Backcountry Forum
Backpacking & Hiking Gear

Backcountry Forum
Our long-time Sponsor - the leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear
 
 
 

Amazon.com
Backpacking Forums
---- Our Gear Store ----
The Lightweight Gear Store
 
 WINTER CAMPING 

Shelters
Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen

 SNOWSPORTS 

Snowshoes
Avalanche Gear
Skins
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters
Accessories

 ULTRA-LIGHT 

Ultralight Backpacks
Ultralight Bivy Sacks
Ultralight Shelters
Ultralight Tarps
Ultralight Tents
Ultralight Raingear
Ultralight Stoves & Cookware
Ultralight Down Sleeping Bags
Ultralight Synthetic Sleep Bags
Ultralight Apparel


the Titanium Page
WM Extremelite Sleeping Bags

 CAMPING & HIKING 

Backpacks
Tents
Sleeping Bags
Hydration
Kitchen
Accessories

 CLIMBING 

Ropes & Cordage
Protection & Hardware
Carabiners & Quickdraws
Climbing Packs & Bags
Big Wall
Rescue & Industrial

 MEN'S APPAREL 

Jackets
Shirts
Baselayer
Headwear
Gloves
Accessories

 WOMEN'S APPAREL 

Jackets
Shirts
Baselayer
Headwear
Gloves
Accessories

 FOOTWEAR 

Men's Footwear
Women's Footwear

 CLEARANCE 

Backpacks
Mens Apparel
Womens Apparel
Climbing
Footwear
Accessories

 BRANDS 

Black Diamond
Granite Gear
La Sportiva
Osprey
Smartwool

 WAYS TO SHOP 

Sale
Clearance
Top Brands
All Brands

 Backpacking Equipment 

Shelters
BackPacks
Sleeping Bags
Water Treatment
Kitchen
Hydration
Climbing


 Backcountry Gear Clearance

Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#163114 - 03/02/12 10:12 AM Air Mattress Failures
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I'm starting to wonder if there's some sort of limitation inherent in the manufacture of air mattresses. I was talking to the clerk at my local shop recently, and he indicated that they had replaced "a lot" of Big Agnes Air Core and Insulated Air Core pads that developed leaks along the seams - when they put them in water, there were little bubbles all along the seam line, but no real holes. I've also spoken to two people now who have had similar problems with their NeoAir pads developing several small leaks (I didn't know about the seam issue yet, so I didn't ask if they were along seams.) Both slept with their pads in a tent, over a groundcloth, and didn't use them as part of a chair kit.

I've had no issues with my own original NeoAir or NeoAir All-Season pad. I've used the original probably 72 nights, and the All-Season 4 nights.

Anyone else having problems with an air mattress? If so, do you think it's user error, or might there be some sort of inherent issue in manufacturing air mattresses that don't have a foam core?


Edited by Glenn (03/02/12 12:44 PM)
Edit Reason: Hit "1" instead of "7" on 10-key pad

Top
#163118 - 03/02/12 10:56 AM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: Glenn]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I've seen a *lot* of Big Agnes mattresses in the bin at REI Gear Sales, all with patches. Also a handful of NeoAirs and a few of other brands.

I'm still using my original NeoAir every month like clockwork, and loaning it out some of the time... not sure what to make of all the folks who've punctured them. I stopped babying it a long time ago - used to be hypervigilant about not getting anything with corners close to it, but a few months ago I actually slept on it all night with one of my trekking pole tips lodged under one side of it.

I've also noticed I don't blow it up as firm as others have with their air mattresses. Don't know if that makes a difference. I think it probably does.

I'd estimate 130+ nights on the NeoAir so far, if I count hammock usage and sleeping on the occasional floor with it.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

Top
#163120 - 03/02/12 11:16 AM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: Glenn]
ral Offline
member

Registered: 11/30/02
Posts: 123
Loc: San Francisco
My experience with Big Agnes Pads was pretty good----I used to to thru hike the PCT--in spite of the general scuttle butt that you could not use an air pad in the desert . It finally sprung a leak after about 175 days---so I say that is not bad.

And yes it leaked at the seams so you could still get away with using it on the trip it failed---just needed to blow it back up in the middle of the night.

