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Tipi Walter
10-17-2017, 13:39
Okay boys, another one bites the dust. This is about my 10th or 12th delamination in the last 40 years sleeping on Thermarest pads.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpack-2017-Trips-79/Pre-Trip-186/i-8RGFhP6/0/bf82e882/XL/P1000040-XL.jpg
Zoe dog investigates the sad Fact---welcome to Cascade Designs.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpack-2017-Trips-79/Pre-Trip-186/i-BmLGPXG/0/240def2c/XL/P1000050-XL.jpg
After a couple hours in the sun the pad DOES NOT self heal and instead expands.

I spent last night in the backyard "camping" and preparing for another trip and working out the kinks in my gear. Lucky me this happened before the trip.

tflaris
10-17-2017, 13:44
: (


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Starchild
10-17-2017, 13:48
Never was happy with self inflators, too much weight for not enough loft. Manual inflating neoair + a inflator (battery or other) is overall lighter and 3x as thick.

Leo L.
10-17-2017, 13:49
It seems Thermarest has some troubles recently...
But why do yours break at the head, mine (three total who failed) in the shoulder area?

Tipi Walter
10-17-2017, 13:51
It seems Thermarest has some troubles recently...
But why do yours break at the head, mine (three total who failed) in the shoulder area?

There's only a couple inches difference in location between your bulge and my bulge. Maybe it's National Hernia Month???

Tipi Walter
10-17-2017, 13:55
Never was happy with self inflators, too much weight for not enough loft. Manual inflating neoair + a inflator (battery or other) is overall lighter and 3x as thick.

NeoAirs also, like any inflatable, has its own problems---Seam weld leaks, thinner denier fabrics on some models, poor functionality when sitting up (I can feel my butt hitting the ground when sitting upright on fully inflated NeoAir) etc. Pet pad peeve: NEVER want to feel the ground underneath.

But I do take the smallest lightest NeoAir they make and keep it in my pack just in case I'm on a trip and my Thermy inflatable does the above.

Starchild
10-17-2017, 13:58
...But I do take the smallest lightest NeoAir they make and keep it in my pack just in case I'm on a trip and my Thermy inflatable does the above.

How did I know you would do this :-?

rafe
10-17-2017, 14:12
I've had two Thermarest pads, both still quite OK. The older one is from 1990. Not as many "bag nights" as Tipi's, but both well-used.

SwathHiker
10-17-2017, 15:07
they had some Klymits on massdrop


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saltysack
10-17-2017, 15:52
Looks like a built in pillow.....[emoji51]you paid extra for that!


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Tipi Walter
10-17-2017, 17:11
IMPORTANT UPDATE
I came up with a plan to rebuild my dead Thermarest.

40671
First I studied WHY the fabric pulled away from the foam.

40672
Then I pulled it apart to repair each section in order from top to bottom.

40673
Then I laid it out properly for a hot steam glue repair. Results forthcoming.

Franco
10-17-2017, 17:23
"After a couple hours in the sun the pad DOES NOT self heal and instead expands."
I suspect that a lot of delamination problems are from the sun hitting the mats.

Tipi Walter
10-17-2017, 17:27
"After a couple hours in the sun the pad DOES NOT self heal and instead expands."
I suspect that a lot of delamination problems are from the sun hitting the mats.

My pads never get direct sunlight, ever. And if inside a warming tent during the day I always open the air valve. None of my previous Thermarest delaminations have been due to direct sunlight. I just don't leave them in the sun . . . or inside a car . . . THIS pad on the other hand has been sacrificed to the Gear Demon and no amount of direct sunlight will hurt it.

Kaptainkriz
10-17-2017, 17:37
Looks similar to old GM headliner delam....

Tipi Walter
10-17-2017, 17:43
Years ago I emailed Thermarest about the problem and they said it's due to "overuse" and "body oils". Uh, okay. I do live on these pads. But I emit no fluids:)

MuddyWaters
10-17-2017, 17:53
Years ago I emailed Thermarest about the problem and they said it's due to "overuse" and "body oils". Uh, okay. I do live on these pads. But I emit no fluids:)
Id say its due to either failing decomposing foam, or decomposing glue.

Ive had it happen to cheap off brands used for car camping in as little as a couple years....of non-use...stored inside. But what u expect for $20

saltysack
10-17-2017, 18:00
Years ago I emailed Thermarest about the problem and they said it's due to "overuse" and "body oils". Uh, okay. I do live on these pads. But I emit no fluids:)

Id be willing to guess your pads get more use in one year than most put on in a many lifetimes! Im jealous! You should work a deal with Cascade Designs to test out theyre pads!


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Tipi Walter
10-17-2017, 18:03
You should work a deal with Cascade Designs to test out they’re pads!


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They probably wouldn't be happy with my long term reviews. Although what idiot keeps using them year after year? ME.

Alligator
10-17-2017, 18:07
I fully understand it may simply be extended use, but perhaps there is something causing it to happen to you. I can only think of:
1. Do you always allow it to self-inflate or do you sometimes/many times blow it up?
2. Do you store it with the valve open? Do they ever get stored for long? Do you store them rolled up?

