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Long term durability of inflatable pads?
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Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
Long term durability of inflatable pads? on 12/23/2012 10:15:37 MST Print View

How is the long term durability are most of the inflatable pads? Someone had asked me this a few days ago. I have never really have had one that was comfortable enough to push the durability so I am asking what others have found. Thanks.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

+1 Thermarest NeoAir on 12/23/2012 10:42:18 MST Print View

Going on 10 months with my Thermarest NeoAir regular.

80% of the time (about 60 nights) I use it in a hammock. Velcro rips across the bottom of it sometimes from the closure, and occasionally I'll accidentally bend a corner getting in, which stresses the inflation. No problems whatsoever, no holes or visible wear.

20% of the time, I sleep directly on the floor. No wear from that either.

However, after a 30-day bike tour where I slept on it consecutively, it began to smell pretty bad. I washed it on the outside with household cleaner, and then kept it in the freezer for a week to kill any mold on the inside. Thermarest says it can't get mold on the inside- I only blow it up by mouth and I think they're correct. The smell is 100% gone.

I still use it- I slept on it last night! I'm looking forward to many more nights, aside from some slight discoloration on the side I sleep on (looks like a little ground-in dirt) it's like new. The valve is great.

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
re on 12/23/2012 10:49:32 MST Print View

With a patch kit and inflator (snozzle, microburtst) there is no reason why it should'nt last many years.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
Re: Long term durability of inflatable pads? on 12/23/2012 10:51:37 MST Print View

My orange Thermarests lasted about 26 seasons or regular use, were always stored rolled and inflated by mouth. I had patched them a couple of times with the provided kit. Ultimately, the rubberized bladder coating fails and they just won't hold air.

Our REI thermarest knock-offs are 4 seasons old and doing fine. They're stored in a loose roll and inflated by mouth.

My BA insulated air pad is a season old, is inflated with a pool-toy doohickey I learned about here and is doing great.

I reckon these things last a while, but I would note that none of mine are the super-thin/ultralight versions.

Arthur Van Damme
(Tuur009) - F
depends on how you treat your material on 12/23/2012 10:55:22 MST Print View

My Thermarest Prolite is 5 years old and is still going strong. I'm not a heavy user though (one or two 10-day hikes a year). Off course, a lot depends on how you treat your material.

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
365+ on 12/23/2012 11:24:23 MST Print View

What would people suggest for someone using one for a year straight or more?

michael levi
(M.L) - F

Locale: W-Never Eat Soggy (W)affles
re on 12/23/2012 11:34:07 MST Print View

Anything that is comfortable and fits your budget, do research, theres a few to choose from.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
REI on 12/23/2012 12:52:34 MST Print View

buy from REI/Backcountry .

its that simple ;)

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Long term durability of inflatable pads? on 12/23/2012 13:03:27 MST Print View

I know a guy that has two through hikes on his original Neo Air. That may not be "normal" but that is a pretty good testament to me.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Long term durability of inflatable pads? on 12/23/2012 13:20:11 MST Print View

I've got a blue Thermarest that my Dad used when I was in Scouts. Its been to the Boundary Waters twice, numerous Scout camp outs, I've used it for 30-40 nights just trail building, taken it on a bunch of overnighters, I've loaned it to friends, used it in tents, hotel floors, and right on the ground. It doesn't have any holes and inflates just as fast as my newer Prolite Plus. This pad is probably close to 10 years old and except for the logo being faded, you couldn't tell. Only thing is the interior of the stuff sack became really sticky a couple of years ago, no amount of soaking or soap will make it not sticky, so I turned it inside out and use it that way :)


Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Choosing a pad. on 12/23/2012 13:28:58 MST Print View

I am tempted to say if I could go back in time and pick a new sleeping pad, I would've just gotten a Thermarest Z-lite Sol and a small torso inflatable. The long inflatables invariably leave your feet hanging off if you're about 5'10"+. I find it more comfortable to use my pack under my legs.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Choosing a pad. on 12/23/2012 13:49:39 MST Print View

