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NeoAir XLite - Aluminized Baffles Wearing Off ?!?
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Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Re: Space Blankets on 06/15/2012 23:24:39 MDT Print View

David, I quote you...again: "The pads are very expensive and suggest long term quality" and then when people contradicted this statement you proceeded to cherry pick minor inconsistencies or supposed inappropriateness of analogies instead of addressing their main points (like you are with my post). This leads the reader to assume you stand by the concept that expensive suggests quality.

I made several arguments against your claims, not just one. The bit about landrover was cost being equated to quality, not bleeding edge technology, that was a later paragraph about economics of business models (another major point you conveniently ignored). As for Top Gear, they're are British and biased, but they still rip on the landrover for not working. They just like it's styling (usually) and the comfort. Also was this the same ford (aka Fix Or Repair Daily, and I tend to like their cars!) that Jeremy complains about because his GT broke down almost instantly. As for anecdotal evidence which seems de rigueur in this thread, I've got a buddy who had a transmission, brake, DSC, HDC fault and lowered suspension all attributed to a faulty brake switch. Looks like they've cleaned up a lot.

Finally for the hybrids and EVs, I was specifically referring to Tesla motors where Elon Musk has repeatedly stated that he came out with a high priced roadster first to fund the R&D for EVs. Then once the technology matured enough he could offer fully electric vehicles at prices comparable to current luxury sedans (specifically he wanted the Tesla sedan to compete with the BMW M5). I in no way was talking about why people buy cars (economics is woefully poor at PREDICTING consumer behavior), I was talking about the model businesses use to fund new technology or product advances.

No matter though, I'm sure you'll just skim this post too and cherry pick a few statements to contest while failing to comprehend the core of my arguments. It's like parasites feeding on the dead skin of a whale and thinking they are actually killing the behemoth.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Space Blankets on 06/15/2012 23:55:49 MDT Print View

The pads are expensive and given CD long term market presence, it would suggest long term quality. Their cheap pads are long term durable. I would expect that with their more expensive pads. Much like an Acura RL is more expensive than a Honda Accord and at least as durable long term.

To be frank, I am not sure anyone understands what you are trying to say? That CD did not have to test thoroughly before going to market? That their aluminized baffles is marketing hype (you actually state this)? That Land Rover's are unreliable? That brand loyalty is a function of stupidity? That even if the pads do lose some R-value, 20% is reasonable? Or that we will all be driving hybrids one day (which is a function of gasoline prices)?

Here is where your anecdote about Land Rover hits the dumper: No one buys a Land Rover because it durable and its history shows this. They buy it for status. When one buys a NeoAir, they are looking for it to be durable and keep them warm based on the history of the company. Functional performance. Not status.

Yawn.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Space Blankets on 06/16/2012 01:24:54 MDT Print View

Thanks for confirming my suspicions! The first paragraph shows that you don't understand that performance and durability are inversely related in product design. Also an Acura RL is by no means pushing the envelope of automotive technology. Maybe an NSX (dated but sexy car still!) but that wouldn't support your argument.

Your entire second paragraph is putting words into my mouth and illustrating that you didn't even bother to read my posts. You're just blatantly making stuff up in a desperate attempt to ignore the own holes in your statements.

You're still harping on landrover and make the false assumption that people buy NeoAirs for durability. On this site usually weight and performance (ie warmth) are the major factors for sleeping pads, with cost on a sliding scale depending on financial standing. There is also a modicum of status involved in buying a neoair, it is the latest and greatest pad with new technology. So anyone who owns one right now falls into the innovators or early adopters segment of the technology adoption lifecycle (read "Crossing the Chasm" or "Diffusion of Innovations").

For those worried about losing performance due to aluminum delamination I hope my claim that the radiant barrier is hype, from this site's own gear reviews puts you a bit at ease:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/thermarest_neoair_review.html

Or Brad Groves post after talking with CD here where even the company claims only 25% of r-value is from the radiant barrier:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=31879&skip_to_post=271889

The major differences between the Xlite and the Original are shape and an increase in the number of internal baffles. More baffles means smaller air spaces, means less air circulation, means less convective heat loss, means better r-value.