I now have a Neo and have had no issues but also not nearly as much use yet.

Top
#163124 - 03/02/12 12:13 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: ral]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6742
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Quite a few reports on BPL recently of the new, lighter NeoAir developing leaks at the seams. This happened when the original NeoAir first came out, too. Evidently a new product issue.

I've been told that Thermarest is really good about such issues--they'll fix it or give you a new pad. Even if you obviously punctured it, they'll fix it for a very low price.

I certainly bounced around on mine a lot before I returned it because it was so uncomfortable! No leaks, just that the horizontal baffles didn't work at all for me, and I couldn't find a sweet spot between too little and too much inflation. It was one of the early ones, too.

_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

Top
#163129 - 03/02/12 12:37 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: OregonMouse]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
So far...knock on wood...I have never had a Thermarest pad fail for me. We have some from the mid 70's I still use. Of course the lightest ones I have weigh a pound. But because of what the OP stated I have been very hesitant to get a newer and lighter pad. I NEED my beauty rest!!

Top
#163132 - 03/02/12 12:50 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: skcreidc]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
The technology of air mattresses is inherently failure prone, especially in the weights attractive for backpacking models. I spurned them decades ago and turned to various foam pads.

Top
#163133 - 03/02/12 12:55 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: skcreidc]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
I am hell on air pads! My current one is the only one that has not leaked at some point or another. I carry at least one, if not two squares (2x3 and 2.5 oz) of cheap blue pad to use outside the tent as sit pads and as back up. My current pad is an x-small (8 oz) Thermarest Pro-lite. This one seems to be working well. I just wonder if there are big variations and quality control issues in the manufacturing of these pads.

Top
#163134 - 03/02/12 12:56 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: oldranger]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
I have to admit, my favorite pad is a thick bed of pine needles with NO ANTS in it. Talk about comfortable. For the longest time I weighed over 200 lbs and I wonder how much your weight comes into play as to what is comfortable for you. I'm at 190 now.

Top
#163137 - 03/02/12 12:59 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: skcreidc]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3967
Loc: Bend, Oregon
My Warmlight down airmattress (27 ounces - 3" thick) gave me 20 years of unfailing service until I pulled the valve out of it trying to open it when it was too cold - my fault - I should have warmed it.

My first big agnes leaked right out of the box.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

Top
#163138 - 03/02/12 12:59 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: skcreidc]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
OK...looking at W_D's post, maybe weight has nothing to do with it at all! laugh. In the interest of full disclosure I take 2 3/4 length pads. One Thermarest circa 1970's to 1990's (I have a couple) and one high density pad from the late 60's (that is as close as I can come on the latter one).

Top
#163140 - 03/02/12 01:04 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: oldranger]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By oldranger
The technology of air mattresses is inherently failure prone, especially in the weights attractive for backpacking models. I spurned them decades ago and turned to various foam pads.


Just reading this made my hips ache... think I would need six inches of foam to make that work. blush
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

Top
#163144 - 03/02/12 01:45 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: Glenn]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2917
Loc: NorCal
Lessee....

Once upon a time I combined an air mattress and ensolite foam pad for a really comfy, if heavy bed. Campfire sparks burnt holes in the mattress, but they were repairable. The rubber valve eventually disintigrated.

Was an early therm-a-rest adopter--had one of the original orange ones with the metal valve. It soldiered on for years but developed a slow leak. Figured out it was from abraded fabric and sent it to T-rest. They replaced it rather than repair it. I no longer use T-rests to sit on rock.

Wife.gov had her lightweight T-rest strapped outside the pack and sliced it open on a tree branch (luckily on the hike out). T-rest repaired it by re-sealing the outer seam--the pad looks like a shark bit it, but it's worked fine ever since.

We've had at least five other T-rest self-inflators that have never failed.

My BA Insulated Air Core loses its air overnight but I cannot find the leak in dunk tests. Can't be trusted.

My NeoAir (very early copy of the original) doesn't leak and I've used it three seasons. Or is it four? (Don't recall the year they came out.) My lone scare was discovering it nearly bursting sitting in sunlight on an otherwise cold day. Gotta watch that.

