If you didn't read the blog about the tear in my new fangled NeoAir mattress from the PCT section hike. Than you probably would not have known that I tore nearly a 1" gash in the mattress. Luckily Duct-Tape holds the world together, and it sealed the mattress for the remainder of the trip. When I was down at the PCT day celebration at Cascade Locks in Oregon, I was fortunate enough to get a free repair kit from the Therm-a-rest booth. So here is the repair and a semi-review of the simplicity of the actual patch kit.
The patch kit next to the NeoAir with a Duct-Tape patched hole. The patch kit comes with some "glue dots" which are unneeded in the repair of a NeoAir mattress.
The damage that was done with the Duct-Tape residue surrounding the tear.
The first real step for the NeoAir was to clean the area for the patch with a provided alcohol swab. If you did a trail-side repair with Duct-Tape, be prepared to scrub a little to get the residue removed.
The next major step was to install the patch. I did it like any other sticker I ever put on, Line it up as best as possible and roll the backing off to slowly while installing the patch. Just a note, the backing was a little difficult to remove with your fingernail, a razor blade might ease the initial removal of the backing.
There was an optional step which required placing a pot with boiling water on top of the patch for 10 minutes to help increase the adhesion of the patch. It is not required, but since this patch was being done at home so I was not counting every gram of fuel I performed this optional step. Previously I had read a in BPL's Member Only article on the NeoAir that when they did this step the patch slightly stuck to the pan when they were trying to remove it. Trying to avoid damaging the seal of the edge of the patch I opted to try laying down a piece of parchment paper between the pot and the patch. Which worked excellent and prevented any sticking of the patch to the parchment paper or the pot.
The finished patch.
Overall this patch kit was very simple to use at home, and I could see it being used fairly easily in the field as well. The last 2 patches, 2 alcohol swabs, Ziploc and direction packet, with the glue dots removed from the kit weighs .30 oz. So it is up to you to decide if you want to carry a redundancy in your essentials kit. Right now I've already placed a .5 oz roll of Duct-Tape in my essentials kit and the Duct-Tape held fairly well for the majority of the 4 night trip. It did leak a little throughout the night, but it was an acceptable amount of leakage for an emergency repair kit for my taste. A couple breaths at 3am firmed the mattress back up and I was happy, it's still more comfortable than my worn out home mattress or a closed cell foam pad. I definitely plan on using this kit for permanent repairs at home or maybe on very long hikes I would carry it, but for everything else there is Duct-Tape.