Why do balloons burst?
Do you want the long answer or the short one? It can be quite a complex issue. But for the purpose of ‘balloonbedding’ I guess you really want the basics: If the latex membrane is pierced it starts a tear at that point, the pressure of the air inside continues the tear and the bang comes from the membrane reaching speeds in excess of the speed of sound is it shrinks back to it’s former size.
Overall feedback from users has been very positive about the reliability of the balloons. Some users state that they don’t get any bursts, whilst others expect and accept one balloon either bursting or deflating slowly overnight.
However, if you get more than one it would suggest that you are doing something wrong. Below are a variety of reasons for multiple balloon bursts.
Be careful about introducing sharp things into your tent. This could be a thorn or thistle embedded in your groundsheet. It could even be from a vicious down stalk leaking from your sleeping bag or jacket.
Strangely, balloons can withstand a many-pointed attack easily. It’s the single sharp point of contact that causes them to burst. What to do:
- Don’t pitch your tent on thistles or very prickly ground..
- Clean out your tent after use and make sure the groundsheet isn’t impregnated with thistly bits
- Possibly place laminated maps under tent groundsheet overnight.
- Make sure your old down bags/jackets aren’t leaking nasty down stalks.
Keep static electricity to a minimum in your tent. The heat generated in a small static spark is enough to initiate a rupture. We all know balloons can stick to walls after a few rubs on a woolly pullover and you may have even seen flashes of light as you take off a fleece in the dark. Both these things are caused by ‘static electricity’. Children’s party ‘magicians’ can experience many bursts because of static. Static electricity will not build up in a single point if it can conduct away – on damp days the water vapour will conduct it away.
What to do:
- Don’t inflate your balloons until you want to sleep on them – constantly moving and twisting on your bed will build up static.
- If it’s a dry camp them dampen down the balloons by either putting water on the outside or inside. It can be quite easy to inject a tiny bit of water into the balloons with the pump. If it’s thrashing down with rain outside, static isn’t going to be a problem.
- If you can blow up the balloons by mouth then do so as it will introduce water vapour into the balloon… we’ve only ever met two people who can do this though. Alternatively, pre-inflate the balloons with the pump, deflate, and then blow up by mouth.
- Spray the Balloonbed mattress material with anti-static spray. We don’t do this as it can make the mattress seem oily… and recipients of their nice new shiny bed tend to be less pleased by the oily nature of an anti static bed.
3. Balloon deficiencies.
There will be weaknesses in some balloons due to the vagaries of the manufacturing process. Balloons (unlike condoms) are not individually tested for weaknesses. Luckily these rogue balloons tend to get weeded out during inflation and knotting.
Are you using old balloons? Latex will degrade over time.
Have you bought some balloons from a local joke/toy/novelty shop that are either substantially inferior to our special 260Q balloons or have been stored for too long?
Be aware that latex balloons do deteriorate after time and you should consider replacing them every year or so to ensure their reliability on an event. You can buy replacements from us on-line.