How to Store a Sleeping Pad Properly
Sleeping pads are essential for a comfortable and restful night's sleep while camping or backpacking. They provide insulation from the cold ground and cushioning for the body. However, just like any other piece of camping equipment, sleeping pads require proper care and maintenance to ensure they last for years to come. One critical aspect of caring for your sleeping pad is proper storage.
After each trip, it's essential to air dry your sleeping pad for at least 24 hours before storing it away. This helps to prevent mold and mildew from forming, which can damage the pad's materials and make it smell bad. Hang it up outside or in a well-ventilated area to allow it to dry completely before packing it away.
When it comes to storing your sleeping pad, it's important to avoid keeping it compressed for extended periods, especially if it has open cell foam or insulation components. Tightly compressing foam or insulation can cause it to lose its ability to rebound or insulate, resulting in permanent compression or creases that can compromise its performance. Therefore, avoid storing your sleeping pad for extended periods of time in its stuff sack, especially if it's tightly packed.
If possible, keep the pad stored flat or loosely rolled, uncompressed, and away from direct sunlight. This helps to maintain the pad's shape and prevent it from becoming misshapen or developing permanent creases. Additionally, keeping the pad away from direct sunlight helps to prevent UV damage, which can cause the pad's materials to degrade over time.
If your sleeping pad comes with foot pumps, make sure to open the valves to allow the foam to expand fully. This helps to maintain the pad's loft and prevents it from becoming flat or misshapen. However, do not store the pad inflated, as this can cause stress on the seams and valve, leading to leaks and other damage.
In conclusion, proper storage of your sleeping pad is crucial for maintaining its performance and longevity. Make sure to air dry it thoroughly before packing it away, avoid tightly compressing it, and store it flat or loosely rolled away from direct sunlight. With these tips, you can enjoy a comfortable and restful night's sleep on your next camping or backpacking trip.