At a Glance
- The NeoAir UberLite is Therm-a-Rest’s newest and lightest sleeping pad, and the lightest inflatable pad available.
- I tested the small torso-length size during six nights of self-supported bikepack racing.
- I love its light weight and truly tiny size, but don’t love how it’s easy to puncture and slowly leaks air throughout the night.
- The UberLight is a big step forward for ultralight-obsessed gram counters, especially those who can’t sleep on closed-cell foam pads, but its fragility is likely to frustrate other users.
As a long-time user of the popular NeoAir XLite pad, I was stoked to see Therm-a-Rest release the NeoAir UberLite. Marketed as “the absolute lightest insulated air pad ever built,” this impressively featherlight pad weighs just 8.8 oz and packs down to a tiny size.
I’ve been testing the ultra-minimalist torso-length small UberLite over several hundred miles of ultralight bikepacking. In this detailed review I share how it works for me, some important gotchas to be aware of, and whether the UberLite’s promise of ultralight comfort is too good to be true.
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Overview: Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite Sleeping Pad
Price: $200 – $260
Sizes: small, regular, regular wide, large
Weight: 6oz, 8.8oz, 11oz, 12oz
R Value: 2.3
My rating: 3.9 / 5 stars, good for very specialized niche but otherwise frustrating
Shop the UberLite pad at:
What I love:
- Light weight, obviously
- Small packed size is ideal for space-constrained setups like ultralight bikepacking
- Relatively comfy for side sleepers compared to comparable ultralight pads
- WingLock valve is convenient
Could be better:
- Easily punctured
- Slowly loses air
- Reports of valve malfunctions, baffle blow-outs, and other quality issues
My conclusion: The NeoAir UberLite from Therm-a-Rest is an astoundingly light sleeping pad perfect for ultralight space-constrained adventures. The torso-length small size has been a game-changer for my occasional fast-and-light bikepacking epics, but I think it’s too fragile for long-term casual use.
How I Tested This Pad
I’ve spent six nights on this pad so far, mostly in summer mountain conditions with overnight temps in the high 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. I mainly use it for self-supported bikepack racing, a silly activity that involves riding hundreds of rugged miles as fast as possible while carrying as little as possible.
In these events I typically spend between 2 to 4 nights out at a time, and sleep between 3 to 5 hours a night. The goal of my sleep kit is to keep me safe in remote places and warm(ish) enough to get a few hours of sleep, but not necessarily comfortable.
My pad is the 47″ small version, which is a torso length pad. If you’re going to go light, why not go all the way? The pad extends to my knees, and I lay my hydration pack under my lower legs to keep them off the ground and a bit warmer.
When using the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite, the rest of my sleep system consists of a down sleeping quilt and my Borah Gear ultralight bivy. The bivy acts as a ground sheet to protect the pad, keeps everything organized, and adds a bit of warmth. In case of rain and super-cold temps I slip the whole thing inside an SOL emergency bivy.
Cutting ounces from your gear weight is the UberLite’s reason for being. Therm-a-Rest calls it “the absolute lightest insulated air sleeping pad available,” and this is true.
The 8.8oz Neoair UberLite regular shaves 4+ ounces off the already lightest-in-class NeoAir XLite (13 oz). Sea to Summit’s ultralight backpacking pad, which is substantially less warm than the UberLite, weights a hefty 13.9oz by comparison. Even the ultra-minimalist Klymit Inertia X, now discontinued, is 0.3oz heavier than the UberLite despite being made up of mainly empty space!
The small torso-length UberLite I’m using weighs in at a shockingly light 6.25 ounces (Therm-a-Rest claims 6oz, close enough). At less than half the weight of the NeoAir XLite I was using previously, this is a huge weight savings.
The UberLite isn’t just lighter than the XLite, it also packs down substantially smaller. This may not matter to everyone, but it’s a big deal for fastpackers and runners, alpine climbers, ultralight thru hikers rocking a 40 liter backpack, or bikepackers like myself trying to stuff gear into every nook and cranny of oddly shaped bikepacking bags.
The regular size UberLite packs down to 6 x 3.6″ compared to the XLite’s 9 x 4.1″. This is already a huge improvement. My small torso-length UberLite packs down to 6 x 3.4″ according to Therm-a-Rest. These are the dimensions of the stuff sack, but it can actually squish down even smaller.
This size difference is meaningful for my setup. When bikepacking with my XLite, I need to designate a specific place for my sleeping pad: usually a fork bag or filling up a large chunk of my seat bag. When bikepacking with my UberLite, I simply roll it up with my sleeping quilt and pretend it isn’t there.
The NeoAir UberLite is considered a 3-season sleeping pad due to its R-value of 2.3. That’s quite a bit less than the NeoAir XLite’s R-value of 4.5, but the XLite is known for being surprisingly warm for its weight. Sea to Summit’s ultralight backpacking pad has an R-value of only 1.1 by comparison (despite being 5 ounces heavier) and is considered a summer-only pad.
I’ve used the short length UberLite in temps down to the lower 40’s while staying mostly comfortable. Keep in mind that warmth varies significantly from person to person and depends on the rest of your sleep system. I sleep very cold, but I also use a fairly warm sleeping quilt (rated to 10 degrees when new, but no longer as fluffy) and wear all my layers to bed. With the short length I make sure my backpack is beneath my feet to keep them off the cold ground.
