Tuesday, June 25, 2024

2024 Ultralight Sleeping Pad Comparison Reviews: Therm-A-Rest, Nemo, Flextail Gear and Rab

Article by Markus Zinkl


When it comes to ultralight sleeping pads, the balance between weight, warmth, comfort, and packability is critical. Here's a detailed comparison of five popular models: the Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm NXT, Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite NXT, Nemo Tensor Insulated, Flextail Gear Zero Mattress R05, and Rab Ultrasphere 1.5.

Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm NXT ($239,95)


  • R-Value: 7.3

  • Weight: 15.5 oz / 440 g

  • Measured Weight (pad only): 16.1 oz / 457g

  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 72 in / 183 cm x 20 in / 51 cm x 3 in / 7.6 cm

  • Packed Size: 9 in x 4.5 in / 23 cm x 11 cm

  • Fabric: 30D rip HT Nylon (top), 70D Nylon (bottom)

  • Included: Pump Sack, stuff sack, repair kit

Comfort: The XTherm NXT's horizontal baffles are not as comfortable as other pads. I recommend not to fully inflate it for better comfort. The new WingLock valve improves over previous models but is still suboptimal for deflation, requiring manual pressing to expel air fully.

Weight: This pad offers the best warmth-to-weight ratio among the compared pads, being extremely light for a 4-season pad.

Warmth: With an impressive R-Value of 7.3, the XTherm NXT provides excellent insulation through its reflective film, ensuring no cold spots.

Packed Size: Though the second largest when packed, its compactness is commendable considering its warmth, especially when compared to down or foam insulated pads.

Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite NXT ($209,95)


  • R-Value: 4.5

  • Weight: 11.5 oz / 330 g

  • Measured Weight (pad only): 13.4 oz / 380 g

  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 72 in / 183 cm x 20 in / 51 cm x 3 in / 7.6 cm

  • Packed Size: 9 in x 4.1 in / 23 cm x 10 cm

  • Fabric: 30D rip HT Nylon (top and bottom)

  • Included: Pump Sack, stuff sack, repair kit

Comfort: Similar in construction to the XTherm NXT, it shares the same comfort drawbacks but has a quieter insulation film. It also uses the WingLock valve.

Weight: The XLite NXT boasts a very good warmth-to-weight ratio but is slightly heavier than advertised.

Warmth: Suitable for 3-4 seasons, it’s recommended for temperatures down to 15 °F / -10 °C. It is probably the best all-rounder if one pad is needed for all seasons.

Packed Size: Comparable to the Nemo Tensor, it is compact enough for most adventures. Only the Rab pad packs smaller, but it doesn't match the XLite’s warmth.

Nemo Tensor Insulated ($229,95)


  • R-Value: 4.2

  • Weight: 18.4 oz / 522 g

  • Measured Weight (pad only): 14.3 oz / 405 g

  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 72 in / 183 cm x 20 in / 51 cm x 3.1 in / 8 cm

  • Packed Size: 10 in x 3.9 in / 25.5 cm x 10 cm

  • Fabric: 20D Polyester (top and bottom)

  • Included: Pump Sack, stuff sack, repair kit

Comfort: The most comfortable pad in this comparison, thanks to its softer polyester fabric and stable "Spaceframe" baffles. The "Laylow" valve allows easy deflation.

Weight: The added comfort comes with a slight weight penalty compared to the XLite NXT.

Warmth: While not as warm as the XLite, it provides a great balance of warmth, weight, and comfort due to its reflective insulation.

Packed Size: It packs similarly to the XLite NXT, making it suitable for various adventures.

Flextail Gear Zero Mattress R05 ($119,95)


  • R-Value: 5.6

  • Weight: 18.3 oz / 518 g

  • Measured Weight (pad only): 17.9 oz / 508 g

  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 72 in / 183 cm x 20 in / 51 cm x 3.9 in / 10 cm (sides), 2.8 in / 7 cm (middle)

  • Packed Size: 9 in x 5 in / 23 cm x 12.5 cm

  • Fabric: 30D rip HT Nylon (top), 70D Nylon (bottom)

  • Included: Pump Sack, stuff sack, repair kit

Comfort: Very comfortable due to its raised side baffles. The valve design allows for efficient inflation and deflation.

