For many people, camping is a solitary activity, a way to get away from everything and clear your mind while out by yourself. I have always felt just the opposite, that camping is much better if you include good friends. I found that by getting rid of all the distractions of city life, you end up spending real quality time together. So, you can imagine my disappointment when every year approximately 72.4% of the people I invite refuse to go on any wilderness expeditions, stating; “I’m sorry, I only sleep in a bed.” Little do they know, I have that same standard, but yet have been happily camping for years.
My secret is my Therm-a-Rest Mattress and Pillow, which not only ensure I get a good night’s sleep, they also satisfy a small part of my craving for cool gear. (As everyone who knows me will confirm, half of my desire to go camping is merely an excuse to go play with all the fun toys and gadgets that have been shrunken down for outdoor use.) More than just an ordinary sleeping pad, the offerings from Therm-a-Rest represent the latest technology in outdoor sleeping and it’s why they continue to be my go-to company for outdoor comfort.
The Mattresses: Depending on your sleep style, and how much or little weight you are willing to carry on your journey, there is sure to be a perfect mattress for you. From casual and pro Summer/Spring campers all the way to the year-round diehard enthusiasts, Therm-a-Rest offers numerous options in different pack weights that are all self inflating and designed with durability and comfort in mind. We got to try out the ProLite Plus as well as the ProLite Women’s mattress, because I couldn’t sleep in comfort while my wife slept on her old mat. What makes the ProLite Plus different from the ProLite series is that with only a few ounces more weight it adds warmth enough to extend your camping into the shoulder season.
Having tried and loved other Therm-a-Rest products before, I was really excited to try out the newest ProLite models and see for myself why these little mattresses are top of serious camper’s wishlists. After just one trip with the ProLite Plus, I was incredibly impressed by both the comfort and the low weight and pack size as compared to my almost 7 year old model. While my wife would never be described as the camping type, even she was incredibly impressed with the comfort afforded by a mere inch and a half of cushion in the Women’s ProLite Plus and the extra warmth in the torso and foot areas that kept her warm all night long. She even went as far as to say that the sleeping portion of camping doesn’t get much better than this, unless of course, you’re one of those car campers that brings along your entire bed when you camp.
Accessories Galore: For those of you who adore gadgets as much as I do, you will love that the Therm-a-Rest family of mattresses come with some really cool accessories to really maximize the usefulness of the original purchase. Some of my favorite accessories in the Therm-a-Rest line have got to be the Trekker Lounger, Trekker Chair, and Compack Chair. These allow you to convert your mattress into a chair for around your campsite so every bit of camping can be as comfortable as possible. The Compack Chair is by far the best for overnight hiking trips in that it weighs a mere 6oz and fits over any 20” wide mattress. Constructed with ultralight silnylon and aluminum poles for the lightest load possible and the smallest pack size ever, you aren’t likely to notice the addition of the Compack to your pack, but will be really glad you have it once you reach your campsite. For casual campers, the Trekker series might work just fine and give you a few more premium features for the ultimate in lounging.
To me, what makes any of the Therm-a-Rest chairs so great is that they are actually a great way to get some use of your mattress outside of camping. Using our chair attachments, we have padded up our seats at countless concerts, bleachers at sporting events and hard ground at family picnics. And best of all, since they are designed to be as light and carryable as possible, it’s never a hassle to bring them along. Plus, if you get sleepy and there’s enough room, you’ve got a cozy spot to lay out to watch the stars or take a family nap.
The Therm-a-Rest mattresses can even be covered in their own special sheets and have their own line of down comforters to envelope yourself in for a cozy night’s sleep. For the ultimate in comfort while enjoying nature, you can’t go wrong with the Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillows that will really make you feel like you are at home, no matter where you sleep at night. We’ve owned a Compressible Pillow for years and would highly recommend them as well. They are an absolute necessity for car travel, overnight airplane and train trips, as well as hostel travel.
Knowing that we can use our Therm-a-Rest mattresses and accessories for so many activities makes them worth every penny, but truthfully, even if I used them just once a year in our tent it would be just as valuable. One of the things I love about camping is that every little thing is an event, whether that is making lunch, searching for the perfect marshmallow stick, or just going for a walk. It sure would be hard to enjoy all these events after getting no sleep, which is why you won’t catch me outdoors without my Therm-a-Rest mattress. Now, if I can convince the other 72.4% of my friends to buy one, I can finally have some company on my next camping trip.
Price: $79.95 – $119.95 for Small to Large in the ProLite Plus, $89.95 for the Women’s version of the ProLite Plus.
Accessories Pricing: Compack Chair $44.95, and the Compressible Pillow $17.95 – 29.95
A big thank you to Cascade Designs for sending a review sample of the ProLite Mattresses and Compack Chair and Compressible Pillow for us to try out for a few months and review. We loved the ProLite so much that we purchased the men's version to use on future trips. No monetary compensation was received for this Rave Review.