Inflatable sleeping pads

8:30 p.m. on July 20, 2011 (EDT)
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I own a Neo Air which is light and comfortable but no matter what I do the thing needs to be blown up at least once per night.  I'm a side sleeper and find my self touching the ground.  The pad isn't leaking but as the temperature drops in the night the air cools and lets the pad get soft.

 

The Exped UL 7 is just about as light, packs smaller and has a nifty stuff sack.  The pad itself is way thicker and it seems like it would not need to be blown up again at night.

 

Does anybody here use the Exped pad and have any input to offer?  I'm debating going back to a Ridgerest foam pad that is wider than normal.

8:40 p.m. on July 20, 2011 (EDT)
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Check out Ian Harwood's Neoair Review here on Trailspace---I'll include it here:

"A friend and I have used the Neoair for about 12 months. We noticed that the mattress was losing air overnight and assumed that it was due to the change in air pressure that people talk about. Just the other day I inflated the mattress and placed it in some water, small bubbles were leaking from the weld seams on top of the mattress.

I'm not sure if the latest mats have this problem but the reduction in pressure overnight is due to air seeping through the weld seams at the top of the mattress and I would assume the seams underneath, not a drop in air pressure. I have sent an e-mail to the company for an answer.

The mattress is extremely comfortable and light so I hope that Cascade Designs have/will sorted out the issue. If I can get my mattress replaced with one that does not leak air then I will give it five stars.   

Update:

Since my review a few days ago several things have happen which have changed my mind on the Neoair. Cascade design contacted me to advise that I should check for holes in the mattress, so I did. I have found lots of very, very small holes, all on the welded seams.

There is a major design fault with these mattresses or maybe just the earlier released mattresses, they leak.  

If your mattress is losing air overnight then check that there are not very small leaks along the welder seams, you have to look very carefully to find them. No doubt that the mattresses can lose some firmness due to the change in pressure and the cooling affect but not 50% of the air like mine.  

My friend brought his at the same time as me and has had the same problem with the mattress losing up to 50% of the air overnight. He will be checking his mattress for leaks, if he has the same issue then there is a design issue." QUOTE FROM IAN HARWOOD

12:08 a.m. on July 22, 2011 (EDT)
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One of the reasons why I have been so supportive of closed cell foam.

12:29 p.m. on July 22, 2011 (EDT)
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I prefer closed cell foam too. I used a ensolite pad for 22 years, then was given a therm-o-rest pad in the late 90s. I managed to puncture it too many times and finally went back to a ensolite pad. Mine is the simple blue ones that cost about $5-$10 and can be found just about anywhere that sell camping supplies. It weighs about maybe 1 pound.

If the manufacture of air mattress'es could be made of a material that was puncture proof I think they could be better. Maybe a kevlar or something like bullet proof vests?

12:41 p.m. on July 22, 2011 (EDT)
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FIY:

 

I've been using the Neo-Air since OCT 2010 and not had this problem yet.

6:30 p.m. on July 22, 2011 (EDT)
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I've been using ThermoRest pads since they first came out.  In all those years I think I've got one leak that was easily repaired.

Last year, I tried out one of the new style inflatables (it was a Big Agnes).  Used it one night and promptly returned it to REI.  I found to most uncomfortable.

11:03 p.m. on July 22, 2011 (EDT)
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I would prefer the NeoAir to have a seperate (at least sides) inflatable chamber around itself so as to enhance a rolling inwards action rather than the rolling out action I suffer when getting nearer (a few inches) the edges.  It sucks that such an expensive mattress is not as comfortable as the cheaper heavier ones.  Mine does not leak.

2:09 a.m. on July 23, 2011 (EDT)
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I like JimDoss have been using the same  themorest for at least the past 25 yrs.  I'm a big fan of open cell pad and they are easy to fix in the field if the hole is not in a seam/welded seam.  First blow up your matt like a balloon and I mean tight.  Now listen for and feel for the leak.  So, ya say ya still can't find the hole.  Do not despair.  Mix up some soap with luke warm water, dish washing detergent works best but use what soap you have.  Mix the thickly laydend soapy water slowly so that you do not create bubbles.  Spread the soapy water over one side of the pad and then the other till you find the hole.  Just like testing a gas line for a leak the water acts as carrier for the soap which will bubble when exposed to a leak.  Mark the area of the hole  with a marker of some kind  (while your at it clean that nasty pad).   The best patch I have found to date is a regular old bicycle inner tube patch as shown below (sorry about the bad picture quality).  Both patches are over 20 years old and holding just fine.  When carring you pad on the outside of you pack carry it vertical so it is in line with the pack rather than horizontal where it will get caught on everythng you pass.  Never and I mean never use your pad outside your tent, this is where I see 90% of the holes occuring.  When carrying your pad vertical on the outside of your pack put a plastic bag around it so that if anything catches it, it will be more likely catch on the bag rather than the pad.  These are things that have worked for me.

 

This is the first pad I ever bought and the one I still use the most.
DSC04236.jpg

Here is a tag that many of you "old timers" may remember. The white section still contains the serial # that the issued before the tru days of mass production.

DSC04235.jpg 

This is the first patch I had to do on a bickycle trip I did in Europe in the 80's  I use What I belive was material that came with the thermarest at the time along with some shoe goo.  A very nasty patch job that is still holding to this day.


