Why Is My Self Inflating Sleeping Pad Not Inflating? We Have the Answers!

Are you trying to inflate your self inflating sleeping pad and it just won’t work? Are you out on an adventure and is your self-inflating sleeping pad not inflating? That must be a disaster! But we are here to help. 

We prepared this article for you to help you deal with your sleeping pad reparation process and air valve problems. You will read all about preparing your valve, punctures, and how to check your repairs. Don’t let a small fault in your mat keep you from spending a beautiful night in the wild, repair it easily and hurry up to get to your camp!

KAMUI deflated pad

Why Is My Self Inflating Sleeping Pad Not Inflating?

As the first step in this process, you will have to think of what could be wrong with your pad, or why is your self inflating sleeping pad not inflating? Of course, there is a fault with it, but how do you find out whats’ wrong? Here is a list to go through:

  1. Check if it’s a puncture leak
  2. Check if it’s a valve leak
  3. Check if it’s a factory mistake and contact the manufacturer

If it’s a puncture that appeared on your pad, you probably penetrated it on a rock, cactus, twig, or your other gear inside the tent. 

Unlike leaks, valves are different and have various ways of malfunctioning. Here is what might have happened to your valve:

  • You might have turned your valve to start inflating and nothing happens
  • Your dog chewed on the valve
  • The valve can’t open
  • The valve broke due to stepping on it

Only after checking these steps, should you proceed with looking for factory mistakes, contacting the manufacturer, and calling for your warranty. 

Thus, if you know what happened to your sleeping pad, proceed to the following steps and let us help you repair and keep your sleeping pad out of the landfills. Even if you don’t know what the fault of your mat is, follow through and find out for yourself.

dog in tent on sleeping pad

Step #1: Check for Puncture Leaks

We have a great article on self inflating sleeping pad repair that might help you with repairing punctures, but you can still find the basics of this technique here. First things first, you always need to check for punctures if you’re experiencing malfunctions like your self-inflating sleeping pad not inflating, or generally just having problems inflating. 

Most of us think that when there’s a leak on our camp mat, the whole thing just deflates overnight. On the contrary, leaks can influence inflation and insulation too, if they are big enough!

Next up are the simplified steps you need to follow when checking for punctures in your sleeping pad. 

Technique on Checking Where Inflatable Pad Is Leaking and Repairing It

KAMUI sponge

The first step in figuring out what happened to your pad is checking for punctures. It’s even better if you’ve concluded that your sleeping pad is leaking, by yourself. Here are the steps you can follow to find the leak and mend the puncture. 

  1. Find the location of the hole, do this by either inserting the pad into a tub of water or using a small tub of soapy water, spreading it with a sponge. In both cases, pinpoint where bubbles form and you’ve found the leak.
  2. Prepare the air pad for repair and place the patch on top of the pad.
  3. Let the camping sleeping pad dry.

Step #2: Check for Valve Leaks

If step #1 didn’t do the trick, and your self inflating sleeping pad is not inflating, the problem most probably lies in the air valve of your pad. 

Next on our list is what you will need to do with your broken valve and repair kit. Always make sure to buy your valve and glue from the original manufacturer, or else the valve might not fit perfectly, or might even not be the type you need. 

Once you placed your sleeping pad in water, while checking for leaks in the previous step, you probably placed your valve underwater too. If you’ve detected bubbles escaping this area of your camping pad, the problem most probably lies in your valve. If that’s the case, proceed with the next steps of changing the sleeping pad valve. 

Steps to Repairing Sleeping Pad Valve

Here is what you need to do when replacing the sleeping pad valve, a theme we have talked about in our Self Inflating Sleeping Pad Repair article too.

