Having a great quality, light sleeping pad is an absolute essential to anyone sleeping outdoors. The older I get, the more important sleep becomes. I sleep outside on camping trips and photography vacations a lot. Nothing ruins those trips for me like sleeping on a rock and waking up feeling sore and tired.
I have tried a handful of sleeping pads over the years from the heavier thin foam pads to air mattresses to cots. Since I began using the Thermarest Evolite Plus a couple years back, it has become my go-to absolute favorite sleeping solution as it is the perfect combination between comfort, compactness, and weight.
The Thermarest EvoLite Plus is a self-inflating pad that combines the best of an air mattress and foam pad into a lightweight, convenient and really comfortable sleeping pad.
The self inflation isn’t a miracle worker and I always self inflate to get it where I want it, but it does cut out about 80% of the inflation work, which is really nice. It also makes it super easy to adjust for how firm you want the mattress.
There is a small amount of padding spread throughout the pad that is really nice as it makes it much more comfortable that just an air mattress. the padding makes it feel much more like a bed as you have a little cushion beneath you besides just air.
I got the bigger version of the pad and it was long and wide enough for me (at 6’2″) to comfortably relax, which can be hard to find in a compact mattress like this one. The extra width does add a little size, but it has not been an issue for me as I strap it to the top of a bag with a sleeping bag. It unrolls and begins inflating so that you have a comfortable bed off your backpack and set up in less than a minute.
I honestly cannot recommend this mattress enough. I use it all the time and have used it for so much more than just backpacking or camping. It works great for sleeping in the car. I use it all the time as a spare mattress for kids sleeping over or when my kids want to sleep somewhere other than their beds. I even took it to the hospital when my wife had our last kid to make the fold-out bed at the hospital more comfortable. The nurse praised me as being the smartest dad there.