Tipi Walter
10-17-2017, 18:24
I fully understand it may simply be extended use, but perhaps there is something causing it to happen to you. I can only think of:
1. Do you always allow it to self-inflate or do you sometimes/many times blow it up?
2. Do you store it with the valve open? Do they ever get stored for long? Do you store them rolled up?

Since this is not my first rodeo with herniated Thermarests, I believe it's due to Usage and poorly engineered foam/glue combos. But to answer your questions:

I always inflate my pads beyond mere air pressure alone. I like them firm so I can't feel my butt on the ground when sitting up. I store all my backpacking pads inflated and laid flat with the valve open.

When Thermarest went with their die-cut foam technology I started getting many more delaminations---as above. It was rare with their old orange Standard full foam pads.

But as mentioned, I live on these pads and probably use one 340 nights out of the year---either on trips or at home in the backyard . So I guess if a pad lasts me one year I feel lucky. I practice "cautionary procurement"---and get a new one before the old one shows signs of age. I'd say overuse is the main culprit. Or just plain "used hard".

PatmanTN
10-17-2017, 19:08
Interesting experiment Walt. I got what I think was the original neo-air in 2009 and that initial pad has been replaced by them three times so far; every single replacement was at no charge and upgraded to the closest matching current model. Every failure was a pregnancy. The last pad in that chain was the yellow xlite that I still use after a bear stepped on it and punctured it two summers ago (and I patched it with Tear-Aid tape....still holding as of last weekend).

My winter top pad (that I use on top of the Solar ridge rest these days), developed a small bloat upon the fourth nights use which was extremely disappointing but so far has not gotten bigger.

Seems there is no perfect solution.

nsherry61
10-17-2017, 20:21
The Sea-to-Summit pads are claimed to be delamination free because, according to Sea-to-Summit, they are the only pad manufacturer in the world that exclusively uses fabric that is not a laminant. And, they don't use foam, so there is no potential for foam/glue issues.

And, for what it's worth, almost all brands of inflatable and self-inflating pads have some level of delamination failure, often pictured in these forums.

Cascade Designs stands behind their products VERY well. I've been using Thermarest products since 1978 and been exceedingly happy with their quality AND their customer service.

blw2
10-17-2017, 21:27
Never was happy with self inflators, too much weight for not enough loft. Manual inflating neoair + a inflator (battery or other) is overall lighter and 3x as thick.

I recently bought an air pad and don't care for it so far. Noisy and just don't care for the bouncy air mattress feel. Need to try it more to give it a fair shake, but I'm thinking of getting another self inflator. I find them more comfortable and less noisy. I gave my oldest thermrest bought in the mid 1990's to my son to use in scouts....It's a 1 inch thick rectangular but I don't know the model....one patch made along the way for a pinhole leak, just a dab of repair cement, and my next one that I bought some time later, a Trail Pro, is a bit heavy, being bigger and thicker...but very comfy. Thinking of trying a "torso" small or maybe Xsmall as a compromise to save weight while maintaining comfort.

Regarding failures, I figure any elastomeric material will oxidize over time, get more brittle.... adhesives too...... functions of heat, time, contaminates such as sweat, oils, dirt, oxygen, number of stress cycles, .....

Tipi Walter
10-17-2017, 22:16
Interesting experiment Walt. I got what I think was the original neo-air in 2009 and that initial pad has been replaced by them three times so far; every single replacement was at no charge and upgraded to the closest matching current model. Every failure was a pregnancy. The last pad in that chain was the yellow xlite that I still use after a bear stepped on it and punctured it two summers ago (and I patched it with Tear-Aid tape....still holding as of last weekend).

My winter top pad (that I use on top of the Solar ridge rest these days), developed a small bloat upon the fourth nights use which was extremely disappointing but so far has not gotten bigger.

Seems there is no perfect solution.

The only solution is to take a Solar ccf pad as mentioned along with an inflatable and when the inflatable inevitably dies the ccf pad can be folded double for 7R if needed. Not as comfy but livable. (My spare mini NeoAir is also in the pack to add a little air comfort with the ccf just in case).

nsherry61
10-17-2017, 23:02
. . . Noisy and just don't care for the bouncy air mattress feel. . .
In recent years there are getting to be some good alternatives that address those two very issues without adding weight and volume.

I seem to keep coming back to the Sea-to-Summit pads because they are surprisingly comfortable and not bouncy and not noisy compared to most alternatives. Their whole structure and fabric is unique in the industry.

Also, the less expensive quilted style inflatable pads like the new 2017 REI Flash aren't very bouncy and are made with relatively quieter shell fabric. I think the technology is similar in the Klymit V pads and the Outdoorsman Lab pads?

The Nemo Tensor is back in the $150 range, like the S2S pads, but is thicker than the S2S and quieter than a Termarest NeoXlite and not as bouncy as many of the thicker and/or longitudinally baffled pads like many Big Agnes pads.


