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Inflation Options for an Insulated Inflatable Sleeping Pad

Hey everyone! Although I have been hiking and camping for the majority of my life, and have spent more money on gear and clothing over the years than I care to tabulate, I just recently made the investment in an insulated, inflatable sleeping pad.  Previously I had used a pad, foam pads, and cheap, non-insulated inflatables that I didn't care much about, and when car camping, the larger self-inflating pads.  And even the occasional "glamping" trip with an air mattress.

So, now that I have an expensive inflatable, filled with fibrous insulating material, the issue of moisture from inflating by mouth has entered the equation.  

What has everyone's experience been with mold developing?  With possible freezing during winter camping?  Any other pitfalls I haven't thought of?  Should I get some sort of pump or other device?  Or am I over-thinking things and should just shut up and blow it up with lung-power?

Any thoughts and recommendations are welcome.

Thanks in advance!

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one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
4 Replies

From a few dissections I have seen I think the problem with mold developing from breath moisture is overstated.  Possibly it is a problem in warm humid environments but since its warm and humid anyway, not using your lungs probably won't make much difference.  Possibly it varies between people.  

It might be more of a problem for self inflating pads since there are more crevices where mold could form.   My guess is that it is probably more important to let thing dry out before you pack it away when you get home (eg store flat in a dry cool place with the valve admittedly more lightly used than I intended, self inflating pads were always inflated by mouth and are now around 15 years old and work fine)

So I don't think inflators are necessary and I don't bother using one for my x-lite.

That said, my daughter recent got an new gen X-lite Regular Wide and it came with an inflation bag which I dismissed as unnecessary and hard to use but she found to work very well and much preferred it particularly at much for my expert opinion.

Thanks so much for the input @OldGuyot ! I guess that I will just shut up and use my lung power to blow up the pad instead of worrying and questioning.  😁

And, I have a daughter myself, who delights in opportunities to prove me wrong, so, I know how you feel.  

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

@Rob6 This is a great question and one that we get a lot!

Most companies include anti-microbial technology in and around the inflation area, so the small chance of mold developing is nearly eliminated. Some pads even come with pump bags, further decreasing the chance of mold because you need very few breaths to completely inflate your pad with a pump bag. 

Also the chance of your pad freezing internally is very minimal since pads are often used inside tents that capture your body heat and have a nice cozy sleeping bag on top of them. But on that note, you will definitely notice how the air inside the pad condenses if there is a dramatic change in temperature, so it can feel like your pad is deflating. The best way to avoid that is to either inflate your pad when the temperature cools down (so right before bed, not in the middle of the day) or add air to your already inflated pad if you notice or anticipate dramatically cooler temperatures. Hope this helps!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thanks @REI-SarahS !

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.