Mattress test video

5:52 a.m. on October 7, 2018 (EDT)
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MkRKeU0cl8

216 comparison test of insulation and durability of Exped, Neoair, Klymit, and S2S mattresses. Worth a view, too bad Big Agnes isn't in the mix. 

9:26 p.m. on October 7, 2018 (EDT)
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Interesting video, thanks for sharing. Not sure, however, what conclusions to draw from it. The comfort test was good, but potentially subjective. The drying test was largely irrelevant for me. The "kneel on it" test seems to me doesn't prove anything, you bottom out with any inflatable when you concentrate the weight like that. The "hill sliding" test was funny to watch, but not a practical test. The fire-burning test, another one that is irrelevant for me.

I would have liked to see other tests:

  • A "I feel cold at X degrees" test, but would be hard to control other variables. With controlled variables, such a test would not prove that the pad is good to a specific temp (because that is subjective for both the tester and the viewer) but would give a good comparison (pad X keeps you warm to a lower temp than pad Y does).
  • A "slow leak" test -- inflate to full and see what happens by morning.
  • A delamination test -- inflate to full, place 175 or so lbs on it and leave overnight, repeat 100 times.
  • A true durability test -- inflate and put weight on it, place it on top of a mix of gravel and duff, simulate shifting and grinding from a toss-and-turn sleeper for 7-8 hours, repeat until it leaks.
  • Repeat all of these tests on a dozen of each model, not just one.

An impractical battery of tests to administer, I know, but truly results would be truly relevant.

5:26 a.m. on October 8, 2018 (EDT)
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I generally agree. In my experience pinhole leaks are the biggest problem with these things, so you need a test that somehow gets at how they develop. But I take some comfort in seeing Thermarest do well, since that is where we decided to put our money. This spring Thermarest replaced our 6 year old first generation NeoAir with an untraceable pinhole leak, and our NeoAir All Seasons are holding up well.

7:38 a.m. on October 8, 2018 (EDT)
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BigRed said:

But I take some comfort in seeing Thermarest do well, since that is where we decided to put our money.

 +1, me too.

9:11 p.m. on October 8, 2018 (EDT)
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Since I am wrapping up a review of an air mattress I thought I would watch this for ideas but sadly won't implement any of these. Already did my own insulation comparison by laying on a meat thermometer for 5 min on several different pads...never considered using ice!

5:06 a.m. on October 9, 2018 (EDT)
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Testing a mattress by getting it to leak isn't something I can afford on my own, but maybe via review corps...

How about going at it with 100 grit sandpaper, count the number of strokes it takes to get it to leak? I wonder if any of the manufacturers do abrasion or other testing...?

8:15 a.m. on October 9, 2018 (EDT)
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I would opine that puncture resistance would be much more important than abrasion resistance. That said I don’t ever sleep with my pad directly on the ground (so it’s never exposed directly to anything rough), for me it’s way more likely to get a pin prick size hole. That said (knock on wood) I’ve never had a mat get a hole (exped downmat is probably seven years old now and newer sea to summit mat UL is two). The only problem I’ve ever had was with my thermarest mondo king and it had a manufacturing defect. 

9:59 a.m. on October 9, 2018 (EDT)
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I am not worrying about the puncture resistance unless it just happens during the RC test period but am dealing with a more common irritant - sliding around the tent floor.  For folks who don't have strips of silicon seal on their tent floor like I do to prevent that, I just spent half an hour last night sliding different pads down my (fake) hardwood hallway to see which one went furthest...

2:16 p.m. on October 9, 2018 (EDT)
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Could try to modify or design a penetrometer, used to measure the force required to punch hole in a material or surface. 

I have had pinholes in two different inflatable mattresses and maybe one or two self inflaters in the past. Don't know if they result from abrasion or what. We also keep our mattresses in the tent to avoid pokes, but somehow it happened anyway.

February 16, 2019
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