Of the pads I've used, I like the NeoAir X-Lite except for the noise which really isn't all that bad for me especially on the newer models. I like the S2S except it is a couple oz heavier and not quite as warm. I like the REI Flash et al., but find them not as warm or as robust as the NeoAir X-lite or S2S. I like the BA pads except for their bounciness and the fact that I've had higher valve failure rate on the BA than either the NeoAir or the S2S. Also, the NeoAir X-therm is a fair bit quieter than the X-Lite, quite a bit warmer, and only a couple oz heavier. Finally, although the Nemo Tensor is comfortable like the X-lite and much quieter. But, Nemo's claim of warmth to 20*F in the Tensor insulated model is bull. It's weight is similar to my X-lite but it is not nearly as warm as either my NeoAir X-lite or my S2S, so I don't really have a use for it.

Time Zone
10-18-2017, 06:24
It seems to me that Thermarest has a comfort level with the failure rate of their current designs, materials, and processes.

TW, might it be reasonable to infer that if there is foam stuck to the cover on the underside of where it bubbled, then it was the foam that failed, and if there isn't any foam stuck, it's the adhesive that gave out?

nsherry61: I agree, the Klymit Static V is much quieter than the Neoair Xlites. However, I found them up to 4" shorter than advertised when inflated (depending on where along the length you measured, it was 2-4 inches), so mine went back. They were within a half inch of advertised width. Very good value if you're shorter in stature - or don't mind a pad that isn't quite full-length.

rocketsocks
10-18-2017, 07:23
Often sleep pads can pass down through the generation DNA (does not amplify) that causes rot and decease as the wee nipper pad ages.

Leo L.
10-18-2017, 08:01
It seems that the pads more often delaminate in the head/shoulder area than anywhere else.
I would belive, if the failure was due to mechanical overload/overuse, it would fail in the hip area at least as, if not more often, as the hip area has to bear the same or even heavier load than the shoulder does.

So either there is some specific design detail we don't know so far (like, bigger/different holes in the foam in this area), or a difference in manufacturing process, like different/unequal glue application, or maybe some chemical/bilogical side effect comes into play.
This could easily be a kind of mould developing by frequent breath inflation, in addition to hard mechanical wear, both effects coming together exactly at the shoulder area, and finally causing the foam or the glue to break.
Once a small portion of either is broken, the damage will increase in size after every inflation.
Its interesting to see on Walter's pics that there is one spot where there is neither foam no glue - most likely this is the spot where the delamination had started.

Time Zone
10-18-2017, 08:15
A friend of mine recently had her thermarest (similar to TW's) give birth to a beach ball ... at the foot of the mattress.

That said, I too suspect an interaction between the glue, foam, and the user's biology ... breath from inflating, sweat, who knows. At first blush, I'd think breath would affect the pad fairly equally, but it's possible more moisture gets trapped more near the valve end ... that while the air gets uniformly distributed, the moisture does not. Certainly the warm moisture would not.

The other main suspect involves perspiration and/or skin oils from the outside of the pad somehow permeating the outer layer and affecting the adhesive on its underside. I'm not sure how that would work - presumably an airtight pad would also resist allowing water and skin oils to pass through.

Tipi Walter
10-18-2017, 08:38
The Sea to Summit conversation is an interesting one although I haven't gotten around to trying their sleeping pads. Obviously I have Thermarest tattooed onto my brain and can't seem to leave the brand, probably because I've been using Thermarest since June of 1980---$29 for the original! Any pads used for that long are bound to fail.

I did once leave the fold a couple years ago when I got an Exped downmat for winter backpacking. The warmest pad on the market . . . except . . . Alas Poor Exped---

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpacking2013-1/19-Days-of-Solitude/i-XgfnnwC/0/8b6dd5eb/XL/TRIP%20151%20040-XL.jpg

Notice the blown baffle seam on this Exped, apparently a common occurence with these pads. Sad thing is, this happened on the first night of a 19 day winter trip into the Snowbird backcountry---Grrrrr!!---so I had to detour 12 miles for a cached Thermarest to continue the trip.

I'm up for a Sea to Summit experiment and what better place than the backyard camp?

Leo L.
10-18-2017, 08:55
In our language we say, "water has a bigger head than air", meaning, if something is waterproof, that doesn't mean its airtight. Look at most plastic bags/bottles: While they hold water perfectly tight, air (at least oxygene) does seep through.
I'd think the reverse is true too, if something is airtight, no liquid (water or oil) can go through.
And then, you have to show me any membrane that is airtight by design that allows any other gas or liquid to seep through against pressure from the other side.

It would be easy to proof this:
Take any (even already partially ruined) Thermarest, inflate it, pour oil or any other liquid under suspicion over it, and wait for it to delaminate....

