Let me start by saying that I sleep terribly whether I’m out on the trail or at home. My body just hates sleeping and most beds. With that said I have found some tricks that help me which I will write about in a separate post. This is however a post on the Thermarest xTherm and it’s usage for the outdoors.
I purchased the xTherm about two years ago after a shorter stint with the Exped synmat and dunmat 7s and a few other mats not worth mentioning. I went with the xTherm as I was always freezing from underneath and considering the cost of the Thermarest pads here in Sweden, I stuck with buying one mat that would work year round for me.
The first time I took home the xTherm and blew it up, besides the fact I thought I would die (from how long this thing took to blow up), it was also considerably thinner than the Exped synmat and felt much, much cheaper material wise. I was ready to turn it in and get my money back. I took it out and at least one of my suspicions were confirmed; it was thinner than the Exped. Though, quality wise, the xTherm is superb.
With that said I found the Thermarest xTherm to be at least as comfortable as the exped mats, and considerably warmer. That is saying a lot as I sleep in a quilt in the middle of winter months using quilts that are not exactly made for the deep winter conditions. I stay warm with the xTherm under me.
I use the Thermarest xTherm Large version which weighs 650grams/23 ounces in stuff sack on my scale. This is a bit heavy for an ultralight hiker for three season uses, but for winter it’s damn light.
Packed, it’s about 1000x bigger than an Iphone, I imagine it’s closer a 10000x lager unpacked. yes I know comparing this to the size of an iphone is pretty useless but as I don’t have the standard Nalgene bottle, you will just have to deal with this comparison.
I read a lot of reviewers talk about falling off the sides and so on, personally I have never had that problem and I toss and turn like a half dying fish on land. In other words I find the width to be acceptable even for somebody as large as me, this can even be said about the length. The xTherm large fits my body very well. (190cm long and 95kilos in american monkey standard 6’3″ 215lbs)
The actual width is 63cm / 25inches and length is 196cm /77 inches
The thickness of this pad is 6,3cm or 2,5 inches
Usage and durability:
I use this purely as a sleeping mat, though I’m sure there are other uses for it as well. anyway, after two years of use the xTherm is still going strong. I have gotten a few holes in it, that I could easily fix with the repair kit that is included. These holes where caused by my own stupidity than lack of durability on the xTherms part. It’s also well known that the thermarest xlite and xtherm and quite noisy, this however I don’t think is all that bad, at least not something I think about myself. I think it’s worse if your camping with others – they get annoyed by the sound.
During most hikes I only have the xTherm with me – which I put directly on the ground, though if I know the weather is going to get really, really cold (say -20 degrees or so) than I usually put the xTherm on top of a lightweight closed cell sleeping mat. To this day I have still never been cold while using the xTherm. Which is also why this mat usually follows me even on summer hikes.
No, it’s not the plush, squish-able lovenest that our soft, pathetic bodies are so used to. It’s not unusual for me to wake up in the middle of the night with a slight pain in my lower back. However this pain is considerably less than with any other mats I have used over the years. On top of that I have a few tricks to get a very good nights sleep if I do everything right, which you can read under the title”being tall and discomfort”. Also, did I mention it’s damn warm? Warmth adds an immense amount of comfort to any nights rest.
I will say that on longer hikes when the softness has been beaten out of my body the xTherm offers excellent comfort and a good nights sleep.
While I have seen some reviews where the reviewers claim they only had to blow 6 times to fill the xTherm up: I call bullshit. Unless they have the lung capacity of dolphins (which I imagine have massive lungs), or getting paid a shitload of money to say those things, there is no way anybody can blow a Large xTherm up with just six blows. I always dread having to blow up my airpads after a long hike, and while I will admit the xTherm is easier to blow up than say the Multimat, it is still a long ways away from only taking six huffs.
In fact I am convinced one of the worst experiences on earth is hiking 30 kilometers and then having to blow up an airpad; which is why I purchased the excellent thermarest mini-pump. This is probably one of my favorite pieces of gear in my bag. If you have an airmat, buy the mini-pump.
ok, so I know I rambled a bit on this post – I wanted to shoot for a 2000 word review like some of my excellent hiker colleagues out in the world. But honestly I couldn’t do it. I tried so hard as well. With that said, if you are looking for one mat to rule all others, the xTherm is it. While heavy for summer use compared to other available options, it is the best for all conditions, and sometimes versatility is worth the weight.
The xTherm is the only mat I use anymore when I go out summer or winter. I sleep good on it, it’s warm and for it’s versatility relatively lightweight.