|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – March 1998
A few simple precautions will prevent punctures and preserve the foam in your self-inflating pad.
Around camp, keep the pad away from fires, stoves, and abrasive surfaces, and minimize its exposure to ultraviolet rays and DEET-based insect repellents. Give a self-inflater plenty of time to puff up. Open the valve and unroll your pad as soon as you get to camp. By bedtime it should be nice and cushy, requiring only a few puffs to cap it off. Try to minimize the amount of air you blow into a pad. Your breath carries spit and water vapor, and moisture ultimately breaks down even the sturdiest foam. After each outing, a quick sponge bath will remove encrusted dirt. Allow ample time to dry, and store the pad unrolled with the valve open. Closing the valve may trap moisture inside and cause mildew.
Because self-inflaters occasionally succumb to sticks and sparks, always pack a good repair kit. Small holes patch nicely in the field, but a quarter-size puncture or a large tear requires factory attention or a replacement. Slap on duct tape only as a last resort in the field because it leaves a gooey residue that inhibits permanent repair.
To fix a punctured pad, the following "hot pot" method works best: