Therm-a-Rest Prolite Plus

8.4
8.4 score
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Therm-a-Rest Prolite Plus Review Facts

The Therm-a-Rest Prolite Plus Ultralight Self-Inflating Pad is perfect for all outdoor sleeping needs but is mostly used for winter backpacking, camping, alpine, and touring excursions. Made of durable, comfortable, and highly-compressible foam material, this pad is quiet, will not deflate, and adds only minimal weight to the pack. Great for year-round use outdoors or indoors, it is terrific for cold conditions and has an R-value of 3.4 for an indication of good insulation. The diagonal cut of the interior foam adds some warmth to the product rather than being cut vertically. Offered in three various sizes of small, regular, and large, the Prolite Plus is just 1.5 inches thick, making it an ideal solution for sleeping when comfort and lightness of weight are factors. The self-inflating or self-expanding foam core is lightweight and compressible to fit into any size of backpack or bag to give the user some well-appreciated comfort under the sleeping bag and on top of the tent floor or bare ground. Even side sleepers claim that this item is terrific for them and does not hurt at the pressure points of the shoulders or hips. It comes with a repair kit and a stuff sack to make packing even easier. The overall online rating and feedback comments for the Prolite Plus are good but not great. Let’s get into why that is the case.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Highly compressible, lightweight, and quiet
  • Comfortable and will not deflate
  • For year-round use outdoors or indoors
  • Is self-inflating
  • Foam core is expandable and self-inflating
  • Terrific for cold conditions
  • Good for side sleepers
  • For camping, backpacking, alpine, and touring
Cons
  • Pad and material can be thinner than expected
  • Too narrow at the shoulders for a few people
Comfort

Comfort

Above all else, a pad for sleeping during camping and backpacking must be comfortable. The Prolite Plus is quite comfortable according to the majority of buyers who love it and would purchase it again. The inner substance is Atmos foam product that decreases the weight of the pad by 10%, so it is highly compressible to make backpacking gear light. Quiet when used and its lack of deflating makes it perfect for sleeping in groups or with other nearby. It will not slip around under you to be a balancing problem of the sleeping bag, the pad, and you during the night. The Prolite Plus is so comfortable and simple to use those most men who purchase them for themselves usually buy one for their spouse or girlfriend too for camping. You would not think at first that such a thin pad could be so comfortable, even for those that sleep on their sides.
Durability

Durability

Made of durable and comfortable foam material, this terrific item is lightweight and highly compressible to be ideal for those that must carry their gear on foot. Even if you are car camping or just roughing it in the backyard for an overnight sleepover, this product is a solid choice. because of its thinness, some buyers were disappointed that it was not thicker. You must realize that it is a simple buffer between the sleeping bag and the tent floor or the bare ground when sleeping outdoors. It is not going to be as thick as an air mattress would be that can deflate entirely. The foam material that self-expands makes it nearly impossible for the item to be any thicker and still have the same lightness and compressibility for carrying it in the gear. Many people were delighted with the sleeping experience they had with this item.
Flexibility

Flexibility

Most of us are very familiar with air mattresses that you blow up yourself or that use an air pump to inflate quickly. The Prolite Plus is completely different in that it is made of self-inflating foam material on the inside. This expands on its own when you lay the product out flat. You cannot wait until you are ready to use it and then go to sleep on it right away. Once the item expands, you can use the valve to blow in some of your own breath to inflate it fully and firmly. We could not find it stated anywhere as to how long this expanding process takes. It is neither given in the product details from the manufacturer or in any feedback comments from buyers. We would imagine that it does not take long since backpackers do not have much time to set up camp and shelter before going to sleep for the night. it is possible it only takes less than 30 minutes or so. The product is more flexible in use and in storing than a regular air mattress because of this exceptional foam. It is great for year-round use outdoors or indoors, since it will add some bottom heat in winter and be cool to sleep on in the summer.
Key Features

Key Features

-Made of durable and comfortable foam
-Diagonally-cut than regular vertical-cut
-R-value of 3.4 for warmth
-1.5 inches thick and ultra-compact
-Three different sizes of large, regular, and small
-Comes with a repair kit and stuff sack
Protection

Protection

Terrific for cold conditions in the winter months, the Prolite Plus has an R-value of 3.4. this tells you the rate of insulation of a product and how warm it will be compared to other similar items. When sleeping on the ground in a tent or just on the bare cold ground, this pad acts as a superb buffer between your sleeping bag and the ground. Just having it under you will make you warmer and more comfortable with the cushioning. There are also additional warmth qualities from the special cut of the foam. It has a diagonal cut rather than a vertical cut, which may seem like a small matter, but it actually makes a difference in the insulating properties of the foam. There is a women’s version of this same pad offered from this company, and a few people wanted to know how it differed from this one that is unisex and the same thickness. The women’s version has a higher R-value without explaining how. The online answer from sellers is that the women’s product has additional foam in it, thus has a higher R-value for insulating. If it is the same thickness, then it has to be wider or has a thinner outer covering than this Prolite Plus. We are not sure because the matter was not explained in full detail.
Responsiveness

Responsiveness

At just 1.5 inches thick, this pad is a comfortable sleeping solution that is ultra-compact and very comfortable. It is good for side sleepers even though it is not that thick, so those that rest of their backs or stomachs will be even more cushioned in their sleeping arrangements. According to buyers, this item even works on concrete sleeping on the side and resulting in no pain whatsoever. You certainly would not think that this is true to look at the online photos of the product. Since it self-inflates or expands, it can give you the maximum support with the option of making the pad even firmer with your own few breaths. If you don’t feel like it is firm enough for you when you are ready to sleep, then there is an air valve to inflate it even more. This makes is a sort of hybrid sleeping pad that is a combination of air and foam for a good night’s sleep outdoors anywhere.
Size

Size

Offered in three different sizes of large, regular, and small, you get to choose which one is best for your body height and width. The large is 25 x77 inches, the regular is 20 x 72 inches, and the small is 20 x 47 inches. The small size weighs only 16 ounces and packs down to just 11 x 4 inches, while the regular weighs just 23 ounces, and the large weighs only 31 ounces. This product is contoured in proportion to the shape of the body with the wider top being for the width of the shoulders and the bottom for the small area of the feet. It is almost mummy-shaped as some sleeping bags are to give you full-body coverage without the added bulk of material that would not be used. A negative comment from customers about the size of this sleeping pad is that it was too narrow for them at the shoulders, as their arms would not stay on the pad well. It is possible that the product is for a regular build of a person, so if you are large or muscular, especially in the shoulders or arms, then these sizes might not be ideal for you.
Use

Use

Perfect for camping and backpacking in winter, this Therm-a-Rest item is also great for alpine and touring excursions. The best use is backpacking because of the lightweight quality that this pad possesses. Hikers must be very conscious of each ounce they put in their packs since they must bear the full weight of their gear on their backs, shoulders, and hips while walking. This exceptional pad is ideal for a light hiker that would like some additional comfort on the trip when sleeping. It does not add much weight to the pack, does not require air or breath to inflate it, and it is highly compressible to pack down to a fabulously small size. anytime you need some added comfort sleeping outdoors or in less than normal conditions, try this incredibly thin pad for a nice buffer and additional warmth.
Ease of Use

Ease of Use

Included with the purchase of this item are a repair kit and stuff sack for ease in carrying and storing. The stuff sack is for use only while you are moving during the trip. When the product is stored from not being in use, it must be stored laying out flat and inflated. This aids with the durability and effectiveness of the item when you want to use it. many people learned this the hard way by not having it in great condition when they wanted it because they stored it in the stuff sack. It eventually works itself out and becomes perfect again, but it takes time to expand on its own. You will be rewarded with a much firmer and cushiony pad if it is treated properly. Firming the pad up before you sleep on it can make your sleeping experience much better also. This is why it has an air valve. You can add a few breaths of air to make it very firm or leave it flexible with some give much like a soft mattress. You will find that because this item does not have to be inflated fully by you or an air pump that it is a much easier product to use than the regular common air mattress.
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

The Prolite Plus may be thinner than one would expect when they see it for the first time in person, and the thickness of the material might not be exactly what you envisioned. However, this product has pleased enough people to be very effective and usable as a sleeping pad for outdoor camping conditions. It is not supposed to be very thick, as it is only a cushion to keep the user from being on the ground or touching the tent floor with their sleeping bag. It is to add your comfort while sleeping, but not make you feel as if you are at home in your own soft and cozy bed. Highly-compressible, durable, lightweight, sturdy, and small in size, the Prolite Plus is a unique product that is very much worth exploring, buying, and using for your next camping or backpacking trip. It will give you an added layer of cushion that does not compromise much space in the pack or add any noticeable weight to your gear load. If manufacturers did not keep inventing well-made products such as this one that uses some incredible designs and materials to please us and solve our outdoor gear needs, then we would not have much selection at all for choices. We love the ingenuity and craftsmanship of this remarkable sleeping pad.