This year Therm-a-Rest celebrates its 50th anniversary.

In 1971, Jim Lea, one of the company’s founders, invented the first self-inflating sleeping pad. In 1972, with his two partners, John Burroughs and Neil Anderson, all three Boeing engineers from Seattle, WA, they set their sites on creating a more comfortable night at camp, which marked the beginning of a five-decade-long run of industry firsts.

  • 1986: Therm-a-Rest introduces RidgeRest mattress. 
  • 1989: Therm-a-Rest introduces Z-Rest [now Z Lite and Z Lite Sol] closed-cell foam pad for hikers.
  • 1996: Therm-a-Rest builds an in-house Cold Chamber to accurately test and measure the R-value of its sleeping pads and the warmth ratings of its bags. The in-house testing facility is the only one owned and operated by an outdoor gear manufacturer.  
  • 2009: Therm-a-Rest introduces NeoAir technology. The patented Triangular Core Matrix technology delivers the best warmth-to-weight ratio in outdoor sleeping pads. 
  • 2011: Therm-a-Rest introduces Sleeping bags with ThermaCapture technology, Toe-asis foot warmer pockets, Zoned Insulation, and SynergyLink Connectors. 
  • 2020: Therm-a-Rest develops WingLockand TwinLock valves to make the inflation and deflation of sleeping pads fast and easy.

All Therm-a-Rest pads are manufactured in Seattle, WA; Reno, NV; or Midleton, Ireland, which gives the company greater control over quality innovation and sustainability.

“When I think about Therm-a-Rest 50 years from now, I imagine a brand that is continuing to lead the industry in terms of innovation and technology, but I also imagine a brand that is more committed than ever to its people and planet,” said Erik Flink, VP, marketing, Cascade Designs, the parent company of Therm-a-Rest. 

“As a company, we need to commit directly and indirectly to creating opportunities for more people to experience the outdoors, including boosting diversity in the outdoors. We also have a strong commitment to being stewards of the environment in the gear we make and the conservation organizations we partner with; this is about creating something bigger than us. It’s about affecting change and leaving the world a better place than we found it,” continued Flink.

Therm-a-Rest is the recipient of many Best Of Awards throughout its 50-year history. For more product information, go here.