Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Backpacking Mattress Review

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Backpacking Mattress
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For some campers, simplicity is the key. A portable mattress that you can easily set up is more valuable than the foamy air beds some people prefer.

When you’re hiking or mountain climbing, you never know when you’re going to need a rest. On top of that, unfavorable weather conditions require a mattress that can maintain heat so you don’t freeze overnight.

That’s where the Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol mattress comes in handy. Read on to find out why this product is so popular among serious campers.

Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol Backpacking Mattress

Therm-a-Rest is a trusted manufacturer of camping supplies with several decades of success in the industry. Their mattresses are developed from a special type of foam. The company patterned the design of these mattresses in 1986 and has been producing them ever since.

The Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol backpacking mattress is an upgraded version of the popular Z Lite mattress. Unlike the classic Z Lite, this one uses the special ThermaCapture technology that maintains temperature and keeps you warm during colder nights.

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Who is this product for?

The Therm-a-Rest Sol mattress is primarily designed for campers, bikers, and hikers, especially those who want to set up camp quickly and efficiently. If you’re planning an outdoor adventure in areas with lower temperatures, it’s one of the best sleeping pads that you can get.

The pad can have some other uses, too. You can carry it with you if you plan on sitting outside during colder days. You can set it up on a chair or bench outdoors and it will provide the warmth and comfort you need.

However, if comfort is your top priority during camping trips, you should know that this sleeping pad is considerably thinner than some similar products on the market. As such, if you plan on sitting or sleeping on it during camping trips, it may not provide the level of comfort you need.

What’s included?

The packaging only includes the extremely light (14.4 oz.) backpack mattress. Since the mattress folds similar to an accordion, it doesn’t require a carrying bag to transport it. Instead, you can pack it up and you can just tie it on top of your backpack or pack it in.

Overview of features

The Therm-a-Rest Sol’s main feature is the silver ThermaCapture coating that absorbs heat and keeps it in the mattress. This technique makes the mattress 20% hotter than most of its counterparts, making it ideal for mountain climbers and hikers.

The top of the mattress is fully covered with this coating, which makes it warmer than the bottom. On the top side, the mattress is covered with soft cell foam, making it comfortable and soft. You can sleep on it without worrying about skin irritation, while it will also keep your body warm.

When it comes to the bottom side, it’s much sturdier than the top. It doesn’t absorb and distribute heat like the top side and instead keeps the mattress from tearing. It will provide good protection from rocky terrain and tiny objects so you can sleep as comfortably as possible. This side is also completely waterproof, so you can place it on wetter terrain to sit and rest.

On the other hand, this mattress is very thin. Although it provides a much more pleasant surface than lying on the ground, it’s still not as comfortable as thicker mattresses.

This type of sleeping surface may not please everyone, and if you’re not willing to trade comfort for portability and effectiveness, it might not be the right choice for you.

How to use it

This is one of the easiest sleeping mattresses to use. You just need to unfold it and place it anywhere. The convenient size (72”x20”) is perfect to fit with any sleeping bag or tent, and you can even put it on uneven terrain. Once you’re done using it, fold it again accordion-style, and store it wherever you want.

Any minor damage that can happen due to extensive use can be fixed. If you notice tearing or other damage, simply place some industrial tape over it.

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Let’s take a look at the main upsides and downsides of this mattress.

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight and easy to transport
  • Durable material
  • Absorbs and maintains heat
  • Great for mountain climbers and hikers
  • Fits into most sleeping bags, tents, and hammocks

Cons

  • Not as comfortable as some thicker mattresses
  • Pricey

Alternative

If you’re looking for a bit more comfort to go with the warmth, you can opt for the Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad. It’s thick enough to prevent you from feeling uncomfortable at any point, yet still thin and easy to carry around. Its R-value of 4.4 is almost the same as the R-value this Therm-a-Rest mattress provides; however, it comes with a slightly higher price tag.

Conclusion

The Therm-a-Rest backpacking mattress has a lot of upsides. It’s probably the most convenient and easy to transport out of all its counterparts. It is efficient in maintaining weight, and its quick installation makes it a great choice for mountain climbers and hikers, especially in combination with tents and sleeping bags.

Some uneven terrains may make this mattress unpleasant, though. So if you like to sleep on a thick, stable, and comfortable surface, you may opt for a viable alternative. Overall, however, this is a trustworthy and reliable product, and if you prefer simplicity, you won’t go wrong with it.

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