How to Roll Up an Inflatable Sleeping Pad

April 16, 2013

Grab one end. Roll it up. Twice.

Ever done battle trying to get an inflatable sleeping pad back into its stuff sack? The usual reason for the struggle is residual air trapped inside the pad, which you can essentially eliminate using this basic double-roll technique:

  • Open the valve and roll the pad firmly for its entire length. Force out most of the air, but don’t worry about some residual air being trapped. 
  • Close the valve.
  • Unroll the pad again. 
  • Keep the valve closed and very tightly roll up the pad. As you approach the end, the remaining air will inflate the last bit of pad. 
  • At this point, open the valve and force the air out. 
  • Close valve. 
  • Stuff it.

Of course, you don’t have to do the double-roll to get it into most stuff sacks. I’ve just found that this technique actually requires the least effort and is actually the most time-efficient, especially given the lengthy and annoying struggles I used to have trying to squeeze a pad into its seemingly-too-snug stuff sack.

I also find that the amount of hard, hand-clenching effort required is less with a double-roll. I feel it in my forearms and hands when I try to tightly single-roll a pad and force out all the air in one a shot.

“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid. 

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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.