using your sleeping pad in relatively colder weathers than, in that case, XLite would be the better option for you.
But before jumping into the insulation of the pads, there is also one other department where Uberlite shines, with the dimensions of Ø 3.6″ x 6″ it roughly packs down to the size of a 0.5L water bottle.
But to obtain that low weight and small packed size, you need to make some sacrifices. With that being said, let’s dive into the first sacrifice, Durability…
Firstly, I should mention that air sleeping pads are the least durable type of sleeping pads, they’re not the perfect choice if you want to use them outside the tent (on open ground where they can face sticks and stones).
If you think a more durable sleeping pad would be better for you, check out self-inflating sleeping pads, for backpacking I recommend Thermarest Prolite, with the weight of 18 oz, it’s the lightest self-inflating sleeping pad on the market, and it offers very cool features, you can also check out my review about Thermarest Prolite and Prolite Plus.
For our comparison, Thermarest NeoAir XLite is the clear winner, both top and bottom of its fabric are 30D rip HT Nylon (which can be considered as a very durable material for an air sleeping pad). Thermarest NeoAir Uberlite, on the other hand, is made of 15D Nylon, it’s not the best, but it does the job.
But since we’re talking about durability, I must give credit to Thermarest NeoAir XTherm, it’s top layer is 30D rip HT Nylon just as the XLite but its bottom fabric is made of 70D Nylon. It’s an extremely high denier fabric for an air pad.
|Thermarest Neoair Uberlite||Thermarest NeoAir XLite||Thermarest NeoAir XTherm|
|Top Layer||15D Nylon||30D rip HT Nylon||30D rip HT Nylon|
|Bottom Layer||15D Nylon||30D rip HT Nylon||70D Nylon|
|Weight / Packed size||8.8 oz / Ø 3.6″ x 6″||12 oz / Ø 4.1″ x 9″||15 oz / Ø 4.0″ x 9″|
|Price on Amazon|
/ My Review
|Price||Price||Price / My Review|
There is a small trick though, in order to protect your pad from sticks and stones on the ground, you can also buy the Thermarest Z Lite foam sleeping pad (14 oz) and lay it under your air pad. Not only it will protect the sleeping pad from sharp objects it also will increase the insulation.
In order to understand how warm a sleeping pad actually is, there’s a term called the R-Value. The higher the R-Value the more the insulation.
Here’s a quick table I’ve created for you to understand the correlation between the R-Value and the minimum temperature you can use the sleeping pad.
XLite is the clear winner for the comparison of Thermarest NeoAir Uberlite vs XLite. Uberlite offers an R-Value of 2.3 whereas the R-Value of XLite is 4.2.
Therefore, Uberlite is only good for summer times, XLite on the other hand provides the versatility to be used in 3-seasons. But as I’ve mentioned above, you can always buy a foam pad separately and lay it down under the Uberlite at slightly colder seasons.
But if you think that you might be camping at extremely cold conditions, in that case, I would recommend Thermarest NeoAir XTherm (can be used down to -15 °F), with an R-Value of 6.9, it provides the highest Warmth to Weight Ratio on the market.
Below I created the table where you can compare Thermarest NeoAir series to other alternatives, so you would understand Warmth/Weight-wise how efficient they actually are.
|Best Use||R-Value||Weight||Warmth to Weight||My Review|
|Thermarest Neoair Uberlite||Backpacking||2.3||8.8 oz||0,26|
|Thermarest Prolite||Backpacking||2.4||18 oz||0.13||Review|
|Exped SynMAT||Backpacking||2.9||15.4 oz||0.22||Review|
|Thermarest Prolite Plus||Backpacking||3.2||23 oz||0.14||Review|
|Sea to Summit Comfort Plus||Backpacking||4.0||29.8 oz||0.09||Review|
|Sea to Summit Comfort Plus SI||Backpacking||4.1||34 oz||0.12||Review|
|Thermarest Neoair XLite||Backpacking||4.2||12 oz||0.35|
|Exped SynMAT Winter||Backpacking||5.2||17.8 oz||0.29||Review|
|Thermarest Neoair XTherm||Backpacking||6.9||15 oz||0.46||Review|
|Thermarest Mondoking||Car Camping||7.0||4 lbs 6 oz||0.10||Review|
|Exped Megamat||Car Camping||9.5||6 lbs 3.7 oz||0.09||Review|
In order to increase the insulation, sleeping pad manufacturers place a thermal film between the top and bottom layers of the pads and that film makes a crinkly sound.
Therefore, due to the insulation materials used in the XLite, Uberlite sounds much lesser, Therefore if you’re a light sleeper Thermarest NeoAir Uberlite would the better option for you.
Ease of use
There isn’t any difference between Uberlite and XLite in this department, they’re both air pads that need to be inflated with your breath or a pump. Inflating the Thermarest NeoAir pads is not really hard, it generally takes 5 to 10 minutes to inflate the pads by yourself.
If you want a sleeping pad that offers an even easier setup, you can go with a self-inflating sleeping pad such as Thermarest Prolite or Thermarest Trail Lite, you just need to open the valve and let them do the inflating job themselves. BUT self-inflating sleeping pads are much heavier and bulkier compared to air pads.
One important thing to mention is, Thermarest created a new innovative valve called Winglock, and you can purchase the NeoAir Series with the new Winglock valve or with the classical old valve. The difference here is, not only with Winglock its easier to inflate and deflate but also NeoAir Series with Winglock comes with a pump sack, so you don’t have to inflate them with your breath.
There’s not a clear winner in the comfort department, they’re both good enough for a backpacking sleeping pad.
Both sleeping pads offer a 2.5″ of thickness which is enough for the side-sleepers as well, but there’s a chance that some side-sleepers might feel the ground, especially the ones that are overweight, in that case, I would recommend going for a thicker sleeping pad such as Nemo Tensor Ultralight.
Sizes of Thermarest NeoAir Uberlite vs XLite
Last but not least, NeoAir Uberlite features 3 different sizes: Small, Regular, Large; NeoAir XLite, on the other hand, offers 4 different sizes: Small, Regular, Large, and Regular Wide (which is the same length as Regular but 5″ wider for those who wants more room on the pad).
Sizes of Thermarest NeoAir Uberlite
|Weight||6 oz||8.8 oz||12 oz|
|Dimensions||47″ x 20″||72″ x 20″||77″ x 25″|
|Packed Dimension||6″ x Ø 3.4″||6″ x Ø 3.6″||7.5″ x Ø 3.8″|
|Prices on Amazon||Price||Price||Price|
Sizes of Thermarest NeoAir XLite
|Weight||8 oz||12 oz||1 lb||15 oz|
|Dimensions||47″ x 20″||72″ x 20″||77″ x 25″||72″ x 25″|
|Packed Dimension||9″ x Ø 3.5″||9″ x Ø 4.1″||11″ x Ø 4.6″||11″ x Ø 4.6″|
|Prices on Amazon||Price||Price||Price||Price|