Order Tara's Bicycle Touring Cookbook Today!

Therm-a-Rest ToughSkin Failure

by Tyler

About a week ago, one of our Therm-a-Rest Toughskin sleeping mats started failing. The outer fabric began to delaminate, pulling away from the foam inside creating a bulbous air pocket. When you lay on the mat, the added pressure causes the fabric to pull away even further, making the problem worse. For now, we're taking turns sleeping on the barely-inflated mat.

Therm-a-Rest ToughSkin Failure

When we contacted Cascade Designs, makers of the mat, they were immediately willing to ship a replacement ahead of us. We spoke with their Ireland office and a package was sent out via DHL to meet us in Belgrade. This is our second sleeping mat failure so far.

We're now in Belgrade, and the sleeping mat hasn't arrived. It looks like we may be in for yet another shipment receiving nightmare. The last report says it is stuck in customs. Hopefully we can get everything sorted on Monday. We're both really excited to leave town along the Danube into Romania.

In other news, it is my Dad's 50th birthday today. Happy Birthday Dad! We wish we could be there with you to celebrate. Here is a photo of him being awesome on an outing a few weeks ago near Lake Superior. I love you Dad!

Tyler's Dad
Previous Entry
Nikola Tesla Museum


That's bad luck, but not the first story I've heard of Thermarests delaminating. Have you considered Exped mats? I've been using their Downmat 7 for a long time, and have been so impressed that I recently got hold of a lighter self-inflating one - the SIM Light SL 2.5.

Their site is http://www.exped.com and being based in Germany it might be easier to get hold of one in Europe!
Posted by Tom Allen on April 12th, 2010 at 6:15 AM

We had Exped mats when we started and they failed too.

Here is a review we did of the two when we switched to Therm-a-Rest.

It seems they all have their own problems, unfortunately :(

The hostel we're staying at is currently assisting us in writing a letter to customs in Serbian explaining what it is and why we need it. Nuts!
Posted by Tyler on April 12th, 2010 at 6:38 AM
After a few failures on the Thermarest inflatable mats, we decided that solid foam mats are the only way to go for extended trips, where you won't be home to replace the mats easily (though, like your experience, we found Thermarest to be excellent).

Our Thermarest ZLite mats have been with us for 2+ years and are still going strong. They do take some getting used to (they're much firmer) but after a week or so of adjustment we now sleep just fine on them.
Posted by Friedel on April 12th, 2010 at 8:35 AM