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NeoAir XLite - Aluminized Baffles Wearing Off ?!?
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Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
NeoAir XLite - Aluminized Baffles Wearing Off ?!? on 04/29/2012 20:17:52 MDT Print View

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:

neoairxlite-1

neoairxlite-2

neoairxlite-3

neoairxlite-4

Edited by GlacierRambler on 04/29/2012 20:21:45 MDT.

Scott Simcox
(Simco) - F - M

Locale: Nashville
Re: NeoAir XLite - Aluminized Baffles Wearing Off ?!? on 04/29/2012 22:11:03 MDT Print View

Is there a right way to pack them? As in, rolled, folded...

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Re: NeoAir XLite - Aluminized Baffles Wearing Off ?!? on 04/29/2012 22:42:31 MDT Print View

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.

Ben F
(tekhna) - F
R-Value on 04/29/2012 22:52:07 MDT Print View

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.

Edited by tekhna on 04/29/2012 22:53:19 MDT.

Stephan Doyle
(StephanCal)
Re: NeoAir XLite - Aluminized Baffles Wearing Off ?!? on 04/30/2012 00:55:33 MDT Print View

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.

Thomas Conly
(conly) - F - M

Locale: Lots of canoeing and snow
Torn baffles on 04/30/2012 10:02:45 MDT Print View

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.

Colin Krusor
(ckrusor) - M

Locale: Northwest US
Aluminum coating on 04/30/2012 10:40:51 MDT Print View

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.

Rakesh Malik
(Tamerlin)

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Torn baffles on 04/30/2012 11:12:58 MDT Print View

"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.

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: Gore Range
Re: NeoAir XLite - Aluminized Baffles Wearing Off ?!? on 04/30/2012 12:53:01 MDT Print View

I really wanted to pull the trigger on the Womens Xlite.

It should be interesting to see how this all progresses. Keep us updated.

Chad "Stick" Poindexter
(Stick) - F

Locale: Wet & Humid Southeast....
Original NeoAir... on 04/30/2012 13:11:54 MDT Print View

I just wish that they would bring back the original NeoAirs...

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Re: NeoAir XLite - Aluminized Baffles Wearing Off ?!? on 04/30/2012 13:59:49 MDT Print View

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.

Edited by dkramalc on 04/30/2012 17:24:54 MDT.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Where to go next on 04/30/2012 14:15:07 MDT Print View

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.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Re: Re: NeoAir XLite - Aluminized Baffles Wearing Off ?!? on 04/30/2012 14:16:28 MDT Print View

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.

Edited by GlacierRambler on 04/30/2012 14:18:49 MDT.

Wim Depondt
(wim_depondt) - F - MLife

Locale: The low countries
same issues on the other side of the Atlantic on 04/30/2012 14:35:32 MDT Print View

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.

Wim

Ben F
(tekhna) - F
Re: Original NeoAir... on 04/30/2012 14:40:52 MDT Print View

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.

Matt Mioduszewski
(water-) - F

Locale: pacific nw
safety of a pad on 04/30/2012 14:45:42 MDT Print View

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.

Chad "Stick" Poindexter
(Stick) - F

Locale: Wet & Humid Southeast....
Re: Re: Original NeoAir... on 04/30/2012 15:34:37 MDT Print View

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...

Edited by Stick on 04/30/2012 15:36:47 MDT.

Ben F
(tekhna) - F
Re: Re: Re: Original NeoAir... on 04/30/2012 16:27:50 MDT Print View

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.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Re: Re: Original NeoAir... on 04/30/2012 17:53:14 MDT Print View

>> 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.

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: Gore Range
Re: NeoAir XLite - Aluminized Baffles Wearing Off ?!? on 04/30/2012 17:54:32 MDT Print View

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.