THERM-A-REST NEOAIR XLITE
One item that saved my AT thru-hike, and I chose to also use on the PCT, is my NeoAir Xlite inflatable sleeping pad. I started off with a foam sleeping pad, but being a side and stomach sleeper, it just wasn’t going to work for me. My bony hips would dig into the ground every night causing me to lose sleep. I upgraded to the inflatable pad in New Jersey and I haven’t looked back since. I opted for the NeoAir Xlite because it is just as light as my foam pad was and it’s more compact than other styles of inflatable pads.
On the AT I used the regular length pad that weighed 12 ounces, but on the PCT, I decided to cut my base weight to offset the water weight I would have to carry in the desert. I upgraded to the shorter version which weighs only 8 ounces (both have an R-value of 3.2). Because it is shorter in length than my body (I’m 5′ 8″), people voiced their concerns that the pad wouldn’t be as comfortable or I might get cold.
I’m happy to report that it has worked wonderfully, even through the Sierras with colder nights. I simply place my pack at the bottom of my pad so my legs still have something to rest on and are insulated from the ground. I have had a couple nights on steeper sloped ground that I had to readjust my pack and pad, but the weight saving is still worth it to me.
I highly recommend either pad (short or regular), ESPECIALLY if you are anything but a back sleeper. You can check them out here:
Regular Pad: http://amzn.to/2gSMyQc
Short Pad: http://amzn.to/2umCLVN
If you have any questions about my personal experience with either pad, feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll be happy to share more!
I will be posting a weekly gear-related item. It will always be something I have used or seen used enough that I would recommend. Hopefully, this helps initiate conversation about gear and assist beginning backpackers with gear selection.
I live in NE GA close to the AT.Atta girl to you! How do I become a patron?
Hey Roger! That’s some pretty country 🙂 For anyone interested in becoming a patron, you can visit: http://www.patreon.com/homemadewanderlust
I love this sleeping pad – it’s great for side sleepers!
I move too much during the night. The crinkle of the insulating layer became annoying. Especially since I use a quilt, so I didn’t have another layer of bag to block some of the noise. Currently using the Klymit insulated Static V, but it is heavier and packs a bit larger. No noise means I sleep better and that’s the important point.
Hey, to each his own!
This is good to know. I am 5′ 9″ and a side and stomach sleeper and have been debating on which sleeping pad to use. How is it holding up against flooring of the desert (rocks etc.)? I am sure you do your best to try and clear away any debris lol but I know you can only clear away so much haha.
First off, just want to say I’ve been following your hikes since day 1. AWESOME footage and VERY informative and interesting videos!!! Keep up the good work. I’m constantly waiting on the next video!! I live in North GA as well, actually I’m a Paramedic here and my station is literally 12 miles from the parking area at just north of Springer on the AT so we go up pretty often to take care of injured/lost hikers. Anyway, being you are a side sleeper maybe you can give me some better advice on this. I looking to buy a new lighter weight sleeping bag. I found one I liked at REI, tried it out and, while on my back was ok but on my side felt kinda snug around the shoulders. I’m 5’10” so the lady confirmed what I had thought as far as the regular size bag would be fine. When you are side sleeping, how tight is your bag around hips/shoulders? I know you don’t want to get too roomy in there due to loosing the effect of body heat.
Awww thank you! I appreciate that 🙂
Mine isn’t so snug that I can’t wiggle around in it. It’s really going to be a call on your level of comfort. Yes, if it’s too big you’ll lose heat, but if it’s too tight you aren’t going to get a good nights sleep. The good thing about REI is you can always return items up to a year. So, give it the bigger size a try if you think it might be better!
I have hauled a therma rest camp rest for years. Its bomb proof but heavy. Did you ever have a leak in this ?
I got a hole in it because I set up camp in the dark and didn’t realize my tent was in a bush. It poked a hole and I repaired it, but there is a slow leak now. Doesn’t completely deflate or anything, but I’ll likely start with a new one on the CDT. Not bad for 2,650 miles, though ????
I am also a X-Lite short user. I do use pair it with a Z-lite pad, regular full length when out for more than one night. My favorite was the EXped sun mats with the built in pump. They are lux but heavy and I have had two that the chambers delaminated, creating a hernia like bulge that is impossible to sleep on.
PS old timer alert… when growing up in AZ in the 60’s, we used GI surplus ponchos for ground cloths and fiberfill poncho liners for insulation on top for insulation from the ground. A few years before ensolite pads showed up.
I just bought one of these. They are really highly rated everywhere I have checked. Thanks for the advice.
Should I give up my klymit insulated static v for the neoair?
I just purchased one of these! It will be my first piece of backpacking gear, as K have always gone car camping in the past. Very much looking forward to the freedom this will allow me and hopefully a good nights rest! Thanks for the info 🙂
Finally decided it was ’bout time – as I am not getting any younger. So ‘take a hike’ is my mantra and your videos are the first ones I watched trying to figure out if I could do this thing (the AT). You have been so very helpful. I have not gone hiking overnight before because of such fear of critters in the night and bears and such in the day AND night. You’ve talked about being prepared physically and mentally. That has already helped me stay focused when I am walking in my neighborhood as training. I never liked walking here, but I told myself it’s part of the journey and that there will be tough days and I just need to find the good around me and keep on hiking! Thanks Dixie!
Hey Dixie! Travis from Canada here! Just wanted to say thanks for all the informative information! I do a lot of canoeing, and portaging up here. Keep inspiring! I love watching your YouTube videos. They get me pumped for summer adventures, especially through winter!
Hi Dixie, I recently sold one of my tents and am looking at the Durston mid pro 2. It seems like a good tent, but i’m wondering if it’s overkill for someone who is not a thru hiker, but an avid backpacker. The price is not a huge issue.