The effectiveness of glueless patches has been a hotly debated topic in the past. In a recent thread, Calvin Jones of Park Tool posted this response about Park's glueless patches:
Our goal at Park Tool is to make all our patches 100% effective. However, adhesion in any application is not necessarily completely reliable as there are many factors related to bonding.
Our experience with the GP-2 patch over the years shows there are basically four factors that lead to patch failure. The first is when the tube is scuffed too aggressively with the sandpaper. When the tube is scuffed too aggressively or for too long, tiny grooves are formed—grooves too deep for the adhesive to flow into and seal off. As a result, air can escape. The purpose of scraping is really cleaning, so use light swipes with the sandpaper.
The second source of failure is a tube that is not clean and/or dry. If there is any dirt, talc, oils, or tube residue left after sanding, the patch will adhere to that dirt or talc rather than the tube. Likewise, if there is any moisture on the tube, it will get trapped between the patch and the tube. To insure the tube is dry, quickly wipe it with a damp piece of cloth and let it dry. Then apply the patch, making sure there are no wrinkles in the patch material.
The third source of failure is when the hole in the tube is directly on, or next to a seam. In this case, there is not enough surface area around the hole for the patch to seal against. In these situations, no patch is going to hold well.
The forth source of failure is from issues of tube-to-tire width compatibility. If the tube is too narrow for the tire, it will stretch too much and this may stress the patch bond to the tube suface. Additionally, do not inflate the tube after installing a glueless patch to “test” it, as this will stretch the tube as well. It is the pressure of the tube against the tire casing that holds the patch in place.
my experience has been hit and miss with them. the first time I needed them, they were garbage, i would clean the tube perfectly and make sure they are well sealed etc... and 5 minutes down the trail "psssssss!" they blew again, and you could see a tiny line of where the air started escaping. they just seemed to not have enough adhesive. i used 5 or 6 patches on 1 2 hour ride.
I was too lazy to replace the kit so a few months later I got another flat (new tube). I repaired it the same way with the same kit, no problemo. It kept air so well that I forgot about it until I got another flat several weeks later. This one was right next to the seam of the tube, these patches didn't help much with that
I finally got a standard glue patch kit, and haven't needed it yet so I don't have any info on them. In conclusion, the glueless kits (to me) are very quick/easy/convienient, and they are thinner so you can pack several patches in a much smaller space than glued ones, but their performance is iffy. I think they would be fine for easy rides close to town where if your patches fail its just a quick walk or cell phone call for help. I would not recommend them for an epic wilderness ride where there is no cell signal and your bike is your only transportation back to the civilized world.
Oh i should add, my glueless patches were the thin clear ones, I've also seen ones that are the thicker black/orange ones that may work better.
First, my quick appreciation to BF for being the resource it is. It's great to search on something new to me...
Second, my first experience with (my friend's) Park Tool Peel & Stick product (not sure what particular spec it was) happened yesterday. A quick patch followed by my first CO2 cartridge (excellent results) got me back on the road well enough for the last 14km of a 130km trek. (40 minutes with brutal headwinds and requistie stop at beer store to purchase post-ride libations. But later in the evening I noticed that it had gone flat.
'08 Fuji Roubaix RC; '07 Schwinn Le Tour GS; '92 Diamond Back Ascent EX
I have had good luck with glueless on lower pressure tires but gave up on using them on road bike tires (100 psi and up). I carry a spare tube and do the patching at home (I do carrry a patch kit in case I get more than one flat on an outing ut haven't needed it on the road as of yet).
Everyone should do a personal test of their own. Use one glueless patch and one traditional patch with vulcanizing fluid the next time you get a flat. Put one on the hole and put the other one right next to it. Ride the wheel around for awhile and take out the tube to test. Try peeling off both patches and see which one sticks better.