My Therm-a-Rest NeoAir mattress lasted a long time. In 2012 I purchased it for my first self-supported tour on the Erie Canal trail. It probably inflated and de-inflated over one hundred times since then. During all of that it never sprung a leak or failed to keep me comfortable.
The Mattress Failure
This year, 2023, on about the fourth day of Cycle the Erie Canal, I noticed a bump as I lay down to sleep. At that time I thought nothing of it. The next morning I noticed that one of the pleats separated, causing the bump.
By the final camp, three or four adjacent pleats had separated. The bulge had grown. Apparently, every time it was inflated, another pleat would separate when I lay in it to go to bed. One time I heard the “pop” as I got onto it one evening. It looks like a pillow, but it is not a pillow. It is the look of failure.
Before I threw it away at our final camp site, I took the picture. When I got home I ordered a new Therm-a-rest NeoAir Xlite NXT. I also needed a new inflator.
The New Inflator Fits Better
The inflator is another success story in my opinion. For about eight years I have used a Microburst inflator for my NeoAir mattress. It inflates the mattress in about three minutes while I do other things to set up camp. I bought it after seeing a guy use one in camp during a tour in 2014. I did a review that I posted on YouTube. It works well on a mattress such as the NeoAir, but I do not recommend it for thick mattresses.
The Microburst does not fit the valve on my new mattress. It has a rubber cup that you stretch over the valve. The valve on the new mattress is much larger and the rubber cup will not fit. The solution was to buy a Therm-a-Rest inflator, which is pretty much the same internally. It is actually better since it snaps on the WingLock (TM) valve of the new mattress and inflates or de-inflates the mattress. The Therm-a-Rest inflator has a switch to turn it on and off, while the Microburst starts to run when you open the lid that covers the rubber cup.
The new inflator works just as well as the Mocroburst inflator. After twelve years of experience, I trust that my new Therm-a-Rest mattress will be as reliable and comfortable. I look forward to a few more years of bicycle touring with gear that I trust.