Retraction: Second NeoAir XLite holds air!
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Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Retraction: Second NeoAir XLite holds air! on 02/15/2012 17:52:17 MST Print View

Third posting about these pads, and this time it's positive! The second NeoAir XLite held air just fine! I've changed my ratings here and on Backcountry.com. My sincere apologies to Therm-a-Rest for my post on the second pad - I was too quick to judge given the disappointment with the first pad.

As near as I can determine, here's what happened:

Whenever I get a new pad (inflatable or self-inflating), I blow it up to maximum inflation, and set it in a narrow alcove of my office/gear room to check if it holds air. The first pad went down very quickly, and my disappointment went up as the pad went down.

The second pad went into the alcove, and after 24 hours seemed pretty good. The second day it appeared to be slumped down somewhat, maybe a fourth of the way down the wall of the alcove. "Dang! It must have a slow leak!" thought I. And proceeded to post such again.

But now, nearly a week later, it hasn't "lost" any more air. Odd! What's up?

Somehow, the bottom of the pad got moved from one side of the alcove to the other, causing it to appear to be slumped down as if it had lost air. Given my history with the first pad, I was too quick to blame the change on the pad, and did not notice the change in position. I only noticed that distinction today.

The change in position I blame on my dogs! They seem to think the alcove is a great place to curl up for a nap. My failure to notice the difference in positioning I can only blame on myself.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! (For the classicists among us)

Bottom line: Very nice light weight pad, lots of comfort (thickness) for low weight. My BPL review now rates it a "5".

Edited by grampa on 02/15/2012 18:11:41 MST.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: Retraction: Second NeoAir XLite holds air! on 02/15/2012 18:12:34 MST Print View

I just used my new XLite last night for the first time and it held air for two hours at a time - max.

I inflated it and let it sit in my shelter for about an hour, when I got in to go to bed I had to do the normal second-inflation technique.

A couple hours later when I woke up it was around 90% flat. I spent the few minutes to inflate it.

About three hours later when I woke up again it was once again flat, around 80% flat. I once again inflated it.

I got back to sleep and when I woke up again it was yet again flat, 100% this time.

The temperature when I went to bed was around 48(f). When I woke up the first time it was 43(f). When I woke up the second time it was around 38(f). When I woke up the last time it was 30(f).

It was used inside of a shelter with a GG pad underneath it. The valve was closed tight each time.

In my many years of using a NeoAir (original) and the Klymit Inerta XL I have never had a sleeping pad go flat on me. And now, right out of the box this new NeoAir XLite has failed me.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Contact Cascade Designs on 02/15/2012 19:23:44 MST Print View

Contact Cascade Designs - they really want to track any leaky XLite pads. Here's the email:

consumer@cascadedesigns.com

Evan Parker
(ecp12) - F

Locale: Upstate NY
Classics! on 02/15/2012 22:16:08 MST Print View

"Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!"

As a Molecular Bio/Classical Studies double major, I adore this.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Retraction: Second NeoAir XLite holds air! on 02/15/2012 22:22:17 MST Print View

I"ve never owned a Neoair of any variety, but I've seen many threads and posts about leaky pads. I just wonder what is so hard about making an air-tight pad? No other company seems to have this issue.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Re: Retraction: Second NeoAir XLite holds air! on 02/15/2012 22:42:55 MST Print View

Travis, actually other companies do have this issue. I know there was a huge outcry about Pacific Outdoor Equipment's Peak Ethers having leaks (my Peak Oyl Mtn seems fine).

Air tight is air tight. Unlike most manufacturing where some fraction of 100% performance is acceptable, if the pad doesn't hold air in any shape or form then it's essentially 100% defective. As such the manufacturing process has to be exact most of the time, a company can't get by with 99% perfect air tightness since that still means there's a leak.

I'm not explaining this very clear but basically the design constraints make manufacturing a product like this really difficult. When the shape of the product changes, then new machinery/processes are used to seal the pad. To ensure the process is working correctly there are two options.

First the company can spend a lot of time and money to ensure the process produces a minimal defective rate, but this usually doesn't make financial sense, it also increases the price for the consumer. Instead the compromise is to test to see if the process works "good enough", hope for the best, and sell the items. Use the customers as beta testers, similar to how all software is produced. Then the company needs to provide a stellar warranty for the product to protect it's reputation. This allows the company to capitalize on the innovation and work out any manufacturing kinks while the competition plays catch up. Hopefully the manufacturing is improved by the time the competition catches up to restore consumer faith in the product and company.

It's a gamble but consumers often forgive product hiccups if the company's customer service is excellent. Thermarest/Cascade Designs is well known for their quality customer service so they can afford this approach. POE may have shot themselves in the foot when a batch of peaks had issues because their warranty program was abysmal.