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  1. #1
    Senior Member mdilthey's Avatar
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    Fixing Flat Tires AND Flat Thermarests

    Hi guys,

    I know nothing about chemicals, vulcanization, etc.

    Can I use tire patches and tire patch glue on a thermarest air mattress, or vice versa? Carrying one instead of both saves weight.
    Writing, Working, Photographing, and Living from the saddle. MaxTheCyclist.wordpress.com

  2. #2
    Senior Member Western Flyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
    Hi guys,

    Can I use tire patches and tire patch glue on a thermarest air mattress, or vice versa? Carrying one instead of both saves weight.
    The very short answer is NO! In theory glue-less inner tube patches will work on both but many touring cyclists, including myself, have found that when your rims heat up on long steep descents the pressure sensitive adhesive becomes soft and the patch can fail. However the glue-less patches are great at fixing small holes in waterproof Ortlieb panniers.

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    Not sure if you are asking on how to fix a flat or not but if you are, check out step by step here
    Feel free to visit my blog www.chefonabicycle.com

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    I seriously doubt it. Probably not the best place to save 20g or whatever.

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    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Glue patches for the tube. Gorilla tape for the Thermarest.

    'Course, you can buy patch material specifically for a Thermarest, but a piece of Gorilla tape will work just fine.

    Skip a meal, save the weight.
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    I have used Tear Aid patches successfully on a Neoair mattress a couple of times. Tear Aids are great! Flexible, super easy to apply. They must have alcohol wipes to prep the surface but I keep wipes in my first aid kit. The patches come in a variety of sizes and can be used on a variety of fabrics. I learned about Tear Aid patches in an article over on CrazyGuy.

    I "think" I have tried Tear Aids on a tube with a small puncture also but can't remember if I actually reinstalled the tube yet or not. I usually put in a fresh tube when on the road and patch later at home. However, it is reported to patch tubes also. Just be sure to get the right type, i.e. Type A (all non-PVC fabrics) or Type B (PVC fabrics such as an Ortlieb pannier).

    For me, they are quite versatile and great for touring. They are compact, no special glues that dry out, light, adhere to almost fabric, etc.
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    Saves less weight than a large swig of water from one of your bottles. I'd look for other places to save.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Glue patches for the tube. Gorilla tape for the Thermarest.

    'Course, you can buy patch material specifically for a Thermarest, but a piece of Gorilla tape will work just fine.

    Skip a meal, save the weight.
    Query whether those work with the newer NeoAir models, which come complete with patch kits.
    "I've wanted you to succeed, but watching you find excuse after excuse after excuse and then laugh it off as the loveable, quirky, chubby guy is getting old."--Ill.Clyde

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    Inner tubes are rubber......Modern air mats are made of coated polyester......You can use seam grip and patch to repair mats.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

  10. #10
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    Can I use tire patches and tire patch glue on a thermarest air mattress, or vice versa? Carrying one instead of both saves weight.
    The actual Thermarest patch kit must weight about 1/10 OZ. It uses the same fabric as the original and makes a nice clean, permanent repair.

    Saves less weight than a large swig of water from one of your bottles. I'd look for other places to save
    +2

  11. #11
    __________ seeker333's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
    The actual Thermarest patch kit must weight about 1/10 OZ. It uses the same fabric as the original and makes a nice clean, permanent repair.
    I've patched various TR pads a few times over the years. I've used the official TR patches and various common flexible adhesives. A dab of silicon caulk (clear) has held up for years on one pad that receives frequent use. Rubber cement will also work, but it peels off easier so the repair is less permanent. Jury-rig patches are no less attractive than the TR ones, which tend to be overkill for most holes, which for me are pinhole size. I would use TR patches for rips and larger cuts, but I've never had one occur. The TR patches are also pretty pricey compared to a dab of whatever you got, although this is relatively low cost regardless.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Western Flyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TulsaJohn View Post
    I have used Tear Aid patches successfully on a Neoair mattress a couple of times. Tear Aids are great! Flexible, super easy to apply. They must have alcohol wipes to prep the surface but I keep wipes in my first aid kit. The patches come in a variety of sizes and can be used on a variety of fabrics. I learned about Tear Aid patches in an article over on CrazyGuy.

