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.