David, don't speak for the entire readership of this site. Just because you can't follow my logic doesn't mean the rest are incapable. You have repeatedly said you don't understand things in this thread and many people have tried to help you, and then you just continue to claim they are wrong or unintelligible without adding anything constructive to the discourse. I'm seeing a pattern in you. Have fun with that.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Space Blankets on 06/16/2012 10:21:07 MDT Print View

I will ignore the personal taunts because it shows that those who do not agree with you get under your skin quickly, which makes you change the subject and your train of thought such that you can't back it up.

But let me summarize your thoughts:

-new technology is funded by early adopters. Even though this technology has been around for years we are still in an early adopter stage which will continue until CD gets it right. We have no time frame on this and must be patient because the market MUST bear this cost for companies that lack R&D cash flow (hey - read these books). Like Telsa who have funded most of their early cash flow from external investors and not purchasers of their cars (lets ignore that). And like CD who have more than enough cash flow generated from regular operations to make sure a durable product is available for sale (lets ignore that as well).

-People buy NeoAirs for status so as to have the latest and greatest and ignore durability because durability is "inversely related to performance in product design." Is this false advertising then? Should CD indicate on their packaging that the product is not durable? Oh yes, no worries because early adopters are happy to pay for crap. So a well design product that is high on performance (how is that defined here?) will be less durable? This is fascinating. Delusional, but fascinating.

-that Land Rover is a good example of early adopters buying an advanced SUV that has high technology and is not durable even though the Land Rover is not an advanced automobile and used old technology for years and still proved durability challenged. Got it. Excellent analogy....

-my example of the Acura RL being more expensive than a Honda Accord but yet more technologically advanced than the Accord with higher performance and higher quality (durability) is not a good example. A good example would be an NSX that stopped production in 2005. It used a motor with less horsepower than the RL, with worse fuel economy despite weighing about 800 lbs less, did not have the most advance AWD system available, and lacked the safety features. In 1991 when the NSX came out is was ahead of the pack. Not so much in 2005 and the reason why it does not exist today (wait for 2014). But the Accord v.s. RL example is not relevant. How about the Accord v.s. TL SH-AWD?

Well, this is my last post on the matter. What is funny to me is that you actually support many of my thoughts - that the NeoAir aluminized baffles are mostly hype, that CD should have done more testing ("I agree that CD should have been more thorough with their testing (especially the leak issues)", and that the technology has been around for a long time ("it's decades old space blanket technology").

"Although given the current global economic climate I'm not sure so many trust the "dismal" [economics] science anymore" The reason the global economy is in the dumpster is because of a focus on material purchases and asset over valuation. Greed. The economy is driven by consumers in the US, while the science of economics tries to keep it all in tact. Economics identifies human behaviour; it doesn't define it. When consumerism creates situations where manufacturing is pushed away from the US to cheaper climes to support the consumerism, the eventual result is a loss of jobs, a squeezing of the middle class, etc. Economic policy (the science) tries to remedy the situation. But if human behaviour doesn't change, economics can't help. In the midst of this current economic meltdown, people continue to buy, buy, and buy the latest and greatest. The early adopters being the most guilty party.

See how I did that?

Edited by FamilyGuy on 06/16/2012 10:24:29 MDT.

NW Hiker
(king2005ify)
PM? on 06/16/2012 11:18:37 MDT Print View

Ure/Short wonder if you two can take this nonsense to PM so we don't have to read this banter? :)

Getting back on track, has anyone using these TAR products actually noticed a difference, or are you just reacting to something you can see? Think about the inside of all the other pads (down mats, synthetic fills, etc.)...do you think everything looks perfect within these mats, or is it just that you can't SEE it that makes it better. Down definitely moves, synthetic fill definitely gets torn and baffles definitely do not stay intact, but bottom line is the pads still work fine and these are just minor things we don't notice.

I am a believer in using a good product from a reputable company, and having it made in the USA doesn't hurt.

