Therma-Rest’s Z Lite SOL is a classic for backpacking. The basic 3/4-inch pad comes with solid closed-cell foam, reflective coating that adds in warmth, and comes at a reasonable pricing of only $55. Additionally, the pad folds in accordion style to form an extremely compact size for storage in the top, side or even the at the bottom of a bag. Like it’s predecessor, the Nemo Switchback above, the Z Lite is not a top performer when it comes to ease of use, however it’s hard to deny the durability of a basic foam mat.
You’ll find the Therma-Rest Z Lite SOL attached to a quite a few backpacks. Ultralighters love its light weight and reliability, while budget backpackers appreciate the cost and winter campers use it as a second mat to provide an increase in warmth. The Switchback above can beat it in terms of comfort, thanks to its more substantial and more luxurious design, however Z Lite is the better choice. Z Lite is the proven alternative that does have an edge in weight (14 1 oz. as compared to. 14.5 in The Nemo).