Further issues with the POE Peak Elite AC sleeping mat

I have had further problems with my mat during my recent trip on the Pennine Way. I previously posted that the mat sprung a leak on the third night of use, which I subsequently repaired.  The second night of this trip, the mat deflated again and despite spending considerable time looking for the leak I could not locate it.  I therefore had to spend the 2nd and 3rd night sleeping on a completely deflated mat and my waterproofs, which was neither comfortable or warm!

On returning yesterday I located again a tiny leak by putting the mat into a bath of water and found to my surprise that the leak was in exactly the same location (between outer and first baffle right near where the mat starts to taper), but this time it was on the right side not left and on the underside to the first leak.  I have repaired the leak with seam seal again. However, I thought this was too much of a coincidence so I phoned the retailer and ask them about the mat. They told me that they have had a number of mats returned including some TGOers because of leaks and if I recall correctly that the UK importer has now stopped importing the regular size mat.

Now this maybe just a batch problem, because I know that some bloggers who purchased this mat a few months ago have not had problems (or have they?).   I don’t have a problem with faulty batches – it happens and as long as the company sorts it out – no problem.  I now have a bit of a dilemma.   Do I risk further potential problems in the future? And if so I probably will not now get a replacement (OK I will get my money back) OR do I ask for my money back and go for another type of mat?   I am disappointed, the mat is very comfortable, when I used it for the few nights it was inflated, it packs small, and weighs very little.  I thought I had found the ideal mat.

I have some thinking to do – does anyone have some suggestions for mats in the similar weight range?  I am thinking about the Exped Synmat 7 UL, it is heavier, but hopefully more reliable.

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49 Responses to Further issues with the POE Peak Elite AC sleeping mat

  1. Greg says:

    My wife has the Neo air , it is the three quarter version and packs up smaller than my full length Elite. No probs with either yet.

    • Greg, I thought of the Neo Air, but I hear that a number of people find the horizontal tubes uncomfortable. I wish I had no problems with the Elite, I think it is an excellent mat.

  2. Robin says:

    No problems with mine so far. When a bit of gear fails, it’s difficult to trust it again, so getting something different makes sense. The new Exped mats look good, although not quite as light.

  3. Alan says:

    Would the Kooka Bay mat be worth a try? They are light but only specified as 2 season at the moment but a warmer one looks like its pending.


  4. I’ve used the 3/4 Peak Elite AC for a few weeks now Mark, and haven’t had any problems at all. Its given me the best nights sleep out of doors yet and is easily the best mat I’ve used by a long way. And weighing in at only 248g including stuff-sack, I cant see me shifting to anything else now.
    I would hope it is maybe just a faulty batch, and risk trying again.

    • David, thanks for your reply. I understand the problem is that the UK importer is now no longer importing the regular mat into the UK, so I cannot get a replacement from the retailer as they do not have anymore. If I get a refund and go to another retailer will I run into the same problem who may have the same batch. I understand the problems are with regular size mat and not the 3/4 length – but I would like the full length one

  5. swanscot says:

    Hmm, a bit of a dilemma since it is a comfy mat.

  6. R MacE says:

    There’s always the Alpkit Numo but at about 500g it may be heavier than you want.

  7. backpackbrewer says:

    As you know, I have the 2/3 peak mat and although used in anger only once it didnt lose any pressure overnight. I will however blow it up this weekend and test it out again.

    Exped are excellent mats but heavier and TAR neoairs had similar leaky issues when first released
    I am sure POE will sort out the issue quickly but in the meantime its difficult to know what to do

  8. Bill Wilkins says:

    Have a look at Klymit. I’m not sure they have a distributor in the U.K. http://www.klymit.com/
    ultimate bill from Switzerland – http://www.inov8swiss.com

    • Thanks Bill – I have had a look at this product. Not sure about how warm it would be – BUT a pretty radical design. There is a distributor in the UK – The Outdoor Warehouse

  9. Mike R says:

    Mark, you may want to consider a Klymit Inertia X-frame that they have just got in at Outdoorwarehouse. They have recently reviewed it on the UKClimbng website. I am not sure how warm they might be but I am considering one for two season use. They are certainly a bit different from the norm.

  10. Alan says:

    The Klymit pad. I can’t see me paying all that money for something that looks like if you move around a lot in the night you end up down one of the holes. I understand the concept but does it work in practice, i’m not sure.
    Only reviews will tell.

