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Big Pad Gets Little
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Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Big Pad Gets Little on 08/19/2009 15:35:00 MDT Print View

Well, no thanks to Steve (everyone say it, now--Thanks, Steve!) my brand new NeoAir just went under the knife. What sleeping pad have legions of people asked for, and yet no manufacturer makes? You guessed it... a wide but short pad.

That said, my approach with the mini-project was that I wouldn't choose a wide pad if I were really, really counting grams. I chose a wider pad because I want more comfort. So in terms of length I made a compromise, ending up with a finished length of 59 inches.

Yup, that's right. A large NeoAir (stock 25 x 77 inches, 18.8 ounces) cut down to 25 x 59 inches, resulting in a finished weight of 14.25 ounces. And that's not all! Gotta say, blowing up that huge ol' mattress wasn't fun. Goes easier now that there isn't so much volume.

Incidentally, I noticed that the pad partially inflated itself while I had it spread on the counter prior to resealing. It only took a few (ten??) more breaths to fully inflate it later. The directions do specify to leave the valve open if you leave the pad in your tent for the day; not sure if the inflation I experienced was because of the sunlight and warmth in the kitchen, or just because the material inside the pad expanded a bit.

Anyhoozit, thought you should all know it's been done and possible. It was an extraordinarily matter-of-fact experience. After making your initial cut, I would cut across the pad one layer at a time, because otherwise you'll get a bit of a curve cut into your lower layer. No worries. The material seemed to get the best seal with my iron set on high. The only moment of true excitement was when one of my Shepherd mixes decided to walk on the pad just after I pulled it off the ironing board and inflated it.

I did try the pad maybe twenty minutes after sealing, seems fine. Headed out for two weeks starting this weekend, so I hope the bond holds!

pack nwcurt
(curtpeterson) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
re: Cut NeoAir on 08/20/2009 07:40:06 MDT Print View

That is my dream pad! 25x60 is exactly what I want. Can't wait to hear how it holds up over your trip. Thanks for sharing!

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Big Pad Gets Little on 08/20/2009 08:54:00 MDT Print View

Nice! Got any pics?

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Big Pad Gets Little on 08/20/2009 09:14:34 MDT Print View

Hey, no pics yet. I'm a little nervous about the project right now. I traced the "sealed" line with a fine-point Sharpie before I went to bed last night. (Slept on the NeoAir to test.) I'm somewhat concerned about bond strength. When I woke up this morning, some parts of the line had crept more toward the edge, while parts of the material didn't move. My guess is that I need a little more heat for a full-strength bond? Dunno. Two more nights of sleep to "prove" the pad before my trip...

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Re: Re: Big Pad Gets Little on 08/20/2009 09:37:34 MDT Print View

Hey Brad,
When I was testing the heat sealing on the scrap portion of my neoair, I found that parts of the bond were capable of being peeled apart while other areas would actually tear before the two fabrics would separate. I assumed this was from a variance in heat/pressure/time along the bond. It may not look like it in the video, but I am pressing really hard and the iron is super hot. I ended up giving it another pass later on just to be sure. If the bond is creeping, you may want to go over it again - really slow with the iron really hot - maybe test on your scrap first. In my experiments, I found the fabric to be capable of taking quite a lot of heat so going over it again "probably" won't hurt it. When I sealed the fabric with my impulse sealer (set to half heat and about 3 seconds), the bond was dead strong, probably the same technique used by thermarest. I have only one night on mine, but I left it inflated for days and the bond seams fine. Keep us updated on how it is working out with yours.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Big Pad Gets Little on 08/20/2009 10:38:01 MDT Print View

Thanks for your feedback, Steve-
I experienced the same peel thing with my test "scrap." It didn't seem to happen as much with greater heat. I sealed the pad with my iron on its highest setting and ran over it with as much pressure as I could muster. I wasn't happy with a couple of sections and ran back over them; I'm a little concerned about resealing too much, because it might "unglue" the glue a bit? The impulse sealer sounds like the way to go! I'm guessing you don't pick one of those up at the local hardware though... or cheap? I'm reminded of the food vacuum sealer I have... too narrow for this, but something like it?

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Re: Big Pad Gets Little on 08/20/2009 14:13:43 MDT Print View

I'm a little concerned about resealing too much, because it might "unglue" the glue a bit?

