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I use a Therm-a-Rest NeoAir sleeping pad. This is not self inflating, so I have to breathe in to the sleeping pad to inflate it.

Are there any precautions for storing the bag to avoid gnarly bacteria / mold from growing inside the sleeping pad since I'm inflating it with such moist air? Is it enough to just store it with the valve open?

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Good quetsion. I worry about this too. –  Russell Steen Oct 9 '12 at 23:16
    
I thought about building an adapter for use with my bike pump in case I needed it, since most of my backpacking is really bikepacking... crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?page_id=163597 –  Benzo Oct 12 '12 at 12:51
    
Also, there's an adapter to make any airtite bag a pump. cascadedesigns.com/therm-a-rest/accessories/neoair-airtap-pump/… –  Benzo Oct 12 '12 at 12:56
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up vote 6 down vote accepted

No. It's a good thought, but I have had one that I have inflated by mouth for over 10 years. I usually store it valve open partially inflated. I live in Arizona and the temp in the shed can get to over 150 degrees F some days so valve closed would cause the bubble to pop. It has never given me trouble.

I have heard that this is an issue from people who have never owned one before, and usually as a selling point for solid mattresses. But I have never heard it as an issue from someone who owned one.

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My understanding that the only time inflating a pad by breath is bad is when it will be used in sub-zero conditions, as the moisture can freeze inside the mattress.

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