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Gang up on Cascade Designs??
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Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Gang up on Cascade Designs?? on 10/29/2010 00:04:36 MDT Print View

About a month ago I talked to a guy at Cascade Designs regarding putting a very light aluminized layer on the inside of the bottom skin of their Prolite mattress to up the R rating.

He hemmed and hawed and allowed that it may not permit the foam to adhere properly to the aluminized skin. Hmmmm... Has Cascade Designs REALLY tried it?

We ought to keep pestering them to try to make it work and maybe we'll see this happen. For another few grams I'd like a warmer aluminized summer mattress to easily take me into late fall and early spring.

So if'n yer interested in this "upgrade" call the company and let 'em know. What the heck, they did it to the Neo-Air and it seems to help.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Gang up on Cascade Designs?? on 10/29/2010 00:27:40 MDT Print View


Do you know who you talked to? Was it a customer service rep or a design engineer? Big difference. I am not being combative here.

However, if there is a true market for this and it can be done; then here is an opportunity for someone who wants to be an entrepreneur.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
zzzzzzzzz on 10/29/2010 00:28:13 MDT Print View

beat down !!!!

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Gang up on Cascade Designs?? on 10/29/2010 00:40:16 MDT Print View

I think the CD guy is right, it's problematic to get anything to stick to a smooth reflective layer.
For what difference it'll make,why not just put a piece of aluminised material under the pad?

From a radiative physics theoretical stance, it shouldn't make much difference.

To settle the question, maybe we could get Roger Caffin to conduct a test.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Mattress on 10/29/2010 00:42:04 MDT Print View

Why don't you just use a NeoAir?

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
pricing on 10/29/2010 00:51:29 MDT Print View

I could argue there is a pricing issue to boot. The prolite in Canada is about 100 bucks. Original ridge rest was 25 and with the aluminum is $45. it has only a 13% increase in R value. 40% increase in price for very minimal warmth. the increase over nothing is high, that`s why it works in the Neoair. The Neoair is so popular because of the comfort vs. weight of the competing pads. I would think that if they did make one it would be a monumental underachiever in sales because who wants a pad with an r-value of 2.4 for $150. when you can get the POE pads with R values up to 7 for around 130, their recycled and they come with the 30 dollars of accessories that therm-a-rest sells separately.

also they make Z-lite R-2.2, prolite R-2.2 , prolite plus R-3.8, Neoair R-2.2 and the 2 womens versions of each. They come in multiple sizes of each. another pad would just add more styles to their line. making it more confusing and cost intensive for customers, retailers and wholesalers.

add a thin foam pad for like 10 bucks underneath it.

There are hundreds of types of pads out there with more coming out next year. there like socks this year(every shoe company is now making matching socks), every sleeping bag and tent brand is now making pads. do some research you`ll most likely find what your looking.

/A .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: Gang up on Cascade Designs?? on 10/29/2010 00:59:52 MDT Print View

"regarding putting a very light aluminized layer on the inside of the bottom skin of their Prolite mattress to up the R rating."


I have some 2mm foam pads (similar to Gossamer Gear's 1/8" Thinlight insulation pads, although more durable) laminated with a reflective aluminized layer that I have had good results with thus far. I line the tent floor with them in the winter especially. Have you thought of using something similar in combination with a smaller/lighter inflatable?

carl becker
(carlbecker) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
The perfect pad on 10/29/2010 06:54:53 MDT Print View

I use a NeoAir and Kooka Bay both with a 1/8" CCF. Kooka Bay will make a custom pad to your size and R value. This seems the way to go IMHO. I used my Kooka Bay for the first time last week and was very happy with the price, comfort, weight and pack volume. It was not cold enough to test the insulation but at R4 I should be good to go for my needs. I could go to R6 if needed for a few more ounces. For warmer weather the NeoAir shaves a few ounces and is comfortable if a bit pricey. I don't need their stuff sack.

