Kit review: Therm-a-Rest EvoLite mattress
Therm-a-Rest EvoLite mattress is part of award-winning NeoAir range that promises to combine comfort with the convenience of self-inflation.
Few people go camping these days without an inflatable mattress of some sort. Whether this is a car-to-campsite style of mattress, which requires an electronic or foot pump to inflate, or a lightweight mattress that is self-inflating and topped off with a little human puff, the comfort of a decent mattress is expected for modern campers.
Therm-a-Rest have been at the forefront of lightweight, self-inflated camping mattresses for years. I own a “female” sized Therm-a-Rest that I have had for about eight years. While it seemed compact and lightweight when I bought it now, compared to the newer Therm-a-Rests, especially in the NeoAir range, it is almost heavyweight and seems really bulky.
The Therm-a-Rest EvoLite mattress takes comfort and lightweight to the next level. At 480g (1lb 1oz), the EvoLite mattress is undeniably light. It also packs down into a compact size of bag.
Yet the mattress is designed to offer good levels of comfort. Apparently this is because of a blended technology called Atmos Foam, which is said to be the “lightest and most compressible” foam on the market.
In addition, Therm-a-Rest have worked out a way to create a foam that is uniformly lofted. (Apparently, they do this by pouring the foam in a closed and atmospherically controlled chamber that allows all gasses to be captured and “scrubbed” before venting, so as to ensure precision control over uniformity and loft. I did say, apparently!)
The EvoLite mattress is designed by alternating foam and air channels to reduce the weight of it, while amplifying the loft.
Therm-a-rest state: “At 5cm of loft, no other lightweight, self-inflating mattress provides this amount of loft and comfort.”
To use the mattress you simply take it out of the bag and allow it to self-inflate a bit. A minute or two of human puff tops the mattress up to offer optimal firmness.
I have to say the mattress really does as it says on the label. It is lightweight, easy to inflate and very comfortable. We are not talking hotel bed comfort here but for a backpacking trip the mattress is as comfortable as I have come across.
I have also tested the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xlite (RRP around £130), which is another lightweight mattress in the same range. It’s even lighter at 350g (men’s) 340g (women’s). The Xlite is 1.3cm thicker and offers four-season usability. I really liked this mattress, too, but I thought it was a bit noisy when lying down on it. The material of this mattress seems to make a crinkling sound, like greaseproof paper! I also found the EvoLIte to be more comfortable.
Comparing EvoLite to Xlite
While the EvoLite is a bit thinner and rated as a three-season camping mattress it is soundless. I don’t think I’d notice the extra 130/140g in my backpack although if you were really trying to pare things down, for example, if you were doing a multi-day adventure race, you might choose the Xlite over the Evolite. I think, however, I’d prefer a bit of extra foam comfort and a little more weight for a little less money.
The short zigzaggy patterned foam areas of theEvolite give a lovely soft feel when you lie down and the mattress feels amazingly roomy given how small and light it is when it packs down.
I think this is the comfiest self-inflating mattress I have had the pleasure of sleeping on.
Deflating the mattress is also easy. Simply undo the valve and roll up tightly then pop it into a drawstring bag. My old Therm-a-Rest is always a struggle to re-bag.
The Therma-a-Rest Evolite comes in sizes small to large, but not in male and female versions. RRP is £100 and it can be bought from many outdoors retailers. I have seen it for around £75 plus P&P.
Take a look at Therma-a-Rest for a comprehensive range of mattresses to suit all kinds of camping and backpacking occasions and needs. It’s impressive.