The Thermarest NeoAir XTherm NXT is the most expensive sleeping pad I’ve ever purchased and as I’m 6ft2 (189cm) and large (read overweight) I opted for the large version which cost 20% more than the regular pad.
I’ve been out on several trips totalling 9 nights and this is my honest review where I’ll also compare it to the previous version (it has the same name but without the NXT letters).
- High R-Value at 7.3.
- Reasonable pack size.
- Durable and well made.
- Solid inflation/deflation valve.
- Great for front and back sleepers and side sleepers who aren’t overweight/heavy.
- The price. This is one of the most expensive pads on the market.
- A bit slippery, and combined with me turning often in the night and the tapered design, I found I occasionally moved off the pad.
- It’s thicker than the previous pad but heavy side sleepers like me will want more than 7.6cm (3″).
Differences Between The New (NXT) and The Original XTherm Model
The original NeoAir XTherm was loved by campers for its small pack size, low weight and warmth, but many, including myself, had a few niggles with it.
The newer NXT version is a huge improvement; here are the key points:
No Crisp Packet Noises: The original XTherm was notorious for the horrendous noise it made when the sleeper turned over during the night. I’ve heard the pad being called a “crisp packet” on a few occasions – it was so bad that everyone in the bothy would know exactly what pad you were on, even without seeing it!
The noise was caused by the metallic foil-like layers, but in the newer XTherm NXT version, this foil has been coated with a material to make it quieter. I estimate that there’s around 75% less noise from the newer pad and is now no more noisy than any other well-insulated pad.
I’ve never woken up from the noise of this pad and can report that whatever they’ve done, it’s made a huge difference.
Thicker: The original NeoAir XTherm was 6.3cm (2.5″) which is very thin by any standard, as a heavy side sleeper I found it very uncomfortable without a base pad under it.
The newer NeoAir XTherm NXT is now 7.6cm (3″) and most people will notice the extra padding. The extra thickness also allows the sleeper to release a bit more air to soften up the pad and make it even more comfy.
As a side sleeper, I had a better night’s sleep on the newer version than the older one but being heavy, I admit I need even more padding.
Improved R-Value: The R-Value measures an insulated product’s ability to reduce the rate of heat flow. The higher the number, the less heat that will be transferred through the product.
The original XTherm had a rating of 6.9, while the newer NeoAir XTherm NXT is rated at 7.3. This is a welcome upgrade for winter campers.
What I Liked About The NeoAir XTherm NXT Pad
In addition to the above improvements, there are other points worth mentioning:
Same WingLock Valve: The valve on this pad is a patented large Winglock valve which is easy to use, even when wearing large winter gloves. The valve allows air in one-way for easy inflation and deflates quickly.
WingLock valve is easy to use, even with big gloves on
Reinforced Underside: The underside of the sleeping pad is reinforced with 70 denier fabric to protect the pad from damage. The top is 30 denier which helps keep the pad’s weight down.
Pack Weight and Size: The regular pad weighs just 0.44kg (0.9lbs) while the larger pad I own weighs a still impressive 0.57kg (1.25lbs). These are incredibly impressive weights, considering they are insulated winter pads. I couldn’t find any similar thermal pads anywhere near this weight.
The regular pad packed size is 23cm by 11cm (9″ x 4.5″), while the large pad I own packs down to 28cm x 13cm (11″ x 5″).
Again, considering these are insulated pads, the small packed sizes are impressive.
My large Thermarest pad in its bag
Easy to Clean: I found the pad very easy to clean and any dirt just wiped away with ease. After 9 nights and some contact with condensation and mud, there’s no staining on the pad.
Pump Sack Included: If you don’t like inflating pads by blowing into them, you’ll be pleased to know that a pump sack is included.
I tried it a few times but I found it quicker and easier to just use my breath.
I contacted Thermarest and asked them if there’s any downside to inflating it with my breath over the pump sack and they informed me that both are the same and any moisture in my breath wouldn’t negatively affect the pad in any way.
The Thermarest pump sack is included
Choice of Sizes: The Thermarest XTherm NeoAir NXT pad comes in several sizes:
- Regular: 183cm (72″) long x 54cm (20″) wide (tapered towards the feet).
- Wide: 183cm (72″) long x 64cm (25″) wide (tapered towards the feet).
- Large: 196cm (77″) long x 64cm (25″) wide (tapered towards the feet).
In addition, consider the rectangular-shaped NeoAir XTherm NXT MAX, which is available in regular and wide with the same dimensions as shown above but without the taper.
My Experience With This Sleeping Pad
I’ve used the large NeoAir XTherm NXT pad over 9 nights, including a couple of very cold nights and also a few in summer and autumn.
I found the pad easy to inflate by mouth, I was obviously a bit out of breath, but I found it easier than using the pump sack.
During the night, the pad didn’t lose any air and was still fully inflated in the morning.
While the pad is slightly thicker and more comfortable than the previous model, I did struggle to get a good night’s sleep as I’m a heavy side sleeper, I found I was getting a dead arm during the night as my body couldn’t sink into it, as it would with thicker pads. I think back and front sleepers will be just fine, as would side sleepers who aren’t as heavy as I am.
While I sleep in a mummy bag, I do turn a lot in the night and found I slipped off the pad a few times. In hindsight, I feel the rectangular NXT Max would’ve been the better option for me as it’s just as wide but doesn’t taper at the feet.
This pad is the warmest I’ve ever slept on and I could feel my body heat radiating back off the pad; I’m confident that it can be used safely in UK winter conditions.
Deflating the pad, cleaning and drying it and getting into the bag was easy and I have no niggles to report.
Do I Recommend The XTherm NXT?
I recommend this sleeping pad to those who do a lot of winter camping and require a lightweight pad to keep them as warm as possible.
There are a few caveats:
- Heavier sleepers may wish to opt for a base pad or an entirely different, thicker pad for comfort.
- It’s expensive, and if you already own the older version, the newer one has some improvements but maybe not enough to justify forking out over £220+ again.
- The tapered design isn’t great for bigger sleepers that turn frequently and the rectangular MAX version is very expensive.
Alternatives to Consider
There aren’t any direct comparisons to the Thermarest XTherm NeoAir NXT but consider these:
Better For Side Sleepers: Consider the Sea to Summit Ether Light XT Extreme Insulated pad which has an extra inch (2.5cm) of thickness and a still impressive R-Value of 6.2. Note that it’s nearly double the weight.
For 3-Season Use: Consider the Thermarest NeoAir XLite NXT which at the regular size weighs just 370g (0.8lbs) and with a lower R-Value of 4.5.
About Daniel Woodley
This review of the Thermarest NeoAir XTherm NXT was created by Daniel Woodley, aka The Bald Scrambler.
From walking along beaches and kayaking down rivers to making his way up mountains and even jumping out of planes, Daniel has a love of the outdoors but scrambling is his real passion.
Daniel Woodley aka The Bald Scrambler