It’s not often that we see dramatic changes in sleeping pad design, but when it happens I get really excited. That’s exactly why the Evolite from Thermarest caught my attention. A hybrid of a self inflating and air chambered mattress, the Evolite hopes to obtain the best of both worlds. Light weight, convenience, and comfort.
The pad is designed using interlacing panels of Atmos foam and air chambers. This allows the pad to mostly self inflate and provide even cushioning thanks to the foam panels, while providing more lift and less weight with the help of the air chambers. A simple valve allows for inflation and deflation, and the included stuff sack keeps everything packed away all tidy like. The pad comes in at 2” of loft and 20″ of width to keep your old bones off the ground, but there are also small and large sizes available as well. The pad weighs 1 lbs 1 oz for the regular, packs down to about 8″ x 5″, and retails for $119.95.
What I liked
The Evolite provides a nice, solid, even sleeping surface, especially along the spin for those back sleepers. Self inflating pads (foam interior) pads have always provided a better simulation of sleeping at home at bed because they have a true padding built right in, and the Evolite benefits from this as well. The pad compresses and absorbs both the bumps in the ground and on your body, producing a very evenly distributed sleeping experience. Just lying around on the pad you get a more at home sensation, thanks the warm, compressible foam. The air chambers are noticeable at first, but quickly became a source of comfort.
The solid vertical band of Atmos foam produces one of the best side sleeping experiences I’ve ever come across in a sleeping pad. Your hips and shoulders line up directly on the lush padding, providing a cotton mattress like sensation, while the air chambers help hold you in place.
The pad inflates very quickly. Simply lay it out, and it will do most of the work for you as the foam expands, drawing in air with it. A few breaths (about 5 for a firm pad for me) inflates the pad completely.
Packability is pretty good, packing down as small as most fully inflatable pads, and at 1 lbs 1 oz, it’s quite light weight as well.
Durability is also very good, as per usual with Thermarest products. The pad is built from a thick, durable 30d mini Ripstop Polyester that resists scuffs and tears. I never once felt like I needed to pay attention to what I was doing on the pad. It just took it, so I could enjoy my day (or night).
The materials also produce a surface that’s grippy enough to keep you on, without turning your tent into a slip n slide.
What I didn’t like
The pad has an intermediate shape to it, somewhere between a rectangular pad and a mummy, which will be a turn off to those who want the most head and foot room possible. At the same 20″ width and 72″ length you’ll find a little less real-estate here. I often found myself wishing the pad was just a little bit longer as usable space is closer to about 70″ due to the rolling edges. Sprawlers should consider the large.
Interlaced un-insulated air beams lowers the normally high r-value oassociated with most foam pads, which puts you in the 3 season range. While this alone is fine and even preferable in most situations, you might feel some cold spots when pushing the limits of the pad in the off-season.
I really enjoy the Evoite Matress. It creates a comforting foam like experience which reminds me of my bed at home, without suffering from the bulk or weight of traditional foam pads. It’s built great, is very affordable, and provides a side sleeper one of best experiences available in a backpackable weight. It’s a surprisingly development from a long time vet in the industry. Thermarest has done well.
For more information and to buy online, check out http://www.cascadedesigns.com
Big Thanks to Thermarest for providing this excellent pad for review. A full disclosure is available on the Contact Me page.