Last time I used the Thermarest, I slept a little too close to the fire, so today I am patching the two holes burnt in it. I pulled out the patch kit that came with the mattress. Step one is to clean the area and wait for it to dry, so while I was waiting for it to dry, I perused the very useful warnings on the back of the instructions, such as

  • Keep your mat away from any open flames, sparks and embers.

Hmm, well, you know, that’s why they give you a patch kit, right? But here’s the one that I thought was especially useful. (punctuation left intact so you can appreciate the full effect)

  • Avoid using your mat on sharp or abrasive surfaces. such as on rocks. scree. branches. pine cones. coral or pins and needles.

So yes good to know that I should avoid sleeping on the coral reef. And also, that field full of pins and needles that I’ve been dying to explore, well I guess that one’s out. Or did they mean that if you are camping with your family and everyone is on pins and needles waiting for Uncle Marshall to have so much to drink that he starts making fun of Aunt Betsy’s speech impediment, which will make her cry, which will make her husband Bill try to take away Marshall’s beer, and everyone in the family is laying bets on which one of them will throw the first punch, you should avoid sleeping on the Thermarest? Or perhaps you shouldn’t sleep at all. In any case, it’s clear that if you were planning to sleep on pins and needles, you should do so without the Thermarest.