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Description

Keep it simple, smartie.

Therm-a-Rest added a thermal reflective barrier to its Z Lite SOL Sleeping Pad to boost warmth by twenty percent. Super-lightweight and ultra-durable, this closed-cell foam mattress offers backpackers and campers a simple solution to their search for a comfortable night's sleep in the backcountry.

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Therm-a-Rest Z Lite SOL Sleeping Pad

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5 5

Used for years, now have another!

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I had one for years that I used. The other day I was using it to sit on out on my porch, came back after an hour and the top panel had deflated/flattened. It was weird. Sent an email to customer service and a week later I had a brand new one at my door free of charge from Cascade Designs (makes therm-a-rest). Sold for life on these babies!<br ></article><br />Only down side is you can't sleep on your side as well until you get used to it. My hip will hurt, but it eventually get used to it kind of like how you butt hurts when you go cycling but then it goes away after a few days. Weird...but true.

Used for years, now have another!
3 5

just get the regular z-lite

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This pad is super light, and super comfortable. I take it on every camping/backpacking trip I go on. The only reason I'm giving it three stars instead of five, is because the reflective coating on this version peels off and gets all over EVERYTHING you have with you. I didn't notice an increase in warmth from my old z-rest, either. It's not a big enough deal for me to get a new pad, but if I was looking at getting a new pad I wouldn't go for the sol version.

4 5

Great for the price

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I purchased two Z Lite pads, one for my husband and one for myself. I was pleased with how lightweight they were; they didn't throw our packs off balance and weren't as wide as I thought they would be, so they didn't stick out too far. They also make comfy seats! As far as comfort, I didn't think it helped to keep me any warmer, and it certainly didn't keep me more comfortable sleeping on the ground. Sp, I basically see this as just an extra barrier between me, my sleeping bag, and lumpy nature's floor. Overall, we're very happy with them and they were worth the purchase! We'd recommend to others as well.

4 5

pretty good

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

This is a simple and light sleeping pad. It's not the most comfortable one on the market, but it does the job. Though it is a little bulky, it's easy enough to strap to the outside of your pack and it won't throw your balance. The ability to use it as a camp chair is also a huge plus for me.

In for the long haul

In for the long haul

Riding through Snow Canyon State Park on the Utah Cliffs Loop with the Z-Lite on the rear rack.

5 5

Catch some Zzzz lites

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

If you look at the sizing, weight, and pictures others have posted about this pad you shouldn't be surprised at all to what the pad looks like out of the box. No it is not super small, and when it use, it does not have the most cushion, but it does exactly what it was created for. It is a pad that is light, helps keep your body heat directed towards you and makes it so you don't have to sleep on the ground.

Fit
I am 5'10" and I purchased a Regular size and the sizing is great. Enough room that I can use the whole pad but I don't have a bunch of excess pad just hanging out. Depending on the size of the tent or hammock or whatever you are using, you might want to trim the corners to fit better, but that is the cool part is that you can trim it down!

Comfort
I have never been a person that has a hard time falling asleep, especially after a long day of touring, so the Z-Lite pad is just as comfortable as I needed it to be. It definitely beats sleeping on the ground. The SOL silver topside also is a nice touch of those expected or unexpected cold nights to help keep you all bundled up.

Size
No this is not the smallest pad and not the easiest to store, but if you can figure out where or how to mount it on your bike rack or backpack, you will be in business. It even comes with a plastic sleeve that you can keep it in to prevent the accordion while walking around.

For an inexpensive pad this does a great job of making for more comfortable nights.

I've recently started using a hammock system sometimes instead of a tent and I'm not sure if I should get a small or a regular (thinking of the isolation factor.)

Responded on

As far as the insulation factor goes the regular is going to help keep your body heat directed towards you for more parts of your body. A lot of heat can be lost from hands and feet so having the pad under your feet will help keep that heat where you want it. I am 5'10" and I bought the Regular and the size is perfect for my height. If weight or size is an issue, you might consider the Small, but the Regular will help more of your body if you need it.

Responded on

I use a non-sol zlite with my hennessy hammock, i use the regular trimmed asymmetrically to fit the hammock. works well, you get a bit of extra wiggle room as well. gets me down into the teens comfortably. been hesitating with the sol as i have read it delaminates... issues on your end?

Responded on

I got the sol and so far I am loving it. It hasn't started delaminating but I haven't used it a ton yet.

5 5

If you are going to sleep on snow.

I own the RidgeRest Solite that rolls up but I got one of the Z lite SOL's and would recommend it over the RidgeRest SoLites if you are having trouble deciding.

The way the Z Lite folds into itself makes it the better choice for strapping it to your pack. I also think the egg carton style dimples trap more warm air from your body and is a bit squishier than the RidgeRest. It has a tendency to want to accordion back up when you initially lay it out but it really isn't a big deal.

I was up at Camp Muir this past August and there were two guys who decided to leave their sleeping pads at the car and opted to not carry the extra weight. They set up their single person tents out on the glacier and I saw them the next morning. One guy was almost hypothermic and the other guy bailed on his buddy in the middle of the night and found a place in the public shelter. I spoke to both and was really confused and a bit concerned why the one guy was so cold. When the second guy came out of the shelter and was wondering where his buddy was. It all made sense as soon as he told me they didn't have pads under them while sleeping in their tent on the snow out on the glacier. Luckily the weather wasn't worse and that it was in August. If the weather would have been worse and it wouldn't have warmed up the next morning or there wouldn't have been a shelter. Those guys would have both been fooked.

It seems like a really stupid thing to need to bring. But it is even a more stupid thing to leave it behind.

If you are thinking about getting a closed cell foam pad.. This is a great one to get.

4 5

Works well for me!