The Neo replaced a POE insulated inflatable that likewise, has never failed me.

In sum, I don't find they're doomed to fail, just that they can and I need to keep the probability as low as reasonable. Beyond the obvious "avoid placing them on sharp and abrasive surfaces," carrying them inside the pack is very helpful. The tiny NeoAirs make this a cinch.

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

Top
#163147 - 03/02/12 02:34 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: lori]
Hikin Jim Offline
member

Registered: 12/16/11
Posts: 230
Loc: Orange County, CA, USA
I've actually been impressed with my NeoAir. I slept on trash bags recently because I couldn't find my ground sheet. Trash bags are NOT a good idea. Very slippery. My NeoAir slid off during the night, and gravelly, coarse dirt ground into the underside. No holes.

I wouldn't recommend doing what I did! But they seem to be fairly tough.

I'd be very worried in areas with thorny or spiny plants, though.

HJ
_________________________
Backpacking stove reviews and information: Adventures In Stoving

Top
#163150 - 03/02/12 03:27 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: Glenn]
Pika Offline
member

Registered: 12/08/05
Posts: 1814
Loc: Rural Southeast Arizona
I have been using a Therm A Rest Prolite 3 short pad for 8 years now. I have about seven patches on it but these were all for punctures of one sort or another. All of the repairs were done in the field so I didn't have to sleep on the cold, hard ground. I have never had problems with the seams or the valve. I always take a repair kit with me.
_________________________
May I walk in beauty.

Top
#163153 - 03/02/12 04:26 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: Hikin Jim]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I've used the large contractor bags and not had the problem. But I tend to select sites with as little slope as possible... I've walked pads around while tossing in my sleep but not had a problem with slippage.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

Top
#163156 - 03/02/12 05:26 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: lori]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
Pika, I have a prolight long. I used it about hmm 6 or seven nights before I switched to a hammock. Nice pad and I always liked the fact if it punctured I still had a bit of foam between bag and the ground. I just coud not keep it under me in a hammock! I still have it as I hope to go to Arizona next winter. My brother is in Chino Valley. I want to hike into the Grand Canyon. I have been there several times ,but not backpacking. I dont think there will be many trees to tie off from in the canyon?


Edited by Kent W (03/02/12 05:28 PM)

Top
#163182 - 03/02/12 11:02 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: Glenn]
Narf Offline
member

Registered: 12/25/06
Posts: 76
Loc: Missouri
My NeoAir had a leak right out of the store, very slow leak. Sadly didn't test before heading out for a multiday trip and always had to refill the matress in the middle of the night at least once.

Exchanged it for an Exped SynMat UL 7 which was similar weight but felt more durable than the original yellow neoair i had. Just used the Exped for the first time fo a week of camp and it was really nice.

Top
#163230 - 03/03/12 07:08 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: Narf]
immortal.ben Offline
member

Registered: 09/10/11
Posts: 91
Loc: Arizona
Funny, I just replaced my SECOND BA Insulated Air Core pad today. Bought it at REI and when the first one failed after about a year, I chalked it up to chance and they replaced it with a new one.

Had the second one for a few months and this past weekend it was losing its air in about 2 hours. That made for a couple of really long nights.

I decided to go for the Thermarest Prolite Plus, size small. I have gone from a 24oz pad to a 15oz pad. I hope this one does not fail me.

I really wanted the Exped SynMat UL7, but did not have the $$ available for it, oh well.
_________________________
Life is a verb.

Top
#163513 - 03/08/12 03:51 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: skcreidc]
HikerChick Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/12
Posts: 18
Loc: CA
I must be one of the lucky ones as I've never had my self inflating pad fail me yet. I better go knock on some wood now and again before my next trek smile

Top
#163534 - 03/08/12 06:58 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: HikerChick]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 1008
Loc: Australia
I spend a lot of time reading forum posts and I can assure you that I have not come across a single brand that has a leak proof inflatable mat (with or without insulation) .
Some time it is user error, that is leaving the mat in the sun fully inflated (it will delaminate or result in a permanent bump, I have done that) or cats have had a go at them (done that too) or set up on dirt over spiky stuff , however often enough they just leak.
And yes I do have one with a mysterious slow leak that can't be found ...
Come to think of it my bike tyres are not all that different.
Franco

Top
#163698 - 03/11/12 01:42 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: OregonMouse]
BradMT Offline
member

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 151
Originally Posted By OregonMouse
Quite a few reports on BPL recently of the new, lighter NeoAir developing leaks at the seams. This happened when the original NeoAir first came out, too. Evidently a new product issue.


