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Therm-a-rest Lite Seat Review

Therm-a-rest Lite Seat

I don’t carry a sit pad when I go hiking. I just sit on my backpack or day pack if I need thermal protection from the ground during rest breaks. Tree stumps also work pretty well if they’re not covered in snow. Why anyone would want to pay $25 for a 3 oz self-inflating Therm-a-rest Lite Sit Pad is beyond me. I got this as a gift from a well meaning relative.

But not everyone is a lightweight backpacking suffer freak like me and if you want to treat yourself to a little luxury this is a reliable piece of kit. The Lite Seat is made out of the same material as Therm-a-rest’s other self-inflating pads. It is about the size of a quart bottle rolled up and should easily fit in your pack.

Therm-a-rest Lite Seat

Personally, I’ve found that the Lite Seat shines mostly off trail instead of on it. My wife and I use it as an insulating pad at outdoor sporting events to insulate and cushion our bums in the stands and as a pad to soften the seat of our kitchen chairs which are solid wood. You’d be surprised how many dinner guests appreciate this, particularly my in-laws!

Written 2010. Updated 2018.

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  1. I actually love mine and carry it on the outside of my pack for easy trail access. It pulls double duty as insulation under my feet when I sleep and makes an awesome flotation device for swimming those high mountain lakes. Good for day hikes too. They had planned to make a NeoAir version, but I've yet to see one.

  2. I am with you about the usefulness of this on the trail and use it more off trail(ie picnics/sporting events) than on trail. I too was given it as a gift by a well intentioned family member that does not camp. The only time I ever bring this with me on the trail is when I take my daughter camping. She likes to sit on it as opposed to the ground or my pad. I use a small piece of 1/8" closed cell foam pad(cut to size) for my seat during the day/camp. It does double duty as my "welcome" mat in the vestibule of my tent. Allows me to put my feet on it while I take off/put on my boots keeping my socks dry and clean and keeping the inside of my tent clean. When I use my Hennessy Hammock in the summertime, it again marks the spot I put my feet getting in/out of the hammock. Weight is .7 oz. I also wrap it around my tyvek footprint and strap to my pack. It has on more than one occasion protected the tyvek footprint from a possible tear while bushwacking.

  3. I bought one to take with me to Philmont in 2007 and the very first day got a pinhole leak in it. It really irritated me to have to carry it for ten more days!

  4. I have to sometimes wonder if product developers get carried away with their ideas simple because they can? This is one that I would have expected to not make it through the usefulness "filter" – but that's just me.

    I don't usually carry an insulated sitting pad with me on hikes by I do like to carry a small piece of Tyvek to use as a sitting pad or surface for preparing things on. It's extremely cheap and almost indestructible. A sneaky way to get a small piece of Tyvek is to snag one of those UPS envelopes and split it open. Just a suggestion. Good to hear your in-laws get good use out of it :)

  5. As Jonathan mentioned, I too use a piece of a closed-cell foam pad. Though it's small, when rolled up, doubles as a pillow or foot rest, whatever. But if someone gave me a Lite Seat, I'd definitely take it to a Sox or Pats game.


  6. Like Carol, I love mine. I have had my Prolite pink ladies one for at least 3 if not 4 years. It has gone on many trips from dayhikes to backpacks with no issues.

    I use it for both as a sit pad, an insulated sit pad and a pillow at night (the not stick means it doesn't shoot out from under my head 20 times during the night). I also use it as a step pad for getting in and out of my tent.

    Weight wise and size wise it makes more sense than the piece of Ridgerest I used to carry, considering that RR makes a lousy pillow.

    On the few trips I left it at home due to weight concerns I missed it and always had a need for it.

    I don't like sitting on my backpack (since I use an Ursack I try to not squish my food) and sitting on trees/rocks hurts. This may be a woman thing, but at 3 ounces I can handle carrying it to not be in pain or worse: cold!

  7. I’ve been considering using mine under my hip for both comfort & insulation (R3.2-per one website) paired with my foam pad on winter hikes/camps. I’ll probably add a patch of velcro on itself/ foam pad to keep it in place. If I need more insulation I might purchase 2 more for a 9oz total weight penalty & for 3X redundancy if there’s a flat. If anyone’s already done this or if the r-value is incorrect pls reply.

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