    I "think" I have tried Tear Aids on a tube with a small puncture also but can't remember if I actually reinstalled the tube yet or not. I usually put in a fresh tube when on the road and patch later at home. However, it is reported to patch tubes also. Just be sure to get the right type, i.e. Type A (all non-PVC fabrics) or Type B (PVC fabrics such as an Ortlieb pannier).

    For me, they are quite versatile and great for touring. They are compact, no special glues that dry out, light, adhere to almost fabric, etc.
    I’m the author of the CGOAB article you cite and a second article more generally covering the wide array of fabric and fabric products used by touring cyclists, including repair issues.

    The Tear-Aid Type-A material will work on all Ortlieb panniers, both the polyurethane coated Plus series and the polyvinyl coated Classic series. The Classic series has an acrylic top coating which stabilized the volatile plasticizer in the PVC coating. Some of the bargain basement brand panniers are not top coated and they will require the Type-B patching material. Tear-Aid is a great product, but is substantially the same as McNett Clear Tenacious tape, which is what I currently carry on tour. Also the Park glueless inner tube patches work great on Neoair mattresses for small pin hole leaks, which I have had six of them in my Neoair (another thread perhaps?). I have patched my Neoair mattress and several panniers successfully using all three materials.

    I know there are deeply held beliefs and testimonials as to the usefulness of duck tape, especially the Gorilla brand, for air mattress and pannier repairs. I don’t want to step on any toes or start a debate on the subject, but if I may add my opinion, based on over forty years in the recreational and industrial fabric trades, don’t use it.

  13. #13
    Senior Member mdilthey's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the information!

    I feel obligated to condemn everyone who says "Skip a meal, take a swig of water, save weight there." Stop. I redice a fraction of an ounce in my patch kit, and I do the same thing with my food, my sleeping bag, my panniers, my toothbrush, my clothing, and fifteen other things besides. Suddenly I've saved 20 skipped meals, or a whole water bottle worth of "swigs of water," so don't tell me how to reduce weight- just answer my question!

    Besides, my BMI is pretty great, I don't want to lose a pound.

    Thanks for the advice, everyone. Can someone explain what the "Vulcanizing" stuff in my parkTool flat kit is, exactly? Is it just glue?
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  14. #14
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Thermarest? If you can write Here,you can write there, and mail it, and they will fix it for you.

    http://cascadedesigns.com/therm-a-re...nty-and-repair
    Last edited by fietsbob; 12-28-12 at 10:07 AM.

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    Have patched several Thermarest mattresses with Seam Grip. I do not carry any on a trip, a Thermarest leak is quite infrequent for me.

  16. #16
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
    Thanks for the advice, everyone. Can someone explain what the "Vulcanizing" stuff in my parkTool flat kit is, exactly? Is it just glue?
    No. It's not 'just glue'. Therein lies the problems that many people have with patching tires. First a quick lesson in materials. Lots of people...including me...are guilty of not really specifying what materials are. A Thermorest pad is not made of polyester. It's made of nylon. Ortlieb bags are polyester that has been coated with polyvinylchloride (PVC). Tubes (and tires) are made of butyl rubber. All three are very different polymers that react in different ways to adhesives. Polyester, for example, is tough to glue. To make stuff out if it you have to melt it (aka weld it) or stitch it together. Not many adhesives really bond to it. PVC is a bit better but still requires special glues. Nylon is easy to stick many adhesives to but not all. Hide glue, for example, doesn't stick to it but isocyanates (superglue) does.

    And then there is rubber. You can bond adhesives to it but not very well. It's an elastomer so the adhesive has to stretch with the bond. Not many glues can do that. With rubber you 'weld' a patch in place by making new chemical bonds that make the patch become part of the rubber. The bond then stretches with the patch because it's just like the rubber around it. To accomplish this, you usually use a 2 part system. Each system may not be compatible with other systems. Your Park patch may not work with a Rema patch and vise versa. Rema...with which I am familiar...uses a specific mixture of compounds in the fluid and a specific mixture of compounds coating the patch surface. When these are brought into contact (without solvent interfering), the immediately start a chemical reaction that forms new bonds between the rubber of the patch and the rubber of the tube. If you use Park vulcanizing fluid, it may be missing a component that is necessary to start the reaction and won't make a good bond. If you use 'rubber cement', it will be missing components needed to initiate the reaction and won't bond at all. It will stick but it won't form the bonds needed.

    If you were to put the vulcanizing fluid on your nylon pad, the reaction would start between the patch and the fluid but it wouldn't form any kind of bond between the pad and the patch. There's not avenue for a reaction between the nylon and the vulcanizing fluid since they are completely different materials.

    Finally, the flexibility issue isn't just limited to rubber. Pads are rolled or folded or generally made smaller somehow for packing. The surface adhesive between the pad and the tape will move during all this manipulation. Eventually the patch is going to come loose...i.e. fail...and have to be reapplied. I'd use the patch from Thermorest rather then just any old tape in case they are doing something to make the bond more flexible and/or permanent. I also go to great lengths to avoid getting holes in my sleeping pad because they can be a bugger to find and fix.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Western Flyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
    Thanks for the advice, everyone. Can someone explain what the "Vulcanizing" stuff in my parkTool flat kit is, exactly? Is it just glue?
    If you really want to know all the gory details you can read the MSDS for Park vulcanizing fluid. Mind you, you may never want to spread the goo around a puncture with your fingers again. Cyccommute make a good point that many of the patch kits use different formulas for what are essentially rubber cements. Most can be mixed and matched but not all. I have had almost imperceptible leaks form over time when mixing Park and Rema Tip/Top patches and cements. The first few times it occurred I though it was poor patching procedures on my part, but as I was putting patches on top of patches I realized there was a compatibility problem.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Western Flyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Ortlieb bags are polyester that has been coated with polyvinylchloride (PVC). .
    It is a small correction, but it is the Ortlieb Classic series that are made with PVC coated polyester. The more expensive Plus series are polyurethane coated nylon. Both are excellent pannier fabrics but the inherent properties of the nylon/urathene combination allow it to be lighter weight and be just as durable. Both fabrics can be repaired with Tearaid patches, McNett tape and Park glueless patches.

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    Air mats are urethane coated (pick a material).....seam grip is made to work with urethane.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

  20. #20
    Senior Member Western Flyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Finally, the flexibility issue isn't just limited to rubber. Pads are rolled or folded or generally made smaller somehow for packing. The surface adhesive between the pad and the tape will move during all this manipulation. Eventually the patch is going to come loose...i.e. fail...and have to be reapplied. I'd use the patch from Thermorest rather then just any old tape in case they are doing something to make the bond more flexible and/or permanent. I also go to great lengths to avoid getting holes in my sleeping pad because they can be a bugger to find and fix.
    3M VHB tapes and adhesives have amazing adhesion and tenacity on a wide range of substrates, at least that’s my experience which is pretty broad in application and time. I don’t know if TearAid and McNett have 3M VHB adhesive or a competitor’s clone but they both work very well. Park Tool self-adhesive patches do use 3M adhesive.

    I would note that my Neoair mattress came with a TearAid type A patch as the only offered means of puncture repair. I used it to seal a pin hole exactly where the outer welded seam, the valve and the inflated tube meet, the hardest possible place to make a durable repair. It has been holding air with no sign of pending failure for three years. I have made five more patches to my Neoair using all of the above materials and all have held up under touring conditions.

    I have also repaired any number of cuts and holes in my waterproof panniers some as old as six years and still going strong. The only time I have had a failure was patching an inner tube and it was so long ago I don’t remember if it was a Park adhesive patch or another brand. So I should really give Park a test and see how it holds up. They are very easy, clean and fast.

  21. #21
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
    Hi guys,

    I know nothing about chemicals, vulcanization, etc.

    Can I use tire patches and tire patch glue on a thermarest air mattress, or vice versa? Carrying one instead of both saves weight.
    The answer you're looking for is provided in the FAQ for Thermarest on the Cascade Designs website, with a minimum of technobabble:

    How do I repair my Therm-a-Rest mattress and/or obtain warranty service?


