Yeah, it does sound as if you might have killed the padding. Cascade Designs Therm-a-Rest pads and their ilk are pretty tough, but if you compress the foam for long periods of time, theyll lose their memory" and wont re-inflate well. The Therm-a-Rest people recommend that you store the pad flat and with the valve open, somewhere such as under a bed or perhaps upright in a closet. You also want to keep it in a fairly dry place. If you dont have a place where flat storage is possible, Ive had good luck storing a pad loosely tied into a circle with a bungee or other strap.
Therm-a-Rest Trail Comfort Sleeping Pad
Trail Comfort sleeping pad
So, what to do now? Replacement might be the best option. The Trail Lite Therm-a-Rest ($50; thermarest.com) offers the best range of comfort in a light-weight, ideal-for-backpacking package. If car camping or if weight is less of an issue, the Trail Comfort model ($75) is cushier but of course a bit heavier.
Of course, these days the Therm-a-Rest people have plenty of competition. Big Agnes has done well with its REM Two-Track pad ($75; bigagnes.com), a fairly thick pad with nice features such as a nearly unbreakable brass valve. REI is in the sleeping pad business as well. Take a look at the REI Lite-Core 1.5 ($75; rei.com), which is tapered to better fit a mummy-style bag. Care will be the same for any self-inflating padstore them with the valve open and as flat and un-compressed as possible.
Youve got your winter gear, now get outside and use it. Away.coms ski and snowboard guide makes it easy to find nearby slopes just begging for fresh tracks.
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