How to Fix an Air Mattress Hole

Many campers prefer the relative comfort of an air mattress as opposed to a sleeping bag when they’re in the woods. Whether it be for health reasons, or just to feel refreshed in the morning from a night of quality sleep, a good air mattress is a godsend for some campers. But bringing an air mattress to the campsite invites with it a host of problems, from packing space to mattress maintenance. One of the most common issues air mattress users face in the outdoors is the punching of a hole in the mattress’ delicate lining. Fortunately, the experience of longtime air mattress users has revealed a few tricks to solve the problem quickly and easily.
Finding the Hole
Finding the source of a small, gradual leak is often the toughest part of the hole fixing process. Air mattresses almost never blow out completely. Instead, they drain throughout the night – especially when camper’s sleeping bodies are putting pressure on them. Few things are as annoying to air mattress campers as waking up on the ground because of slow deflation.
For small holes that you just can’t seem to find, the simplest method of discovery is to overinflate the mattress. With the added air pressure, the hole will usually start emitting an audible “whooshing” sound or expand and become more visible. Some holes, however, are more stubborn. If you’ve tried the overinflating trick to no avail, it’s time to bust out the big guns – or in this case, the spray bottle. A trick many experienced campers used to discover air mattress holes is to create a solution of dish soap and water in a spray bottle, and use it on the inflated mattress. Eventually, you will begin to see bubbles forming where the leak is.
Fixing the Hole
When the leak is discovered, take comfort; the tough part is over. At this point, you’ll have to determine how severe the damage is. If the hole is small enough, you’ll be able to fix it with an air mattress patching kit. They’re available from most outdoor retailers for under $10, and are a must-bring camping item if you plan on using an air mattress. No matter how bad the hole is, using a patching kit is always worth a try. After all, they cost much less than buying a new air mattress altogether.
That said, some severe holes might render your air mattress useless. In the event that a rock or other sharp object severs a large, unfixable tear, it might be time to cut your losses and get a new one. Though air mattress ownership does come with this risk, the benefit of getting a good night’s sleep is worth it to many.