Tested and reviewed by Trek Scotland over three seasons [April to November] in the Scottish Highlands. It was also used by one of our team members on her recent through hike of the Pacific Crest Trail.
As materials become lighter and more robust it was inevitable that sleeping mats would become a key target for gear manufacturers. With the Uberlite, Therm-a-Rest have possibly taken the sleeping mat to the limit in relation to weight, pack size and durability.
The Uberlite weighs a highly impressive 240g, not including its storage bag, and packs down to an absolutely ridiculous 9 x 15cm… not much bigger than a can of soft drink! If you are investing in this mat it is unlikely you would carry the weight of an additional inflation system and once released from its storage bag it can be quickly blown up with around 20 breaths, through the highly reliable single one way twist valve. When fully inflated the mat measures 50cm at its widest, has a total length of 183cm and uniform thickness of 6.4 cm [Regular size]. The relatively meager width as the mat tapers towards the feet is a compromise and might not suit very restless sleepers. However, the more generous thickness of the Uberlite allows the user to be well off the ground and if the mat is not over inflated it gives great comfort, smooths out any lumps and keeps the hip off the floor. Again, in a compromise to weight, the thermal rating of R-2 is relatively low making this a mat more suited to summer use than anything else. For those wanting to extend the mats use in colder seasons it could be combined with an insulating foam roll or Z mat mat underneath.
In terms of material and construction the Uberlite is made from different Denier Nylons ranging from 15 to 70D. At its thinnest parts it does feel highly vulnerable to puncture. However, if used within a tent/bivy that has a built-in ground sheet this is generally not an issue. If using it under a tarp or when cowboy sleeping then it would be prudent to carry a footprint of some sort to protect it from damage from sticks and sharper stones, although the mat came to no harm when sleeping directly onto heather, sand or granite boulders. The Uberlite comes with its own puncture repair and we would recommend you have it with you at all times, just in case.
One of the past criticisms of Therm-a-Rest sleeping mats has been the crinkling noise they can give off. The Uberlite doesn’t seem to suffer from this and emits little noise when turning over or moving about. The material is relatively sleek and, depending on the type of sleeping bag used, can be a little slippery. In terms of durability our team member on the PCT had an issue of some of the baffles inside the mat coming apart but this was after 4 months of daily use and the mat was replaced for free by Therm-a-Rest. The replacement mat is still going strong.
Compromise tends to go hand in hand with ultra light gear. As such the Uberlite will not suit everyone’s needs. However, for those wanting a feather light and low bulk sleeping mat that is durable enough for fast and light mountain adventures during the summer months, this should definitely be a consideration.
Trek Scotland is a small family business based in the picturesque village of Tomintoul in the North East region of the Cairngorms National Park. They provide bespoke Mountain Guiding for Single Day Walks and Lightweight Multiday Trekking experiences, including wild camping, in the stunning Cairngorms wilderness and surrounding areas. Whether in the high mountains or lower valleys, their Multiday Treks are equipped with high quality, lightweight camping and trekking gear. They only work with small groups and, whatever your ability, pride themselves on designing your outdoor experience completely to your needs and with professional guidance and expertise. Adventure is waiting...