    • Small leaks not requiring a patch: A urethane-based glue should be used. Some popular brands are SeamGrip® and AquaSeal. Apply a small dab, large enough to completely seal the hole, and allow 24 hours for drying. If your mattress fabric is relatively smooth like the NeoAir or Trail mattresses, peel-and-stick bicycle tube patch kits are an option offering instant repair.
    • Larger holes and tears: All mattresses can be repaired with a self-adhesive fabric patch—like those used to repair jackets and tents. These are commonly found in outdoor gear shops. Cut the patch in a circle to generously cover the hole. Apply a small amount of urethane-based glue to the back of the patch and the area to be covered on the mattress. Apply patch and press firmly. Wipe away excess glue from edges and allow 24 hours to dry.
    However, if you move to self sealing tubes like the Michlin Protek Max, or preload your tubes with Zefal sealant, you can leave the patch kit at home. SeamGrip® or Outdoor Goop is something you'd be better carrying anyway as it'll cover more bases.
    Last edited by Burton; 12-30-12 at 09:12 AM.

  22. #22
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Western Flyer View Post
    3M VHB tapes and adhesives have amazing adhesion and tenacity on a wide range of substrates, at least that’s my experience which is pretty broad in application and time. I don’t know if TearAid and McNett have 3M VHB adhesive or a competitor’s clone but they both work very well. Park Tool self-adhesive patches do use 3M adhesive.

    I would note that my Neoair mattress came with a TearAid type A patch as the only offered means of puncture repair. I used it to seal a pin hole exactly where the outer welded seam, the valve and the inflated tube meet, the hardest possible place to make a durable repair. It has been holding air with no sign of pending failure for three years. I have made five more patches to my Neoair using all of the above materials and all have held up under touring conditions.

    I have also repaired any number of cuts and holes in my waterproof panniers some as old as six years and still going strong. The only time I have had a failure was patching an inner tube and it was so long ago I don’t remember if it was a Park adhesive patch or another brand. So I should really give Park a test and see how it holds up. They are very easy, clean and fast.
    While an adhesive patch on a bag or a pad can last a long time, it will eventually fail. It's the nature of the beast. The adhesive is applied to the surface and can move around as you roll and unroll the pad. The bond between the patch and the pad may be good but it isn't permanent. If the patch experiences heat, the adhesive can soften and move more easily which makes it more likely to fail.

    On the other hand, the vulcanization process isn't just an adhesive 'bond' where you are just sticking two surfaces together through weak chemical interactions. You are actually forming chemical bonds between the two surfaces. Once a vulcanized bond is made, you can't really tell where one surface ends and the other begins because there no longer two surfaces.

    Finally, what are you sleeping on? I've had loads of pads throughout my touring and camping life. I've replaced 5 or 6 of them but not because they had holes in them. I've upgraded them but I've never had any of my pads punctured.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member Western Flyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    While an adhesive patch on a bag or a pad can last a long time, it will eventually fail. It's the nature of the beast. The adhesive is applied to the surface and can move around as you roll and unroll the pad. The bond between the patch and the pad may be good but it isn't permanent. If the patch experiences heat, the adhesive can soften and move more easily which makes it more likely to fail. .
    What you say is correct. Adhesive based patches and seams will eventually fail. But to say they are not permanent is misleading. Nothing is permanent, least of all bicycle inner tubes, panniers and especially ultra-lightweight air mattresses. The first question is will they do the job and second will they last an acceptably long period of time. In most cases this would be for the expected useful life of the article. The $1000.00 gold crown I got last month is supposed to last for fifty plus years. I would be happily surprised if this old air bag lasts long enough to put it to the test. On the other hand the crown I got thirty five years ago maybe a concern.

    As I see and have experienced it, the types of patching we are discussing becomes a matter various qualities. The OP was trying to save a few grams. My kitchen scale is not precise enough to weight a Park five pack of VHB coated polyurethane patches (maybe two grams?) v Rema Sport six 16mm patches solvent based kit at 10+ grams. The Park kit also takes up a fraction of the volume. Then there is the ease of use. An adhesive backed patch is about as difficult to apply as a Band-Aid. And then there are the environmental costs, personal or global. The adhesive/urethane patches have no MSDS sheets because there are no environmental hazards.

    Am I going to give up using solvent/rubber cement based patches like Rema for inner tube punctures? Probably not, at least not in my garage, but on tour, with a few tests, I might. For waterproof panniers and air mattresses, adhesive/urethane patches are my first choice. It is so easy to do an excellent, long lasting and clean repair. I am very well trained in using solvent glues, and convection and radiant welding and have all the tools to do them at a professional level, but why bother if the results are no better?

