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  1. #1
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    Default sleepimg pad condensation

    I first bought a Thermarest xtherm regular size. The stuff sack was a blow up sack. I found it very awkward to use. Then I decided I wanted the wider pad. I went up to the large, (wish they would make a regular length wide). It came with a normal stuff sack. So I use lung power to blow up the pad. Some folks have warned about condensation from that. Is there anything I can do about it? like maybe hang it with the vent at the bottom in the sun so the moisture drains and cooks out of it.
    About the crinkle. I've heard it gets less after a while. So should I use it on top of my bed and break it in before I hit the trail and impose the crinkle on other folks.
    Thanks!!

  2. #2
    Registered User Lyle's Avatar
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    I have the Xtherm. I use the inflator stuff sack. I found that it was easy enough after getting used to it and developing a "method". The only complaint is the finickiness of the attachment of the stuff sack to the valve for use, but this is a small price to pay for keeping the inevitable moisture out of such an expensive piece of gear.

    I do not believe that hanging the pad in the sun will do much to remove the moisture, it would need air circulation INSIDE the bag in order to evaporate it and pull it out. Just placing the pad in the sun to "cook" it out may cause the moisture to evaporate, but it will not be expelled. The moisture will "re-condense" once the pad cools down.

    POSSIBLE method to remove some of the moisture, in my mind, would be to:
    1) Partially inflate the pad using the stuff sack.
    2) Place pad in sun or an extra warm room for an hour or so.
    3) Before the pad cools down, deflate the pad as thoroughly as you can.
    4) Repeat multiple times.

    In my theory, this should evaporate the moisture and expel at least most of it to the outside before it "re-condenses".

    Regarding the "crinkle": My understanding is that the newer pads are a vast improvement over the original in this regard, and much less of the still existing "crinkle" will wear out. My experience is that I hardly notice the noise in practice. It has never caused me a problem sleeping (and I toss and turn), nor have I worried about others being annoyed, but I've seldom used it in shelters. Even in the shelters, however, if the snorers (I'm told myself included) don't worry about disturbing others, I'm not going to worry about a "crinkle". Sounds are frequently amplified in shelters, however, so it could conceivably be more annoying, but see comment above about snorers, so I still wouldn't worry too much.

    Is it louder than most other pads? Yes. Do I find it an issue? No.

    Regarding using it on top of the bed: Most ultralight gear has a limited life-span, even with proper care. While I find the Xtherm to be a pretty tough piece of gear, I would not hasten it's demise by sleeping on it nightly at home just to "possibly" make it a bit less noisy.

    If I were you, I would practice some more with the inflator stuff sack. I think the health of an expensive piece of gear is more than worth the mild hassle. Also, you could look into the inflator sack that Thermarest sells on the side. I believe it is larger, so would reduce the "fiddle factor" some.

    Finally, many folks tout the ease of use of the battery powered inflator that is available. They state is is compact and light and worth carrying. I've never tried one.

    Hope you find a solution to your displeasure - it is the closest to the comfort of a hammock that a ground dweller can achieve.

    Good Luck.
    Last edited by Lyle; 03-13-2015 at 09:31.

  3. #3

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    If you have a pool supply store nearby see if they stock something called The Instaflator for blowing up pool toys. Basically a long plastic bag with an adapter which you can attach to your mattress to blow it up. The bag is really long and can be cut down to make it easier to use. It weighs a few ounces but the whole thing can be rolled up and tucked inside my fitted sheet bag. If you can't find it local you can buy it online, but pool stores sell it much cheaper usually.

    Here is the video I did for my review on Trailspace. This lets you stop worrying about moisture and saves some huffing and puffing at the end of the day. It also makes a lot of crinkly noises so it matches the modern lightweight pads well

  4. #4

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    Two ideas:
    [1] You can shorten your wide pad to whatever length you prefer. Takes courage, and carefully following the proven method to do this. You will need a regular clothes iron. I have done this successfully and so have many others. See: https://youtu.be/kumSl-cbLlY
    [2] Use a Big Agnes Pump Sack to inflate your pad and avoid the condensation problem. It will fit any of the NeoAir models.
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  5. #5
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    Default

    I've been thinking about the lil inflator thermarest sells....I'm getting ready to send my large neoair in for warranty replacement as the shiny Mylar stuff has fallen off...Ive heard they made the exterior darker to prevent u from being able to see on newer mods but I'm certain it's caused from moisture...it is a pain in the arse to blow the large one up after a long day!!! I don't have the great fruits to take a knife to mine!!!


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  6. #6

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    I have a 2008 Neo-air which has 100's of nights on it and is still in fine shape. Never had an issue with condensation. It's a non problem.

    On rare occasions condensation might be a problem when using foam core inflatable mats in real cold (well below freezing) weather. In that case moisture can get trapped in the foam and freeze up. You have to remember to deflate and roll up the mat as soon as you get out of your sleeping bag to expel possible moist air while it's still a little warm from body heat.
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  7. #7

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    Therm-a-rest sells an inflator kit that you can attach to a compactor bag and inflate the pad that way. The compactor pad does double duty as a pack liner. I don't think you can get the moisture out that's already in there but maybe, over time, if you use the inflator bag it will eventually dry out.

