Pros: very lightweight, comfortable, compact
Cons: not self-inflating, can puncture, pricey
I recently upgraded from an old rectangular Thermarest self-inflating pad. Modern pads of the Neoair line achieve greater thickness (and therefore comfort) while also trimming down on size and weight by utilizing high-tech materials and a more form-fitted shape. Given Cascade Design's track record (excellent), I decided to splurge for the best again, counting on another 15 years of service from this pad.
It sure is a different experience from my old Thermarest. For one, you have to blow it up. I always used to put additional puffs into my old mattress to give it the max 'cushyness' but you do have to huff and puff with this a lot more. I've since discovered the Exped Schnozzel bag, which I use to inflate the pad exclusively, saving my breath. I've found that you can unroll the pad and open the value, go make dinner, and come back to find that it has self-inflated to some degree, so this helps.
Oh, but all those extra breaths are worth it when you lay down on this sucker. I have slept so comfortably, on my sides and stomach even, not bottoming out like I used to. I've never gotten a better night's sleep out in the wilderness, in fact.
And although I haven't really needed it down here in Florida, the pad is very warm (almost too hot in fact). I also love the contoured shape...why carry around a square pad if you don't need it? Leaves more room in the tent and can be used inside a sleeping bag or bivy.
Also, the Xlite rolls up into the size of a Nalgene 1 L bottle...amazing. Just be sure to unroll it when you get home and let it breathe...you can actually see through the fabric to see all the condensation after use...yuck.
Many reviewers have a problem with the pad being noisy...due to the built in metallic mylar material, kind of like a space blanket...but I don't find this to be a problem. The other concern is durability. I have been using mine regularly for 3 years and still have yet to develop any leaks. There will undoubtedly come a time though but holes can generally easily be fixed if you have the skills to fix a flat on a bike. It comes with patches, the same glue-less type you can get at a bike store for tube. I carry a few in my first aid kit.
If you get a major rip, well, I'd be willing to bet that the company would replace it for free. They have repeatedly serviced or replaced my Platypus bladders when they went bad, all for free. So I feel confident they will stand behind this product too. Which is why I felt justified in spending so much on this pad.
One final note, this pad is very temperature sensitive...keep in mind the scientific principles of gases and temps. On my first trip with this pad, I inflated it in the late afternoon while the Florida sun was beating down on my tent. The temp dropped about 20 degrees by the time I went to bed and the pad shrunk too...thought it already had a hole but no, was just the temp difference. A few more breaths and it stayed firm throughout the night. You may need to adjust accordingly.