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How do you pack a blow up mattress?
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Ty Ty

Locale: SE US
How do you pack a blow up mattress? on 03/20/2012 14:01:12 MDT Print View

I have a Exped Synmat UL7. I have always carried it rolled up in it's little stuff sack and placed into my pack wherever it fit best that way. I am contemplating saving the time/fuss and just putting it in the bottom of my bag, inside my trash compactor bag liner either above or below my quilt which I just stuff in the bottom.

The only con I can think of is might be more susceptible to a puncture from a tent pole, stake, maybe even a stick poking the backpack.

Any thoughts? How do you pack your blow up type mattress?

Edited by TylerD on 03/20/2012 14:02:16 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: How do you pack a blow up mattress? on 03/20/2012 14:07:02 MDT Print View

I squeeze the air out, close the valve... then fold down flat to approx. the size of my pack and slide it into the pack. Having the couple layers of padding flat against the pack back helps stiffen my UL pack -- and is more space efficient than packing in a tight cylinder.

Edited by ben2world on 03/20/2012 14:07:51 MDT.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
How do you pack a blow up mattress? on 03/20/2012 14:50:17 MDT Print View

Depending upon which pack I'm using on the trip, I either just fold my Neo-Air into thirds width-wise and roll it up (just like how it came out of the box), rubber band it (no stuff sack) and place it wherever I have room in my pack. I make sure to pack it with soft non-sharp stuff, so it usually goes in between my quilt and my puffy jacket.

Or... with a frameless pack, I'll deflate it and often fold it up to fit the back panel area of the pack and slide it in (maybe even add a little air to it to stiffen up the "frame") to serve as part of a virtual framesheet with a cut down GG Nightlight pad.

I've often wondered how a NeoAir or other inflatable pad would handle just being stuffed into my pack, say, with my bivy, but have avoided trying it for fear of springing a leak from a crease or damaging a pontoon or whatever...

Curious to see what others do.

David Goodyear
(dmgoody) - MLife

Locale: mid-west
good question on 03/20/2012 15:31:04 MDT Print View

First I tried to get it back into the original stuff sack. Not much fun - I may add. Last year I tried something new. Since I had a new pack with different compartments, I left it inside my bivy with my sleeping bag. I rolled it up to expel the air and then stuffed it into a dry bag type compression stuff sack. It worked out great - never got wet and it was easy to setup camp - pull and fling.

In the winter, I use an exped-7 on top of a foam pad. I found that I can fold it into quarters and put it into a flat stuff sack and it fits in my sled sandwiched between my sleeping bag and foam pad cut and folded in thirds.



Dan Johnson

Locale: PNW
fold on 03/20/2012 15:32:27 MDT Print View

I fold it in thirds so that it fits my back panel of my frameless pack. I've found this way to be the best for maximizing usable space. Plush a little cushion never hurts :)

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
How do you pack a blow up mattress? on 03/20/2012 15:37:54 MDT Print View

My pack has an internal pad pocket. Since I bought it in 2005, I have always folded my deflated inflatable and put it in the pad pocket. Never any problems and the pad is protected. No stuff sack needed, either. If your pack has a hydration reservoir pocket in the back, it could be used for the pad.

Edited by hikinggranny on 03/20/2012 15:39:57 MDT.

brent driggers
(cadyak) - MLife

Locale: southwest georgia
packing an inflatable pad on 03/20/2012 15:44:44 MDT Print View

I roll mine up in my tyvek ground cloth and strap on the bottom. old timey style. It may sound silly but I like the way that it allows me to sit my pack on the ground and have it not fall over. In winter I roll up my 1/8" ccf AND the tyvek around it.

super burn

Christopher Yi
(TRAUMAhead) - F

Locale: Cen Cal
Re: How do you pack a blow up mattress? on 03/20/2012 23:09:48 MDT Print View

Synmat UL7 folded into a rectangle, slides into the hydration sleeve on my HMG Windrider. Switching back to foam pads, don't know what I'm going to do now.

Ty Ty

Locale: SE US
back pad on 03/21/2012 07:58:10 MDT Print View

Seems like a lot of people are folding into thirds and using it as additional back padding, interesting. I guess I will try it that way this weekend and see how it goes, makes a lot of sense.


Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: How do you pack a blow up mattress? on 03/21/2012 11:16:59 MDT Print View

I like the idea of using that otherwise useless hydration pouch for my new Neoair. I don't like the idea of just using it as back padding because I worry that something might puncture it, although many folks do this and have no problem. But I can be careless at times so maybe my hesitation is justified.

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: How do you pack a blow up mattress? on 03/21/2012 11:27:00 MDT Print View

“How do you pack your blow up type mattress?”

I roll my short neoair. I fold it lengthwise in 3rds and then roll. This is the way it came from Thermarest. I tried:
1. rolling after folding in half.
2. folding it in different sections (like folding a sheet).

I abandoned those ideas later when I figured out the original way takes up the least room in my pack. And small packs are easier to backpack with :)


Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
thanks for the thread on 03/21/2012 11:28:29 MDT Print View

I have also been considering a different way to carry my pad. Putting it back in the stuff sack just seems like a waste of time and space. After reading these great ideas I am going to try and roll it up in the tent. Thanks for the idea!

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: How do you pack a blow up mattress? on 03/21/2012 12:09:08 MDT Print View

I multipurpose it as a back padding in a frameless pack. When carrying a framed pack on family trips, I roll it and tie it with a 20" length of very small cord or sometimes a a hefty rubber band. If worried about punctures, wrap it in a sweater, ground cloth, rain shell, etc.

Steofan The Apostate
(simaulius) - F

Locale: Bohemian Alps
How to pack a neo air on 03/21/2012 13:37:49 MDT Print View

My Neo Air gets folded in thirds lengthwise then rolled up as it came from the company.
It is then dropped into an old knee-high sock. I give the middle of the sock a few twists and roll the top half of the sock back down over the rolled mattress. The sock does weigh in at a huge 26 gm ( as opposed to the 16 gm Thermarest stuff sack ) but I have had zero issues with leaks or holes from either the ground or from items in the backpack.

Evan McCarthy
(evanrussia) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: How to pack a neo air on 03/21/2012 14:06:48 MDT Print View

I've been pretty cavalier about packing my Burn and Exodus without any issue. As long as nothing is poking into my back, it never seems to matter to me. I don't use stuff sacks and do the burrito approach as popularized by Mike Clelland. The Neoair gets roughly folded and jammed down into the trash compactor bag in my pack along with everything else.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: How to pack a neo air on 03/21/2012 18:19:22 MDT Print View

I carry my quilt and neoair pad inside an oversized stuff sack that then gets jammed into the bottom of my pack. The neoair pad is flattened, folded in half lengthwise, loosely rolled and the roll is expanded inside the sack til it is snug against the sides of the sack. Quilt is then stuffed inside that.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
RE: How do you pack a blow up mattress? on 03/21/2012 19:17:46 MDT Print View

deflated of course.

sorry. just had to.