In short, as with all NeoAir pads the UberLite is impressively warm for its weight.
Sleeping pad comfort is so subjective, but in my experience the UberLite is sufficiently comfortable. The 2.5″ thickness is unique in the world of ultralight sleeping pads, making the UberLite especially exciting for side sleepers like me who can’t sleep on closed cell foam pads.
The NeoAir UberLight shares its mummy shape with the NeoAir XLite and XTherm. Some people feel the regular 20″ width is too narrow, leaving them feeling tippy or with their arms hanging off the side. (It doesn’t bother me, but I’m fairly narrow myself.) For these folks Therm-a-Rest offers wide and large sizes with 5 extra inches of width, but these aren’t available in the short torso length.
If you’re familiar with the NeoAir XLite and find it comfy enough, you’ll likely be fine with the UberLite. They have the same dimensions and very similar construction. I do find the UberLite ever so slightly less stable-feeling than the XLite, tippier somehow, but this is a minor point.
As with all inflatable sleeping pads, you can adjust the firmness by adding or removing air. Side sleepers tend to like their pads a little softer while back sleepers like them firmer.
Valve and Inflation
The UberLite uses Therm-a-Rest’s latest WingLock one-way valve system. It’s quick to inflate and easy to fine-tune the amount of air inside the pad for custom firmness. It comes with a lightweight pump sack that works well, but I leave it behind when going ultralight. The small UberLite only takes a few breaths (I counted 15) to inflate anyway.
My UberLite has an issue with the one-way valve being, well, not one-way. I bought it from REI Re/supply and apparently the quality testers missed this issue. This is definitely a defect and would normally be cause for a return, but I got such a good price on mine that I kept it anyway. The pad is so quick and easy to inflate that it’s not really a problem. I mention it because other reviewers have noted quality inconsistencies in the UberLite, so make sure you test yours at home first before hitting the trail.
Durability and Reliability
This is unfortunately where I have some negative things to say about the UberLite. Where the XLite uses stronger 30D fabric top and bottom, the UberLite uses 15D fabric, which seems not quite up to the challenge.
Punctures: In six nights of using my UberLite pad, I punctured it twice! Both times I was sitting cross-legged inside my bivy (which acts as a ground cloth) on what I thought was relatively smooth ground. Apparently sitting put too much pressure on a small area of the pad. Now I know better and am careful to only lie down with my weight spread evenly. It’s typical for ultralight gear to require careful treatment, but this pad requires VERY careful treatment and you should expect that punctures are likely.
Tip: If you need to patch your UberLite sleeping pad — and you probably will — I find GearAid Tenacious Tape stays on better than the included patch kit.
Slow leak: My UberLite gets squishy after a few hours, requiring a few puffs of air to restore its firmness. I’m not sure if it’s the valve, a tiny puncture I’ve been unable to find, or a flaw in the fabric or seams. Surprisingly this doesn’t bother me much, since I’m rarely in bed for more than a few hours anyway during bikepacking races. But for thru hiking it would be a substantial annoyance.
A pad like the UberLite isn’t right for everyone, especially given the current version’s reliability issues. If you’re a backpacker or thru hiker looking to cut weight from your pack, I’d still recommend the NeoAir XLite. It’s warmer, much more durable, and still lighter than nearly every other sleeping pad on the market.
In my opinion the UberLite is best for athletes and adventurers who need to take their ultralight gear to the next level, who can’t sleep comfortably on closed-cell foam pads like the ZLite Sol (see below), and/or who care about space and bulk just as much as weight. Examples:
- fastpacking and ultrarunning
- ultralight bikepacking or racing
- very fast-and-light thru hikes or FKT attempts
- multi-day alpine climbing
If you’re a relatively small person and looking to go maximally minimalist, I do recommend the torso-length small size. In my experience it’s a minor sacrifice to put a pack or other item beneath my feet, and the tiny packed size is truly a game changer.
If you’re looking for the lightest of the ultralight sleeping pads, almost nothing (except maybe this) beats the UberLite. However, there are a few alternatives worth looking at in a similar weight range.
Therm-a-Rest ZLite Sol (z-fold closed cell foam pad):
- Advantages: much less expensive, wider, relatively lightweight (10 oz for torso length)
- Disadvantages: much bulkier, less warm, less comfortable for many people, still heavier than the UberLite
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XLite inflatable pad:
- Advantages: more durable, warmer, similar comfort level for side sleepers
- Disadvantages: bulkier and heavier (13 oz) but still beats most other pads
The Therm-a-Rest UberLite sleeping pad is a game-changer for my ultralight bikepacking setup. I’m glad I bought it and will keep using it for that scenario, even though it requires very careful treatment. Unfortunately it’s too fragile to earn a place my standard lightweight backpacking or bikepacking kit, for now.
My 3.9 star rating was hard to arrive at because this sleeping pad fills such a specialized niche. For the right use case it’s a huge step forward and deserves a higher rating. For all other uses cases, however, it’s likely to cause frustration. I do recommend the UberLite sleeping pad, but only to ultralight-obsessed gram counters who really need it.
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