DSC04234.jpg

This is what I had to come up with next on the same trip as I was out in the woods in Germany and had no material or shoe goo left.  All I had was a inner tube patch kit with me.  It's a nice looking patch that has held to this day.
DSC04233.jpg

9:24 a.m. on July 23, 2011 (EDT)
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I am using the neoair and am perfactly happy about it. Yes, on some nights I need to add some air into it, but what I do is blow it when I set my camp, and then add more air to it before I go to sleep, and that solve the problem - also used it on snow and up to about 4500m.

I got the exped downmat 7 and it's great, but don't you think that with the UL7 you may have the same problem as with the neoair of the air cool down? there is only a bit of synthetic insulation there and you will still need to fill it with air isn't?

11:10 a.m. on July 23, 2011 (EDT)
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nirotem said:

I am using the neoair and am perfactly happy about it. Yes, on some nights I need to add some air into it, but what I do is blow it when I set my camp, and then add more air to it before I go to sleep, and that solve the problem - also used it on snow and up to about 4500m.

I got the exped downmat 7 and it's great, but don't you think that with the UL7 you may have the same problem as with the neoair of the air cool down? there is only a bit of synthetic insulation there and you will still need to fill it with air isn't?

 Yes, with my Exped Downmat I have to top it off at least once a night before hitting the sac on a winter trip.  But when a submerged Neoair shows tiny bubbles escaping from a welded seam, well, we're talking about a defective product.

Apeman---Your old Thermarest label got me to thinking about all the old Thermys I've had thru the years---the ones with the metal valve.  So I went looking and found this fotog on the interweb (from Cheryl and Rich on Flickr):


3211480554_f1b366910f_b.jpg

Their website:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/cherylandrich/with/3211480554/

11:48 a.m. on July 23, 2011 (EDT)
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I've slept on a Neo Air about 40-50 night now and have about the same experience with it as Nirotem.  Had to sleep on it a few night before I got a feel for how much air to have in it before laying down for the night.

I'm a side sleeper and love it.  On some nights at home if I'm restless and can't fall asleep, I'll air up up and lay down on it in the living room in front of the tv until I'm drowsy.

2:35 p.m. on July 23, 2011 (EDT)
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@ Tipi Walter:  Your post got me to thinkin,  I knew I saw on of these the other day but I was tring to remember where.  In the last two weeks I thought of everyone I had met and if they might have had one of these older matts.  It was on of those things that was dirving me a little nuts only cause I couldn't get it out of my head for a bit.  Then I thought, duhhh, go look under the bed and low and behold, I found it.  I've got one, it was mine I saw as I was trying to decide  which pad to take on my motorcylce rally trip and then on my trip to OR.  It's a mint full length pad with  the metal stem and seiral # like the one above, though mine has a single welded seam rather than the double seam like the one you found.  Sometimes I wonder if I just have to much stuff..............naw if that were case I'd have to stop collecting tents.

8:46 p.m. on August 28, 2011 (EDT)
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Hum, The only inflatable I've owned has been a couple of Big Agnes' Insulated core.  LOVE IT...BUT I've recently switched to Hammocks so won't be carrying the B.A.I.C. much anymore.

9:53 p.m. on August 28, 2011 (EDT)
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I have been using a Big Agnes, and have used it well over 60-70 times this year. I am very impressed.

My old setup was nothing, or a 2'x 2" closed cell (for my torso), and now that I am 41..............I don't think I am going back!

I am going to love this inflatable mattress until it leaks, but until it does, this product has me impressed.

 

I 'aint gonna lie, the reason I use such packable stuff is that having a closed cell or Thermarest outside the ruck makes it look like your a wimp. In the Army, you wouldn't be caught dead with a sleeping pad, that was a sure sign of weakness, it took almost a decade after getting out to convince myself it was okay to have a pad to sleep on.

If I didn't care how I looked, I would be running a closed cell pad, I am just using an air mattress so I can hide it until nightfall, I hike alone, so no one is the wiser.

2:41 a.m. on August 30, 2011 (EDT)
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just purchased the Exped SynMat UL7 (small) but won't get to test it out til the end of next month. Also purchased the mini-pump and Exped Air Pillow (will be sleeping in luxury).

All I've done is inflate and deflate the products (it's fun!). Will keep you updated after the first use.

8:35 a.m. on August 30, 2011 (EDT)
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ooohfishy said:

just purchased the Exped SynMat UL7 (small) but won't get to test it out til the end of next month. Also purchased the mini-pump and Exped Air Pillow (will be sleeping in luxury).

All I've done is inflate and deflate the products (it's fun!). Will keep you updated after the first use.

 I know I'm crazy and maybe everyone else here is crazy too cuz I'm arranging my kit for the next trip and fondly handling my winter down jacket and my Icebreaker merino tops and my merino balaclava and my full leather boots and juggling which high R value Thermarest I should bring BUT IT'S STILL AUGUST!!!  In other words, my Exped downmat won't see the light of day at least for the next two months.

9:35 a.m. on August 30, 2011 (EDT)
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I too am one who has used thermarest pads since they first came out and have no complaints about them.My current pad is many years old and I have never had a leak with it.I do not debate the issue with the newer model neo air style.Like with any new design I never purchase one till they have been out for a while and the bumps and kinks have been worked out.I would hope thermarest would replace any pad with such a issue.ymmv

9:48 a.m. on August 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Forgot to add that other than my very first one I have never had a leak in one but I too only use mine in the tent or ontop of a foam pad when out side.ymmv

July 29, 2014
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