Thermarest stuff sacks?

Ok, I broke down and bought 4 Thermarests to replace a hodge-podge of sleeping apparatuses. I guess I didn’t realize that you basically can not put them back into the plastic sleeves.

So, I need to do something, either break down and buy the official Thermarest Stuff Sacks or come up with a home-spun alternative.

Anyone with any good 'n cheap solutions?

No sack…
I assuming this is for kayaks? But my thermarests gets folded (and deflated) and just slid in the back of my internal framed backpack for backpacking. Folding is supposed to reduce the lifetime of the pad as opposed to rolling it due to the crease but I’ve haven’t had any problems so far in the 5 years I’ve been backpacking.


abrasion protection?
Sounds like you guys don’t worry about that. The material must be pretty tough. But, I can’t seem to get my mind around not having a cover to to offer a little protection and keep them a little cleaner. The back of my van and the bottom of my canoe are usually pretty bad places to be.

I canoe, and personally like some abrasion & element protection for my Thermarests, and my tents.

NRS makes some waterproof bags that will almost perfectly fit 1 or 2 Thermarests, and most tents. The bags are a lot cheaper than replacing a Thermarest or a tent due to damage. The tents & Thermarests are easier to pack into the NRS bags than in their original bags. Also, I’ve never had to dry out my Thermarest or tent before using them.

Yeah! I know there is someone out there who doesn’t mind sleeping on a wet Thermarest or in a wet tent. I ain’t one of them…


I’ve been putting mine in a bag from a kid size tube(?) chair…the kind we all have around the fire. Other than that, a cover could be sewn pretty cheaply. I bought some cotton “canvass” from JoAnn Fabrics not to long ago to make ditty bags. It would’ve been pretty simple to just make longer ones.

They are rolled properly, it really isn’t that hard to get it into the stuff sack. Most of the time I roll it tight enough that it drops right into the sack without any shoving.

I have the pro lite and it packs down very small…great for kayaking.

I guess I number among those
who wonder why you would ever want to it back in the stuff sack again. Rolls up so nice on its own, a couple of compression straps and voila.

all the great suggestions
I’ll probably end up experimenting with all of them, a great chance to play around. Good opportunity to use a sewing machine for the first time too.

Thanks again for helping me decide to not decide, just yet.

Back in the old days…
They came with a stuff sack. You mean the stuff sack is extra now days?

ThermaRest Stuff Sacks
Finally a topic I actually know something about. Back in the 70’s I had a sewing company, and as a result of supplying individual mountaineering stores I began making stuff sacks for the matresses. To make a long story short my company became Cascade Design’s (mfg of Thermarest mattress)first sub contractor. The reason they were so interested in making their own stuff sacks is that people were putting them in waterproof stuff sacks and thereby creating the perfect environment for mold, which very quickly can degrade nylon fabric. The solution was a Breathable stuff sack. Secondarily, dirt typically contains fine abrasives that can embed themselves in the coarse outer fabric of the mattress and like a climbing rope, eventually wear the fibers out. So, if you want your mattress to live a long time, keep it clean, dry and out of direct sunlight as much as possible.


yea, I think they should be included
… especially after hearing from falcon that Thermarest considers them pretty integral to the functionality of their product.

Oh well, on the bright side they still come with installed valves.

easy solution
I started with the stuff sacks but found that my kids could never roll the mattress quite tight enough to get it into the sack. We then tried rubber bands, Velcro and plain rope, all of these worked to some degree.

The best solution I have found is a piece of 3mm line about 16’’ long. Slide both ends thru a cord lock. Then tie/fuse the ends. We roll our mattresses slip this over and cinch tight. I’m not worried about abrasion as they are carried with our sleeping bags, either in a dry bag for canoeing or the sleeping bag compartment of our packs when backpacking.

Use a stuff sack
I’ve been using Thermarests since the early eighties and have always used a stuff sack – I suspect that’s a good part of the reason why my original Thermarest is still in good shape. Although I always carry a patch kit, I’ve never once had to use it.

I now have a total of five TR pads that my family and I use.

I’ve never had a problem rolling them up small enough to fit into their stuffsacks. I’ve found the best way is to open the valve, fold the pad in half, then fold it in half again in the opposite direction. Kneel or sit on the pad to remove the air and then close the valve. Unfold the pad and roll it from one end – when you’re about 2/3 done, open the valve again and continue rolling the rest of the air out of the pad before once again closing the valve. This method works very well and there’s actually extra room inside the stuff sack. Even my kids can roll up their Thermarest pads without any problems.


Who’d a thunk it
A seemingly mundane topic with quite a bit of interesting input.

Opinions seem to be divided as to the ease of rolling and stuffing those TR pads. My experience has been that they’re a real PIA to roll tight enough to fit in the tiny diameter stuff sacks that TR makes. The last thing I want to mess around with is a tedious packing job when I’m striking camp for the day on a wilderness trip. Before I make my own slightly larger bags (a simple and inexpensive job) I’ll try WestCoastPaddler’s folding/rolling technique. I remain skeptical, but I’ll give it a shot.

Anyway… I do use stuff sacks for my TR pads and then I put them in dry bags when we’re on the water. I’m also meticulous about keeping them clean and dry at all times – which is easy to do if one uses a good quality (clean and dry) tent with a footprint & keeps muddy boots out of the tent. We also do not use those ill-conceived Thermarest chair rigs with our expensive sleeping pads! I consider those things an open invitation for getting a sleeping pad dirty, wet and punctured. At home I lay our sleeping pads out flat while they’re in storage. My 2 cents. RK

I always use the stuff sack…never
thought of it as a problem…

Tight roll
Mine rolls tight enough that I can put the Thermarest chair frame in the original stuff sack with it. I just start rolling at the end opposite the valve, squeeze the air out as I roll, and close the valve. No problem.


T-Rest stuffsack? Always mostly.
I have seen people abuse, drag, stomp and otherwise disrespect self-inflating mattresses and NEVER have a leak. I should be so lucky.

I’m a believer in protecting them via stuffsacks. When car-camping I usually put the mattress inside the sleeping bag’s STORAGE sack, allow it to expand, and then stuff the bag into the center. Keeps the whole system clean.

As an aside, this year I bought a Big Agnes bag and pad to fit it. So far I have spent only one night in it, on Mike’s rec room floor, and the pad lost air. It would not stay rolled, so I sent it back on warranty. This makes TWO non-thermorest pads I have had with straight-from-the-factory leaks (the first being a Slumberjack). Say what you will about Thermorest, their QC is tops.


Another Idea
Here’s another idea, albeit one that woin’t help you at all as you just bought four new Thermarests. But for those looking for a great sleeping solution, check out the Exped Downmat. It just stuffs into an included drybag that is also used to inflate the mat. The mat itself is four luxurious inches of air and down that makes for one of the best nights of sleep you can imagine. They’re expensive but cheaper than a hotel room.

On the stuff sack side, I have a Thermarest ultralight extra long I found in a dumpster about ten years ago (Had a teeny tiny hole), I bought a standard Thermarest sack for it and it works great. One reason to go with a stuff sack instead of a strap is that is provides for a smoother sliding surface for stuffing into the kayak. No edges to catch on other gear.

For compressing the mat down, I always roll it up slowly pushing air out, then close the valve, then unroll and re-roll again to push out the final amount of air and get a nice tight roll.