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#89678 - 02/12/08 09:27 PM Self-inflating mattress future design
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
I am unabashadely a fan of Thermarest-type self-inflating matresses.

The design is pretty simple (good!) and perhaps the main area of improvement can come from better materials.
Thus I have given a few neurons & synapeses over to thinking about new materials.

OUTER SHELL> Would coated Cuben fabric be lighter but just as durable? Or some other light miracle fabric like Spectra?

FOAM CORE> Thermarest has already gone to a lighter foam core material in the last few years. Is Aerogel compressable enough, durable enough and resilient enough to be used in the entire mattress? Is this material suitable to use for the entire core? I don't think so but don't know enough about its properties.

Any other thoughts on a lighter, warmer, more comfortable self-inflating mattress?

Eric


Edited by 300winmag (02/14/08 12:26 PM)
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"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

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#89679 - 02/12/08 10:36 PM Re: Self-inflating mattress future design [Re: 300winmag]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
If Thermarest could use lighter materials, then they could make a lightweight 2 1/2" thick version so I wouldn't have to blow up an air mattress. I have a 2" thick Thermarest (the old LE in 3/4 length) but for the last few years it hasn't been enough cushioning for these old bones. They'd have to get it down to 17 oz., though, which is the weight of my insulated air mattress.


Edited by OregonMouse (02/12/08 10:38 PM)
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#89680 - 02/13/08 04:55 AM Re: Self-inflating mattress future design [Re: 300winmag]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3569
Loc: Texas
True Aerogel is 'crunchy', not fluffy. I've only found one place to buy it and it's really expensive. Like $5/100CC, and they only sell little granules, not bricks or sheets. I've often wondered if a jacket stuffed with those granules would be useful but with a little wear it would be reduced to dust.

Here's a little movie about it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PfelqRpOQk

Interestingly, Aspen Aerogels has apparently come up with an aerogel batting for outdoor wear. I've never found it on the market but it looks promising. They compare to other synthetic insulations but not down. Wonder why?
http://www.aerogel.com/markets/outdoor.html

Another member of this forum, Gardenville, has used Cuben fiber in sleeping bags. Might look him up.

I 'was' a big fan of Thermorest and own a couple of 'em. I've since moved on to Ridgerest foam because it's lighter, doesn't leak down, and provides a better 'structure' for my pack. I still use inflatables sometimes.
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#89681 - 02/13/08 07:38 AM Re: Self-inflating mattress future design [Re: 300winmag]
Brumfield Offline
member

Registered: 12/23/07
Posts: 255
Loc: Expat from New Orleans, now in...
Quote:
I am unabashadely a fan on Thermarest-type self-inflating matresses.

The design is pretty simple (good!) and sperhaps the main area of improvement can come from better materials.
Thus I have given a few neurons & synapeses over to thinking about new materials.

OUTER SHELL> Would coated Cuben fabric be lighter but just as durable? Or some other light miracle fabric like Spectra?

FOAM CORE> Thermarest has already gone to a lighter foam core material in the last few years. Is Aerogel compressable enough, durable enough and resilient enough to be used in the entire mattress? Is this material suitable to use for the entire core? I don't think so but don't know enough about its properties.

Any other thoughts on a lighter, warmer, more comfortable self-inflating mattress?

Eric


Eric, I would put my money Honeywell's Spectra. Any material that is as light as Spectra and can still be used in sun umbrellas on beaches, as protective material in bullet proof vests and even woven as cut and slash hand armor protection for police and military has got to be the one to use. The proven effective use of Spectra, for us, came in the protection of our Spectra covered windows when hurricane Ivan blew across Perdido Key back in 2004.

Imagine, with a Spectra air pad we could sleep on cactus, which I could really use here. I recently punctured my 20-year-old Therm-a-Rest on a cactus... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" /> I'm still grieving over its loss. Now for the foam core, I'm not sure... I'll be watching this post to see what everybody comes up with. Maybe we could all get our heads together and come up with the "TLB Spectra Sleeping Pad", go public with the stock, and all retire to Mexico! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Brum
_________________________



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#89682 - 02/13/08 12:56 PM Re: Self-inflating mattress future design [Re: Brumfield]
Earthling Offline
member

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 3228
Loc: USA
As Paul mentioned, Gardenville/Bill has worked with making all manner of lighter weight, ok, SUPER light weight backpacking items. I doubt someone is going to eclipse his knowldedge in the near future, within the industry or on a Forum somewhere <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

I think a 800+Down filled airmat is the best there is, and here's why. It insulates but is lighter than foam, they can be made with lighter fabrics, but they cost the bucks.
_________________________
PEPPER SPRAY AIN'T BRAINS IN A CAN!

