I'd been using foam pads for backpacking for a long time, but last summer I bought a used Thermarest through Craigslist. What an improvement. But after I used it continuously for 3 months in the Drakensberg, the Outback, and the Fiordlands, it would only hold air long enough for me to fall asleep. It would slowly deflate and somewhere around 1am I'd finally settle down to the ground, get a rock in the hip and have wake up to reinflate the pad. No good. 

Got to patch dem leaks!

Step 1: Find the holes

There are a couple ways to do this. I used my bathtub, which is probably fastest. Fill it with about 3 inches of water and then submerge sections of the pad until you find where the bubbles come up. Have a sharpie nearby so you can dab the pad dry and mark the hole. You can also sponge the pad with some soapy water to find the leaks.

Once you've marked all the leaks (mine had two), set it out in the sun to dry.
<p>Field repairs...I always carry some Shoe Goo and a square of ripstop nylon about 12&quot;x12&quot;. I have repaired my backpack after a chipmunk chewed his way in, my tent (floor, roof, door, and fly), my sleeping bag AND my Thermarest (numerous times).</p><p> 1.) Apply a thin layer of Shoe Goo to the hole, tear or rip and your patch that you have cut to be slightly oversized. I use a stick to rub it in and saturate the fabrics. 2.) Allow to flash over for a few minutes. 3.) Apply the patch and use that stick again to make sure there are no air pockets between the two. 4.) Allow to cure.</p><p>I should note that I usually apply a two-sided patch when on my tent. I ended up patching my backpack two-sided as well.</p>
McNett makes a Field Repair kit, which includes a small tube of Seam Grip glue. <br> <br>Personally, I always carry a small tube of GOOP. They're available in miniature tubes if you buy the multi-pack. The only downside is trying to find/dry/repair while in the woods...
You could try sugru. That would meet your back country fix needs.
Possibly :) <br>I'd be worried that sugru wouldn't stick well enough though. I was thinking more along the lines of tree sap or resin ;)

About This Instructable


10 favorites


Bio: just getting back into Instructables. Hopefully some better projects to come!
More by danielhfourie: Paper Folded Barrel Structure How to True a (really wonked) Wheel Room Light with your Flashlight
Add instructable to: