Apr 29, 2012 at 7:17 pm #1289331
I recently purchased a NeoAir XLite and took it on an overnight trip two weeks ago. When I unrolled it this evening to get some measurements for the pad's widths, I notice that something had rubbed off on the inside material. As I held it up to the light, it looks as if the aluminized coating on the internal baffles has rubbed off significantly, primarily at the edges, but some in the middle as well. The wear appears to run down the length of the mattress.
I have emailed Cascade Designs customer service, seeing as how it is a Sunday night, and they won't be available for a phone call. I'll let y'all know what kind of follow-up I get.
Have any other XLite owners experienced anything like this? When the mattress was inflated, I couldn't see the problem, but when I deflated it and held it up to the light, this is what I saw:Apr 29, 2012 at 9:11 pm #1872591
Is there a right way to pack them? As in, rolled, folded…Apr 29, 2012 at 9:42 pm #1872595
I packed mine exactly as it came–folded into thirds and rolled up. That's how it's designed to fit into the included stuff sack.Apr 29, 2012 at 9:52 pm #1872599
So what's flaking off is the reflective layer, I'd guess? Which means it's not really going to insulate well, if at all, if more flakes off. That sucks.Apr 29, 2012 at 11:55 pm #1872623
I wonder if this is happening to many original NeoAirs, but we can't see through them.
Seems like Cascade Designs has had MANY bumps with these XLites.Apr 30, 2012 at 9:02 am #1872687
@conlyLocale: Lots of canoeing and snow
We got these in at work when they first came out and the display model isn't wearing off like that but the reflective baffle is tearing all along the edges. The longest tear is about an inch but there are more and more each day. The mylar on the inside is just too fragile. I would guess that by next year they will be using something less noisy and fragile inside but with a lower r value. Customers hate the crinkleness of the pad and are concerned about how transparent and fragile it is. On that note, the women's model is significantly more transparent than the standard. It looks extremely delicate.Apr 30, 2012 at 9:40 am #1872705
@ckrusorLocale: Northwest US
Historically, both of these issues (tearing of the film and loss of the aluminum coating) have been major problems for manufacturers who have attempted to use radiant barriers. I can't find it now, but there are several older accounts online of customers observing that the radiant barrier film inside their sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner, or jacket gets transparent patches over time.
It would be interesting to do an R-value test of new and old neoair pads. Maybe Roger or someone else who has access to the instruments can be convinced to tackle it.Apr 30, 2012 at 10:12 am #1872713
"Customers hate the crinkleness of the pad and are concerned about how transparent and fragile it is."
You're probably right, because the XTherm seems to be a lot more robust than I had expected, based on feedback from earlier models. I've only used it in the field for one night so far, but I was surprised that it was quite a bit less crinkly-sounding than I expected, once I pumped it up to where it was reasonably firm.
It seems as though Cascade Designs has been listening to the feedback.Apr 30, 2012 at 11:53 am #1872756
@timdcyLocale: Gore Range
I really wanted to pull the trigger on the Womens Xlite.
It should be interesting to see how this all progresses. Keep us updated.Apr 30, 2012 at 12:11 pm #1872762
I just wish that they would bring back the original NeoAirs…Apr 30, 2012 at 12:59 pm #1872780
I slept on my women's xlite this past weekend for the first time. The crinkliness did not bother me at all (maybe because I use an air pillow?), and it felt very comfortable. I do think the slick surface would not feel good if I were to sleep on it under a quilt, without shirt and pants. That, combined with this problem with the reflective film, has me wondering if I should look at the all season (which of course would still have the aluminum wear problem) or prolite.Apr 30, 2012 at 1:15 pm #1872786
I will definitely keep you all updated. If I don't hear from Cascade Designs by tomorrow, I will probably give them a call.
I am really curious to see if any other XLite owners have observed the same phenomenon. Even though this is from an early batch (I got the pad in February), it feels similarly robust to the older versions NeoAir, and when I took it out a couple of weeks ago, it gave me no worries–well, until now.
If this is a more or less isolated incident, I might be willing to give the XLite another shot. Otherwise, I may need to go the Prolite route.Apr 30, 2012 at 1:16 pm #1872787
My worry with the All Season or Trekker is that I won't be able to see whether or not the coating lasts.
Am I right that the original NeoAir baffles weren't aluminized? I think I remember seeing that on a video about cutting them shorter.Apr 30, 2012 at 1:35 pm #1872793
@wim_depondtLocale: The low countries
I have an XLite large. I just held it in front of a lamp and learned that I also have this problem with the aluminum shield being patchy, especially towards the edges. I have used it only on one night until now. Cannot verify whether this is the result of use or simply an element of its design (although the second explanation does not seem very convincing to me).
Still remains a great sleep, especially for a side sleeper like me. I have no problem with the noise as I sleep with earplugs. The potential reduction of the R-value is – if the wearing off remains within limits – not a major issue for me as I use the XLite on top of a lightweight foam matt (redundancy when I have/against punctures + structure for my backpack).
I would be interested if this also occurs with the Xtherm. I don't have one but would like to know whether it is transparent enough to make the same assessment with the XTherm. I would not be surprised that the design on the inside of the Xtherm is virtually the same as with the XLite. The outside clearly differs with more durable materials.