I have noticed no degradation in my TAR mats (have the Neoair, Xlite and Xtherm), and while I do like other products at first, I have had serious issues with Exped and BA (blown baffles, leaks) and attribute the poor workmanship to China mfg IMO.

PS FWIW I have a Land Rover Discovery, original owner, use it for what it is made for (town and country, and off road all the time) and love it. I have NEVER had an issue with it (over 100,000 miles now), and thank god I did not listen to the Interweb when making a decision. Sometimes you need to go with what you know, and not be persuaded by a few squeaky wheels! :)

Lyan Jordan
(redmonk)

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
NeoAir XLite - Aluminized Baffles Wearing Off ?!? on 06/16/2012 11:51:52 MDT Print View

I suppose that business logic makes sense, but I question some assumptions.

Who buys a balloon for durability ?

Edited by redmonk on 06/16/2012 11:55:37 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: NeoAir XLite - Aluminized Baffles Wearing Off ?!? on 06/16/2012 11:56:07 MDT Print View

Thanks for editing that post - it was degrading.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
It happened again... on 06/19/2012 19:40:16 MDT Print View

Well, it happened again. Here were the conditions:

It rained constantly all day and all night last night. I inflated my XLite with an instaflator, but obviously conditions were quite humid. (Prior to last night, the pad had been inflated once by mouth but stayed upstairs, and I never observed any condensation before rolling it up yesterday morning.) I woke up this morning, and as I was deflating my pad, I could see a lot of condensation inside. I laid everything flat and took a good look at the aluminized coating before rolling it up, and it looked pristine.

Then, as I folded it in thirds, I actually saw the aluminization wearing off on the edges where the majority of the condensation was. I got home and took this picture.

xlite-aluminum coating

Before that, two weeks ago, I took my wife's XLite Women's out in similar conditions (to check out the higher R-value); though, it rained far less when we set up camp, and I didn't see much condensation. Seeing this pad, I decided to check it as well, and it has just a hair of delamination at the top.

Conclusions: (1) It's not as bad as last time (maybe the instaflator helped?). But I'm sure repeated use in wet conditions will continue the degradation. The wet season is about to end around here, but it will be back by the end of September, and it is something I can count on. Condensation will likely be present with any pad I use (all minimal and manageable), and the XLite appears to have issues with that.

(2) Damn if the pad isn't comfortable! I sleep really well on a NeoAir--and the horizontal baffles really cradle my body well. The collapse of the sidewall actually works better with my broad shoulders (too broad for the large, actually) than any other pad I've slept on.

(3) It's not clear how much the coating actually helps. I don't like watching the pad fall apart before my eyes, but that may not impact its performance much. Given the tests BPL did on the earlier generation NeoAir in the Sleeping Pad State of the Market, the R-value may come from the baffles alone, and I can reasonably expect the stated R-value without an aluminum coating.

What's not clear is what I should do about this going forward. To keep the pad that clearly has some issues or search for a different solution? Any thoughts?

todd harper
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: Sunshine State
Re: It happened again... on 06/19/2012 20:27:58 MDT Print View

Well, Clayton,

That sure is disappointing, if not surprising. Sure seems to dislike humidity.

If you don't think the aluminum helps then I say keep your comfy pad. I love my (original) Neo's comfort too. Great pad.

Let us know what you decide to do. At this point I don't see the manufacturer fixing the issue soon.

Todd

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: performance and durability on 06/19/2012 23:24:54 MDT Print View

> you don't understand that performance and durability are inversely related in product design.

Funny - I always equated performance and durability myself. I mean, look at the Mars Rover.... Design life 3-6 months, current life 8 years.

Or an early model Landrover Defender (Aluminium body etc) - an incredible vehicle. Btw, I suspect some may be confusing LandRover with RangeRover.

