Forum Index » GEAR » It happened...the dreaded flat pad at 2AM (Exped SynMat UL7)


Display Avatars Sort By:
Ty Ty
(TylerD)

Locale: SE US
It happened...the dreaded flat pad at 2AM (Exped SynMat UL7) on 03/26/2012 09:21:55 MDT Print View

So all my asking about closed cell foam pads based on the theoretical unreliable nature of air mattresses must have jinxed me. This weekend, in my tent, maybe 2-3AM I rolled over in my sleep and soon felt something I had never felt using this mat before, the ground. As I came to, I could hear the hissing. Got up, looked on bottom of pad and quickly found a cut 1/8" to 1/4" long. I layed the pad back down, felt on the ground and sure enough, a small/pointy rock right there. It did not cut the floor of the tent just got the pad.

So, like an idiot I didn't bring the repair kit. I always figured if I sprung a leak I wouldn't be able to find it in the field or I could use Leukotape or Duct Tape to fix it. Wrong on both counts. I was able to find it (easy) and neither Leuko Tape nor Duct tape fixed it, both slowed the leak but it still leaked.

The next day I tried again with duct tape (it seemed to slow the leak the most) but it changed nothing, it would not hold air.

So anyway, learned several things.

(1) Leuko tape does not patch a Exped air mat
(2) Duct tape does not patch an Exped air mat
(3) If you are going to bring an air mattress, bring the .4 oz repair kit
(4) An empty air mattress provides little insulation
(5) Maybe a 255lb guy is too big for UL air mattresses

All in all, good learning experience, bad nights sleep. Gonna get a closed cell foam pad and start trying those out, see if I can find a combination that works, possibly with some kind of blow up torso size pad so I am not 100% reliant on an air mattress. Gonna start with a Ridgerest SoLite and a sit pad size ZLite and see where it takes me.

Andy F
(AndyF) - M

Locale: Midwest/Midatlantic
Re: It happened...the dreaded flat pad at 2AM (Exped SynMat UL7) on 03/26/2012 09:34:50 MDT Print View

Ugh, I'm sorry. That sucks.

It's strange that it would cut the pad without affecting the tent floor!

Edited by AndyF on 03/26/2012 09:36:07 MDT.

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
My point exactly on 03/26/2012 09:36:10 MDT Print View

I am a fan of a two mat system for comfort and durability, in case one deflates for some reason.

http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/2010/08/30/current-thoughts-on-sleeping-pads/

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
double up on 03/26/2012 09:48:06 MDT Print View

thinking out loud here:

maybe folding a RidgeRest in half doubling it up for the torso area and using the pack for the legs might work and save weight without the need for the air pad and repair kit?

i carry a full length REI Lite-Core 1.5 self inflating pad. i'm a side sleeper and have tried many things and the 1.5" self inflating pad seems the best solution. in the winter i use a RidgeRest under the Lite-Core for added warmth.

i always carry the patch kit.

Edited by asciibaron on 03/26/2012 09:52:25 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: My point ... on 03/26/2012 09:49:41 MDT Print View

"It did not cut the floor of the tent just got the pad."

There are big bucks to be made with this technology.
Explain or duplicate this and the world will beat a path to your door.

Ty Ty
(TylerD)

Locale: SE US
Re: double up on 03/26/2012 09:52:05 MDT Print View

Might not be a bad idea.

Ty Ty
(TylerD)

Locale: SE US
Re: Re: It happened...the dreaded flat pad at 2AM (Exped SynMat UL7) on 03/26/2012 09:54:51 MDT Print View

Andy - thanks

Yeah I thought that was weird about the floor too. The cut was basically where my shoulder was. Usually I try to kind of take it easy on the pad when moving around, being 255lbs and all. I was just flipping in my sleep this time though so not really awake enough to care. The floor was sil (TT Contrail).

I saw another pad on a thread here recently I think the same thing happened where it cut the pad but not the floor.

Oh well, live and learn.