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#89683 - 02/13/08 01:10 PM Re: Self-inflating mattress future design [Re: Brumfield]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
Isn't Spectra susceptible to damage from repeated bending and folding, or is that Kevlar? I get them confused.

The fabric skin needs to be tough against tears, punctures and stretching, and also stand up to daily folding and packing. Of course it also has to accept the airtight coating and heat-sealing of the edges. I've no idea what lightweight fabric meets all these criteria, but I'll bet the list is pretty short.

I haven't handled one of the POE Aerogel pads yet--anybody? I do know the perforated foam self-inflaters aren't as warm as the solid variety, so hopefully there's a lighter open-cell foam in our future.

p.s. I'm pretty happy with the POE/BA insulated air mattresses. Comfy as can be, and they pack really small.

Quote:

Eric, I would put my money Honeywell's Spectra. Any material that is as light as Spectra and can still be used in sun umbrellas on beaches, as protective material in bullet proof vests and even woven as cut and slash hand armor protection for police and military has got to be the one to use. The proven effective use of Spectra, for us, came in the protection of our Spectra covered windows when hurricane Ivan blew across Perdido Key back in 2004.

Imagine, with a Spectra air pad we could sleep on cactus, which I could really use here. I recently punctured my 20-year-old Therm-a-Rest on a cactus... <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" /> I'm still grieving over its loss. Now for the foam core, I'm not sure... I'll be watching this post to see what everybody comes up with. Maybe we could all get our heads together and come up with the "TLB Spectra Sleeping Pad", go public with the stock, and all retire to Mexico! <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Brum
_________________________
--Rick

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#89684 - 02/13/08 02:09 PM Re: Self-inflating mattress future design [Re: Rick_D]
Brumfield Offline
member

Registered: 12/23/07
Posts: 255
Loc: Expat from New Orleans, now in...
[quote]Isn't Spectra susceptible to damage from repeated bending and folding, or is that Kevlar? I get them confused. [quote]

Hey Rick, try rolling your Spectra pad... less bends and folds. And of course, you'll need to also stay very still while you sleep. Maybe I'll make a pad out of Goodyear Wranglers to get better wear... Naw! YMMV <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" /> Brum
_________________________



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#89685 - 02/13/08 05:43 PM Re: Self-inflating mattress - Yo, Paul! [Re: Dryer]
Brumfield Offline
member

Registered: 12/23/07
Posts: 255
Loc: Expat from New Orleans, now in...
Hey, Paul, can you give me a suggestion on which web site I should use to investigate the RidgeRest foam pad? I Googled it, but I'm getting scattered info with no in depth details. My son is beginning to borrow my newer Therm-a-Rest pad often, and I punctured my old one, so I was considering buying another Therm-a-Rest, but will check out the RidgeRest first. Thanks, Brum
_________________________



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#89686 - 02/13/08 06:06 PM Re: Self-inflating mattress - Yo, Paul! [Re: Brumfield]
rgb63 Offline
member

Registered: 03/29/04
Posts: 35
Spectra is not weakend by repeated bending or folding - see climbing slings.

I have not heard of such a property in relation to kevlar either. In fact, I have used Kevlar for its bending properties in a carbon fiber and epoxy composite matrix.

Spectra and kevlar are in generally poor in puncture resistance but they are strong in tension along the fibers.

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#89687 - 02/13/08 07:20 PM Re: Self-inflating mattress - Yo, Paul! [Re: Brumfield]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3569
Loc: Texas
Yup....go here:
http://www.thermarest.com/product_detail.aspx?pID=49&cID=2

I have the 'small' which is 9 oz. and sliced off the solid ends, dropping the weigh another couple ounces. Seems like I paid about $17 at REI.
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#89688 - 02/13/08 07:55 PM Re: Ridge rest [Re: Dryer]
Ecrow Offline
member

Registered: 02/02/08
Posts: 85
Loc: N. New Mexico
Hey dryer, how does the ridgerest compare to the z lite as far as comfort? Big Agnes now makes a pretty light torso length clear inflater at 11 oz, but not too durable.
Thanks
_________________________
Ecrow
Live to tell.

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#89689 - 02/13/08 08:30 PM Re: Self-inflating mattress - Yo, Paul! [Re: Dryer]
Brumfield Offline
member

Registered: 12/23/07
Posts: 255
Loc: Expat from New Orleans, now in...
Quote:
Yup....go here:
http://www.thermarest.com/product_detail.aspx?pID=49&cID=2

I have the 'small' which is 9 oz. and sliced off the solid ends, dropping the weigh another couple ounces. Seems like I paid about $17 at REI.


Quote:
I 'was' a big fan of Thermorest and own a couple of 'em. I've since moved on to Ridgerest foam


Ok, I must be totally out of touch, I thought RidgeRest was a different company than Therm-a-Rest... When you said "I've moved on to RidgeRest " it threw me... and there it was all along made by my favorite sleeping mat company anyway. Ok, This works!

Paul, can you please describe to me what you see as the major differences between the older inflatable models and the newer RidgeRest? How does the comfort compare? Is the RidgeRest firm enough to assist in holding a hammock open to avoid the cocoon effect? How about moisture absorption, is it like a big sponge? What do those waffle lines do to your face? Why is the sky blue?

Guess I shouldn't worry, at $17.00, I could cut it up and make 97 koozies out of it if I don't like it. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Thanks, Brum
_________________________



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#89690 - 02/13/08 08:42 PM Re: Self-inflating mattress - Yo, Paul! [Re: rgb63]
Brumfield Offline
member

Registered: 12/23/07
Posts: 255
Loc: Expat from New Orleans, now in...
Quote:
I have used Kevlar for its bending properties in a carbon fiber and epoxy composite matrix.


rgb63, do you work for Ferrari? The new Enzo uses the carbon fiber and epoxy composite process to lay on their body panels. Are you having any issues with transverse microcracking during cryogenic hardening? Brum
_________________________



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#89691 - 02/13/08 08:59 PM Re: Self-inflating mattress - Yo, Paul! [Re: Brumfield]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3569
Loc: Texas
The ridgerest holds my pack's shape (GPV4) better, absorbs no water, and is certainly firm enough (maybe too firm for some). I feel it's warmer in my hammock because it doesn't leak down or compress under weight. It really doesn't hold the hammock open any more but does stay put better and actually conforms to the hammock's curve. Both my Thermorest inflatables leak down by morning and I can't seem to find a leak. I wouldn't know about waffle lines and my face...I sleep on my back or side. Plus, it's lighter weight!
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#89692 - 02/13/08 09:01 PM Re: Ridge rest [Re: Ecrow]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3569
Loc: Texas
I've never owned a z-lite, so I wouldn't know. I swore 20 years ago that I'd never go back to a foam pad....things change, I guess. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#89693 - 02/14/08 01:23 AM Re: Self-inflating mattress - Yo, Paul! [Re: Brumfield]
rgb63 Offline
member

Registered: 03/29/04
Posts: 35
Quote:
rgb63, do you work for Ferrari? The new Enzo uses the carbon fiber and epoxy composite process to lay on their body panels. Are you having any issues with transverse microcracking during cryogenic hardening? Brum

Heh - no way. We were using the stuff on a far smaller scale - working with somebody who "fitted" high-end ankle braces for people with severe ankle arthritis and otherwise would not be able to walk without the support of a brace. We had a prototype brace where we sandwiched a few layers of Kevlar in between CF to provide a flex and spring to the device at the ball of the foot, allowing for more a natural and comfortable walking movement.

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#89694 - 02/14/08 07:06 AM Re: Self-inflating mattress - Yo, Paul! [Re: rgb63]
Brumfield Offline
member

Registered: 12/23/07
Posts: 255
Loc: Expat from New Orleans, now in...
Quote:
working with somebody who "fitted" high-end ankle braces for people with severe ankle arthritis and otherwise would not be able to walk without the support of a brace. We had a prototype brace where we sandwiched a few layers of Kevlar in between CF to provide a flex and spring to the device at the ball of the foot, allowing for more a natural and comfortable walking movement.


Brumfield wrote:
Is there any info or pictures on your work posted online? This sounds like something we all will need soon enough as our old bones give out. The flex and spring at the ball of the foot would make for the ultimate addition to hiking boot design. Do you think that design could be fitted into the build of a boot? I know some people that would invest big bucks in such a walking aid in a heart beat. Brum
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#89695 - 02/14/08 07:37 AM Re: Self-inflating mattress future design [Re: Dryer]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Here is what I have found with aerogel. I did a little research when I posted my sleeping bag post in make yer own gear.

First of all, aerogel is very stiff. The granules are probably very light, but no compression. There is a company that Dryer mentioned, Aspen Aerogels, that have been able to make it into a blanket. There website shows some products they have been working on. One is a sleeping bag. They also make shoe inserts and Burton puts the stuff in their jackets. It is pretty interesting stuff, but with some faults. One fault with the blanket stuff is that it can't be compressed (that might not be a fault, depending on how you look at it), and it is pretty dense (heavy) for the thickness. Here is an example, if I wanted a top quilt with an aergel blanket as the insulation, and I picked the 2mm thick stuff, and I contoured it like a mummy, the insulation would weigh 1.7 lbs with a Clo of 0.9. You can look at their website and do the numbers yourself, but it seems to me that by changing this brittle material into something pliable, adds to the density.