    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Finally, what are you sleeping on?
    Well that is and interesting question. I often sleep on the ground on clear nights without the added protection of a tent floor or ground cloth. My mattress is a Neoair regular length. It is the lemon yellow/silver model, which I believe was the original design. My sleeping bag is a Big Agnes model that has no insulation on the bottom. Instead the mat is slipped inside an envelope of nylon fabric and the mattress acts as the ground insulation. So the mattress does have some extra protection from sharp poky things on the ground. I never use my Neoair as a seat cushion or lean it up against a tree to read (It is just too lightweight and too expensive.).

    As to the large number of holes, again it is an interesting story. All the holes were extremely small, so small I couldn’t find them submerging the mat in my bathtub. I finally located all of them in a swimming pool. The air was lost so slowly that it was two in the morning before I would feel the ground. At least five and probably all six holes were manufacturing defects. Five of the holes were right on the edges of either the outer seams or where the baffles were welded to the outer fabric. I have enough years in the rag trade to recognize such defects.

    Cascade Designs has a stellar reputation for backing their air mattresses with repair or replacement. I am sure they would replace it if I asked them. But hey it works perfectly well now and I am not one to throw away working "stuff" on a whim.

  24. #24
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Western Flyer View Post
    What you say is correct. Adhesive based patches and seams will eventually fail. But to say they are not permanent is misleading. Nothing is permanent, least of all bicycle inner tubes, panniers and especially ultra-lightweight air mattresses. The first question is will they do the job and second will they last an acceptably long period of time. In most cases this would be for the expected useful life of the article. The $1000.00 gold crown I got last month is supposed to last for fifty plus years. I would be happily surprised if this old air bag lasts long enough to put it to the test. On the other hand the crown I got thirty five years ago maybe a concern.

    As I see and have experienced it, the types of patching we are discussing becomes a matter various qualities. The OP was trying to save a few grams. My kitchen scale is not precise enough to weight a Park five pack of VHB coated polyurethane patches (maybe two grams?) v Rema Sport six 16mm patches solvent based kit at 10+ grams. The Park kit also takes up a fraction of the volume. Then there is the ease of use. An adhesive backed patch is about as difficult to apply as a Band-Aid. And then there are the environmental costs, personal or global. The adhesive/urethane patches have no MSDS sheets because there are no environmental hazards.

    Am I going to give up using solvent/rubber cement based patches like Rema for inner tube punctures? Probably not, at least not in my garage, but on tour, with a few tests, I might. For waterproof panniers and air mattresses, adhesive/urethane patches are my first choice. It is so easy to do an excellent, long lasting and clean repair. I am very well trained in using solvent glues, and convection and radiant welding and have all the tools to do them at a professional level, but why bother if the results are no better?
    The only issue I have with your above statement is about permanency. The bonding that you get with a cold vulcanized patch is about as close to permanent that you can get. It's like the difference between a band-aid and a skin graft. One can be remove by pulling and the other takes the skin with it. Granted, the tube won't last forever but the patch will last as long as the tube does.

    Quote Originally Posted by Western Flyer View Post
    Well that is and interesting question. I often sleep on the ground on clear nights without the added protection of a tent floor or ground cloth. My mattress is a Neoair regular length. It is the lemon yellow/silver model, which I believe was the original design. My sleeping bag is a Big Agnes model that has no insulation on the bottom. Instead the mat is slipped inside an envelope of nylon fabric and the mattress acts as the ground insulation. So the mattress does have some extra protection from sharp poky things on the ground. I never use my Neoair as a seat cushion or lean it up against a tree to read (It is just too lightweight and too expensive.).

    As to the large number of holes, again it is an interesting story. All the holes were extremely small, so small I couldn’t find them submerging the mat in my bathtub. I finally located all of them in a swimming pool. The air was lost so slowly that it was two in the morning before I would feel the ground. At least five and probably all six holes were manufacturing defects. Five of the holes were right on the edges of either the outer seams or where the baffles were welded to the outer fabric. I have enough years in the rag trade to recognize such defects.

    Cascade Designs has a stellar reputation for backing their air mattresses with repair or replacement. I am sure they would replace it if I asked them. But hey it works perfectly well now and I am not one to throw away working "stuff" on a whim.
    Ah, that makes sense. I never use my pad outside of my tent. I have a Big Agnes bag as well so I'm aware of the pad sleeve.
    Stuart Black
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