  8. #8
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    The person at Thermarest said it's a non-issue. A lot of people blow them up by mouth. The moisture that goes in when inflated comes out when deflated.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by squeezebox View Post
    The person at Thermarest said it's a non-issue. A lot of people blow them up by mouth. The moisture that goes in when inflated comes out when deflated.
    he moisture will not come out when deflated unless it is very warm. Generally in the morning when most people deflate an airmat at least one side will be below dew point and condensation would occur, making it essentially impossible for the moisture to leave when deflated. In the winter I would expect ice crystals to be found on the inside bottom of the pad. Are they a problem? I know many folks with hundreds of night of neoairs and they have yet to move away from normal inflation. I use a small battery powered pump that Thermarest sells but that is more due to laziness than protection of pad, I hate blowing up an airmat at the end of a long day.

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    I used a Neo on my thru and always inflated it by mouth, never had a problem.

    For the last few years I've used an Neo XTherm for most of my camping and backpacking, probably 60 - 70 nights a year. I always inflated it by mouth and haven't had a problem with that one either.
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  11. #11
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    Yeah I used a neoair as well, never even considered the condensation issue, so obviously it never was an issue. I saw a few different pumps out there but for the most part everyone just blew them up by mouth. One thing I noticed was how many breaths it would take to blow that mat up, and by the time you're in Maine it takes half the breaths as it did in the beginning.
    Oh how I hated blowing that mat up after a long day, always light headed after finishing...

  12. #12
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    To get moisture out of a NeoAir, you need to inflate it with "dry" air (i.e. not your breath but some sort of bag during a time of relatively low humidity). Close the NeoAir up and allow some time (few hours) for the moisture to evaporate into the dry you just pumped in. Then squeeze out the air and repeat the process about three times. That should get nearly all the excessive moisture out of the pad.

    Quote Originally Posted by saltysack View Post
    ...I'm getting ready to send my large neoair in for warranty replacement as the shiny Mylar stuff has fallen off...
    I had a similar problem with my 1st NeoAir. I originally inflated it by mouth and quickly started seeing what I thought was mold growing inside the pad. So I tried to wash the inside of the pad with a mild Clorox solution. When I emptied the solution from the pad, lots of shiny flakes came out and that's when I realized it wasn't mold growing inside the pad but the mylar delaminating.

    I always assumed that moisture was the cause of my problems there... but then again it might have simply been that delamination was a common problem with at least one run of these and the water simply helped wash some of it out.

    In any case, I now always use a bag of some sort to MOSTLY inflate the pad and then a few quick breaths the pressurize it.

    I have since moved to only inflating with a bag of some sort... I use the bad to do the majority

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    To get moisture out of a NeoAir, you need to inflate it with "dry" air (i.e. not your breath but some sort of bag during a time of relatively low humidity). Close the NeoAir up and allow some time (few hours) for the moisture to evaporate into the dry you just pumped in. Then squeeze out the air and repeat the process about three times. That should get nearly all the excessive moisture out of the pad.


    I had a similar problem with my 1st NeoAir. I originally inflated it by mouth and quickly started seeing what I thought was mold growing inside the pad. So I tried to wash the inside of the pad with a mild Clorox solution. When I emptied the solution from the pad, lots of shiny flakes came out and that's when I realized it wasn't mold growing inside the pad but the mylar delaminating.

    I always assumed that moisture was the cause of my problems there... but then again it might have simply been that delamination was a common problem with at least one run of these and the water simply helped wash some of it out.

    In any case, I now always use a bag of some sort to MOSTLY inflate the pad and then a few quick breaths the pressurize it.

    I have since moved to only inflating with a bag of some sort... I use the bad to do the majority
    Yep same issue I'm having.....think I'm going to buy the lt wt battery powered pump thermarest sells...


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  14. #14
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don H View Post
    I used a Neo on my thru and always inflated it by mouth, never had a problem.

    For the last few years I've used an Neo XTherm for most of my camping and backpacking, probably 60 - 70 nights a year. I always inflated it by mouth and haven't had a problem with that one either.
    Yeah, same here, I've got 7 (or more?) years on a couple of thermarest Neoairs (one original model, replaced with xlite a couple years ago), always inflated with mouth, a couple hundred nights of use, never any noticeable problem. Before the neoairs, same deal with other thermarest models, never, ever any problems (and I still have the old ones, and they still inflate and don't leak, we use them for car-camping all the time, again, a couple hundred nights).

    I really think this breath-moisture thing is a non-problem.

  15. #15
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    Never had any problem with my Xtherm or ProLite due to inflating by mouth. I've got over 100 nights on the former and 300 nights on the latter.

    One thing I do that may help is to open place the mats with valve open atop my hot water heating pipes in the basement. They are from an old gravity feed design so are about 4 inches in outside diameter and are usually quite warm to the touch but not so hot they might cause damage. During heating season, there's very low humidity in the basement. I figure that after a couple days any water vapor will have evaporated out thru the open valves.
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