Therm-A-Rest Evolite Sleeping Pad Review
Initial Thoughts on the Therm-A-Rest EvoLite
The Therm-A-Rest EvoLite self-inflating mattress was a welcome addition to my summer camping adventures. My first ever sleeping pad (see photo below) is ancient, 20 years old, I think. A not so thick foam-like pad that takes up 5x as much space, and is not comfortable at all! It is kind of amazing if you think about how far we have come with something as simple as a place to rest our weary bones in the great outdoors. My backcountry excursions have been minimal the past few years as 2 little girls have infiltrated my life and hampered my outdoor excursions and adventures. That said, I have several camping trips coming up this summer, and am excited to put this ultra-light sleeping pad to the test.
The Airframe Construction is the main feature you want to take away from all this because it impacts and drives all the other ones. Alternating channels of Atmos foam and air create a skeleton of foam within an air mattress. This technology makes it possible to attain the maximum amount of cushioning or loft while keeping the package as small as possible.
With the weight of the regular size hovering right above 1 pound, the weight is truly featherweight (in my humble opinion). Every piece of equipment, gear, and clothing is important, but that one extra pound will pay off after a long day on the trail. The packed dimensions are under 8” x 5” which is great, and allows you to potentially pack other things like food to maybe add on some extra mileage.
You can find insulating R-Values for sleeping pads from 0.7 to well up into the 6.0’s. The R-value is 2.1 for the Therm-A-Rest Evolite. A respectable number especially if you factor in the light weight and size. Don’t expect this to keep you nice and toasty though. I’d say the pad works great for many 3 season adventures. When temperatures start dipping into the low thirties you may want look at other options, or factor in your choice of sleeping bag to allow for a good night’s rest.
I am not one of those ‘sleep anywhere’ kind of guys. I like my bed! Cars, planes, and yes, camping provides for a less than ideal night of rest. I like the outdoors too much, so I have come to terms with that having experimented with various sleeping systems. The Therm-A-Rest EvoLite did an admirable job in the comfort department. I managed to get a good amount of sleep giving me the energy for the upcoming day.
The self inflating feature is what gets the sleeping pad to a point from nice and compact to something that does resemble a sleeping pad. You do have to give it a few breaths of air at this point. I went ahead and gave it 7-8 good blows which got it to a point where it was completely full of air. That is actually how I slept on it the first night, and worked rather well. The next night, I let out a bit of air to soften it up just a bit. Once my weight was distributed, my hips, shoulders, and head were supported just fine.
|Weight||11.5 oz / 330 g||1 lbs 1 oz / 480 g||1 lbs 7 oz / 650 g|
|Width||20 in / 51 cm||20 in / 51 cm||25 in / 63 cm|
|Length||47 in / 119 cm||72 in / 183 cm||77 in / 196 cm|
|Thickness||2 in / 5 cm||2 in / 5 cm||2 in / 5 cm|
|Packed dimension||7.75 x 4.0 / 20 x 10||7.75 x 4.9 / 20 x 13||9.5 x 5.5 / 24 x 14|
|Top fabric type||30d mini Rip Polyester||30d mini Rip Polyester||30d mini Rip Polyester|
|Bottom fabric type||30d mini Rip Polyester||30d mini Rip Polyester||30d mini Rip Polyester|
|Foam type||Urethane Foam||Urethane Foam||Urethane Foam|
|Country of Origin||Made in the U.S.A. of U.S. and Imported Materials||Made in the U.S.A. of U.S. and Imported Materials||Made in the U.S.A. of U.S. and Imported Materials|
Performance of The Therm-A-Rest Evolite
The pad saw action on a trip to capture one of Colorado’s 14-ers. The Mount of the Holy Cross at 14,005 was on tap to conquer. The first night was at our “base camp”, an organized State Forest campground. The hike to the summit allows for camping about 3 miles in to get a jump on starting bright and early to reach the summit. This is always beneficial because afternoon thunder, lightning, and electric storms can wreak havoc on any hike. It’s actually quite dangerous, hence the early start from the primitive backcountry spot. I carried minimal supplies; small tent, sleeping bag, food, and enough water for the night and hike.
The temperatures at 11,000’ did manage to dip into the low to mid thirties, and I was kept up with some cold toes. On the bright side, I was able to switch up my sleeping positions from side to stomach and not really feel the ground. That’s where the 2” of loft came into play plus it absorbed some of the lumpiness of the ground on the other side. I got up at 4:45, and packed up my little camp which took all of about 10 minutes. I squeezed out a good portion of air just by pushing and crumpling the roll. As I rolled it up, it easily compressed and fit into its provided stuff sack.
A car camping trip to Colorado’s highest Peak (Mt. Elbert) proved to be my most comfortable 2 nights of camping all summer. My wife and kids were on the air mattress, and I slept on the Therm-A-Rest EvoLite (I did have to fight for space with my 70 pound pup). Our primitive campsite was absolutely stunning as it was nestled in the pine trees with views of Twin Lakes. The ground was rocky in spots, but a few areas were cleared and even had a nice bed of pine needles. As I did capture a couple of 14-ers on this trip, I was quite exhausted and sleep was not a problem at all. The sleeping pad provided the perfect base for my aching body.
Available sizes: Small, Regular, and Long. I am 6’-1” tall, and have the Long which is a really good size for me, and would work well for anyone 6′-0″ and up. You can certainly go with the small or regular if you want to save space in your pack.
The Therm-A-Rest Evolite self inflating mattress is a great piece of gear for the backpacker because of it’s lightweight, small size, adequate support and comfort. The Air Frame construction is a nice blend of foam and air to aid in providing that support to give you a good nights rest while enjoying the great outdoor. When packed in the provided stuff sack, it compares in size to a larger water bottle, so it can be stuffed away nicely in your pack. Therm-A-Rest has a wide range of products, so please check out this one, or look for other features and uses that work for you.
For more information and purchase please visit: www.thermarest.com