THERM-A-REST EVOLITE SLEEPING PAD (regular size): Gear Review

SPECS: Therm-a-rest Evolite sleeping pad

Weight; 520gms

Dimensions; Length 183cm, Width 51cm, Thickness 5cm

Packed size; 23cm x 13cm

Price paid; $152


• Very comfortable.
• Nice and warm.
• Small packed size for a full length mat.
• Very thick when inflated.


• Expensive.
• Problem with outer material separating from inner causing a huge bubble to form making it unusable to use.
• Seemed to get dirty very easily.

Therm-a-rest Evolite sleeping pad
The Therm-A-Rest when it first began to develop a bubble


On our last cycle trip from France to China we had purchased the cheapest (and sometimes only) gear available to us and ended up with tiny three quarter length inflatable mats that didn’t really offer any barrier against the cold coming up through the ground, particularly on our legs which hung over and rested directly on the tent floor.
We started of our trip across Canada with these same mats, but decided after the Rockies we needed some more warmth and comfort so picked up the Therm-a-rest Evolite sleeping pad in Calgary to give our tenty home some cushiony luxury and warmth!


The Therm-a-rest Evolite sleeping pad ticked all the boxes for us. Packed up small enough to not take up much space in our panniers, insulated to keep our body heat being sucked out through the chilly Canadian earth and long enough too fully spread out and get some actual sleep on!

These pads taper away towards the feet but just enough to shave more weight off without sacrificing comfort. The cushiony ripples along the pad are nice and squishy provide plenty of comfort, 5 cm thickness means when sleeping on your side you don’t feel like your shoulders are sinking into the tent floor.

You can see where the two padded ridges have joined up to form a bubble


The Therm-a-rest Evolite sleeping pad seemed very well made and feel nice and rip resistant, I felt confident about putting them down directly on the ground if needed while setting up the tent without fear of a twig or rock popping them and the seams all look nicely sealed around the valve.

Everything was going great…until Prince Edward Island when I noticed the gap between two of the raised ridges in the pad had disappeared and the two ridges had joined together. I though ‘oh well, not a problem, as long as it doesn’t get any worse…” Unfortunately it did get worse, a lot worse. Once the outer layer had started peeling away and joining up the ridges, there was no stopping it from coming away further every time I inflated it.

It was developing a rapidly growing ‘bubble’ in the pad around where my shoulders rest making it very hard to sleep on. If I took my body weight off the pad you could actually hear the outer layer peeling away and eventually making a loud popping sounds the bubble grew larger and larger like some heavily pregnant orange alien. You can’t sleep on a pregnant alien, everyone knows this.

Giant blister! Not much fun in the old shoulder blades!

In the end the bubble expanded to the very top of the pad making it impossible to use and actually played a part in our decision to cut the trip shorter than originally intended, as I was exhausted from lack of sleep. After reading more reviews online I discovered I was not alone and this seemed to be a common occurrence and fatal design flaw in this otherwise solid piece of equipment.


So close yet so far. I loved the comfort, packed size and weight of the Therm-a-rest Evolite sleeping pad, but I didn’t like the gigantic spine melting bubble that formed. If it hadn’t have had this issue I would have gladly called this my bed for the rest of our round the world adventures, but alas, it was screwed. We ended up returning both our pads (Kelly’s was fine but feared the same thing would happen eventually) to MEC where we purchased them from and settled on the more tried and tested Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus Mattress instead as no reviews mentioned anything similar happening.

The Therm-a-rest Evolite sleeping pad gets 2.5 out of 5 for the major faults and discomfort it caused me. (Amazon/ Our Gear List)

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