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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

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Foam Sleeping Pad

Comfort
Warmth
Weight
Durability
Packed Size

Ultralight and Durable

The Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol is an ultralight, inexpensive, and virtually indestructible foam sleeping pad making it a favorite among ultralight backpacking fanatics and boy scout parents alike. Made with closed cell foam, it folds up into accordion-like sections making it easy attach to the outside of a backpack.

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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.
Written 2015. Updated 2018.
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7 comments

  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! :)

  4. Has anyone cut two sections off one end of a Thermarest Z-Lite and used the cut-off piece to double the thickness under hips? Maybe even three sections so the three section piece could be used as a sit pad. How about simply folding the middle sections to double the thickness under hips? I find the Thermarest Z-Lite just fine on the ground if I can find or dig a hip-hole. However, on a hard surface like rock or a shelter floor, the Thermarest Z-Lite is not quite thick enough for me to sleep on my side.

  5. So many good ideas and uses for the Z Lite – Mthanks. I am ordering the Sol version for use on our next trek.

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