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Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sleeping Pad

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sleeping Pad
Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sleeping Pad

The Therm-a-Rest Z-lite sleeping pad (long and short) is probably the best non-inflatable lightweight sleeping pad you can buy from a mainstream manufacturer. It folds up like an accordion and can be easily strapped to the outside of your pack.

The egg shell pattern is fairly comfortable and will support your hips if you are a side sleeper. I prefer the short pad which is 51″ long because it only weighs 10.20 oz. The longer 72″ pad weighs in around 15 oz. The pad itself is about 3/4 inch thick and has an R-value of 2.2. There’s also a version called the Z Lite Sol which is covered on one side with an aluminum coating that reflects your body heat back at you like an emergency blanket, increasing the R-value to 2.6. See Sleeping Pad R-Values.

Being made of foam, the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite has many uses. I often carry one as an emergency sleeping pad when I lead cold weather trips to insulate an injured hiked from the cold ground, as extra insulation in the bottom of a packraft when paddling a cold river or pond, a sit pad, water bottle insulation, or as protection under an inflatable sleeping pad. Being relatively inexpensive, you can also cut them up for a wide variety of different uses or when you want to trim off excess gear weight.

Some people even use the Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite as a sleeping pad, especially thru-hikers who want a sleeping pad that is light and puncture proof.

Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.

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  1. I bought the longer version and cut off a section to use as a seat. I like the fact that it is so tough you can put it directly on the ground with no fear of damage.

  2. A Z Light short is my standard recommendation for Boy Scouts starting out. Lightweight, affordable, no fuss, and lasts forever. Plus, the little egg crate pockets gather dirt from everywhere you’ve been, so you can work on Collections Merit Badge.

  3. I use z-rest for shoulder season backpacking trips and winter backpacking as well. Seems like my z-rest is always being “borrowed” by others around camp esp in winter! :)

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