Clayton, keep us posted with feedback you (might) receive from Cascade Designs. Always interesting to verify how customer oriented these producers of lightweight equipment are.
WimApr 30, 2012 at 1:40 pm #1872794
I'm worried this is happening in my original NeoAir, and I just can't see it due to thicker material. The same basic principle and set of materials are at work in both pads. I make my decisions about conditions and my safety in them based on how much insulation value my gear provides, and if a critical piece like my pad is degrading without my knowledge, that's a potentially serious problem. It's possible there's no problem at all with the original NeoAir, but I'm concerned.Apr 30, 2012 at 1:45 pm #1872796
@water-2Locale: pacific nw
just picked up an xlite and will keep an eye on this issue going forward
to the poster who said they depend on the pad for their safety, etc, sounds like you may really want to carry a foam pad as well-if you are placing that much reliance on your inflatable sleeping pad's r-value to the .2-.6 amount you may want some redundancy.Apr 30, 2012 at 2:34 pm #1872811
Ben, just curious what is making you think that this is happening in your original NeoAir?
I don't really care if the pads are see through or not, although I am not so sure that many "insulated" air pads have been see-through up to this point (although I could be wrong on this).
What upsets me about the "X" pads though is that they are literally cutting corners to save weight, although I know that not everyone will share this preference. Me though, I like having a full rectangular cut, and at 13.8 oz for my regular size original NeoAir, it is well worth it! For the added comfort, I am fine carrying an extra 2 oz. Sleep is something that I "need" to enjoy while out, so I require a comfortable pad, and pillow. That's just me.
I agree with you though, in the cold, a pad is a critical piece of gear. However, I use a ccf pad as my pack frame, so I have back-up just as well.
Oh yeah…I also contacted TAR recently (asking why would they want to quit making the original Neo's) and it seems like it took them a few days to get back to me…Apr 30, 2012 at 3:27 pm #1872821
Chad, I don't think it is, I just don't know though–it's the same tech in the pads, from what I understand, so why wouldn't it be happening in the older pads? Unless the mylar or the process is different.Apr 30, 2012 at 4:53 pm #1872848
>> What upsets me about the "X" pads though is that they are literally cutting corners to save weight, although I know that not everyone will share this preference. Me though, I like having a full rectangular cut…
I agree. I feel the same way. It is especially nice to have a big rectangle when sleeping next to someone and sharing the same bag. I wish they offered the new versions in new trimmed version and traditional rectangular. As it is they offer a bunch of different versions, so I'm not sure if they will.Apr 30, 2012 at 4:54 pm #1872849
@timdcyLocale: Gore Range
I spoke with a manager at one of my local gear shops today and he told me, that Cascade had told him, that they had halted the manufacturing of the Xlite’s for a short time to make a fix on the design of the pad. What the "fix" was he did not know, but the rep told him that all of the pads that have been coming out since the beginning of April should be okay. This rep apparently will be back in the store next week so I'm going to stop back in to see what kind of info the manager can get.
We also started discussing the difference in R-Value between the men’s and women’s style and what kind of adjustment they made to give the women’s pad a warmer value. I’ll twiddle my thumbs until then.Apr 30, 2012 at 5:04 pm #1872853
Thanks. I would be very interested in what you find out. I'm seriously not sure whether or not to give another Xlite a try.Apr 30, 2012 at 5:06 pm #1872855
Ross, when they emailed me back, it didn't sound too likely that this was an option. It sounds like they are leaving the All Season and the Trekker in rectangular shape, and the "X" pads are mummy cut… In my opinion, they should have cut the Trekker and kept the original… Anyway, here is a write up I did on it, including the response email I got:
As of right now, he informed me that if the original NeoAirs were to fail, then they will replace it with an XLite… :(
(Glad to hear that I am not the only one that will miss the rectangular cut pads…)Apr 30, 2012 at 8:05 pm #1872926
I believe that condensation may be the culprit to the reflective stuff pealing/degrading. I took X-Lite up twice this winter and found that the vapor from my breath caused moisture to condense inside which seemed to affect the area near the valve. Also, my pad was tightly positioned against one of the sidewalls of the tent which caused condensation to form on that side. Sense then, about 3 inches of that reflective layer has not been reflective on that side along the entire length.Apr 30, 2012 at 9:22 pm #1872961
Matthew, I'll admit that condensation was my first thought concerning the loss of the aluminization. But, here are a few of things that make me think differently:
1. The pad clearly lost the coating in the middle, where I saw no condensation developing the few times I've blown it up (no more than 4-5 times since I purchased the pad).
2. The loss around the valve can just as easily be explained by the extra handling that area of the pad receives during the inflation/deflation and adjustment processes.
3. The delamination is pretty extreme along the edges as well, not consistent with what I saw to be the (very minor but visible) condensation when examining the pad after a night's sleep in the cold.
Of course, you could be right. That still doesn't make the issue any less pertinent. Clearly the pad is meant to include the possibility that people will blow it up by mouth. If it can't handle minor condensation from breath over 1 or 2 nights total (not just in a row), that is a serious issue.May 1, 2012 at 9:59 am #1873108
@coreyfmillerLocale: Eastern Canada
Sorry if I missed this if it was already stated but is this going to be covered via the warranty? I just bought one at the end of March from MEC.
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