In 1971, Jim Lea, Neil Anderson and John Burroughs came together to design a better mattress with comfort in mind and thus, Therm-a-Rest was born. Since its inception 40+ years ago, the focus has never strayed from comfort because the “better you rest, the better you play”.
Practical Travel Gear met up with Therm-a-Rest in Denver, CO this year and was blown away by the ultralight gear, quality and innovation happening at their booth. We are excited to work with them and help educate our readers and followers on their amazing travel gear.
But first, the Honcho Poncho. I am not sure who fell in love faster at the show but we are lucky enough to own one now. Providing extra warmth through the layer of 37.5 insulation, the Honcho Poncho is available in one size (75”x57”). The Honcho Poncho is large enough to be used as a blanket. Or, if you’re not into sharing the warm of the Honcho, you can wear it as intended. The drawstring hoody allows you to keep the cold air out while the brushed polyester taffeta lining and the water-resistant RipStop shell keeps you warm and comfortable.
While not waterproof, the Honcho Poncho will shed plenty of water during a spring storm or in the morning dew.
My favorite is the kangaroo pocket in the front. It is as toasty as the inside of the poncho. A top zip pocket stows your essentials like Kleenex, a beanie cap, candy that you’re hiding from children, etc.
The zipper pocket is different from the storage pocket that the Honch Poncho packs into. When packed up, the Honcho Poncho measures approximately 6×12” and can easily double as a pillow.
The versatility of the Honcho Poncho is endless. It can be worn at the campsite, the sidelines of the soccer game, tailgating, out to start your car in the winter months or as a cover up for changing clothes in the outback.
It comes in a variety of colors like Lemon Curry and Olividine. Deep Purple is pictured. I thought I would get the girliest color so no one in my family would steal it. Wrong. If it was covered in glitter and unicorns all my boys would steal it for the warmth and comfort. Comfortable and technical!
Our new pup, Oden gives it 4 paws up in comfort and warmth.
Honcho Poncho weighs only 1lb 12 oz and can easily be stuffed into a backpack or attached to the outside.
Women’s Prolite Mattress
Smaller than most shampoo bottles, the Women’s Prolite Mattress is compact and lightweight. The self-inflation of the Prolite Mattress allows you to unroll it and set up camp or unpack necessary gear while it inflates. I prefer a stiff mattress so I top it off with a few breathes to get it at my comfort level. Close the valve up at the end and the mattress will stay inflated for your whole trip.
The Prolite Mattress is 20”x66” so it will fit most women’s height. I am 5’6” and didn’t have a problem feeling like I was too tall for it.
Full inflated, it is 1 inch thick. Packed down it is 11”x4.1” and weighs in at just over 1 lbs. The diagonal die-cut foam helps to direct heat while you are sleeping and ensures a comfortable night’s sleep under the stars.
The top is covered in a velvety material to prevent sliding off the mattress. I have a sleeve in my Sierra Design bag that it fits perfectly into.
While it is designed for high altitudes and adventure racing, it doubles as a great intermediate camper’s mattress.
In the case of a small leak or puncture from the campsite or gear, you can easily repair your mattress with the Therm-a-Rest Repair Kits. Allow 24 hours for the urethane-based glue to dry. There is a great instructional video on their site if you have any questions.
Although not washing machine safe, the Prolite mattress is easily cleaned in a bathtub or with a scrub down with a mild cleanser and hosed off. Be sure to close the valve completely so you do not get water or cleanser in the Prolite mattress.
The Women’s Prolite Mattress retails for $89.95 on their website It can also be found on Amazon.com.
You can feel good about purchasing from Therm-a-Rest because they have quality products but more importantly because they partner with organizations who work to keep the areas you hike, bike and camp in a safe and accessible area.
For more information on their partnerships, click HERE.