Old self-inflating mats starting to fail. Is it inevitable?

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Antonymous

Member
Mar 18, 2012
47
1
Yorkshire
I have a couple of old self-inflaters which now aren't holding air. The corners by the valve has worn, which I patched with stormsure which held for a couple of years now. They air not holding air now. I tried the old "bath of water" to check for punctures. I found a small puncture in each mat which again I patched with stormsure. I tried them today and both still lose air within an hour to where you are effectively just laying on the hard floor.

So my questions are:
Will the material deteriorate to the point of becoming permeable without showing leaks when submerged?
Do the valves deteriorate to the same point?

What are your experiences of leaky, old mats?
 

Silverclaws2

Forager
Dec 30, 2019
206
103
53
Devon
I would say how old a thing is, how well used it is and how it is stored could be factors in the longevity of plastic, they all break down eventually.
 

Antonymous

Member
Mar 18, 2012
47
1
Yorkshire
My 25 year old 3/4 length thermarest is still going strong.
The two failing mats are both Alpkit Dozers, one about 15 years old, one about 10 years old

both are heavily used but stored indoors fully inflated with the valves open
 

Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
5,045
1,586
W.Sussex
My 25 year old 3/4 length thermarest is still going strong.
The two failing mats are both Alpkit Dozers, one about 15 years old, one about 10 years old

both are heavily used but stored indoors fully inflated with the valves open
I had this with the older Alpkit mat I had. It wasn’t the Dozer, maybe its predecessor. Considering the age of them and your admittedly heavy usage I reckon it’s probably time to just replace them. No mattress lasts forever, not even the £200-£300 ones we have on domestic beds.

The thing I found most annoying with the old one, compared to a similar Multimat, was the foam in the older Alpkits wasn’t very spongy. I could just about get away with the Multimat deflating if I’d caught a bramble but the Alpkit was like lying on a bit of tarp. Apparently the foam issue has been addressed with the newer ones and is denser.
 

Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
2,635
1,013
Berlin
Unless you buy real military material or civil high end products, 10 to 15 years is already over aged. Waterproofs fall in pieces, tents, tarps, boots and modern airmats too.

Most civil equipment isn't made to last.
 
May 3, 2021
5
5
38
Herefordshire
I seem to remember Alpkit having issues with the valves in the past. I don't think the valves are serviceable, otheriwse I'd suggested stripping it down and checking for any warpage.
 

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