The NeoAir XLite, very popular among long-distance hikers, has been given a successor: The NeoAir XLite NXT. We would like to take this opportunity to take a closer look at the new mat! Is it worth buying or even upgrading from the previous version?
Table of Contents
The small packing size and light weight are the first two points that immediately strike you after unpacking. The mat with the strong yellow tone (Solar Flare) is stowed in a small anthracite bag with a plain print. Haptics and finishing make a good first impression throughout!
Scope of delivery
The following items are in the package:
- NeoAir XLite in yellow and size L
- Packing bag for the NeoAir XLite NXT in anthracite with white print
- Pump sack 68 cm long, approx. 23 cm diameter
- Field repair kit consisting of instructions (English, German and French), cleaning cloths and repair patches.
- some paperwork like the warranty conditions and a manual (also in English, German and French)
So everything you need is included and you can start sleeping right away without any additional accessories.
Inflation and deflation
To inflate the NeoAir XLite you can use the already mentioned pump sack. The handling is quite simple: You open the valve of the sleeping pad by turning the valve counterclockwise about half a centimeter out. Now take the pump sack, open the outlet and place it centrally over the valve. Since this is a very snug fit, it takes a tiny bit of force to connect the pump sack to the valve. Now the pump sack is firmly attached to the lightweight sleeping pad. The NeoAir XLite NXT is inflated by letting air flow through the large opening of the pump sack and pressing it into the NeoAir XLite NXT by rolling it up. When you have done this 10 to 12 times, the sleeping pad is already inflated. This took us about 2 to 3 minutes, with a little practice it can certainly be done even faster. Afterwards, the valve must be closed again by turning it clockwise half a turn.
If there are problems with the pump sack, you can also inflate the NeoAir XLite NXT by mouth. However, this has the decisive disadvantage that the moisture of the breathing air gets into the interior of the ultralight sleeping pad and can negatively affect the insulating effect. Since mold may form, we would avoid using this method of inflation if possible and always use the pump sack whenever possible.
The NeoAir XLite NXT is deflated in no time. To do so, both the valve and the vent (the gray wings below the valve) must be opened. The air then escapes very quickly and the pad can be stowed back in the stuff sack by folding and rolling it up.
Lying and sleeping comfort
Let’s get to the most important part: How does it feel to lie on the new NeoAir XLite NXT from Therm-a-Rest?
In short: Great! Considering the weight, the NeoAir XLite NXT really is a very comfortable mat. The thickness of 7.6 cm is almost luxurious for long-distance hiking and also compensates for larger unevenness.
The pad is – as promised by Therm-a-Rest – really significantly quieter compared to the previous one. Of course, we cannot measure whether it is actually 83 %, as stated by the manufacturer. While the rustling noise of the predecessor model was very annoying and the knockout criterion for us not to buy it, the problem has now been eliminated. Of course, the mat still makes noise, but that’s bearable and standard for this type of sleeping pad.
The mummy shape of the very light sleeping pad still saves a little weight and pack size. We did not notice any big negative effects on sleeping comfort. The mat is wide enough that even taller (and thus often wider people) do not slide down the side. Speaking of slipping: The mat does not feel any more or less slippery than comparable insulating mats. However, this always depends on the material of the sleeping bag and the associated friction between the two pieces of equipment. So this should probably be considered individually!
All in all, the lying and sleeping comfort is honestly rated as “very good”!
Weight and packing size
As always, we measure very precisely in our tests. This is also the case here:
|NeoAir XLite NXT (size L) without other accessories
|Field repair kit (incl. plastic bag and instructions)
|Total weight (all above together)
Pack size: 39 cm circumference / diameter 12.5 cm / 30 cm length.
Material and finishing
The surface of the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite NXT is made of 30D nylon. RipStop nylon is very popular and often used by many manufacturers in the production of very lightweight sleeping pads. The material is tested and proven to be good.
For information: The strength is always indicated with the number before the “D”. A higher number equals thicker material. This is of course more resistant, but also heavier. From our point of view, 30D is suitable for an ultralight sleeping pad!
Warmth and insulation effect
The NeoAir XLite NXT is explicitly advertised as a very lightweight sleeping pad for all four seasons. Therm-a-Rest has, according to its own statement, managed to make the mat not only lighter, but also even better insulated and thicker. The R-value has become established as the industry standard for insulating mats. We give an overview of the quite theoretical R-value in another blog post: The importance of the R-value of sleeping pads for your long-distance hike
With an R-value of 4.5, the NeoAir XLite NXT is even suitable for hikes with a temperature below 11°C – of course with a suitable sleeping bag 😊. Unfortunately, we can’t really test this, since the temperature sensation is very individual and – as just described – it also depends on the sleeping bag, of course. Anyway, it is important to know that especially for trekking tours in winter, both the sleeping bag and the sleeping pad must be adapted to cold temperatures. It makes no sense to buy a very good sleeping bag and a very thin yoga mat. The reverse combination, of course, just as little. Only the perfect combination of sleeping bag and sleeping pad brings success and warm nights!
To be honest… we were never able to 100% understand the hype around the previous model. For us, the pad was just too noisy to have a restful sleep on it. And good sleep is really important on a long-distance hike or trekking tour.
However, the new edition of the NeoAir XLite with the name abbreviation NXT (for NeXT) has not only really fixed this problem, but is also warmer and slightly thicker. The finishing makes a very good impression and the handling is well thought-out, simple and practical. As always, when it comes to equipment: Of course there are more comfortable sleeping pads, of course there are lighter ones or cheaper ones. In combination, however, the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite NXT is definitely an excellent choice!