The Thermarest Evolite Plus sleeping pad is a clever unification of air channels, self inflating foam bands, and the new ThermaCapture insulation technology. This trinity comes together to create and innovative, high performance sleeping surface that excels in almost every way. This is my review.
The Evolite Plus is carefully crafted to produce maximum loft at a minimal weight. It does this by incorporating repeating channels of air and foam. The foam channels produce loft, and aid in weight distribution, while also allowing the pad to self inflate once the valve is opened. The air channels for the AirFrame suspension system, and allows the pad to become thicker while substantially cutting weight . Finally, ThermaCapture, an incredibly light weight heat reflective material, is added inside to the air channels to bounce heat back to the body, enhancing the warmth of the pad. The pad falls somewhere between the shape of a mummy and rectangular pad, and is constructed using a 30d rip-stop polyester. It has an R-value of 3.2, weighs l lbs 8 oz for the regular, has 2.5 inches of loft, and comes in at 72 inches x 20 inches wide. MSRP is $149.95.
What I liked
I don’t know where Thermarest gets their inspiration, but it seems they’re always finding ways to make their products more comfortable, and this is no exception. The Evolite plus has provided me with some of the best nights sleep I’ve ever had. The foam channels do an exceptional job of distributing weight, and alleviating pressure points. Generally, mattresses that are simply inflated with air cannot truly absorb these pressure points, as the pressure from the air is simply too high. Foam, however, is easily compressible and takes in the corners of bone and joints and spreads the load throughout the mattress. Laying on my sides, shoulders, back or stomach, I always woke up pain free and feeling refreshed, thanks to a night of less tossing and turning. The fact that it’s a full 2.5″ thick didn’t hurt either. The air channels add a little bit of bounce, especially when fully inflated, and it adds a bit of a mattress top sensation that I really enjoyed. I found myself inflating the pad as tight as I could, sleeping on the firm air channels for support with the soft foam channels providing softness.
Nice and toasty, the Evolite Plus provided ample warmth well into the 20’s during testing, showing no signs of giving in to the frigid air and frozen dirt beneath me. I haven’t tested it to the limit yet, roughly 15 degrees F, but I have no doubt in it’s ability to protect me at those temperatures. This is possible in part due to the highly insulative properties of the urethane used, with the ThermaCapture being added to the air channels to keep any stray body heat from escaping. It’s a duo that works wonders.
All the tech in the world is useless if your pad goes flat. Thankfully, the Evolite Plus considers this with it’s build quality. The body fabric is a 30d mini rip-stop polyester which provides a high tolerance for being prodding and scuffed about. I’ve had no issues at all dragging it inside and outside of my tent, and boots and bags have worked their best to damage it, but so far there is no sign of wear and tear. You can feel the durability when you touch it, unlike many pads that are becoming thinner and more fragile in an effort to cut weight.
The self inflating capabilities are quite nice. Simply open the valve and step away for a bit and it will inflate to a usable level. For a firm pitch, a couple good breaths of air are required. It’s infinitely better than huffing and puffing for two minutes, before collapsing onto the pad from oxygen deprivation.
Packing up is pretty easy, just open the valve and slowly fold it onto itself, pushing air out as you move across the pad. It packs down to a fair size too, at just under 8″ x 6″, taking up minimal space inside a pack.
What I didn’t like
While 1 lbs 8 oz is a perfectly acceptable weight for a pad of this level of comfort, it is a bit heavier than most in it’s class. It also takes up a bit more space than your typical air mattress, and even some thinner full foam mats from Thermarest themselves. I have found it to be a fair trade off, happily exchanging weight on the trail for better sleep.
The Thermarest Evolite represents a potential change in how sleeping pads are engineered. Blending the best of air chamber and self inflating mattresses, the Evolite plus manages to achieve more loft, more softness, and a better packability without sacrificing warmth, reliability, or cost. Adding the ThermaCapture techonology to the pad raised the r-value high enough to for the pad to be used year round, and the use of durable, high quality materials ensures that it will be on the trail long enough to take advantage of it. While sleeping on the Evolite Plus, I managed to sleep the entire way through long winter nights without tossing and turning, and I always awoke feeling refreshed, pain free, and ready for another day of adventure. Being a notoriously fussy sleeper, that kind of comfort goes a long way. If you don’t mind a couple extra ounces for a far superior night’s sleep, the Thermares Evolte Plus is an exceptional option that I could recommend to anyone.
The highest of Recommendations
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For more information on Therm-a-Rest and their excellent line of gear, check out www.thermarest.com
I wanted to send a special thanks out to Therm-a-Rest for their support and for providing this excellent piece of equipment to review. We couldn’t do this without their help. Thank you so much! Our full disclosure can be found on the about me/contact page.