Weight: Heavier due to thicker fabric and synthetic insulation. The real-world R-Value is around 3, reducing its effective warmth-to-weight ratio.

Warmth: The synthetic insulation leaves gaps that can form cold spots, making its real-world R-Value lower than advertised.

Packed Size: It is the largest when packed, due to its synthetic insulation bulk.

15% Discount with code RoadTrailRun15 at Flextail

Rab Ultrasphere 1.5 ($230,00)


  • R-Value: 1.3

  • Weight: 15.5 oz / 340g

  • Measured Weight (pad only): 11.7 oz / 332 g

  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 72 in / 183 cm x 25 in / 64 cm x 3.1 in / 8 cm

  • Packed Size: 5.9 in x 3.5 in / 15 cm x 9 cm

  • Fabric: 20D recycled Polyester (top and bottom)

  • Included: Pump Sack, stuff sack, repair kit

Comfort: Mid-range comfort, not as soft as Nemo but more comfortable than Therm-A-Rest. The valve allows easy inflation and deflation, but is small for electric pumps. Did not fit my Flextail Zero pump.

Weight: The lightest and most compact pad, but also the least warm, making it ideal only for summer use.

Warmth: No insulation, recommended only for summer adventures.

Packed Size: Packs down to an incredibly small size, perfect for minimalists and fast packers.


Each sleeping pad has its strengths and weaknesses:

  • Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XTherm NXT: Best for extreme conditions, with an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio.

  • Therm-A-Rest NeoAir XLite NXT: Best all-rounder, suitable for almost all seasons with good balance.

  • Nemo Tensor Insulated: Most comfortable with a balanced warmth-to-weight ratio.

  • Flextail Gear Zero Mattress R05: Comfortable, affordable pad, with good features but heavier and less warm in real-world conditions.

  • Rab Ultrasphere 1.5: Ultra-light and compact, best for summer use.

Choose the pad that best fits your specific needs, considering the trade-offs between weight, comfort, warmth, and packability.

Tester Profile

Markus Zinkl: I’m 34 years old and live in a small village in Bavaria, Germany. I started hiking and backpacking 5-6 years ago. Coming from trail running and with light and fast in mind, I started hiking and fast packing with ultralight gear. Over the years I tried and tested a lot of gear, always in search of weight savings. Although still trying to stay out of the ultralight rabbit hole. I spend most of my days off from work on the trail, with at least one 2-3 week thru-hike. Among the more well known trails I have hiked over the last few years are the GR221, WHR (Walker’s Haute Route), TMB (Tour du Mont Blanc), TC (Tour du Cervin-Matterhorn) and Via Alpina Switzerland. As you probably notice by now, I’m at home in the mountains. So if I’m not running or thru-hiking a longer trail, I’m probably somewhere in the Alps checking out some shorter trails.

We welcome comments and questions in the comments section.

Shopping at our partners is much appreciated and helps support RoadTrailRun

Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

RoadTrailRun Official Store Custom Fractel Caps and Bucket Hats
Cap:$39                                                             Bucket:$49
Free US Economy Shipping!
Limited Release! SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns

EUROPE Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Europe only: use RTR code RTR5ALL for 5% off all products, even sale products 


Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's and Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products

Use our code RTR235 for 5% off all products
Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's and Women's SHOP HERE


Men's and Women's SHOP HERE


Men's and Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE Shipping on most orders over $40


Find all RoadTrailRun reviews at our index page HERE 
Google "roadtrailrun Shoe Name" and you can be quite sure to find just about any run shoe over the last 10 years

Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook: RoadTrailRun.com  Instagram: @roadtrailrun
You Tube: @RoadTrailRun

No comments: