Alan Dixon reviewed the Therm-a-Rest ProLite 3 back in 2004, when he noted that 'Cascade Designs has whacked more than a quarter pound off their lightest sleeping pad.' The weight for the Small or 3/4 length mat had been reduced to 370 g (13 oz) at that stage. Well, they have reduced the weight even further: the Small (3/4) is now down to 310 g (11 oz). This is getting rather light.

In the process the claimed R-value has dropped a bit, from 2.3 down to 2.2, while the thickness has stayed the same at a nominal 25 mm (1 in). The R-value is going to vary a bit depending on what pressure you put into the mat. This is discussed further under 'R-value.' The nominal length and width dimensions have stayed the same at 505 x 1200 mm (20 x 47 in), ignoring the welded edges. Note however that the mat tapers at the bottom end, down to about 380 mm (15 in).

The foam inside is urethane - as usual with any decent air mat, and the fabric is nylon top and bottom. Both top and bottom surfaces are covered in lots of little dots of something (maybe polyurethane again). The web site says 'Rest Comfortably: Bottom grips and textured top surface hold the mattress in place while you sleep.' This apparently refers to the little dots, but see below for further comment on this.

The foam has had star-shaped holes die-cut out of it to reduce the weight. These holes are visible when the mat is inflated, as you can see here. It is interesting to see that Cascade Designs have chosen the more expensive path of only selectively cutting these holes across the mat. That is, rather than taking a long slab of foam and feeding it through some sort of mass-hole-punching system, they have only cut the holes in the middle of the mat. They have left an unpunched edge down each side and across the bottom and a larger unpunched area at the top end where your head goes. You can see the unpunched edges here too. These unpunched areas are meant to provide extra support at the edges and under your head.

ARTICLE OUTLINE

  • Technical Details
  • Field Testing
  • Sliding Around
  • R-Value
  • Summary
  • Specifications
  • What's Good
  • What's Not So Good

# WORDS: 1870
# PHOTOS: 7

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