Fix a thermarest?

I have two thermarest-style sleeping mats. Both have been leaving me feeling flat. The larger, “luxury” mat is actaully an Artiach Confort Mat, is 9 years old and has two micro leaks at the seam joint. I soaped up the smaller, newer thermarest and I can’t find any leaks in the mat or valve. I may have to take it in the bath.

Is it even worth trying to patch these things? What’s the life expectancy? New ones are $80-ish, but I’m not anxious to buy one if they don’t hold up.


patch, of course
If anybody with a hole in a Thermarest would discard the sleeping matt and not repair it there would be thousand of almost perfect mats gone to waste.

I have probably patched at least 50 holes in Thermarest and other mats.

The only time I have not done that is when the mat delaminated and that was covered under warranty.

Thermarest makes an excellent patch kit or if the hole is very small then Seam Grip (urethane style glue) works very well too.

If locating the hole is tricky, pump up the mat to its max and submerge it in a bath.

Little bubbles will tell you if there is hole.

However in cold climates a self inflated matt might loose its “inflation” during the night when on the cold ground since the air “shrinks” when it gets cold.

Pump you mat with a couple of breaths before hitting the sac and you should be OK.

super glue
I patched a small puncture hole in my thermarest with superglue. It has held strong for four years. I think it took two or three applications (in the field) to get it to plug but it worked. I just squeezed all the air out, applied the glue let it dry then inflated it to test it.

The wonder of p-net
Well, I’m glad I posted this question. I am a “make-do” kind of person, and don’t like giving up on gear if there is a chance it can be rehabbed or reused. Often this is counterproductive. For example, I spent 200 hours rehabbing a dumpster-grade canoe hull. I could have gotten a second job flipping burgers for 200 hours and used the pay to buy a nice canoe (but I did enjoy and learn while fixing the hulk). But still, I ended up with a nicely rehabbed hulk that I don’t really need. When I found the second hole along the edge of the Artiak, I wondered if the mats were a loosing proposition. Both holes are where a crease (from rolling up the mat) meets the seam. Usually that is a difficult area to patch. The second hole makes me wonder if the material is becoming old and brittle, and repairing it is going to be futile, because more new holes will soon appear.

I love p-net. Your replies tell me that it is probably worth the time and effort to repair the mats. Further, damiano’s reply identifies a specific product that it will be practical to use to make the repair. Patching over a seam area is problematic, whereas a little goop that will clog up the pin-hole leak seems (no pun) practical. So thanks, p-netters, for your responses.

I googled up Seam Grip. The product is marketed by McNett, and they even have a tab on their site for repairing sleeping mats. They also market a couple other products I use or will look for. I’ve used their Aquaseal product in making some neoprene mittens. I know I should treat the hatches of my kayak and the gaskets of my drysuit. Each are 2-3 years old and I’ve never made the annual treatments folks recommend. McNett’s UV Tech will be good for the hatches, their SealSaver good for the gaskets. Their site is fun to look around and offers interesting tips, both related to their products and not. This is not an endorsement or anything, but if you think you might need any of these kind of products you might want to bookmark or

Rogers_cb suggested squeezing all the air out, then applying the seal. I think I will open the valve and let the mat come to a neutral pressure, then apply sealer to the pin holes, then suck out a little air for a few seconds so that the sealer will be drawn into the hole. Thanks again and wish me luck.


use Goop

No doubt…
No doubt about it; repair it & use it.

Have one that I repaired 4 years ago, and it is still working just fine.

I carry a small tube of adhesive(among other things)in my “field repairs” box, just in case.


Call REI
I’d call REI for help.


Life Expectancy?
I have an old Thermarest and it’s still as good as the day I bought it. I wish I was able to use it often enough to wear it out, but that hasn’t been the case. Bought it in about '92… Only reason I’d get a new one is because they pack so much smaller.

Repair! Hot Bond works well.
Just about any type of flexible adhesive works. If it’s an at home fix, I have used AquaSeal, and several other types of “wader patch” adhesives. In the field, it is nice to have “Hot bond”. It only takes about 1/2 to set up. Invariably, you only notice a leak when you are going to bed. Thus, a speedy fix is handy. Aquaseal/goop etc will work, but you can’t use the mattress for 8-12 hours.

I had a thermorest pad that was 20 years old , and it began to leak . I contacted the company that makes thermorest pads. and they told me to send them the pad, and a check for $10. and if it was a puncture , they would charge me the $10 . and if it was not they would repair it or replace it . they replaced it and returned my check .

I had the same experience–thermarest sent me a replacement for free, because it wasn’t a puncture (I had a leaky valve, and replacing the valve didn’t work). If you bought yours from REI, they’ll also trade you one and deal with the return.

I have two old ones
both are patched. One has had a valve replacement. I’m not sure but I bet one is 25 years old and the other 20 (have they been around that long?). I seldom use them anymore because I have upgraded, but I use them as loaners.

Patching is the way to go.

Why didn’t I think of that…
REI is pretty good on their satisfaction guarantee. Both the Thermorest and Artaic mat came from REI. However, the Artaic mat now has two pins inserted at the spot of the soap bubbles (the leaking spots). I couldn’t even see the holes, so I pushed pins into them so I could find them after washing the soap off. I don’t know how REI will react if I bring in a pad with pins stuck in it and complain that it leaks. But, I think I am going to find out.

The soapy water didn’t bubble on the Thermarest. I put a sheet of ply board on it and 70 pounds of weight. After a day and a half, it does not seem to have flattened at all. I’m now thinking the cold contraction mentioned by an above poster was what mad me think it was flatting. I was winter camping when I noticed the flattening, so that might be it.


Thanks again, everybody, for your suggestions.