Therm-A-Rest ProLite 3 Small Sleeping Pad

P1010299I got to thinking again…

This time about air pads. My Therm-A-Rest ProLite 4 was my first air pad. I actually bought it used (in “like-new” condition) about 4 years ago now, and I gotta say, it is a good pad. For me, it was (and is) comfortable, it kept me warm and it packed up smaller than that old blue ccf pad I had. However, as I moved into lightweight, and then “UL” backpacking, I began to realize that it was a bit heavy. I then moved onto my beloved NeoAir, and surprisingly, was even happier! 

Then last year my NeoAir started losing air during the night. In the end, I ended up getting the large XLite to replace it. I went with the large size instead of the regular size since the XLite’s are tapered at the head and foot end. The large XLite is 2.7 oz heavier than my original NeoAir, but I have ultimately been happy with it too.

But in the last couple of weeks I started thinking about air pads again. I still love the comfort level of the ProLite pad, but the weight had put me off. Then I got to thinking about thinner air pads in general. To be honest, it is a little surprising at how much room a 2.5 inch thick pad will limit the amount of head space in a short shelter (tent/tarp).

So, I got to looking around and realized a few things that I did not realize… specifically about the ProLite 3 pads. I realized that these pads are only 1 inch thick (as opposed to the 1.5 inch thick ProLite 4’s). Considering my experience with my ProLite 4 pad, I felt like the 0.5 inch difference would still be acceptable to me, so I looked more closely at the different size ProLite 3’s. And wouldn’t you know it, the small is listed at 11 oz! That is 4.5 oz lighter than my XLite…

Now I will say that I have never been a fan of anything less than full length pads, simply because I wasn’t too fond of the idea of the leg drop from the pad to the ground. I know that some people use their packs, sit pads, or other things to shorten the difference, but this never appealed to me. But, when I realized that the ProLite 3 was only 1 inch thick, I started to ponder a shorter pad.

I decided that the best way to figure out if it will work for me or not is to actually pick one up and give it a try…

As seen in the video, I did decide to go with the size small pad (which is listed at 20 inches wide by 47 inches long, and 11 oz). As a bonus, I ended up finding one of these pads marked as an “Irregular” at Campsaver for 40% off! After opening it up, the only thing that I can find irregular about this pad is that the logo looks like it was a little wrinkled when it was put on the pad. I did blow the pad up (in the video) and it will remain blown up for the next day or 2 to check for leaks.

I have thrown the pad on my hardwood floor and have laid on it for about an hour now. Concerning the thickness, I can feel myself bottom out when moving around, however, when lying still (whether on my back or my side) I do not bottom out. As well, with my pack and the 1/8″ GG Thinlight pad at the foot end, the drop is hardly even noticeable! Of course though, I understand that just laying on the floor for an hour is not quite using it, but it is enough to make me feel confident in trying it out…

P1010295

Until then though, thanks for stopping by!

~Stick~

 

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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12 Responses to Therm-A-Rest ProLite 3 Small Sleeping Pad

  1. Mike says:

    Chad,

    I’ve been watching your youtube videos since you started. Really enjoyed watching your progression. Thank you for saving me lots of money!

    I’m curious if you tried using this pad and what you thought of it.

    Thanks,

    Mike

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    • Stick says:

      Mike,

      Thanks for your support. Glad that you have gotten some use out of my site. As for the ProLite 3, yes, I have used it, and I love it! I talk about it more in 2 of my more recent post: Olympic National Park Post Hike Gear Talk, and then again in my Tagged: My Three Favorite post…

      Hope this helps some!

      ~Stick~

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  2. vizcara says:

    Do you think not using the stuff sack on these types of pads makes it more prone to puncturing like what happen with your pro light 4 pad? as you pack it loose in your pack? Say a sharp corner of a spork or metal clip or object rubbing against the pad and making a hole?