  11. John J says:

    I bought a POE mat about 5 years ago, it was great for a while until it started to develop leaks – microscopic little holes close to the seams. I was going to bin it but didn’t get round to it.

    Earlier this year, in a fit of web-browsing, I came across POE’s website, and under ‘Support’ I discovered this statement: “All Pacific Outdoor Equipment product is warranted against defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the product. Should at any time you find one of these rare defects, we will repair or replace the product at our option.”

    An email resulted in a replacement sleepmat arriving a week later. They didn’t even want the old one back, suggesting it’s rather a long term problem for them.

    Good service from the company but rather disappointing product reliability-wise. I took the new mat on this year’s TGO Challenge where it proved supremely comfortable….but I’m still wary of the mat’s reliability.


    • John thanks for the information. I guess from your reference to the TGO that you are likely living in the UK. Did you send back to the States or back to your local retailer ? My retailer cannot replace as the UK POE importer has decided to no longer bring in these mats in regular size – is this a sign of a problem ?- I don’t know. It is good (in a way) to hear I am not the only one with these problems of tiny holes. I agree about the mat being comfortable.

  12. alan.sloman says:

    I have the Standard length NeoAir and the standard length Exped Downmat7. I use the NeoAir for spring / summer / autumn and the Exped for winter. I find both mats equally comfortable and have had no problems with either. Have owned the Exped for almost 5 years and the NeoAir for over two.

  13. I have a Exped Down mat – superbly comfortable and warm.

  14. John J says:

    I contacted POE directly and explained my problem. They referred the case to their UK distributor Burton McCall, 0116 234 4646. Although the mat originally came from a place in Australia – you can blame Peewiglet for that! Actually at the time of buying mine it wasn’t available in UK. None-the-less they stood by their warranty and sent me a new one.
    Oh, and yes – I’m in UK, 8 miles south of Manchester….perilously close to the author of Postcard from Timperley.
    I suggest you contact POE (http://pacoutdoor.com/) and explain the problem, they’ll probably contact Burton McCall on your behalf.


  15. John, thanks for taking the time to help me with this info.
    It is appreciated

  16. charles says:

    I am considering getting a POE , but still deliberating whether to get the full version or the 3/4 – at only 248
    grams there is a useful saving in weight (it all adds up ! ) over the regular. However , I currently use an old 3/4
    thermarest , and usually put my rucksac/clothes under my feet. But it has never been very comfortable .
    The new 3/4 POE seems to be a very different animal as it were. Sleeping comfort is of great importance,but
    so is weight . Any thourghts from users of the 3/4 version v the regular would be most welcome !

    • Charles I have no experience of the 3/4 mat. But I know a few bloggers that have and they still need to put their feet on a backpack or similar. I entirely agree with you that a good night’s is important, but so is weight carried. I think the regular size is a good compromise between the two objectives.

    • Hi Charles, the first couple of times using the shorter mat takes just a little getting used to. I use my rucksack under my feet, but as I usually sleep in an almost foetal position I find that I can pretty much fit completely onto the mat. If you were using a pillow as well there would be even more room.
      I would say though as with Mark, that a good nights sleep would be more preferential than to saving some grams, so the regular may be a good compromise.
      There is no doubting though to the comfiness of this pad.

  17. charles says:

    Thanks to Mark and David re the POE
    I too sleep mainly in the foetal position, but nice to have the comfort of stretching out,
    I always found my feet got cold – even with a rucsac/clothes – with a short mat.
    So will probably go with the regular ( hope it does’nt leak ! )

  18. Charles, let me know how you get on with yours

  19. GeoffC says:

    It may be a batch problem. I’m sure you know about the problem with the first batch of NeoAirs that went on sale that I posted about – the mattresses were perfectly ok in production, it was some fault in the handling later in the process. Subsequent ones were fine and mine still is. I use the short version and put my empty pack under my feet, its lumbar pad is quite comfortable. Exped Downmat for winter.
    I remember that although my original faulty one deflated overnight, I couldn’t find any leaks (but I didn’t do the bath test).

  20. Aha! says:

    Aha! So this is the reason why the peak elite a.c. is so darn hard to find in stock anywhere online! At the price asked, 65 quid and up I think I will stay away and go for an exped instead.

  21. Rick says:

    I just exchanged an email or two with the guys at P.O.E about the Peak Elite AC because I was concerned about the leaking issue. See their repy below:

    Thank you for your interest in Pacific Outdoor Equipment gear.