My guess is, that "body oils ruined the pads" is a lame excuse by the manufacturer.
On top of that, a pad designed for humans to sleep on it should be designed to resist the most common output humans provide?
I had Thermarest pads used as swimming aids in the sea and as beach pad for a sunlotion soaked body - and they didn't fail.
I have other models from Thermarest that didn't delaminate.
It seems that the Prolite Plus is specifically prone to failure (all thre pads that failed me were Prolite Plus)

Time Zone
10-18-2017, 10:20
Obviously I have Thermarest tattooed onto my brain and can't seem to leave the brand, probably because I've been using Thermarest since June of 1980 ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome

I kid, mostly. :)

Time Zone
10-18-2017, 10:30
My guess is, that "body oils ruined the pads" is a lame excuse by the manufacturer.
On top of that, a pad designed for humans to sleep on it should be designed to resist the most common output humans provide?
...
It seems that the Prolite Plus is specifically prone to failure (all thre pads that failed me were Prolite Plus)

1) Tend to agree on it being an excuse.
2) Totally agree ... these things are made to have people sleep on them! Should be built for purpose.
3) Interesting ... my friend's pad was also a Prolite Plus.

As for me, I totally felt that after age 40, the hips and shoulders just couldn't take a CCF pad and nothing else. I had Ridgerests, an old Classic and recently, a Solar that is a smidge thicker as well. After some mixed results with inflatables and self-inflators, I recently embarked on an effort to see if I could get used to just having the Ridgerest. As it turns out, I've had some pretty good nights on them ... when I've been really tired/exhausted. That seems to help a great deal. When I'm not so worn out, it's definitely harder to sleep well on them. I sure like having a quiet pad and not having to worry about it deflating or worse.

Tipi Walter
10-18-2017, 12:03
As for me, I totally felt that after age 40, the hips and shoulders just couldn't take a CCF pad and nothing else. I had Ridgerests, an old Classic and recently, a Solar that is a smidge thicker as well. After some mixed results with inflatables and self-inflators, I recently embarked on an effort to see if I could get used to just having the Ridgerest. As it turns out, I've had some pretty good nights on them ... when I've been really tired/exhausted. That seems to help a great deal. When I'm not so worn out, it's definitely harder to sleep well on them. I sure like having a quiet pad and not having to worry about it deflating or worse.

I went thru my Ridgerest phase back in 1985 when I was younger and beefier and liked the fuss-free use of a ccf pad. Now I require ultimate comfort etc etc plus the old ridgerest never worked on ice and snow. Although currently my tandem winter pads are an inflatable along with a solar ridgerest.

In the old days we used vintage ensolite pads---those floppy things. I got a pic showing two vintage pads from the early days---

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-0bMbnwCcoPk/TILS9qzBG9I/AAAAAAAAA8s/tkIDGpAyoGk/s639-Ic42/in%252520Pisgah%252520and%252520the%252520gorge%25 2520overlook.jpg
Pis taken on Trail 268A on Upper Creek in Pisgah NF. Lindal on the left has the old fabric covered egg crate pad. On the right is one of the old ensolite pads.

Leo L.
10-18-2017, 12:12
True!
While at 60 I'm not yet in the class of Walter age-wise, I still highly apprecciate the comfort of an inflatable over a CCF-only. I need way more time to recover from a day of strenuous hiking nowadays than in younger years.
During my local multiday hikes I typically retire to the campsite at around 5-6pm and am done with all the chores at 7pm, and will close my eyes for a restful night of ~10hrs.
In the desert, the dayli routine is quite similar and enforced by the sunset/sunrise, which happens to be around 6pm/6am.
So after all I spend roughly 40-45% of the time on the pad during a hike. Makes it a very important piece of equipment for me.

Tipi Walter
10-18-2017, 12:48
Yes, a very important piece of equipment. Hence the backups, the emergency pad caches, the carried spares, the multiple repair kits---the redundancy.

blw2
10-18-2017, 15:44
In recent years there are getting to be some good alternatives that address those two very issues without adding weight and volume.

I seem to keep coming back to the Sea-to-Summit pads because they are surprisingly comfortable and not bouncy and not noisy compared to most alternatives. Their whole structure and fabric is unique in the industry.

Also, the less expensive quilted style inflatable pads like the new 2017 REI Flash aren't very bouncy and are made with relatively quieter shell fabric. I think the technology is similar in the Klymit V pads and the Outdoorsman Lab pads?

The Nemo Tensor is back in the $150 range, like the S2S pads, but is thicker than the S2S and quieter than a Termarest NeoXlite and not as bouncy as many of the thicker and/or longitudinally baffled pads like many Big Agnes pads.


Of the pads I've used, I like the NeoAir X-Lite except for the noise which really isn't all that bad for me especially on the newer models. I like the S2S except it is a couple oz heavier and not quite as warm. I like the REI Flash et al., but find them not as warm or as robust as the NeoAir X-lite or S2S. I like the BA pads except for their bounciness and the fact that I've had higher valve failure rate on the BA than either the NeoAir or the S2S. Also, the NeoAir X-therm is a fair bit quieter than the X-Lite, quite a bit warmer, and only a couple oz heavier. Finally, although the Nemo Tensor is comfortable like the X-lite and much quieter. But, Nemo's claim of warmth to 20*F in the Tensor insulated model is bull. It's weight is similar to my X-lite but it is not nearly as warm as either my NeoAir X-lite or my S2S, so I don't really have a use for it.

The Nemo Tensor is the one I went with for that very reason.....but still it's an air mattress

blw2
10-18-2017, 15:49
Walt
Thinking about your pad dissection earlier today.
Was the delamination a separation of the fabric form the foam, or was it layers of fabric delaminating?

