Blowing into your sleeping mat should be considered a last resort. Exped has a better way!
So let's start with the obvious: yes, you can, technically, inflate your sleeping mat with lung power. And yes, it's been done for decades. But those days should be in our past. Here's why:
- It's no fun, especially at higher altitudes where every breath requires more work than at sea level
- Air from lungs is drenched in vapor - check out each breath you exhale in cold air. Moisture!
- Moisture (water) helps to grow things inside your mat. Those organisms growing on the inner surface of the mat don't belong there
- That same moisture can break down the very laminate (or coating in lower quality mats) that maintains an air tight seal
Fortunately, Exped has developed several superior alternatives to inflating a mat by lungs/mouth/breath. Here they are:
Integrated pump. This is a foam air pump that is built into a couple of our classic mats: SynMat 7 and DownMat 7. It's essentially a foam "air sponge," which soaks up air and then, with the help of a pair of hands, pushes said air into the mat via a one-way valve. The advantage to this method is that it is impossible to forget your inflation pump - it's part of the mat. This pump takes 1-2 minutes for full inflation. No moist, lung generated air needed!
Pillow Pump. This accessory, as the name implies, doubles as a pillow when it comes time to hit the sack. It's pretty much an external version of the pump discussed above. Hand operated with inflation times about the same.
Mini Pump. This is a compact foam pump. Again, hand operated - no mechanical parts to fail, no batteries. Because of its smaller volume total inflation time is a bit longer. We often recommend this one for topping off foam insulated ("self inflating") mats. The foam in the sleeping mat expands and draws air in over 30 to 60 minutes (open the inflate valve when you get to camp). Then, before bed, a few strokes of the Mini Pump and the mat is topped up.
Schnozzel Pumpbag UL. This is a high volume pumpsack that doubles as an ultralight stuff sack, which makes its net weight pretty much zero. This is by far the fastest way to inflate a sleeping mat - with a little practice many mats can be fully inflated with two bags. This one comes in two sizes M/45 liters and L/85 liters.
Here's a video of the Schnozzel Pumpbag UL in action:
Schnozzel Pumpbag is available in the size L/85 liter only and is built out of tougher fabric than the UL version above (70 denier vs. 20 denier fabric on the UL). A bit heavier but also more durable when used as a stuff sack.
And finally, the original Schnozzel, which connects our purge valve equipped stuff sacks to a mat. A variety of our stuff sacks are built with FlatValves, which aid in purging every last bit of air out of your clothing or sleeping bag. So for the addition of only 0.9 ounces you can turn your Exped stuff sack into a pump!
We offer a number of alternatives to blowing wet breath into your sleeping mat. You may have noticed we don't offer a battery operated pump/fan. There are three reasons for this:
- Who needs to take more motorized stuff into the backcountry?
- We've tried them and they take longer - a lot longer - than any of the options discussed above. And they weigh more and cost more.
- Simplicity rules!
And simplicity is what you will find with all these options. Save your breath and use a pump!