Quick Fixes for Hikers: Seal a Punctured Sleeping Pad

Don’t let a minor malfunction ruin your big trek. Learn to patch a sleeping bag, glue together a boot, and make four more simple repairs that everyone should master before setting foot on the trail.


The situation: You’ve spent a few night on your inflatable sleeping pad, but when you wake up in the morning, all the air has seeped out. You stick a corner of the pad in a bucket of water and notice a small leak. How do you fix your trail bed?

The fix: For a small leak, the experts at Therm-a-Rest recommend using a glue such as SeamGrip or AquaSeal. Clean and dry the area around the tear before applying a dab large enough to completely cover the hole. Let dry for 24 hours. If you can’t wait a day and the mattress fabric is smooth, try a peel-and-stick bicycle tube patch.  

Larger hole repairs might have to wait until you’re off the trail: Get an adhesive fabric patch, cut to slightly larger than the tear, cover the hole, and wait 24 hours for it to dry.

If water has gotten into the ripped mattress, roll it up starting from the end opposite the open valve. Repeat as many times as necessary to squeeze out the moisture, then hang the pad upside down with the valve open in a warm spot.

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