Tipi Walter
10-18-2017, 17:08
Walt
Thinking about your pad dissection earlier today.
Was the delamination a separation of the fabric form the foam, or was it layers of fabric delaminating?

It was fabric pulling away from the foam--and foam pulling away from itself. In effect, the foam itself has little holding power---like wet tissue paper---and so any outward stress causes the foam to separate---and so goes the fabric.

Alligator
10-18-2017, 22:46
A friend of mine recently had her thermarest (similar to TW's) give birth to a beach ball ... at the foot of the mattress.

That said, I too suspect an interaction between the glue, foam, and the user's biology ... breath from inflating, sweat, who knows. At first blush, I'd think breath would affect the pad fairly equally, but it's possible more moisture gets trapped more near the valve end ... that while the air gets uniformly distributed, the moisture does not. Certainly the warm moisture would not.

The other main suspect involves perspiration and/or skin oils from the outside of the pad somehow permeating the outer layer and affecting the adhesive on its underside. I'm not sure how that would work - presumably an airtight pad would also resist allowing water and skin oils to pass through.I would guess that it is saliva, with its hosts of microorganisms living off the occasional sugars and other tiny bits of food being injected near the valve.

MuddyWaters
10-19-2017, 06:10
It was fabric pulling away from the foam--and foam pulling away from itself. In effect, the foam itself has little holding power---like wet tissue paper---and so any outward stress causes the foam to separate---and so goes the fabric.
Once a failure begins, pressure retaining stresses are concentrated at the edge of the bubble, instead of across whole area, and it continues to peel away rapidly.

The force = pressure x area is increasing by diameter squared, the holding edge is is only increading proportional to diameter. Bigger it gets, less pressure needed for it to continue to get bigger.

In other words, self destructs as soon as tiny failure starts. The localized stress ripping the foam /laminate apart is many x normal design once a blister starts. UL open cell foam not that strong.

Bronk
10-19-2017, 08:26
There are very few pieces of gear that will last forever. I once had a tent that had seen over 700 days in the field and I felt like I had gotten far more use out of it than I had any right to expect by the time I finally retired it. I have a few pieces of gear and clothing that are 15+ years old, but I expect to replace most of my stuff every 5 to 7 years and I camp between 30 and 50 nights a year.

Bronk
10-19-2017, 08:32
Once a failure begins, pressure retaining stresses are concentrated at the edge of the bubble, instead of across whole area, and it continues to peel away rapidly.

The force = pressure x area is increasing by diameter squared, the holding edge is is only increading proportional to diameter. Bigger it gets, less pressure needed for it to continue to get bigger.

In other words, self destructs as soon as tiny failure starts. The localized stress ripping the foam /laminate apart is many x normal design once a blister starts. UL open cell foam not that strong.
I agree with this assessment and wonder if the pad could be saved if a repair were attempted when the bubble is small by applying heat to try to melt/re-glue it before it got too big.

nsherry61
10-19-2017, 10:00
Two thoughts on the cause of failure discussed above.

1) Of course, these pads are liquid proof if they are air proof . . . sort of, but, just like the deterioration of old urethane coated waterproof nylon fabrics happens when stored for long periods of time in a damp environment where the urethane coating starts to hydrolyze, skin oils can start to break down fabrics and/or lamination materials on fabrics over time even if the "liquid" does not flow through easily on a day-to-day time-frame.

2) As for delaminations occurring at shoulders instead of hips where there would theoretically be more pressure, there may be more pressure on hip bones than shoulders, but the upper part of the pad sees a whole lot more shoulder and elbow movement over an average night's sleep. I may shift from one side to the other - one hip to the other - several times throughout the night, but I reposition my elbows and shoulders hundreds of times a night. So I suspect that frequent movement of pressure points may cause greater risk of delamination than higher pressure pressure points.

3) Finally, as suggested earlier in this thread, there is probably a lot of truth to the idea that pads with less surface area for adhesion of the different layers of the pad to each other will lead to more frequent failure. So, it is reasonable that a pro-lite pad with gaps in the foam will delaminate easier than a pad with a solid layer of foam. But, the solid foam pad will of course be heavier and compress less. It is also reasonable that for a pad with baffles, more smaller baffles may hold up better than fewer larger baffles?

brswan
10-19-2017, 10:46
Is this just a recent thing? Think quality has gone down hill?

Just Bill
10-19-2017, 15:31
I know you had a bad first date; but I've been impressed with the Exped pads thus far.
I believe we're three generations in now and I haven't heard many busted baffle issues come up. So the kinks in the heat welded process (or whatever they use) may have been resolved.

Unlike the pure air based Xlite or Xtherm, the Exped uses a knock off of Primaloft Gold. So even if you did get a leak or a bust... provided you could get it to hold about 3/4" of air you'd get nearly the full R value of the pad in a pinch. Most field patches or tenacious tape repairs will do the job well enough to inflate to half full.

The pack size and weights are competitive with the neo-air series and they do make a wide medium which is nice. No short wide though.