Max, I did the opposite. I started with Thermarest I mentioned above (a 3/4 length pad). Then moved to a Gossamer Gear torso pad and long Thinlight, then to a torso length Ridgerest. Then my wife bought me a regular length Prolite. I've never slept better and it packs smaller than everything else I've used (at a substantial weight penalty unfortunately). I'm just over 6' tall and my feet don't hang off the end of my pad. I'm a side sleeper and curl up quite a bit but a trick I learned from the torso pad days is to sleep with your head off the top of the pad. You've got something for a pillow already, no reason to waste precious pad coverage there too. I thought I was happy with a pack under my feet, but having a pad there really helps the problems I've always had with cold feet. HYOH :)


Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Changing my Pad System on 12/23/2012 14:10:53 MST Print View

My experience varies. I'll share:

I sleep in a hammock, which means my head is slightly raised and my feet as well. Because of that, call me crazy, I just don't use a pillow; I use the top of my pad.

I was pretty over having cold feet from them hanging off the edge of the Neo-Air All-Season, but I can't fit my backpack in there with the long pad. After my post, I was inspired by someone's comment about REI's return policy and decided to put their satisfaction guarantee to the test. After my next trip, I'll be doing the following exchange:

NeoAir Regular All-Season Sleeping Pad: 19oz, 20in x 72in (140$)


Thermarest Z Lite Sol: 14oz, 20in x 72in (44$)

Thermarest NeoAir X-lite Small: 8oz, 20in x 47in (130$)

+3oz in weight, but I feel like my relative comfort will increase. It also gives me the option to shed tons of weight in the summer by bringing just the NeoAir X-lite Small if I'm bike touring. The All-season was overkill in the middle of August (though, not particularly uncomfortable at all)

Additionally, my pad is very safe in my hammock but on the ground, I'm always nervous about punctures. Blowing them up also takes time. If I went on a thru-hike (and I plan to), I'd bring just the Z-Lite Sol for a guaranteed good night's sleep and no setup time.

Thanks for the inspiration, mates!

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
~Continuous use on 12/24/2012 09:42:41 MST Print View

"I know a guy that has two through hikes on his original Neo Air. That may not be "normal" but that is a pretty good testament to me."

My guess is that it's better than normal. I used an original Neo Air on two thru-hikes, but used more than one of them to do so.

My sense is that you should expect about one thru-hike out of an original Neo Air *on average*, very much depending on your process and a bit on the luck of the draw. One of mine delaminated somewhat so that it still works but is a bit uncomfortable. The other ultimately got a sort of anti-Goldilocks hole in it --- it's just big enough that the thing slowly deflates, but small enough that I absolutely can't find the sucker to patch it. This clearly isn't a large data sample, but my gut feel now is that after about a thru-hike's worth of use I don't want to trust such a pad to start another long trip with. I'll still use either of these for trips of a week or so, however.

Karen Kennedy
(karenk) - MLife

Locale: NE NSW - Australian subtropics
Sleeping mat durability on 12/26/2012 03:32:57 MST Print View

We've just had 65 consecutive nights on UL Synmats, some in pretty rough terrain. No issues whatsoever. Inflated quickly and easily via the Schnozzle. Tyvek used as an insurance policy under the tarptent (SS2) floor.

I'm certainly pleasantly surprised - with the UL mats I expected punctures, but not so. Comfort was excellent, especially as we indulged in the LW mats for such a long trip (in a sea kayak, so weight not such an issue).

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Sleeping mat durability on 12/26/2012 07:42:43 MST Print View

I used a Prolite (the one that weighs 16 ounces) for about a year - about 70 nights. Then it started delaminating - a bubble several inches around appeared and gradually got bigger. So I returned it to REI and got another one.

Someone else reported a similar story so they exchanged it with the manufacturer Therm-a-rest

Brett Peugh
(bpeugh) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
thanks on 12/31/2012 19:04:48 MST Print View