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    • Stick says:

      Nope, I never use a stuff sack with my pads. Even my more fragile NeoAirs are packed in my pack without a stuff sack. Heck, I even use my NeoAir lined along the back of my packs to act as my frame. Never had an issue doing this. However, I am also gentle on my pack when packed up. I don’t throw it around and I don’t use it as a chair. This is one thing about using lighter weight gear… while much of it is not as fragile as many seem to think, it does need to be treated with a little care…

      As far as stuff inside my pack damaging it… that is not an issue either. First off, since I use a frameless pack, I am meticulous about how I pack it. Using a frameless pack requires a bit of forethought in order to achieve a comfortable, stable, balanced pack. This means everything I put inside my pack has it’s place rather than just chunking everything inside and hoping for the best.

      And just for the record, my ProLite 4 is going great. It is my oldest pad, and it has been treated a bit rougher than the others… I guess you could call it my “learning” pad. 🙂

      Anyway, the high durability of the ProLite pads is what led me to getting this one…

      However, any air pad has the potential to develop a leak, so it is always smart to carry a repair kit. That is just the nature of this particular beast. I don’t mind it though and have no plans to leave my air pads behind (unless I am experimenting).

      Hope this helps.

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • vizcara says:

      thanks chad for taking the time to answer my question in such great detail. I appreciate that as it tells me all aspects of both packing the air pads and the pro lite types etc and how you packed them with out issues. I am really digging your blog and writings and videos. You am only one other blogger I have seen out there that really write well and give a great detail in your blogs as that is “hiker Jim”. be sure to share some more great photos of your trips from summer. if you ever make it to California redwood country let me know. I can show you some I the best spots.

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    • Stick says:

      No problem, glad you found it useful. And thanks for the kind words about my blog/videos, I appreciate them.

      ~Stick~

      Like

  3. I have the prolite 3 regular which weighs in at 16.8 ounces. Very happy with it. It seems much more robust than the neoair. The 2.1 r value is a concern for me on the John Muir Trail in September but I think it should work out ok combined with my marmot helium.

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    • Stick says:

      I have used my original NeoAir with the Gossamer Gear 1/8″ Thinlight pad year round and been fine. In the colder months, I also used my Helium. Anyway, the NeoAir had an R-Value of 2.5, and these ProLites are listed at 2.2, so it is similar. However, being a short pad, for cold temps I will likely revert back to my large XLite… but we will see! 🙂

      ~Stick~

      Like

  4. milligan308 says:

    Never ending quest to lighten up! I like this unboxing and details, very interesting.
    I’ll say that I have the Large Xlite at 16oz and have been using it with a Lawson InsuLite 250XL at 8.8oz and have been wondering about torso length pads to get even lighter something like the Klymit inerta X wave at 10.5oz and use with a Lawson 125XL at 4oz. so I am estimating 14.5oz vs 24.8oz. What kind of foam layer are you planing to use with the ProLite3?

    Like

    • Stick says:

      I saw that Klymit X Wave pad, however, I was not real fond of my Static V pad at all, so I figured that the ProLite 3 would be a better fit for me. Now that I have it, I think that I made a good decision.

      As far as supplementing the pad, at the moment, I plan to just throw my pack at the foot end and then fold my Gossamer Gear 1/8″ Thinlight pad in half and lay it over the pack. Trying it out at home seemed to work out pretty well, and the combined weight of the 2 pads is 12.9 oz. However, I use the GG pad as a sit pad during the day anyway, so it is multiuse to begin with…

      ~Stick~

      Like

    • milligan308 says:

      Guess I will have to check out your Static V review and look forward to your post hike review of the PL3 thanks for the unboxing.

      Like

    • Stick says:

      My Static V write up was also an unboxing and has not been updated, but it just didn’t work out for me, and not because of the weight so much. It just wasn’t comfy for me, and for some reason, the middle of the pad was taller than the edges, so I felt like I was on a hump… I seemed to bottom out on it when on my side, and the baffles dug into my ribs… it just didn’t work out for me, although I still have it…

      You can read the comments on that page though for more of my thoughts on it…

      ~Stick~

      Like

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