Specifically the Hyperlight series, which does have a winterlight (not down) version to compare to the Xtherm.
Orange for three season, Red for winter.

The other bonus in my opinion goes to what Alligator and others discussed- inflation. The schnozzel system is pretty good (and if it fails you can always blow it up). It's very fast and it eliminates any moisture induced bacteria, mold, mildew, whatever type problems.
It's personal preference really- but the vertical baffles and thickened edges fit my style better and give me more usable pad than the Neo-Air design so slide offs are virtually non-existent.
I might suspect that your Pillow failures might be simply how you use the pad as far as repeating the location of the failure and given your time spent on it sitting, lounging, reading, etc. But that's not really important... just a matter of curiosity on why your failures occur in the same spot. Do you read on your side propped up on an elbow often? Or sit that way in your bag while you cook, etc.

On the durability... I believe we've had this discussion before. Had it at WB for sure...
I think better these days to discuss things in terms of 'nights' generally. Having run into this with SUL or UL gear being 'less durable' the argument is easily made that conventional weekend warrior or boy scout wisdom on years of durability of certain gear is simply a function of more folks doing LD hikes or spending extended time out like you do Walter.

A dedicated weekend warrior getting out once a month for two nights racks up 24 nights a year. So when that gear is claimed to last a decade... well it made it 240 nights. If a decent UL piece of gear gets through 1 or 2 through hikes or makes it for a year or so of 21 days at a crack per month then more than likely it saw more nights of use than 'Old Faithful' that was stored properly, cared for, and loved over a decade of weekends.

Continuous field use, daily packing and unpacking, temperature extremes, dirt, dust, body oils and on... 300 days of steady use without a serious issue is a pretty solid piece of gear in my book.

If that old faithful piece of gear was set out on the porch every day exposed to the elements by the weekend warrior instead of stowed in good condition even he'd probably see a few years taken off the lifespan if it didn't flat out dry rot long before 100 nights of use were achieved.

Not saying stuff should crap out; but just to keep some perspective (as I know you have) on durability.

I've been looking at a 100 night system myself...
100 nights for SUL/FKT minded gear... not throwaway but meant to do a specific job and a serious trip at the bare minimum of specs.

200 nights- solid gear to get you through an average Big LD hike or several LASH's. But not overblown 'bomber' stuff designed for the zombie apocalypse.

300 nights- pretty bomber stuff IMO. Several pieces of UL gear like packs and sleeping quilts hit this mark even without being too overblown in design with moderate care.

More'n that... well those are those rare pieces built for death and destruction and reflected in both weight and cost...
Like a Mystery Ranch Pack :D

nsherry61
10-19-2017, 15:58
Is this just a recent thing? Think quality has gone down hill?
Delamination of inflatable pads is NOT a recent thing. It has been with us since the beginning, and I'm going back to both my 1979 Termarest and my 1981 Termarest, both of which were eventually replaced because of delamination, admittedly after many years of weekend and occasional weeks of use.

I think that ultimately, as expressed by Just Bill, we are, to some extent, victims of our overblown expectations. We want light, reliable, and cheap. Reality will generally only give us two out of three of those. Pick the two most important to you and run with it.

Lastly, if we are pushing the technology envelope in design and materials, we will inevitably have a higher failure rate than continuing to use, and accept the limitations of, the old reliable stuff

Just Bill
10-19-2017, 17:25
Yar... nothing super new.
Though in my spunky years as a quartermaster for a 60 scout troop, gear repair guy and gear salesperson for scout troops and at a few retail places from around 1990-2000:

What I recall were valves and the occasional end seam on the thermarests. As Walter mentioned it wasn't until the die-cut foams of the thin-light series came around that these type of de-lam (or foam breakdown) issues popped up.

The foam and shell were never mated together if I recall correctly. The foam was simply cored out with horizontal channels and slipped into the heat sealed sleeve of the shell. Basically a pillow case system or a big water bladder.
So other than a puncture (easily patched) it was valve failures 90% of the time or the occasional edge seam breaking. I'm old enough to remember the brass valves falling prey to the lug monster boot as well killing off valves being an issue. Or the o-ring in the brass valve needed replacement/lubrication as part of repair.

REI and most therma-rest dealers carried valve repair kits... these days I can't recall seeing one or talking about it much. If there were forums in those days we'd have seen plenty of threads about replacing valves... since we don't now- I'd guess that's a problem they have mastered.

Therma-rest does/did seem to have the advantage in the pure air pads... but others are catching up on that as well.

So I'd guess these birthing delam bubbles may lead to the impression there is a slide in quality- in reality it's a newer issue related to pushing for lighter and lighter versions of pads and trying to laminate ever more delicate/lighter foam.

martinb
10-23-2017, 14:25
I had four Exped synmats delam, each after ~ 100 nights of use. I asked CS what the problems were with these and the response was part design flaw, part construction flaw. Supposedly their 3D pad solves it. I got one as a replacement for a delam, so far no issues but I've only used it a a few nights. Exped has been excellent with replacing these but there's still a fear factor when out on a multi-day hike.

