A decent design, very lightweight and good for backpacking trips and camping holidays where space isn’t at a super premium.
Good comfort from foam padding
Not packable enough for faster adventures
Too thin for side sleepers
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Therm-a-Rest ProLite Women’s Sleeping Mat: first impressions
You may get on well with the Therm-a-Rest ProLite Women’s Sleeping Mat if you prefer the comfort of sleeping on a foam base, rather than a fully inflatable air mat (see: How to choose a sleeping pad).
This super lightweight women’s version of the popular pad is constructed with a foam core that expands once liberated from its stuff sack, although you’ll still have to add some air with good old lung power to fully inflate the mat (so don’t be fooled by its promises of being entirely self-inflating – although it’s not hard to get it sleep ready). It certainly stakes a claim to being one of the Best sleeping pad and mats around.
The female-specific version of the ProLite doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel – it is just shorter and has a higher R rating (see: Sleeping pad R-values explained) than its unisex counterpart, to keep colder sleepers more comfortable.
• RRP: $105 (US) / £110 (UK)
• Style: Self-inflating foam
• Weight: 510g / 1lb 2oz
• Variants: Standard and Plus
• Dimensions: 168 x 51cm / 66 x 20in
• Thickness: 2.5cm / 1in
• Pack size: 28 x 15cm / 11 x 5.8in
• R-value: 2.7
• Compatibility: 2- to 3-season
In the field
Once inflated, the ProLite is comfortable, with none of the feeling of sleeping on a balloon that you get from an air-only mat. That said, we reckon this mat is a tad too thin for women who like to sleep on their side (like me) – it’s best suited to back sleepers, whose weight is better distributed.
Although it is extremely light, the ProLite doesn’t pack down super small (a result of the foam used in its construction) and its bulkier size means it’s always going to demand more real estate in your pack, which might be an issue for some space-conscious backpackers, wild campers and bike packers – despite the fact that Therm-a-Rest aim this design at these users. The foam inclusion does, however, mean that it’s a little more robust than more nimble fully inflatable options.
An R rating of 2.7 makes this mat suitable for warm weather camping (2- to 3- season, depending on your location, altitude and personal preferences), and a Plus women’s version with an R rating of 3.9 is also available and will see you through from early spring to late autumn.
An award-winning travel and outdoors journalist, presenter and blogger, Sian regularly writes for The Independent, Evening Standard, BBC Countryfile, Coast, Outdoor Enthusiast and Sunday Times Travel. Life as a hiking, camping, wild-swimming adventure-writer has taken her around the world, exploring Bolivian jungles, kayaking in Greenland, diving with turtles in Australia, climbing mountains in Africa and, in Thailand, learning the hard way that peeing on a jellyfish sting doesn’t help. Her blog, thegirloutdoors.co.uk, champions accessible adventures.