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Thermarest NeoAir Xlite or Big Agnes Q-core.

They are the same price, but I cant decide which! Wondering if the bit extra weight is worth the extra comfort (and less noisy tendancy) of the Big Agnes?



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Aaron Zagrodnick

Sounds like you're looking at the Q-Core SL? I haven't had a chance to check out the Q-Core line, but of those two I'd lean towards the XLite based on the weight, and you could optionally always add a foam pad to boost the warmth for colder trips as needed for a more versatile overall system.

However, my current personal favorite is the Exped Synmat UL 7. (Reviewed Here in Issue 4) No noise factor, and the vertical tube layout results in a more comfortable night's sleep (For me) than the Neoair line where I found myself rolling off the edge of the pad at times. The vertical tubes really help to keep you centered on the pad if you toss and turn at night. Everyone is different though and sleep in the backcountry can at times be underrated...In the end if a few more ounces result in a better night's sleep for you, I'd say it's well worth it.

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There's quite a weight difference. The Big Agnes pad is 2-3 times the weight of the NeoAir (25-36 oz vs. 8-16 oz), depending on the design!

I have the original NeoAir and I can vouch for its comfort, but as Aaron says, it's a matter of personal preference. I would consider upgrading to a Big Agnes or Exped for winter (R-value of 5 or 5.9 vs. 3.2) but IMHO for summer backpacking, the NeoAir is more than warm enough.

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I use an Exped Downmat 7 for year round use.

In the summer I do not personally find it "too hot" but keep in mind individual's internal heaters vary from person to person. Some sleep hot, some sleep cold, etc. The DM 7 has a R-value of 5.9 which is quite adequate for winter use.

As Aaron stated one can always add a CCF pad to the equation to boost the insulating properties of the pad to further inhibit the effects of conduction.

May I ask in what seasons you are you going to be utilizing this pad as well as the average temps you will be experiencing in these seasons?

As stated this again is pretty much preference based but if you provide a lil more info I might be able to offer up a few other options that will meet your needs.


Edited by Rick-Pittsburgh
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"Thermarest NeoAir Xlite or Big Agnes Q-core"

In my opinion, the NeoAir XLite is noisy, almost to the point of distraction. Its irregular shape means it can't be coupled with another mattress to make one big mattress.

The Big Agnes Q-Core SL is 3.5 inches thick and will require at least 35 to 40 breaths to inflate. Big Agnes makes good products but my impression is that they develop leaks more often then Thermarest mattresses.

My suggestion? The Thermarest NeoAir All Season mattress. It is 2.5 inches thick and I can inflate mine with 25 breaths, which isn't tiring. It is a standard 20"x72" size and can be coupled with another same sized mattress.

Weight is 19 oz and price at $150 is similar to the two you are considering. Mine makes some crinkling noise but noticeably less then the XLite. Thermarest has a lifetime warranty too.

Hope this is of some assistance.

Edited by PaulGS
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I use a Thermarest Treker. It is a little noisy but I don't mind as it keep the coyotes from coming into camp and marking my tent. :) I would like to go lighter than the treker and will probably go with the Xlite for the next one.

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