Tipi Walter
11-09-2017, 18:03
I found this pertinent video link in a recent email and it's very relevant to this thread! Go thru the vid towards the end to see the problem---


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbSpDvgugTA&feature=youtu.be

johnspenn
11-09-2017, 18:16
I found this pertinent video link in a recent email and it's very relevant to this thread! Go thru the vid towards the end to see the problem---
Saw that one today too. Not sure why he bailed on the whole trip, he could have hiked back to Hot Springs and gotten something to get him through. Not that he needs my advise haha!

saltysack
11-09-2017, 18:33
I found this pertinent video link in a recent email and it's very relevant to this thread! Go thru the vid towards the end to see the problem---


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbSpDvgugTA&feature=youtu.be

I thought of you when I saw his vid yesterday....but you would have had a spare and kept truckin...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

camper10469
11-09-2017, 18:37
Okay boys, another one bites the dust. This is about my 10th or 12th delamination in the last 40 years sleeping on Thermarest pads.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpack-2017-Trips-79/Pre-Trip-186/i-8RGFhP6/0/bf82e882/XL/P1000040-XL.jpg
Zoe dog investigates the sad Fact---welcome to Cascade Designs.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpack-2017-Trips-79/Pre-Trip-186/i-BmLGPXG/0/240def2c/XL/P1000050-XL.jpg
After a couple hours in the sun the pad DOES NOT self heal and instead expands.

I spent last night in the backyard "camping" and preparing for another trip and working out the kinks in my gear. Lucky me this happened before the trip.

thermarests are waranteed for life. return it and they will send you a brand new one.

Tipi Walter
11-09-2017, 23:22
I thought of you when I saw his vid yesterday....but you would have had a spare and kept truckin...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Having a Plan B when it comes to a sleeping pad is required. In fact, I carry a ccf pad along with my inflatable in case the inflatable dies. And also carry a small and very light NeoAir as an emergency second backup but unused as of yet.


thermarests are waranteed for life. return it and they will send you a brand new one.

They probably won't cover what I did to the pad AFTER it delaminated.

martinb
11-21-2017, 14:34
This past weekend.

40989

Are we having fun yet?

Tipi Walter
11-21-2017, 16:11
This past weekend.

40989

Are we having fun yet?

Welcome to the wonderful world of Surprise.

rocketsocks
11-21-2017, 18:32
This past weekend.

40989

Are we having fun yet?Hold the air valve between your thumb and forefinger and have your pad turn it’s baffles and cough twice.

Tipi Walter
11-21-2017, 20:30
Welcome to the wonderful herniated world of ruptures.

martinb
11-22-2017, 08:21
This is the fourth synmat 7 (I originally bought two) that has done this on me. This latest failure was a replacement pad for one of the originals that failed. Exped has replaced the previous ones and I just mailed this one out yesterday to a probable replacement, as well.

This particular model is no longer produced, according to Exped, and I got a 3-D model for my last failure which hasn't had a problem, but it's real early. The older synmats failed in the 60-night range.

martinb
11-22-2017, 08:24
Hold the air valve between your thumb and forefinger and have your pad turn it’s baffles and cough twice.

I'm going to blow it all the way up and see if there's a late entry slot in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

Greenlight
11-22-2017, 09:30
Did you come up with a diagnosis? Some have used the term hernia. Breaking the pad into quadrants, we could break it down into "hyper-inflation induced delamination hernia of the upper right quadrant."

Prognosis: DNR on file, call curbside pickup.


IMPORTANT UPDATE
I came up with a plan to rebuild my dead Thermarest.

40671
First I studied WHY the fabric pulled away from the foam.

40672
Then I pulled it apart to repair each section in order from top to bottom.

40673
Then I laid it out properly for a hot steam glue repair. Results forthcoming.

Tipi Walter
11-22-2017, 09:37
Did you come up with a diagnosis? Some have used the term hernia. Breaking the pad into quadrants, we could break it down into "hyper-inflation induced delamination hernia of the upper right quadrant."

Prognosis: DNR on file, call curbside pickup.

Diagnosis? Your assessment stands and has become the official nomenclature for all future medical field reports---although there is some disagreement regarding the "hyper-inflation" diagnosis. "Normal-inflation" may be the more correct term.

Prognosis: Dying and soon to be completely dead---cremate at next available opportunity.

Which Way
11-23-2017, 00:21
I know you had a bad first date; but I've been impressed with the Exped pads thus far.
I believe we're three generations in now and I haven't heard many busted baffle issues come up. So the kinks in the heat welded process (or whatever they use) may have been resolved.

Unlike the pure air based Xlite or Xtherm, the Exped uses a knock off of Primaloft Gold. So even if you did get a leak or a bust... provided you could get it to hold about 3/4" of air you'd get nearly the full R value of the pad in a pinch. Most field patches or tenacious tape repairs will do the job well enough to inflate to half full.

The pack size and weights are competitive with the neo-air series and they do make a wide medium which is nice. No short wide though.

Specifically the Hyperlight series, which does have a winterlight (not down) version to compare to the Xtherm.
Orange for three season, Red for winter.