I bought a Neoair for my wife in 2010 (a 25th wedding gift)... hers leaked. REI replaced it, and it's been fine since.

She LOVES the Neoair (Large), and it's revolutionized her backpacking. I borrowed hers last fall to try and found out why she loves it. Just ordered one on closeout yesterday. Again, a size Large... they're luxurious. However, I'll carry a 1/4" Evazote with it... just in case.

Aside, I started using Thermarest's in the 1980's... as was pointed out, inflatables can and do leak so it's always been my policy to have some sort of closed cell backup.

I really like doing business with a Co. that still builds in the USA and has great customer service.

There's Thermarest And All The Rest... Thermarest or Bust. laugh
_________________________
There Is No Bad Weather, Just Bad Clothing...

Top
#163700 - 03/11/12 01:49 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: BradMT]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
BradMT, how much has your wife used her replacement Neo?


Edited by skcreidc (03/11/12 01:50 PM)

Top
#163708 - 03/11/12 03:49 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: skcreidc]
BradMT Offline
member

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 151
She's used the replacement two full summers.
_________________________
There Is No Bad Weather, Just Bad Clothing...

Top
#164755 - 04/08/12 11:20 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: Glenn]
gendarme Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/06/12
Posts: 12
Loc: NW Arkansas
My 6 year old Thermarest Prolite has proven to be very durable. I now pair it with a 3/4 Z-Lite for a very comy, warm pad system. While my other gear has been shrinking in weight and volume, my pads are multiplying! But at 50 I don't regret it.

Top
#164787 - 04/09/12 12:12 PM Re: Air Mattress Failures [Re: gendarme]
John Donewar Offline
member

Registered: 04/08/12
Posts: 19
Loc: Louisiana
I've got a brand new ProLite Plus short headed my way for my 58th birthday. I am very much looking forward to the 1.5" thick self inflating pad. Up to this point I have used a Ridgerest 5/8th inch thick, short pad. The insulating value was OK for me but I really wanted some extra comfort.

I hear that there are some issues with delamination with these pads for those who use them a lot. I did go to the local outfitter and pick up a Thermarest Universl patch kit for the just in case scenario.

My trips are no where near as often as I would like them to be. Daddy has to go to the day job to be able to pay for the play! grin

Newton cool

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
 
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
 
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
Water Systems
by Sponge
11/22/20 07:06 PM
Trekking Pole Tents: What if the Poles Break?
by Glenn Roberts
11/17/20 03:06 PM
$25 QUECHUA MH100 vs $250 MSR ELIXIR 2 Comparison
by walkingnatur
11/14/20 02:16 PM
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
Backpacks
by Erok
11/22/20 09:52 AM
Hiking in Banff Mountain Trails
by stella73
11/19/20 11:00 PM
The Scariest Encounters Women Have on the....
by BZH
10/16/20 11:06 AM
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
Featured Photos
David & Goliath
Also Testing
Just testing
Trip Report with Photos
Seven Devils, Idaho
Oat Hill Mine Trail 2012
Dark Canyon - Utah
Who's Online
0 registered (), 65 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
Erok, Roosterr, stella73, DutchTrail, YouTuberJake
12937 Registered Users
Forum Links
Disclaimer
Policies
Site Links
Backpacking.net
Lightweight Gear Store
Backpacking Book Store
Lightweight Zone
Hiking Essentials

Our long-time Sponsor, BackcountryGear.com - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:

Backcountry Forum
 

Affiliate Disclaimer: This forum is an affiliate of BackcountryGear.com, Amazon.com, R.E.I. and others. The product links herein are linked to their sites. If you follow these links to make a purchase, we may get a small commission. This is our only source of support for these forums. Thanks.!
 
 

Since 1996 - the Original Backcountry Forum
Copyright © The Lightweight Backpacker & BackcountryForum