(On a positive note, I loved the TT Contrail)

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"It happened...the dreaded flat pad at 2AM (Exped SynMat on 03/26/2012 10:04:10 MDT Print View

Bummer; I worry about this too. I carry the GG thinlight pad for protection from sharp objects beneath my synmat 7; also I suppose it adds a bit of insulation. The weight penalty is modest. Maybe I need to upgrade to a thicker version! Now that I think about it, I also carry GG's clear footprint material that is also ridiculously lightweight and, being clear, lets you double check for sharp objects after you lay it down. Hard to say if any of this would have helped in your situation.

Edited by book on 03/26/2012 10:20:31 MDT.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: It happened...the dreaded flat pad at 2AM (Exped SynMat UL7) on 03/26/2012 10:16:28 MDT Print View

Ty,
Sorry to read about your flat pad. I ran across a youtube by Thermarest / Cascade Design on how to baby your air pad. I shared it with BPL on the link below. I got beat up :-) by the community because I favor foam pad and felt the manufacturer recommendations were unreasonably high maintenance.

I often wondered what is so magical about the 2AM timestamp, that pads start to go flat. I've had a few that did that, Coleman cheapies and the expensive ones.

My guess is that 2AM-3AM is the lowest temp of the night, air that started out warm and expanded, now is cold and contracted. May be like a car, if you drive with a tire that is low on air, it will get damaged faster than a full one.


http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=61950

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
2AM on 03/26/2012 10:20:57 MDT Print View

There is an old saying in medicine:

"Nothing good happens at 2AM..."

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
double the fun on 03/26/2012 10:26:32 MDT Print View

agree with doubling up ... you can get a cheap 1/8 pad that you can also use as frame cushioning in yr pack ...

in colder conditions i just use a neo air with a cheap thicker foam mat .... i use it UNDER the air pad, while this isnt the most "efficient", it protects the air mat

redundancy is not UL, nor is bringing a repair kit ... but as you found out, if something goes wrong, youll be glad to have it

Nick Larsen
(stingray4540) - F

Locale: South Bay
Re: Re: My point ... on 03/26/2012 10:31:08 MDT Print View

"There are big bucks to be made with this technology.
Explain or duplicate this and the world will beat a path to your door." -Greg

Easy, there is a difference between something splitting and something being cut. My guess is that his pad "split" do to the concentrated pressure of the rock and his body weight.
Think of a balloon. You could cut it with a knife to let the air out, or you could squeeze it so hard that it bursts. No need to physically "cut" something to create an opening for the air to escape.

OK world, I'm ready! ;)

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: My point ... on 03/26/2012 10:45:20 MDT Print View

"It did not cut the floor of the tent just got the pad."

There are big bucks to be made with this technology.
Explain or duplicate this and the world will beat a path to your door.


I somehow managed similar with bike tires long ago. Well into an all day ride bucking a strong wind on the way home I made a snap decision to turn on a cross road to get a break from the wind. Promptly rolled straight over a sharp pyramid shaped rock with both wheels.

Tires undamaged but two pierced tubes.

But I had a patch kit! Found a shade tree, patched both tubes, reached for the frame pump ... not there:-( (I had used it for something else a couple days before and didn't put it back)

Fortunately, it was "only" a 4 mile walking backtrack to the nearest gas station with a air hose. Unfortunately, I had a time critical commitment to make and I had promised that there was "no chance" that I'd return too late, ouch!

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: Re: My point ... on 03/26/2012 11:04:44 MDT Print View

to Jim's example,
I offer two examples:

1) when I was 9 yrs old, I broke my leg bone, but the skin around it was unharmed.

2) air balloon's strongest shape is a O round ball shape. then body weight on an O-shape, will turn the top flat and the sides into this <===> the pointy side with usage turns into a crease, and cracks with temp changes. The middle of the air pad has warm body heat, but the edges are more susceptible to sudden cold, weaken the material and crack further.

Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: double the fun on 03/26/2012 11:10:28 MDT Print View

"redundancy is not UL, nor is bringing a repair kit ... but as you found out, if something goes wrong, youll be glad to have it"

why is bringing a repair kit not UL?

there is a difference in reducing the weight by finding a multi-use replacement, lighter replacement, or omitting the item, but to say that not bringing a repair kit for an item that is easily damaged is rather daft. risking 3 nights of bad sleep are not worth the 0.40 ounces saved.

Edited by asciibaron on 03/26/2012 11:10:58 MDT.

Ty Ty
(TylerD)

Locale: SE US
Couple more thoughts... on 03/26/2012 11:13:50 MDT Print View

In case it matters, I inflated using a pillow pump not breath.

I think a thin foam pad would have probably protected me from the rock that did the damage. I thought about something like the GG 1/8" pad but ultimately my confidence in air mattresses is further shaken for several reasons.

(1) This particular rock that did the damage I should have probably seen/cleared away but when I went to pack up I noticed several other smaller rocks that could have been problematic too, so many that in order to really make this particular site safe for my air mat I would have really had to go to town on it. I don't like the idea of having to clear an area that thoroughly to not worry. Not only for the labor of it but throwing a couple rocks and pine cones to the side is one thing, having to dig up rocks with a tent stake, rake an area clean, that sort of thing kind of starts getting into a LNT question.

(2) I have never had an air mattress of any kind not eventually leak on me. I am not a super careful or small person, I usually have my dog with me, and for whatever reason any air mattress I have owned has left me on the cold, hard ground at one point or another. I thought this high dollar job would be different but the inherent flaw remains.

(3) Just the other day my dad gave me a self inflating two man mat he bought and had never used. It is not a thermorest, I think it may be REI brand, not sure. The other day my wife and I set it up in the bedroom to see how comfortable it would be for car camping. My 18lb terrier hopped down off the bed onto it and put his toenail through it. This is just one more failure in a long line of air inflated mattress failures for me.

My experiences with air mattresses as a whole leave my confidence shaken especially for backpacking where reliability can be so important. Therefore, for now, I am going to move into the realm of closed cell foam and find a system that works for me. I may end up eventually with an air mattress component to that system but I vow to never be 100% reliant on an air mattress in the future.

Edited by TylerD on 03/26/2012 11:19:21 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Couple more thoughts... on 03/26/2012 11:20:28 MDT Print View

Is there a seam in the floor close to the Mystery Spot?

Ty Ty
(TylerD)

Locale: SE US
Re: Re: double the fun on 03/26/2012 11:23:41 MDT Print View

I agree, going with a lighter air mattress and carrying a .4oz repair kit is UL to me. The reverse would be carrying an air mattress that is bomb proof and weighs a ton more but was so tough you would never need a repair kit.

Having the patch kit would have solved my problem. The hole was easy to find, the rock easily removed (I unzipped the tent, reached out and did away with it immediately, it was one of those iceberg type rocks where the tip was only 5% of the rock, the rest was under the dirt).

However, I don't really want to repair anything in the field if I can help it. Also going forward there would be a HUGE worry factor for me with this mat. Paranoia every time I flip over or put any weight on it. I won't do that.

Ty Ty
(TylerD)

Locale: SE US
Re: Re: Couple more thoughts... on 03/26/2012 11:25:54 MDT Print View

"Is there a seam in the floor close to the Mystery Spot?"

No, the floor of the tent has a seam but closer to hip area, the hole was at the shoulder area.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
pssssssssssss......thud. on 03/26/2012 11:28:04 MDT Print View

"...but I vow to never be 100% reliant on an air mattress in the future."

Yep, lesson learned. If you fail to bring a patch kit or some proper means of sealing up a hole you will inevitably get a flat. A torso length foam pad, such as a cut down ridgerest would have made a huge difference and would have likely prevented the incident altogether and provided minimum insulation and mild comfort. I think your 255lb frame warrants some diligence in preparing your sleeping area, even smaller folks should be cautious.

What's the denier on the Synmat? 30D? 70D?