The other bonus in my opinion goes to what Alligator and others discussed- inflation. The schnozzel system is pretty good (and if it fails you can always blow it up). It's very fast and it eliminates any moisture induced bacteria, mold, mildew, whatever type problems.
It's personal preference really- but the vertical baffles and thickened edges fit my style better and give me more usable pad than the Neo-Air design so slide offs are virtually non-existent.
I might suspect that your Pillow failures might be simply how you use the pad as far as repeating the location of the failure and given your time spent on it sitting, lounging, reading, etc. But that's not really important... just a matter of curiosity on why your failures occur in the same spot. Do you read on your side propped up on an elbow often? Or sit that way in your bag while you cook, etc.

On the durability... I believe we've had this discussion before. Had it at WB for sure...
I think better these days to discuss things in terms of 'nights' generally. Having run into this with SUL or UL gear being 'less durable' the argument is easily made that conventional weekend warrior or boy scout wisdom on years of durability of certain gear is simply a function of more folks doing LD hikes or spending extended time out like you do Walter.

A dedicated weekend warrior getting out once a month for two nights racks up 24 nights a year. So when that gear is claimed to last a decade... well it made it 240 nights. If a decent UL piece of gear gets through 1 or 2 through hikes or makes it for a year or so of 21 days at a crack per month then more than likely it saw more nights of use than 'Old Faithful' that was stored properly, cared for, and loved over a decade of weekends.

Continuous field use, daily packing and unpacking, temperature extremes, dirt, dust, body oils and on... 300 days of steady use without a serious issue is a pretty solid piece of gear in my book.

If that old faithful piece of gear was set out on the porch every day exposed to the elements by the weekend warrior instead of stowed in good condition even he'd probably see a few years taken off the lifespan if it didn't flat out dry rot long before 100 nights of use were achieved.

Not saying stuff should crap out; but just to keep some perspective (as I know you have) on durability.

I've been looking at a 100 night system myself...
100 nights for SUL/FKT minded gear... not throwaway but meant to do a specific job and a serious trip at the bare minimum of specs.

200 nights- solid gear to get you through an average Big LD hike or several LASH's. But not overblown 'bomber' stuff designed for the zombie apocalypse.

300 nights- pretty bomber stuff IMO. Several pieces of UL gear like packs and sleeping quilts hit this mark even without being too overblown in design with moderate care.

More'n that... well those are those rare pieces built for death and destruction and reflected in both weight and cost...
Like a Mystery Ranch Pack :D

Excellent points! Glad to hear of your appreciation of the Exped as well. I just ordered the Duo for my wife and me. I went with the standard over the UL. For the extra pound, which essentially will be divided between us, was worth it to me for the extra security of a more sturdy pad, and a better R value.

Leo L.
12-13-2017, 09:32
OK, big surprise:
A brand-new Thermarest Prolite Plus was handed to me today at the shop. Zero Money.
The new pad has a small black blotch on the user side, so it might be a second quality sample, but thats very OK for me.

Thank you Thermarest (or Cascade Designs, respectively)!

martinb
12-13-2017, 17:45
Reminds me, got my replacement for my blown synmat, another 3-D pad. My other 3-D pad has been good, so far but it hasn't reached the 60-night threshold. Exped has been excellent, customer service wise.

Leo L.
12-14-2017, 04:37
Yesterday evening I did a little calculation of how many nights I've might have spent on this blown Thermarest:
It was 4yrs old, and I had done 5 desert trips ~7 weeks each, plus several local multiday hikes, plus many nights in the backyard.
Might sum up to 300-350 nights on this pad, at least 300 times of unrolling, inflating, and reverse.

handlebar
12-14-2017, 21:34
I returned a Neoair Xtherm that had developed a large number (12) of slow leaks where the horizontal ribs are laminated to one another to Cascade Designs. (I had to reinflate it once or twice a night during my 4 weeks on the Grand Enchantment this fall.) They replaced it for free. Good outfit that stands behind their products. I figure most users don't spend as much time on their pads as I do, so they build in some flex in their pricing to cover such warranty issues.

Tipi Walter
12-15-2017, 13:14
I returned a Neoair Xtherm that had developed a large number (12) of slow leaks where the horizontal ribs are laminated to one another to Cascade Designs. (I had to reinflate it once or twice a night during my 4 weeks on the Grand Enchantment this fall.) They replaced it for free. Good outfit that stands behind their products. I figure most users don't spend as much time on their pads as I do, so they build in some flex in their pricing to cover such warranty issues.

I too spend excessive amounts of time sleeping on my Thermarests---around 340 nights per year when including not just my trip nights but my backyard bag nights.

It's one thing to have an excellent exchange policy and it's another thing to have a pad fail on a winter trip with no recourse to such an excellent warranty. In other words, a great warranty is useless in the field after a failure. What happens in that case is I lose my trust in the product (like Exped downmats) and don't trust it enough to use on a trip.

martinb
12-15-2017, 14:43
Yeah, gotta say I'm not happy about my field failures with the two synmat 7s. They cut short two multi-day trips and I'm not sold that the baffle issue has been resolved with the 3-D replacement. I'm overnighting one for a while to see if it blows in the expected time frame.