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Relenting on NeoAir XLITE
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Dan Dru
(Dandru) - F

Locale: Down Under
Re: Prolite Four to Xlite on 07/16/2014 05:12:37 MDT Print View

Just recently spent over a week in a thorny prickly area with no problems, but I had a Tyvek groundsheet under the tent. I was told to take a foam mat because I'd get a puncture for sure but that didn't happen.

My only gripe is blowing the large mat up but the comfort is worth it, on a long distance hike I'd be taking a foam mat.

Doug Green

Locale: North Carolina Piedmont
for me, not comfortable on 07/16/2014 05:30:13 MDT Print View

Haven't seen this addressed. I am a back sleeper with fairly broad shoulders. When I tried sleeping on an xlite, which is 2.5 inches thick and 20 inches wide (or other 20 inch wide inflatables) I find that I am uncomfortable with my arms dropping that far to the ground level. It is something about the way it makes my elbows hit. On a prolite 1 inch thick open cell foam pad the drop is less so the narrow width doesn't bother me as much. If I went with an xlite large to get the width it weighs as much as my pro lite. This is of course a very personal issue specific to my sleep style and perhaps to my specific anatomy.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: for me, not comfortable on 07/16/2014 07:21:40 MDT Print View

Doug, I'm in the same camp. I switched to inflatables mainly for the less bulk. Worked myself up to a large NeoAir. Can't stand it. Arms off the side kill my shoulders by morning. I went back to using a Ridgerest, or an older Thermarest Prolite. I have always been a good sleeper. I am comfortable on a ccf pad, but the inflatable is more so.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: for me, not comfortable on 07/16/2014 08:01:48 MDT Print View

" I find that I am uncomfortable with my arms dropping that far to the ground level. "

It is an entirely personal matter, of course, but IMHO (and a lot of people's) the "right" way to use an Xlite is as follows. Lie on it and reach over and open the valve a bit. Slowly let the air out until your hip (the lowest point that supports the most weight) is barely off the ground no matter how you turn, but never touches. Close valve. Vary as needed and to taste. If your hip is ever too cold - more air.

For example your butt will hit the ground when you sit up which turns out to be quite useful for more than one reason. Anyway I find this perfect for my tastes, and it even solves to a certain degree for me the perennial issue of finding a perfectly flat spot. Before this I have used torso-lenght CCF pads for a very long while and have spent over a decade lying down on prospective campsites first (not so good when it is raining or already wet) to test if there is some unseen slope that will bother me. I haven't tried this yet to my knowledge, but I imagine you could get a level sleep even on very angled ground, within reason. So that problem solved as well. I just eyeball the flatness of the campsite now.

So back to the main issue that was mentioned, yes, if the thing is as tight as a trampoline and you are on your back you elbows are going to be kind of low. Though I am a side sleeper I noticed this as well when lying on my back with it fully inflated. With the cushy inflation, for me at least, not at all. In fact I will go further than that. During one of the past few time I used an Xlite this way I decided that it could turn me into a back sleeper. For me lying on my back in the semi-deflated mode with my elbows on the side is some kind of paradise, and the elbow drop then become perfect. I started with a small, and still use it if it will be very warm, but since I am currently using a very boney pack I decided to see what giving my knees and feet a break after all these years would be like. So I cut a regular Xlite down (highly recommended if you are short btw, and only takes a few minutes to do the mod), and with my heels just curving over the end, OMG it is the most comfortable thing I have ever laid on, including my bed. Waves of pleasure sweep over me and the decades of using a pad as a minimalist exercise in necessary evils seem redeemed. I mean I even tried a freakin' "Van Peski" hip donut a few times for pity's sake. Ah, redemption at last!

I also find for myself that the deflated mode also completely solves for me the rolling off the edge issue - if become more of a cradle. I'm not huge, so a lot of folks might still need the 25 inch one, even deflated. It also complexity solves the leg drop issue for the small. So if you like the semi-inflated mode everything is rosy.

Now on the occasion where it is cold enough to need it, you can use a bit more air, right up to fully inflated if you are in the arctic (hyperbole warning).

