How to Fix a Leaky Sleeping Pad

2:46 p.m. on November 13, 2009 (EST)
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This thread is for comments on the article "How to Fix a Leaky Sleeping Pad"

Ever woken up to the cold, uncomfortable ground after your sleeping pad sprung a leak? Learn how to repair holes, tears, or punctures in your air mattress, in the field or at home, with just a few materials and a little time.

Full article at http://www.trailspace.com/articles/how-to-fix-leaky-sleeping-pad.html

4:06 p.m. on November 14, 2009 (EST)
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We encountered a problem on Denali not dealt with in the article. One of the members of our party had a slow leak in his pad - not a complete disaster, since we, like most people in winter conditions, were using a combination of a closed cell and an inflatable pad. Finding a small, slow leak in subzero conditions is very challenging, and the soap and water approach does not work. By several of us working on it, we eventually identified the leak, but there must be a better way.

Also, you don't mention that Cascade Designs (Thermarest) has a thermal glue in their repair kit. That is, you heat the tube in boiling water to soften it. The big advantage is that it cures very rapidly - you can use the pad immediately without waiting for a long cure as with seamseal.

6:40 p.m. on November 14, 2009 (EST)
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Bill's post reminds me of my last trip when I took out a brand new Thermarest and discovered a very slow 16 hour leak from inside the valve. I put a little water in my cook pot and suspended the valve in the water and voila! The leak. I learned two things:

** Never take out a brand new pad on a long trip w/o using it first in the "back yard."

** Find a box and send it back quickly to get a refund.

Thermarest has had several repair kits over the years, the Hot Bond of course comes to mind, along with a new Fast and Light patch kit for the Prolite/NeoAir types and before the Hot Bond they had another glue-patch kit. As mentioned, McNetts also has their own repair kit and so when I go out I take the Hot Bond kit and the McNetts--double duty, double protection? Maybe.

10:05 p.m. on November 14, 2009 (EST)
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I never had a leak in my Ridgerest!

Sometimes I carry two, and sleep like a baby.

10:12 a.m. on November 15, 2009 (EST)
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What's the Rvalue of two Ridgerests??


Okay, I figured it out, it's about 5.2R. I wonder how comfy two of them actually are? I tried one Ridgerest back in the '80s and found it totally unusable on snow and ice. Is it a true factor to add up the Rvalues of two pads and this becomes the true R number? Just wondering.

11:24 a.m. on November 15, 2009 (EST)
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Good question Tipi,

I don't know.

I tend to be one of those guys that hangs on to old gear until it turns to dust, and that's the biggest reason I still use a Ridgerest, not that it's necessarily the wisest choice. I've found I can sleep on plywood if I have to, I guess that's not typical. On the flip side, if I have to eat freeze dried for more than three days in a row I tend to get whiny, I keep it to myself, but I don't have to like it. HaHa.

I've found two Ridgerests provide adequate insulation and comfort for me during January / February. They are light & trouble free, but bulky no doubt.

I bought three of them from buddies who moved on to Thermarests, and I do plan on getting one this year myself.

2:21 p.m. on November 15, 2009 (EST)
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Finding a small, slow leak in subzero conditions is very challenging, and the soap and water approach does not work. By several of us working on it, we eventually identified the leak, but there must be a better way.

Also, you don't mention that Cascade Designs (Thermarest) has a thermal glue in their repair kit. That is, you heat the tube in boiling water to soften it. The big advantage is that it cures very rapidly - you can use the pad immediately without waiting for a long cure as with seamseal.

Good question, Bill. Naturally I would turn around and ask you what the solution is in subzero conditions! If anyone has some good suggestions for specific situations/problems like this, I'd love to work them into the article.

You're right about the Therm-a-rest Hot Bond. I'll add that info to the article under faster curing info. You'll notice a tube of Hot Bond in my pictures.

3:00 p.m. on November 15, 2009 (EST)
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My solution for long trips is to have a buried Thermarest cache within a day or two of wherever I am backpacking. On my last trip this proved to be worthwhile as I needed it. For backpackers not doing long loops and doing a A to B trip in below zero temps, there's the Toughskin pad solution. When inflated it has an R of 5.1, and when deflated or leaking it's the same as an inflated Prolite 4: 3.2R. Good to know and I tried it down in my basecamp tent a couple of nights ago and it works.

8:43 p.m. on November 15, 2009 (EST)
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Naturally I would turn around and ask you what the solution is in subzero conditions!

The way we found the leak on Denali was several hours of blowing the pad up as hard as we could (helps to have a genuine blowhard in the group!), then putting weight on one end and putting an ear close to the pad while scanning every square centimeter of surface, top and bottom (is "scanning" the right term for putting your ear next to the pad and moving it around?). Your ear is fairly sensitive to a gentle pinpoint breeze (ask your significant other about this ;=D). Everyone in the tent has to be very quiet, and the wind needs to be at a low level with no tent flapping. It still took a couple of hours of scanning and rescanning, then confirming with a bit of hand sanitizer (rather than soapy water, which is harder to clean off before applying the patch). It turned out to be 2 holes, the second discovered while doing a confirming scan. As I said, there must be a better way, certainly one that is faster. There was also a bit of luck involved.

1:46 a.m. on January 8, 2010 (EST)
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I have used tear-aid(purchased from Cabelas.) Seems to work and its not a messy process. I keep it in my kit.

http://www.cabelas.com/p-0028443516558a.shtml

2 diff types(A & B)/diff. applications. Ive used it on my tent fly and have a friend that used it on an inflatable raft. Quick, strong fix. Weighs next to nothing.

This is the big roll. But you can get it in smaller lengths. Quick fix for alot of applications. I have also used it on my gaiters. Works well and it is clear.

As far as another way of finding a leak? The above mentioed are the only ones I know of.

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