So, it rained pretty much all day so while Mari was out running some errands I took the opportunity to try and fix a couple of our sleeping pads. If you happen to own an inflatable sleeping pad for camping, one day – most likely when you’re getting ready to crash after a long day outside – you will discover that your nice comfortable pad does not hold air as well as it used to. When you find yourself in this position do not freak out… repairing a pad is quite easy.
First things first… you need to find the place where the air is leaking out. The first place you want to check is the valve. Make sure it is closed tightly and that it is free from any kind of dirt or grit that may make its seal less than optimal. Also, inspect the area where the hard valve meets the flexible pad. This junction is quite susceptible to damage. If the valve looks OK, the next thing to check are the seams and any other area of the pad that is visibly worn. The seams are actually quite durable and it is very unlikely that they will be the culprit, and it is usually the worn areas near the feet or on the bottom where you almost always find your culprit.
If there is no visible hole, then you’re going to have to do something to make the hole visible. To do this you might have heard about, or maybe someone suggested it, but submerging the pad underwater and then looking for the bubbles. Well, let me just tell you right now that this doesn’t work in the slightest… don’t even bother. What you want to do is go grab a cup of soapy water. Make sure it’s really soapy. Then just fill up your pad and start rubbing the soapy water all over the surface. It helps to get the pad wet first as the wetter the pad is the better this method seems to work. I’ve found that folding over one end and kneeling on it while running my hands over the side being inspected allows me to find the holes in the least amount of time. Do one side, then the other. Then flip the pad over and check it out. If you have a hole it will be readily apparent. Also, make sure you have a Sharpie or something similar to mark the spot where the hole is.
Once you’ve identified all of the holes, the next step is the seal them. My suggestion is to skip any of the available patch kits and go straight to the AquaSeal. This stuff is super strong, flexible and totally air tight. No do-overs necessary.
Lastly, get outside and enjoy your newly repaired sleeping pad.