I hear ya and I think you may be right, that may happen with too much. This is the downfall of being the first person to do it. Who knows if it will work! Give it a couple more days of testing and see how it works out. Another theory is that perhaps the very edge (where you have seen the creep) did not get "as much" heat as the rest of the bond as this would be the edge of the iron? I'm totally guessing here...

As for the impulse sealer, it is probably very similar to your food vacuum sealer, only a bit more robust (you can google them). I didn't bother using it for the final sealing as the iron seemed a bit easier to work with.

Let us know how it is holding up. I have a 5 day tripped planned for next week (leaving Tuesday) and am bringing my cut neoair on it. Only backup is a 1/8" CCF pad. I was pretty confident in it based on my minimal testing but maybe I should take a closer look...making me nervous! ;)

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Re: Big Pad Gets Little on 08/21/2009 08:24:42 MDT Print View

Night two on the NeoAir... I marked the "creep" line before bed; no creep as of this morning! We'll see how it holds...

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Update: Big Pad Gets Little on 09/07/2009 14:30:06 MDT Print View

Just wanted to let you all know that the pad is still perfectly functional, no further creep after two weeks of continuous use. I'm not in love with the low-ish R-value of the pad, but otherwise great.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Update: Big Pad Gets Little on 09/07/2009 14:49:21 MDT Print View

"I'm not in love with the low-ish R-value of the pad"

Why not cut again and sling a couple of oz of down in the upper tubes? You'll only lose an inch or so.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Update: Big Pad Gets Little on 09/08/2009 08:43:55 MDT Print View

Hey, Rog-
Good idea, but no dice. There's not enough room between the ends of the baffles and the sides of the pad... you couldn't really get the down in there. Well, you could stick a shockcord-less tent pole up there and force down through with a coat hanger or something, but then have no way to distribute it into the respective chambers.

S P
(HighAltitude) - F
neo air on 09/10/2009 14:10:00 MDT Print View

Nice, this would be my ideal pad.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
impulse sealer ? on 09/12/2009 13:50:34 MDT Print View

^ I agree- my idea of the perfect pad as well

? on the impulse sealer- I've found a cheap (relatively) 16" impulse sealer- in your opinion would that do? I'm assuming you can do 1/2 of the width at a time?

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=43477&xcamp=google&utm_source=googlebase&utm_medium=cpc&zmam=33951326&zmas=12&zmac=112&zmap=43477

thanks in advance

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: impulse sealer ? on 09/15/2009 10:56:49 MDT Print View

Mike, short version, I don't know... Steve?

I certainly didn't seal the whole width at once with my iron...

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: impulse sealer ? on 09/15/2009 13:27:09 MDT Print View

Hey guys,
Sorry for the delay, just got back from 5 nights on my cut thermarest neoair and not a peep of air leaked out. I think I have a total of about 8 nights on it now so I'm completely confident of it's ability to hold air as well as a new one. Looks like Brads is good as well.

On the impulse sealer -> I honestly think it will be easier to use an iron. The reason for my thinking is that on my pad, the top and bottom fabric were just slightly different widths so there was some "working down" of the fabric that I needed to do to get a nice seal. Wether or not this is on all the pads I do not know - Brad? How was yours?

In the end, the iron and the impulse sealer provide a proper seal. Whichever one you have on hand is the one you should use. Everyone has an iron don't they? :)

Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: Big Pad Gets Little on 09/15/2009 21:12:48 MDT Print View

My question now is if i get a large can i make 2 pads of equal length? Does the replacement valve work on a pad that doesn't already have the hole? Can i just cut a new hole and seal it in?

-Tim

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
impulse sealer on 09/15/2009 21:28:04 MDT Print View

have iron, no have impulse sealer :) thanks

good question on the valve- they are readily available- not sure on the install

http://cascadedesigns.com/Therm-A-Rest/Accessories/Valve-Repair-Kit/product

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Replacement Valve on 09/16/2009 10:45:48 MDT Print View

I went to MEC a a few weeks ago to grab one of the replacement valves to see if I could make a new pad out of the remaining piece. But there was a glitch...I didn't realize that it only comes with the "valve" itself and not the mounting piece needed to place the valve into. Not a big deal as I could probably make one myself, but wasn't up to the task...so, from what I saw, you can't just take the valve and glue it into the fabric. You'd need to make a piece and bond it to the fabric, then you can mount the valve to the piece.

Hope that makes sense.
Steve