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

Just like any pad of this type, if you know what you're getting into, you're probably going to be very happy with it. If you're expecting comfort equal to an inflatable, you're going to be somewhat disappointed. In my eyes, though, the warmth, multiseason functionality, ease of use, and light weight make this a pad I'd get again and recommend to others.

I've slept on it about 40 times, and it's nowhere near needing replacement (but when it does start to go, I'll be able to cut it in half and recycle it as a mini camp chair).

Another thing that I really like about this pad (and closed-cell pads in general) is that it's great to rest gear on when breaking camp. Dust one thing off instead of all of your gear!

By the way: on warm and humid nights where the ground it relatively cool underneath you (as I've experienced a lot on New Zealand's North Island during the summer), you might wake up to find a bit of condensation in the egg-crate depressions of this pad. I've noticed this a few times, but haven't had it get any of my other gear wet. Note that my metabolism is pretty fast: this might not be an issue at all for most people. If in doubt, it might not be a bad idea to try out the Ridge Rest, as it might not trap as much condensation. In dryer and colder climates, this isn't an issue at all, and has never bothered me in my desert camping in summer or winter.

5 5

worth it

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

a little expensive, but worth it. love that it folds - roll-up foam pads are a pain because they always try to spring open. Also, this folds smaller than the rolling ones. good as a bottom pad for snow camping.

5 5

save your breathe..

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Simple, yet solid. This bad boy can go anywhere and do anything! It is great for sleeping on (side sleeping excluded, unfortunately) but what I really love about it is that I can quickly take it off my pack and use it as an extra comfy seat while I'm hiking, or just sitting around the camp fire. Again it's simplicity is one of its advantages, when you arrive at camp after a long day of hiking, kayaking, climbing, what have you, the last thing you're going to want to do is kill yourself blowing up a $200 air mattress that can easily pop, or deflate unexpectedly while in the backcountry. In conclusion, this is a thrifty buy, indestructible, and one of the lightest sleeping pads on the market. I would recommend it to a friend, and certainly replace it if it was stolen or damaged beyond repair.

3 5

Significantly warmer than the ground

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

So I used this for the first time over the weekend and I like it.
Its warm, it folds up like an accordion, and it gives some cushioning on the ground. The thing I don't like is that its bumpy. I am a stomach sleeper, so when I sleep, all those bumps are pressed into my face. Its pretty uncomfortable, but its not awful. If your sleeping bag is cushiony at all it should help a lot.
As far as warmth goes, I had a shitty walmart style sleeping bag and it was 40 degrees at night and I was sort of cold, but I'm the kind of girl that is wearing a sweater when my friends are in t-shirts.

Overall it does what it needs to do. It kept me a lot warmer than I would have been without it and I am happy to have purchased it.

Super dumb question. Which side is the...

Super dumb question. Which side is the top? do I sleep with the yellow side up or silver side up?

Best Answer Responded on

Taylor,

No question at all is the dumb question. Use the silver reflective side face up and next to your bag. This will allow your body heat to be reflected back at ya.

Enjoy!!!

Scooter

4 5

Nice!

  • Gender: Male
  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I owned a large Thermarest RidgeRest SOLite pad and after several uses, I got tired of the rolled up size of it, as well as the comfort; the RidgeRest wasn't that great. I went and got a regular sized Z Lite SOL after seeing the way it packs as well as researching others' reviews. I took it out recently on a night of camping, but I used it under my Thermarest Neo Air. I was warm that night, the lowest it got down to was 31 degrees F. When I tested this pad by itself at home, it felt more cushiony than my RidgeRest.

Z Lite SOL marching up Vinson Massif

Z Lite SOL marching up Vinson Massif

You can sit on it, sleep on it, you can marvel with your team at how warm the silver-side is, but you won't have to worry about it... and isn't that nice?? Save your altitude ravaged brain cells for weather forecasting and route finding! Z Lite SOL's brilliance is its durability, simplicity, performance, and that cheerful yellow color :)

5 5

Versatile!

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Yeah this is not an air pad. I don't understand why people are so surprised that it's not super comfortable. I have slept on it a few times by itself and it was fine. I am a side sleeper and I will admit it was not the best sleep I have had in the back country but that rarely happens anyway. I usually have used it under my 2.5 inch thermarest pad. It adds some extra protection from pointy rocks that could puncture my pad and it adds warmth. I also love how this pad makes a seat out of anything. I throw it up against a tree or a rock and boom instant comfort. I can even fold it a little at the top to make a head rest for my seat. This pad gets its value in versatility not absolute comfort.

making a very comfortable seat

making a very comfortable seat

on the yellow side count out 4 folds including the single layer on the outside and then fold out

4 5

Nice and lightweight

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

This pad is nice and lightweight and pretty comfortable for a closed-cell foam pad. The folding design is nice to quickly pack it up. It is fairly warm for a pad of this type. If you put it on a cold surface and then get on it you can feel the difference. This pad is also versitile, you can fold it part way out and use it as a seat or use it to pack gear on. This pad is fairly water resistant so if you are caught is a sudden downpour you can use it to cover some stuff or if it is on your pack you don't have to worry about it getting wet.

If you sleep on your side a lot or don't do good with foam pads there are a few other light weight options, but they cost twice as much.

The cons of this pad are the comfort and the bulk. This pad gets the job done but is far from the most comfortable pad on the market. If comfort is more what you are looking for you should look elsewhere. The bulkiness of this pad is also a drawback. You pretty much have to strap it to the outside of your pad. This isn't a horrible drawback but it does give your pack something to snag on. NEMO makes a pad the same weight but being inflatable it takes up only a fraction of the space. The upside to this pad it is can't spring a leak and leave you sleeping on the ground in the morning.

So 4 stars for the weight and comfort of a foam pad but it loses one star for the bulk and total comfort.