Expert Review: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm MAX Sleeping Pad

This review is my honest opinion of the sleeping pad, which I purchased with my own money in November of 2022.

The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm MAX Sleeping Pad.

All photos courtesy of Bob Rogers

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the sleeping pad, which I purchased with my own money in November of 2022.

My take

The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm MAX Sleeping Pad is an ultralight (UL), insulated sleeping pad geared towards the winter UL backpacker.

Top of the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm MAX Sleeping Pad.

Top of the pad

About the pad I own

  • Model: 2022 Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm MAX Sleeping Pad
  • Size: Regular, mummy

Test conditions

  • When I bought it: November 2022
  • Days tested: 1
  • Total pack weight: 1lb, 2.85oz
  • Used for: Backpacking, mountaineering, thru-hiking
  • Where I’ve used it: Woods, at 16°F with 15–20mph winds
  • Seasons I’ve used it in: Winter

About me

  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 195lbs
  • Experience: 15+ of backpacking

How it performs


What I was looking for

I already own a Therm-A-Rest NeoAir UberLite sleeping pad, so I am familiar with their product line. It weighs 8.80oz with an R-2.3 value. I will be thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) starting in Georgia on March 3, 2023. This will put me in the Smokies (+5,000 elevation) in late March. I wanted something with a higher R-value than the UberLite.

The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm MAX Sleeping Pad.

Bottom with pump sack

Why I chose this gear

The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm MAX Sleeping Pad weighs 18.80oz but boosts an R-6.9 value. From what I’ve seen from other online reviews, it is the lightest winter-rated sleeping pad currently available. My previous winter pad (reviewed) was an Exped Ultra 7R Sleeping Pad which was 22.00oz and an R-7.1 value.

Pump on the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm MAX Sleeping Pad.

Fitting between pump sack and pad

What I love about it

  • Durability: To be perfectly honest, I’ve not owned this pad long enough to truly rate its durability. But as mentioned above, I also own the Therm-A-Rest NeoAir UberLite for more than six months now. It is of similar construction and I’ve had no issues with it.
  • Weight: The weight was the deciding factor when purchasing this pad. It is the lightest pad I could find with an R-6.0+ value. Though I’ve found that the listed weights are inconsistent. REI claims the weight is 15oz and Therm-A-Rest claims 17oz. Using my own kitchen scale: Minimum trail weight (no stuff sack or pump sack): 16.32oz. With pump sack: 18.24oz. With pump sack and stuff sack: 18.85oz
  • Packability: This pad packs down to a 9” x 4”. For comparison, a 32oz Nalgene bottle is 8.25” x 3.5”.
  • Insulation and R-Value: R-6.9 value. I was more than comfortable at 16°F. I had hoped it would get colder that night. Lying directly on the tent floor without the pad, there was a very noticeable difference. I don’t think I would have been warm without it.
  • Comfort: The pad is 2.5” thick when fully inflated, which is adequate for my comfort—even when sleeping on my side.
  • Ease of use: The pump sack is fairly typical of air sleeping pads. It is straightforward, easy to use, and requires about five sack fulls to fill (using a hair dryer for max inflation).
  • Backpacking, Mountaineering, & Thru-Hiking: The compact size and low weight make it ideal for backpacking, mountaineering, and thru-hiking.
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm MAX Sleeping Pad.

Thickness when inflated

The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm MAX Sleeping Pad.

Instructions on pump sack

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Shape: The regular is 72” long, 20” wide (at the head), and 16” wide (at the feet). Mummy shapes reduce weight by trimming the corners off rectangles, more so at the feet than the head. As such, it can be hard to stay on the pad if tossing and turning during the night.
  • Noise: All synthetic insulated air pads make noise, as they are typically insulated using Mylar (the same material as the silver birthday balloons), and so they make a “crinkle” sound like a cat toy. I didn’t find the noise of this pad to be excessive, but if sensitive, keep this in mind. Down-insulated pads do not have this feature.
  • Car Camping: For car camping, weight is the last consideration. Given that, a standard full-size or queen mattress would be better suited and give even higher R-values.
  • Features: The inflation/deflation valve and the mating piece on the pump sack are a rather tight fit. Much tighter than any of my previous sleeping pads. This may lessen with more use (I hope).
  • Other: The stuff sack is about an inch longer than it needs to be. A UL hiker doesn’t like excess. A hyperlighter wouldn’t bring the stuff sack on a thru-hike. A purist would use a three-quarter length fan-fold foam pad. I fit best into UL but am willing to overlook the extra material.
The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm MAX Sleeping Pad.

Excess stuff sack

Favorite moment with this gear

The night I decided to test the sleeping pad, the forecast was for 13°F with 15-20mph winds. Using my hiking thermometer, it was 16℉, and the winds were much calmer at ground level (heavily wooded area). I wish it had been colder that night, but the pad worked very well at this temperature.

My setup:

  • Tent: Zpack Duplex tent
  • Sleep system: Cedar Ridge Outdoors Helium 20°F Top Quilt, Sea 2 Summit 50°F Sparks, sleeping bag, Sea 2 Summit Reactor Compact+ liner
  • Clothing: REI heavy thermal pants, Columbia Heavyweight Epais thermal top, and SealSkinz Waterproof Extreme Cold Weather Hat

I’ve not had this for long and have only had weather cold enough to properly test it once so far this winter. When weather permits, I plan on testing it further with different combinations of the sleeping system (quilt, sleeping bag, liner, and thermals). Ideally, I would like to test it at 0°F. Though that is colder than I’m likely to ever see on the A.T. during a spring to fall thru-hike.

Value for the money vs. other options

There are other pads (see chart below) that are similar in price and R-value. While those attributes are similar, weight is where NeoAir Xtherm shines. As an ultralight hiker, weight is my biggest concern. For those willing to carry more weight, the Exped Ultra 7R would be slightly warmer for an extra 4oz of weight. But for me, it was plenty warm into the teens and is half the weight of the Exped Dura 8R.

Exped Ultra 7R Sleeping PadSea to Summit Ether Light XT Extreme Sleeping PadTherm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm Sleeping PadExped Dura 8R Sleeping Pad
Typical Price$229.95$239.00$229.95$249.95
Best UseBackpackingBackpackingMountaineering BackpackingBackpacking
Insulation TypeDownSyntheticSyntheticDown
Repair Kit IncludedYesYesYesYes
Stuff Sack IncludedYesYesYesYes
Packed Size5.5 x 11 inches7 x 9.5 inches9 x 4 inches6.3 x 13 inches
Pad Thickness3.5 inches4 inches2.5 inches3.5 inches
Dimensions70 x 20.5 x 3.572 x 21.5 x 472 x 20 x 2.572 x 20.5 x 3.5
Weight1 lb 6 oz1 lb 9.6 oz15 oz2 lb 1 oz

Final verdict

I would definitely recommend this pad for anyone trying to reduce their pack weight. It is lighter than all of the self-inflating pads I’ve had experience with, has a high R-value, and is fairly quiet for an insulated air pad.

Selling Therm-A-Rest on
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm MAX Sleeping Pad
Meet the author
Camping & Hiking Expert Bob Rogers
Bob Rogers
Camping & Hiking Expert
Bob here! How can I help?
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Written By
Camping started at an early age for me as both my parents and grandparents were outdoor enthusiasts. My first memory is hiking in Maine at about 6 yrs old. Day hiking and car camping kept me busy until my 40s. Then I discovered backpacking. ​ I've thru-hiked the STS (Susquehannack Trail System); an...

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