I do know there are a few folks who don't like it deflated and need it to be a trampoline. Sucks to be you I guess if your elbows are an issue. Otherwise, do try it at least once before you give up on the xlite.

Edited by millonas on 07/16/2014 09:04:24 MDT.

Jade Willcoxon
(H2Oboy) - M

Locale: Midwest
X-Lite on 07/16/2014 11:14:16 MDT Print View

I switched my summer pad from a Prolite Plus to an X-Lite last year. I found all of the concerns I had when I bought it to be non-issues for me:

I find little to no "crinkly / noisy" sound at all. Not any more noise than any other inflatable I have slept on.

The only "babying" that I give it is the Tyvek groundsheet that I have always used as a floor anyway.

After 20+ nights on it... No holes or indications that the reflective insulation material is de-laminating.

I got the long/wide, so the width is great for me and the sides don't buckle at all when I am in a lying position. At one pound, this is the first pad I have ever owned that I didn't feel guilty about going size large on.

There just isn't enough cushion on a CCF Pad or a Pro-lite for my old bones anymore. I just feel like I deserve better than the Pro-lite offers, if I am going to carry the extra weight of an inflatable sleeping pad.

I have a Downmat UL7 that I was thinking of using year-round (even in the summer), since it is so comfortable. Because of how pleased I am with the X-Lite, the Downmat remains strictly my winter mat now.

The only honest criticism I can offer on it is the dog-gone price tag. Every time I run into the "price guilt" of an item that makes my trips drastically better, I just remind myself that my wife spends over $100 to get her hair cut and highlighted and, wahlah, guilt free once again. Give it a try. It worked when I bought my Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags too!

Peter S
(prse) - MLife

Locale: Denmark
2 x perfection on 07/16/2014 12:12:01 MDT Print View

I have 2 sleeping mats.

NeoAir Xlite Large
NeoAir Xtherm Large

I have no reason to choose any other mat instead.

They are both lighter than specified (i chose the lightest ones out of two big batches)

But...I've had the regular version of the Xlite, and that is just way to slim. I would go so far as to say the regular versions are utter useless because of this.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: Relenting on NeoAir XLITE on 07/16/2014 12:41:41 MDT Print View

I don't baby mine.

I stuff it in my pack without using a stuff sack. I leave it rolled up. I don't protect it from the ground with anything other than the 30d sil or cuben floors that I have.

In fact I do that with all four of my neos. Two original torsos, a regular for my wife and my large (cause I'm the kang)

So far I've never had ANY problem with any of them.

And yes I use them a lot. Not just one night a month.

And the noise issue is not an issue. I suppose it could be for some but gimme a break.

Give cascade designs credit. It's a killer product.

Bob Moulder
(bobmny10562) - M

Locale: Westchester County, NY
Re: Re: for me, not comfortable on 07/16/2014 13:43:39 MDT Print View

"Can't stand it. Arms off the side kill my shoulders by morning."

Ken, I tried the tip in Clelland's book - putting shoes on the side of the Xlite, under the elbows - and it works great. If (when, actually, as on my last little hike) shoes are muddy, I put them in plastic grocery bags. Also using the REI Flash pillow, which is 1.5 oz happily carried.

Stephen Murphy
(sjtm) - F
Exped UL7 MW on 07/16/2014 14:14:05 MDT Print View

I have been searching for the right pad myself recently. While on the larger side (195 lb) but average height (5'-9") and a side sleeper, my first purchase was a women's Xlite. It weighs 11.5 oz ( not 11 oz as advertised) and is 66" long plus the taper does not start until farther down towards the hips. It also advertises a higher R value (3.9 vs 3.2). I also use a 1/8" evasote pad underneath ( trimmed to match the pad) for additional r value (4.65 combined) and puncture protection. This ccf pad serves triple duty as the back support for my Gossamer Gear Mariposa, and as a sit pad at rest stops. This has worked out so far, but I still find times that I wanted more width, even at some weight penalty.

