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Sleeping Mats: Checking for and repairing leaks

If your sleeping mat doesn’t stay inflated or regularly deflate overnight, you could have a slow puncture. The hole can be hard to identify, even with a large magnifying glass, so here’s some advice to help you locate and fix the leak.

Locating the leak 

  • Fill a clean water spray bottle (like the kind that holds bathroom or kitchen cleaner) with a solution of water and washing-up liquid. It doesn’t have to be too soapy, just enough to form bubbles.

  • Make sure your mat is inflated, then spray the entire surface with the solution until it’s damp all over. 

  • Slowly roll the mat from the bottom. The pressure formed by rolling the inflated mat will force air out of any holes, this will cause the solution to bubble, identifying leaks in the fabric.

In the following video, Jim goes through the best ways to find a puncture.

Repairing surface puncture

  • Using a Glue Patch: (1) Apply the first aid patch, making sure the area around the puncture is clean and dry. (2) Deflate the mat and place it over a flat surface. (3) Apply the glue provided and leave it for 30 seconds. (4) Apply one of the patches and press firmly, ensure the mat is fully dry before re-inflating.

  • Using a Stormsure Adhesive Patch: (1) Clean and dry the area around the puncture. (2) Press the patch on so it covers the whole of the affected area. (3) Make sure to smooth out any bubbles and that the patch has stuck. (4) After 5-10mins the patch should be stuck fast.

  • Using Storm Sure Seam Sealant: (1) Ensure the surrounding area is clean and dry. (*) The sealant will be touchably dry in 30 minutes but will take around 12 hours to be 100% dry, make sure you have somewhere to store the mat unrolled whilst drying. (2) Apply the sealant liberally and make sure the whole of the affected area is covered. 

Leaking from the valve

  • Unscrew the valve cap fully and then pull sharply or prise it off (it may be a bit stiff).

  • Remove the rubber o-ring and give the valve a good clean making sure there is no grit inside.

  • Check to see if the o-ring has perished, if not pop it back in making sure it is truly aligned and replace the cap.

Leaking from the seam

Everyone’s worst nightmare; seam leakage is the most difficult fix! You may be able to fashion a short-term solution with the puncture repair kit supplied but it is not likely to be very durable. The best way to fix small leaks is to use the storm sure seam sealant method above. The last resort is to very carefully run a iron around the edge. Be warned though: done correctly this can reseal the mat, done badly you could finish your mat off for good..

For further clarification on any of these techniques or for a replacement repair kit or some seam sealant please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Updated: May 17, 2007

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