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…
Until then though, thanks for stopping by!