I purchased an Xlite Large and the Exped UL7 MW pad, which was recently added to the UL7 lineup. The xlite is 78" long and 23" wide (not 25" as advertised). The Exped is 72" long and 25"wide ( not 26" as advertised). The Xlite weighs 17.5oz on my scale(not 16oz advertised) and the Exped is 20oz - 2.5oz more than the Xlite and and 7.5oz more than my women's xlite.

The extra 2" in width over the Xlite Large ( and 6" in width over the Women's Xlite, combined with the fact that the outermost vertical baffles on the Exped are slightly taller offers a significantly improved sleeping experience over either Xlite, although at a weight penalty that might be too much for some. However it is the first pad in its weight range that I can sleep on my side or my back and never experience the discomfort of limbs hanging over the edge.

I plan to alternate between the Exped and the women's Xlite depending on my willingness to carry the extra weight. The Xlite large is going back to the store.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: X-Lite on 07/16/2014 17:03:08 MDT Print View

FWIW, the crinkly stuff in the inside of the Xlite is space blanket type aluminumized Mylar - discovered this when I shortened mine. So it should get quieter over time, and with every crinkle. I think this is most people's observation. I guess it all depends how many crinkles you can handle.

Edited by millonas on 07/16/2014 17:03:51 MDT.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: for me, not comfortable on 07/16/2014 19:21:11 MDT Print View

I move too much Bob. A pillow is mandatory.

Sean Passanisi
(passanis) - MLife
Re: Exped UL7 MW on 07/17/2014 05:44:39 MDT Print View

I have posted on this before, and continue to wonder whether the Exped mats are more comfortable. I have +75 nights on my Downmat UL7. I find it very comfortable. I did pick up a Synmat with my REI dividend. I haven't used it yet and I'm debating whether to switch it for an Xlite. It seems that most people who have used both the Exped and the NeoAir models prefer the Exped, but there is the weight penalty...

Mercedes Clemens
(motorlegs) - M

Locale: Mid-Atlantic & Southwest
Exped here on 07/21/2014 07:07:35 MDT Print View

I returned a Women's XLite after only one night. I found it to be incredibly noisy (I'm a light sleeper), I didn't care for the tapered design, and my arms kept falling off (which was an achievement since I'm a petite woman).

Ended up with an Exped Downmat Lite 5 short, which I love. Yep, there is a weight penalty, but it's very comfortable, super quiet, and an overall better design for my body. I like the raised baffles on the sides & the standard rectangular design. It's the difference for me between sleeping and, well, not. I thought about the UL7, but I sleep cold & the Downmat Lite 5 was less expensive. Since I've got a very light bag, even with the heavier mat the combined weight is only 2.23 lbs.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Uh Huh... on 07/21/2014 21:38:42 MDT Print View

Mercedes, my sentiments persactly!

Arms falling off sides
Inflating at 9,500 ft. not fun
Falling temperature partially deflating it during the night

That was enuf fer me. Now my Prolite regular does the job, and very well.

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Uh Huh... on 07/21/2014 22:50:45 MDT Print View

Seems like someone should have tried this on here - take a new xlite and roll and bend it 20 different ways for about half an hour. Bet that would remove most of the noise part once the internal mylar gets broken in.

(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
My experience on 07/21/2014 23:17:16 MDT Print View

I have tried every neoair xlite and xtherm. I have settled on a regular size Xtherm for four seasons, a exped UL 7 MW for 3 season and neoair xlite small for Ultralite adventures, and a cut down z-lite when I want to go lighter or for more dependability. It's a game time decision when I pack for a trip. I wish backpacks, sleeping bags, quilts and shelters were as easy as choosing what pad I need to take.....

Alexander Scott
(Cascadicus) - F
Re: Relenting on NeoAir XLITE on 07/22/2014 13:17:39 MDT Print View

Best air mat I've ever used and I use mine hard with just a polycro sheet underneath.

I have the short version and rest my feet on my pack. My shoulders fit fine and I'm a broad shouldered dude. In fact, I've never slept better.

No idea where this noise myth started. Any crinkly noise goes away after the first use or two. People probably try it at REI when it is new and make that assumption.

The only noise I hear at night is a concert of my own making inside the sleeping bag.