KAMU pliers
  1. Open your valve fully, as far as possible. This is a preparation step that will make it easier for you to detach it with your pliers.
  2. Take the pliers and detach the plastic valve from the camping mat. This step might take a while, and requires some moving around and not just pulling. Move the valve left and right to get faster results.
  3. Once the valve is out, clean the inside of the opening with a damp cloth.
  4. Now, get your repair kit out and keep these two separate valves away from each other, make sure not to mix them up.
  5. Take the new valve and put a light coat of glue on it, make sure you don’t overdo it.
  6. Once this is done insert the new valve into the opening. This step might be tricky but don’t give up. You have to twist and push, and once the item is in, you are done.
  7. Let the foam pad dry, for how long the manufacturer of the glue recommends it to. 

So, if you’ve had problems with your preferred type of sleeping pad not inflating properly, these two steps should do the trick. Once again, always make sure to use a repair kit with a valve and patch that the manufacturer produced. You can get these online over their store, or at the closest outdoor handler near you.

Kamui Valve

Step #3: Check Repairs on Your Self Inflating Mat

After letting your pad for camping air out and sit for a few hours, and leaving the glue to dry – Comes the repair check. Don’t forget you need to do this no matter the type of repairs you did with your pad, either the air valve or puncture repair (step 1 or 2, or both). Here is our favorite and easiest step of all, and that’s the repair check. 

You just need to leave your pad overnight and place heavy objects on it. We like to use your hiking boots or heavy books. The verdict should be in, in the morning.

  • If your pad is deflated, you didn’t do the steps correctly or you still have some leaks that you missed.
  • But if your pad is still fully inflated like last night, it is definitely mended and repaired. Congrats!

Here is how we do it:

Kamui Compressed

Step #4: Contact the manufacturer – My Self Inflating Sleeping Pad Is Still Not Inflating!

If all of this doesn’t work: checking for leaks, changing the valve, and gluing holes, it’s time to call in your warranty. You might be experiencing problems with camping mattress factory mistakes, the problem can lie in the open-cell foam, seams, or vacuum inside of the pad.

If the problem lies in any of these, it’s a factory mistake. Make sure you contact the manufacturer or retailer, before throwing it in the garbage can. They will help you find the problem or send you a new unit with which you can enjoy some outdoor adventures again.

What you will need

Here is a list of things you will need once you start with your camping pad repair:

  • Pliers
  • Wet cloth
  • Repair kit with adhesive and valve
  • Heavy objects
  • Patch kit with adhesive and patch
  • Soapy water with sponge and tub
Kamui Kit

Our choice: The KAMUI self-inflating sleeping pad

KAMUI sleeping pad

After we have looked at how to mend the valve or puncture on your pad that didn’t allow you to inflate it, we would like to recommend our choice of sleeping pad: The KAMUI self-inflating sleeping pad. Here are some of the things our camp pad has to offer:

  • Big size for people to 6 feet high and 275 lbs weight
  • Connects and stacks up with other pads
  • Quiet inflating valve for easy and fast inflation


What is Open Cell Foam?

Open-cell foam is a broad term to describe foams with open cell walls.

How long does a self inflating sleeping pad take to self-inflate?

Naturally, these take from 5 minutes to half an hour to self-inflate.

What is the difference between a self-inflating sleeping pad and an inflatable one?

The self-inflating pads don’t require any labor to inflate- Unlike the inflatable ones, where you need to either pump or breathe in air. 

How do you prime the pad?

To overcome the lethargic self-inflation of long-compressed foam, it’s helpful to prime the pad with a few breaths of air; it’s like giving a push-start to get the momentum going.

child and dog on sleeping pad


So if the camping pads that you took on your whole camping trip tended to deflate and took your comfort level down too, we had all the answers for you.

First, check how you’re using your sleeping pad. Then think if any repairs are needed either in the area of the valve or if any punctures occurred. Just if that doesn’t do the job – the last resort is to contact the retailer or manufacturer, to let them know you can’t find what’s wrong with your pad. 

We hope our short article on your self inflating sleeping pad not inflating problems helped you find the root of your problem and you’ve managed to find the best way to reuse it.

KAMUI Self-Inflating Sleeping Pad

  • Connectable with multiple sleeping pads
  • 4-season sleeping pad
  • Provides great back support
  • Comes with a storage bag
KAMUI Self-inflating Sleeping Pad Green with Blue variation