    Regarding the Peak Elite AC pad.
    We did have a problem with the adhesive and insulation interfering with each other in one early batch of production. We have since resolved this issue.
    Regarding the reliability we do stand behind all of our pads against factory defects for the lifetime of the product. Though I know this does not do you any good if your pad leaks on day one of a fifteen day pack trip. All of our pads come with a patch kit as well. I have recommended this pad to several friends and they have not had any issues.

    I would recommend testing your pad before your trip regardless of which kind or from whom far enough ahead of time to resolve any problems that may arise.

    Currently we are on back order for the Peak Elite AC. We will be receiving new items 7/15 and will be sending them out to our vendors for sale then. I would recommend checking back with us at or around that date and we will be better able to direct you to a vendor.

    Josh Wise

    Customer Service
    Pacific Outdoor Equipment, Laken and Baladeo USA
    2134 Industrial Drive
    Bozeman, MT 59715 USA
    P: 406/586.5258
    F: 406/586.5276
    “good gear = less waste”

    • Rick ,thank you very much for sharing your information. I take on board what POE have said about a early batch. However I did test my pad before going on my trip and repaired a leak prior to the trip. It still sprung a leak after second day, so I don’t think this advice means you won’t get leaks on a trip if you have a faulty product to start. This pad has a lot going for it ,but I need confidence with the kit I use.

  22. Ken Long says:

    Hi Mark
    I bought a POE Peak Elite AC regular in April this year and it was leaky straight out of the box. I got it replaced and now the replacement, after only four nights use, is leaking. I’ve done the bath test, and can see no bubbles but it is still deflating. It’s super comfy, very light, but if I can’t rely on it then that’s for nothing. Time to look for another one maybe…

  23. Eugene says:

    I’ve just sent my leaking Peak Elite back to Rutland, they sent it back to POW for amalysis and the result is that I have been told the item is discontinued and an alternative is not available.

  24. Eugene says:

    Cheers Mark.. My other half has that one as she suffers from a sore back. It’s too bulky for bivying though :o)

  25. Eugene says:

    Has anyone looked at the Klymit Inertia X Frame… Looks to good to be true.

  26. I purchased a Pacific Outdoor Equipment Peak ELITE AC from Cotswold Outdoors on a trip to Wales. This is the second replacement I’ve had after the first one failing on me, resulting in a night on the cold ground.

    On Saturday night, on this mattress’s *second* camping trip, the same thing happened again. A slow deflation after about an hour and a half of lying on it, then a night on the not-so-comfortable freezing ground in the north Highlands.

    These failures are very frustrating, after the first time it happened I have been extremely careful with the mattress when packing, storing and using it – made no difference though. I only weight 9.5 stones, so I don’t think I’m putting much pressure on it either 🙂

    At this point I feel unable to trust this product on another camping trip, in spite of it being one of the most comfortable sleeping mattresses I’ve ever used.

    I’ve sent a note of complaint to Pacific Outdoor Equipment directly, and I’m awaiting a response.

    • Gordon thanks for dropping by. I share your frustration. In the end I decided to move to the Exped Symat UL7 as like you I did not relish more days of not so comfortable freezing ground. Pity the mat was comfortable when inflated and packed up small. Not reliable however !!

  27. Gareth says:

    Great article, thanks Mark. I’ve steered clear of these on the back of your feedback and from others which is a shame, they sound like a great mat if they can sort out their reliability issues, but I don’t want to take the chance if I am Winter wild camping as that is a potentially dangerous situation if they fail.

    I use the neo-air regular spring through autumn which I have been v impressed with, and have just bought an all season neo-air for winter. Should get a trial over the next couple of weeks and I’ll feedback as to how it performed.

    • Gareth, as you say it is a shame regarding the mat. I was impressed initially with it, but I think that reliability is important, particularly in the winter as you say. Will be interested to hear about your trials. Do you a have a blog to post this up? If you want to do a guest post on my blog let me know if you don’t and it helps.

  28. John J says:

    Just thought I’d let you know that the replacement mat from POE failed on last year’s TGO Challenge.
    I’m now fairly certain that it’s a design fault.
    Tiny holes developed (the mat wasn’t punctured by anything) along the seams – just where the mat is folded for packing.
    Perhaps if the mat were to be rolled up along it’s length less stress would be put on the seams. I’ve not sent this second mat back, I’ve completely lost confidence in POE mats.
    I’ll probably get one of the Exped mats and / or a Neoair.
    I’ll do a report on my blog in the next day or so.

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