Cheers

Ole Saether
(osaether) - MLife

Locale: Norway
NeoAir XLite on 06/20/2012 05:32:13 MDT Print View

I got my XLite small a few days ago but I have not used it yet and I am now considering sending it back after reading this thread. I still have my original Neoair I can use.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
"NeoAir XLite - Aluminized Baffles Wearing Off ?!?" on 06/20/2012 06:54:53 MDT Print View

Yeah, most mylar films will do that with or without moisture, silver or gold. I suspect it is more of a problem with the manufacturing process/material chosen and beyond the control of Thermarest. I have and old (I mean 7-8 year old) space blanket I use as a ground sheet that shows the same de-silvering. I don't care, it still works. I was reading an article a couple weeks ago about durability of camp gear. Mostly the article stated durability was limited to about 60 days of use time. Generally about 3-4 years for most casual campers. But, I don't remember the name of the author.

60 days is a year or less for me, these days, so, I don't use a NeoAir generally. I reserve it for Hard Surface camping (lean-too, mountain granite, etc.)

Anyway, I have other issues with Neoairs (leaks, balloning) so I don't really care what happens inside to the inside film, as long as it stays attached. For all three season use, it's fine. A little loss of the IR value is minor in comparison to the rest of the pad. I think there was <5% loss of R value for IR IFF the entire pad looses its complete covering. Your bag, the outer layers, and any clothing will act as a shield long before the pad comes into play. Soo, offhand, I doubt there is any difference. Maybe with Rogers test system (With the heat on the outside) it might show a little. But this isn't really important to three season camping. I would suggest there is no cause to worry, call in for an RMA/Return when you have a little time and ship it back. This is clearly a material defect, albeit one they can do little about.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
For a few ounces more... on 06/20/2012 08:00:17 MDT Print View

For a few ounces more you can have a nice, reliable Thermarest Prolite mattress. And it mostly inflates itself. Imagine that in a camp at 9,000 ft.!

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: For a few ounces more... on 06/20/2012 11:55:23 MDT Print View

Eric, I've been thinking about that a lot--when my first pad showed this problem and now again.

Here's where I am at with my current pad situation:

NeoAir (size regular) - 11.80 oz
NeoAir stuff sack - 0.55 oz (for abrasion protection)
1/8" Foam Pad - 2.45 oz (to protect the NeoAir from punctures)
Instaflator - 1.02 oz (to reduce condensation in the NeoAir--also, easy inflation)

That totals up to 15.82 oz with a decent amount of fiddle factor (nothing to worry about, but not a simple system). Conceivably, if I give up the aluminum coating to condensation, I can leave the instaflator--dropping the system to three parts (with the 1/8" pad as multi-use as a sit pad or back panel pad). That leaves me at 14.8 oz for an R-value of 3.2 that will drop to an estimated 2.75 over time (estimated--though, the SOTM on pads might argue for better).

Or, the Women's Prolite registers in at 16 oz for an R-value of 2.8 with considerably better durability. It could be folded up and used as a sit pad or backpanel pad with far fewer worries of deflation. The R-value would be functionally the same, the weight slightly higher (1.2 oz more), the durability greater, and the fiddle factor decreased. It would also be less comfortable, but that could be addressed by conditioning (I used to sleep on an old 1.25" TAR before the NeoAir).

Edited by GlacierRambler on 06/20/2012 11:57:44 MDT.

Phillip Damiano
(Phillipsart)

Locale: Australia
NeoAir XlLite - Aluminized Baffle Wearing Off on 11/07/2012 00:38:58 MST Print View

Hi, whats the latest on this issue?
I purchased a Allseason yesterday, considering exchanging for the XLite, but after reading this, im concerned

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: NeoAir XlLite - Aluminized Baffle Wearing Off on 12/15/2012 12:09:22 MST Print View

No change to my knowledge. Now that hiking is over for me for the next few months, I finally RA'ed the pad to Cascade Designs.

Before I sent it, I did check the pad one more time, and the delamination of the film appeared to be in more or less the same place it was in the picture. I got little to no condensation in the pad after that June trip--the rains stopped and we stayed dry though September. So condensation appears to be the primary cause.

It's enough for me to justify the 1 oz for the instaflator and to stop worrying. I am sticking with the NeoAir line.

Edited by GlacierRambler on 12/15/2012 12:11:23 MST.