While camping, it’s quite essential that you stay comfortable during your sleep in order to restore your energy levels for the next day. Unfortunately, regular sleeping bags might not be an ideal solution if you’re a sophisticated sleeper who prioritizes comfort over anything else.
A camping mattress is designed so that it’s portable, lightweight, and incredibly more comfortable than sleeping bags, which makes it an ideal solution for those who are looking for a comfy snooze on their camping nights.
Luckily, there are many great camping mattress brands on the market, such as Thermarest. So which model of the brand is the best?
In today’s article, we’ll put Thermarest Z Lite vs Sol, which are two of the most popular models by the brand, under the microscope to help you pick the ideal one for you. Let’s check them out and see what each one of these mattresses has to offer!
Thermarest Z Lite vs Sol Overview
Thermarest Z Line and Thermarest Sol have similar construction materials and they weigh around the same. The R-values of both mattresses are also pretty close, although Thermarest Sol is a bit higher, so it’s more suitable for colder weather than the Z Lite.
|Thermarest Sol||Better for Colder Weather||Check Price|
|Thermarest Z Lite||Budget Pick||Check Price|
A Brief Comparison
Since the Z Lite and Sol are made by the same manufacturer, they’ll have some similarities in terms of quality. Yet, they still differ in a variety of aspects.
In this section, we’ll briefly walk you through all these similarities and differences, so you can make a decision that suits your needs:
Materials and Durability
The mattresses are made from a closed cell pad that is not only smooth but also quite durable and virtually indestructible by continuous use.
Both Z Lite and Sol are made from a durable, foamy material that can handle extensive use as well as the harsh conditions of sleeping in the wild.
The outer material is also made from a synthetic fiber that repels water, so you don’t have to worry about the rain damaging your camping mattress.
When you’re out camping, you always need to make sure that the weight of the camping mattress is kept low.
The Thermarest Sol is the lighter of the two, weighing only 0.45 kg or about 1.0 lb. However, the Thermarest Z Lite is also light enough for most packers, weighing about 0.5 kg or 1.1 lbs, so the difference in weight is technically negligible.
Size & Compactness
In addition to the camping mattress’s weight, it also needs to be compact enough when folded and spacious enough when laid out so you’re comfortable while sleeping.
Both the Thermarest Z Lite and the Thermarest Sol are 72 inches long and about 20 inches wide, which is just about enough for the average adult, although some taller campers might find their feet hanging out at night if they stretch their legs while sleeping.
In addition to that, the mattresses are also quite compact and easy to store when folded because they only take up a space that is about 20 inches long, 5 inches wide, and 5.5 inches thick.
Combine that with the mattresses’ lightweight design and you’ll have some of the most portable mattresses out there.
Insulation and R-Value
The R-value refers to the ability of a certain product or surface to resist the flow of heat through its material.
In other words, if you have a mattress with a higher R-value, this means that it’ll be able to retain warmth more than the other.
Both the Thermarest Z Lite and the Sol have different R-values. However, the difference between both mattresses is not that big, so they’re technically the same.
The Thermarest Z Lite has an R-value of 1.7 and the Sol of about 2.0. This makes both of them ideal for summer camping and protection from the relative decrease in temperature during the night up to 40 °F or 4.4 °C.
All in all, the two mattresses are made of the same materials and have the same thickness. Since they have close R-Values, they retain the same level of comfort, although some users believe that the Thermarest Sol feels a little cozier at night than the Z Lite.
– Coleman & Intex Air Mattresses Comparison
– Thermarest Mondoking Head-to-Head Against Dreamtime
– RidgeRest vs Z Lite Head-to-Head
– Z Lite Against Switchback: Which One is Better?
Price and Warranty
The price of both the Thermarest Z Lite and the Sol is quite similar as well, with the Sol being a little more expensive.
Both mattresses are made in the United States and are covered by a lifetime warranty, which adds a layer of security and more value to the price you pay.
However, since the Z Lite offers almost the same functionality for a few bucks less, it can be a better option for those who are on a very tight budget.
Should You Buy a Camping Mattress?
A camping mattress isn’t an absolute necessity when it comes to camping, as some people are able to sleep comfortably in sleeping bags or camping cots on their own.
However, if you value your quality of sleep and need a softer bed, having a camping mattress would make things a whole lot easier for you.
They also become extremely beneficial during the winter because they can retain warmth better than other options, especially if they have a high R-value.
Can You Combine a Camping Mattress with a Camping Cot?
Yes, spreading your camping mattress over the camping cot is one of the best ways to make your sleep experience more comfortable and “like home”.
The combination of the cot’s elevation and the mattress’s thick padding and heat retention will allow you to sleep more comfortably. However, combining both of them means extra packing, so you have to keep that in mind while picking your go-to sleeping method while camping.
As you can see, both camping mattresses are quite similar with almost identical materials, designs, and sizes.
If you want to save on money, the original Z Lite option would be a suitable pick for you. However, if you’d appreciate the extra warmth due to the higher R-value, you should go for the Thermarest Sol.