The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite is one of the most popular sleeping pads for backpacking and camping. Yes, it is very comfortable and lightweight. But there are a lot of other nearly-as-good options which are much more affordable.
I’m a firm believer that camping shouldn’t have to be expensive. So, I’ve compiled some reviews of Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite alternatives. These competing sleeping pads range from the high-end and high-tech to budget sleeping pads that are surprisingly good for the cost.
Why the NeoAir Xlite?
There’s a reason that the NeoAir Xlite is so damn popular and people are willing to pay a high price for it. There is currently no sleeping pad on the market that delivers this much comfort and insulation per weight.
For ultralight backpacking, there aren’t really any competitors (at least that can deliver this level of comfort). Most air pads aren’t this warm. But the NeoAir Xlite has a heat reflective material built into it which allows it to be much warmer.
There are only a few complaints about the NeoAir XLite:
- It makes noise when you turn around on it.
- It isn’t as comfy if you are a side sleeper.
- It is expensive!
You can buy the NeoAir Xlite here.
Quick Comparison of NeoAir XLite Alternatives
|NeoAir Xlite||20x72"||12oz (340g)||2.5"||9x4"||3.2||$170
|Big Agnes Insulated AXL||20x72"||10.6oz (301g)||3.75"||6.5x3"||15F||$180
|Big Agnes Air Core Ultra||20x72"||20oz (567g)||3.25"||7x4"||1.5||$69
|Klymit Static V Insulated||23x72"||19.6oz (556g)||2.5"||8x5"||4.4||$80
|Sea to Summit Ultralight Pad||21.5x72"||13.9oz (394g)||2"||6.5x3"||0.7||$100
|EcoTek Outdoors Hybern8||22x74"||18oz (510g)||2.2"||10x3"||2||$40
|Outdoorsman Lab Sleeping Pad||22x74"||16oz (454g)||2"||8x3"||1.3||$41
*Costs at the time of writing. Costs might change!
Even Lighter Alternative to the NeoAir XLite
Big Agnes AXL Insulated Sleeping Pad
The AXL by Big Agnes is one of the only sleeping pads available which is actually lighter than the NeoAir Xlite. It is 10.6oz, a whole 1.4oz lighter.
The Xlite still seems the better choice of the two pads. Compared to the Xlite, the AXL is very cold. No R-value is given but Big Agnes rates it to 15 degrees F. Really, the rating is probably around 32F.
On the plus side, the AXL is not nearly as crinkly as the NeoAir Xlite. It is also more comfortable, especially for side-sleeping. It does cost more thanthe NeoAir Xlite, so you have to decide how important these features are for you.
Budget Alternatives to the NeoAir XLite
Big Agnes Air Core Ultra
Here’s another sleeping pad by Big Agnes. It doesn’t come close to the ultralight weight of the NeoAir Xlite. However, it only costs about half the price.
If you don’t mind carrying the extra 8oz, you’ll be happy with the noise-less sleeping surface and tough design. But, like the previous Big Agnes sleeping pad, it sleeps cold. The R-value is just 1.5. This is the minimum rating you need to be comfortable on a cold night.
Klymit Static V Insulated
The Klymit Static V Insulated is one of the most popular sleeping pads for backpacking. Its V chambers make it very comfortable to sleep on.
Yes, it weighs a heck of a lot more than the NeoAir Xlite. However, the Klymit Static V Insulated is half the price and MUCH warmer. Its R-value is 4.4, making it a great choice for cold sleepers or backpackers with less-than-ideal sleeping bags.
There is also the normal Klymit Static V, which weighs a few ounces less. It only has an R-value of 1.3 though. I’d pay the extra amount for the insulated version. If a few ounces matters, then you should be spending more for the NeoAir Xlite.
Sea to Summit Ultralight
If you only go backpacking in summer and want a lightweight pad on a budget, then consider the Sea to Summit.
The two main pros of the STS Ultralight over the NeoAir Xlite are that 1) it packs down a lot smaller and 2) it is more comfortable for side sleeping. The STS is still pricey, costing around $100. If you are already paying this much, you might as well spring for the NeoAir Xlite.
EcoTek Outdoors Hybern8 Sleeping Pad
Normally you wouldn’t expect much out of a $40 sleeping pad. However, my guess is that a lot of Chinese manufacturers are stealing the technology from the big brands. Thus, you can get a really good sleeping pad for next to nothing.
At 18oz, the EcoTek isn’t exactly lightweight. But, considering the price, it is a very good weight.
The R-value of the sleeping pad isn’t listed but the manufacturer said that “based on preliminary testing, it is 1.8 to 2.3.” Reviews of the EcoTek pad say that is warm even down to 35 degrees F. Reviewers are also really pleased with the comfort of this cheap sleeping pad.
Outdoorsman Lab Sleeping Pad
Here’s another ultra cheap alternative to the NeoAir Xlite. At 16oz, it is still fairly heavy. And, with a R-value of 1.3, you will only want to use this for warm weather camping. However, it is hard to complain when the pad costs only about $40.
Unlike a lot of other cheap sleeping pads, the Outdoorsman Lab pad has actually been heavily tested by buyers. The reviewers are very pleased with how it holds up. As for warmth and comfort, it compares to the Therm-a-Rest Prolite.
There aren’t any issues with retaining air or puncturing. Oh, and a big plus is that it doesn’t make any annoying noises when you turn on it! Those extra 2 inches of width are also really nice to have when you are rolling over at night.