Here is my email response from Aspen Aerogel

Hi David,
I apologize for the excessive delay in responding to your request. Your email landed in my spam filter and I just finally had a chance to clean it out.
Pyrogel2250 is priced at $2.86/SF for less than 4000SF purchases. The product is a nominal 57 wide so a running yard would be about $40.76/linear yard.
The Clo rating is approximately 11.5/inch.
Our standard sample sizes are 8 x 11 but I can also provide a larger custom cut size with a lead time of about 2-3 weeks.
Let me know what you would like.



In the end, I thing aergel a bad idea for insulation in a sleeping bag, and inflating mattress pad. 800+ down is probably cheaper.
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#89696 - 02/14/08 08:59 AM Re: Self-inflating mattress future design [Re: finallyME]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3569
Loc: Texas
David (finallyME), this is hilarious!! I too emailed Aspen Aerogel yesterday but got back a fairly nebulous answer. I basically wanted to know where to find the products, and they told me. You asked a better question and got back a better answer.

Anyway, I've handled Aerogel as well as space shuttle tiles..lots of 'em...from the Columbia shuttle crash. Aerogel feels like crunchy perlite, only more brittle. If you closed your eyes and someone placed a 1" cube of solid aerogel in your hand, you wouldn't feel it....very light stuff. Space shuttle tiles 'heft' like blocks of wood, a little heavier than balsa, with a consistency more like fire brick. Both are made from the same thing...silica.
I'm not absolutely sure but it seems to me that "flexible'' aerogel would have to be granules embedded or infused in a fibrous matrix of some kind, thus, not pure aerogel. That would explain the weight. I suspect the insulation value would still out perform other battings. I'd have to see an insole to understand why it doesn't crush. Notice, there is no comparison between goose down and aerogel on the website.
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#89697 - 02/14/08 09:18 AM Re: Self-inflating mattress future design [Re: Dryer]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Dryer, I think I got a better answer because I used my company email (its an R&D company) and told them I am a Design Engineer (which I am) and that I was looking at future product applications. Who knows, maybe I would have gotten the same response with my yahoo email and I didn't say I was a design engineer. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

If you compare the thickness, it might be better than down. If it was 3" thick, it would have a Clo of 34.5. I think down has a Clo around 10-15 at that thickness of loft (this is a quess, I didn't calculate the Clo of down, so anyone can correct me if they want). The density is the problem. At 3 inch thickness, a top blanket to cover my body would weigh over 30 lbs. ouch! To get a Clo of 10, the blanket would be .9 inches thick and weigh close to 10 lbs.

The price is a little higher than down as well. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#89698 - 02/15/08 12:00 AM Re: Self-inflating mattress future design [Re: OregonMouse]
300winmag Offline
member

Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
Hmmm,

Could the hollow cores in Thermarest mattress foam be (factory) filled with a bit of resilient poly fibers? And if so would it give a significant increase in R Value?? Would it decrease compressability much?

Hmmmm...

Eric

P.S.
Hey Thermarest/Cascade Designs: If you DOUBLED the price of a UL Thermarest could you make it BOTH 30% lighter and 30% warmer?

How about 25% lighter but just as warm as previously?

Would you believe 20% lighter for 20% more money?

10% for 10%?

Call me when any of these are ready. (800) GEARHEAD


Edited by 300winmag (02/15/08 12:01 AM)
_________________________
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

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#89699 - 02/15/08 09:41 AM Re: Self-inflating mattress future design [Re: 300winmag]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Quote:

Could the hollow cores in Thermarest mattress foam be (factory) filled with a bit of resilient poly fibers? And if so would it give a significant increase in R Value?? Would it decrease compressability much?


The only way that the R value would increase is if the hollow cores had a convection current inside. I doubt it. Stagnant air has a higher R value than any resilient poly fiber. All it would do would be adding weight, decreasing compressibility, adding cost, and maybe even decreasing the R value. Just my thoughts, JMT. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.

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#89700 - 02/15/08 10:33 AM Re: Self-inflating mattress future design [Re: 300winmag]
BrianKelly Offline
member

Registered: 04/18/07
Posts: 31
Loc: Alabama
OUTER SHELL> Would coated Cuben fabric be lighter but just as durable?

The big drawback to Cuben is it has poor abrasion resistance. Considering the base of the pad can/will be scuffing along the ground/tent floor/ ground sheet, I don't know if it would be the best use for because of this.

Maybe just the top of the pad?

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