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What is the best way to find a slow leak in a self-inflating sleeping pad?
Submitted by – Winn
Really slow leaks can be tough to find. The key is to follow the bubbles. First, inflate the pad as firmly as you can, and submerge one end of it in a pool, bathtub, puddle, lake, or an eddy in a creek (the water must be clear and relatively still or you won’t be able to see the bubbles). Fold over the other end of the pad to create added pressure. Be really patient and meticulous. You’re looking for a little stream of bubbles and sometimes it can be tough to spot.
Continue working your way down the pad, then flip it over to check the other side. As soon as you find a leak, mark it with a sharpie or a piece of duct tape. Then continue the full inspection of your pad. (Don’t assume there’s only one pinprick. Better to check the whole thing and fix multiple holes at the same time (because the repair takes time to cure.) By the way, I have a new book that just hit bookstores. It’s a complete gear fix-it guide and includes tons of step-by-step instructions with real photos on how to fix just about anything in your pack (including your sleeping pad.) Check it out.