Aaron Reichow

Locale: Northern Minnesota
value of aluminum layer on 10/29/2010 09:03:25 MDT Print View

In the thread where this was originally brought up, the consensus seemed to be that the aluminized layer really doesn't add all that much to the R value. We really can't say "If it worked for the NeoAir, it would work for the ProLite" since we don't know what the NeoAir's R value would be without the aluminized layer- most of the NeoAir's R value is from having discrete chambers of air, isolated enough that convection is slowed down so that the top layer of baffles can retain warmth without constantly losing heat to the ground.

Let's just say this- if most of the NeoAir's warmth came from the aluminized layer, CD wouldn't have bothered with the complicated triangle baffles. It would have been a POE Ether Compact 6 with an aluminized bottom. It would have cost a lot less to engineer and make, that's for sure!

I also recall someone (Roger?) saying that because of the lack of line of sight within a foam pad makes an aluminized layer even less potentially effective.

Don't mean to be a wet blanket, no disrespect! You could test out this idea pretty easily, and if you see results we'd all start campaigning for you. Or, you could sell the idea back to CD. :) Adding an alumized fabric to the bottom- or even a layer of aluminum foil- is something most of us with an iron, scissors, and glue could handle DIY/MYOG.

Even testing relative R values is something you can do without an expensive data acquisition setup. I think I've even see articles or threads here where someone has done just that. Take a used ProLite, cut it in half, give one the shine, the other not and test away!

Richard Brownkatz
(Rbrownkatz) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Gang up on Cascade Designs?? on 10/29/2010 09:26:51 MDT Print View

"I have some 2mm foam pads (similar to Gossamer Gear's 1/8" Thinlight insulation pads, although more durable) laminated with a reflective aluminized layer that I have had good results with thus far."

aaron, could you elaborate? Are these homemade? If not, what brand, source, price, etc.

Edited by Rbrownkatz on 10/29/2010 09:27:52 MDT.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: value of aluminum layer on 10/29/2010 10:59:40 MDT Print View

We do know the break-down of R-value on the Neo...

The reflective layer adds 0.5 to the R-rating. Additionally, the upcoming Neo Trekker just has the baffles, R-value of 2.0. The Neo R-2.5 has the reflective bit.

Prolites are already pretty expensive, and there are cheaper ways of gaining more warmth for little more weight. If you really wanted to, you could just tape a piece of emergency blanket to your pad, I suppose...

Edit: a bit on the Trekker from our OR coverage-

Great that they're introducing a wide torso-size pad, weird that they're doing it in the heavier model...

Edited by 4quietwoods on 10/29/2010 11:02:58 MDT.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Re: value of aluminum layer on 10/29/2010 12:35:38 MDT Print View

Also using the Ridgerest Deluxe as an example, 3.1 R-Value without the coating, 3.5 with the coating (as the Ridgerest Solar), so a delta of 0.4.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Gang up on Cascade Designs?? on 10/29/2010 15:53:36 MDT Print View

> a very light aluminized layer on the inside of the bottom skin of their Prolite
> mattress to up the R rating.

OK, since someone mentioned my name in this thread, I'll give my opinion. If what we are talking about is putting an aluminised layer on the inside of the underside of a Prolite mat where it sits on the ground, I will stick my neck out and say that it will contribute nothing to the insulation of the mat. Just doesn't work that way.


Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Gang up on Cascade Designs?? on 10/29/2010 16:16:14 MDT Print View


To the extent the die cut channels in the foam provide a 100% line-of-sight to the perfectly reflecting surface at the bottom, you will get radiant reflection.

So, IF 50% of the foam is open, and IF the channels remain perpendicular to the barrier (not canting and 'shadowing'), and IF the radiant barrier itself is perpendicular to the sleeper, there will be a return.

You do the math on probabilities and percents of percents.

IMHO, "Negligible".

Edited by greg23 on 10/29/2010 16:19:46 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Prolte channels on 10/29/2010 17:03:47 MDT Print View

Cascade Designs has changed the cut channels in their foam layer of the Prolte to DIAGONALLY cut channels to mitigate convection heat loss from directly vertical convection. I dunno how much this helps but it must make some difference for them to go to the trouble to change the channel cut angle.

Columbia is raving about a "20% increase in warmth" with their reflective micro-dot jacket linings. I contacted CD regarding a reflective coating in the Prolite long before Columbia began the saturation campaign on their reflective lining.

Yes, I could try my aluminized Mylar emergency blanket under my ancient Theremaest Lite, which has an X lattice of foam and vertical air channels. The thin aluminized Mylar MAY have a moderate effect but I'll need a digital thermomter of the type used to read race car tire temps. Now to search out somebody who owns one. Hopefully it will read temps low enough to be useful for a test like this.

I think to get the maximum temp differential between Mylar and non-Mylar tests I'll need cool weather and an electric heating pad with a constant temp setting and a weight of say 50 lbs. perhaps nearly the dimensions of the heating pad. The temp can be read off the top skin of the mattress after removing the weight and heating pad. Just thinking out loud here so if you have a better test scenario let me know.

Taking a reading first WITHOUT the Mylar reflective layer and then with it should be the proper order to avoid any extra warming the Mylar layer might leave on the mattress.

Of course to actually use my Mylar blanket under my Lite mattress on a trip I'll need a way to keep it in place. Maybe a few small tabs of DUCT TAPE would suffice.(Duct tape and properly placed explosives solve a lot of life's problems - but that's another story.)

BTW, speaking of alumninized layers, I have an old Caribou Mountaineering PolarGuard winter sleeping bag with a layer of needle punched aluminized Mylar between the 2 PolarGuard layers. I think it helps somewhat in below zero F. temps. The Mylar is needle punched for breathability, of course.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Prolte channels on 10/29/2010 20:11:32 MDT Print View

> Columbia is raving about a "20% increase in warmth" with their reflective
> micro-dot jacket linings.
Call them on it and ask them to PROVE it with proper measurements. Ha!

At midnight on a dead clear night you might get some radiation loss to the night sky. But otherwise (say in the day time), I would say it is 99% pure marketing spin.


Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Gang up on Cascade Designs?? on 10/29/2010 20:41:47 MDT Print View

My guess is that Cascade Designs is mulling over a lot of changes with their products and considering adding the metallic layer to a bunch of their models. They have numerous variations of their pads. As a result, any change could effect a lot of different products. Keep in mind that this stuff is made in Seattle, not China. This means that the cost of making it is higher and that changes to the product design take longer (Chinese manufacturers like to brag that their strength is that they are nimble, not cheap -- personally, I think the former comes from the latter). So maybe this has more to do with the change (or cost) of manufacturing, rather than the perceived consumer interest. I have a feeling that if they can boost their warmth on any of their pads just a smidge (while not adding much weight) they will do it. Like any company, they love to brag about this years model being new and improved (when it is just a little bit better).

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
aluminized layer on 10/30/2010 13:55:42 MDT Print View

I was talking to cascade designs about the ridgerest solar made at thickness of the winter ridgerest .75 inch. If they might make the thiner ridgerest that most of us use with and the aluminized layer CSR said we might see it in the future. I was also talking to him about the technology behind the aluminized layer. I said it look a like the mylar film heat transfer that a lot of Body board manufactures use in their heat stamp of their logo in to the Cross linked polyethylene foam top. He said yes it it heat pressure molded the different layer of foam and the aluminized layer. I would like to see the Z rest made with this aluminized technology to up the R value some.

Because the Thermarest is open cell foam it would be impossible to mold the aluminized layer to it because it would melt. They could laminated it the nylon bottom but it could be problematic also and delamintate when folded and rolled up. The neoair is some kind of tough mylar skin plastic so that why they don't have a problem but if they could figure way of gluing the neo air skin to a open cell foam pad it might work . But the pad would not be as durable as the nylon skinned pad.
Cascade designs also has a medical division

My foam molding background:
I used to make custom body boards for myself and friends or Boogie boards for non surfers. I would stamp my logo on it this way. when I was exploring to see if I want make custom bodyboards back about 18 years ago.
I did it the hard way I would get the arcel foam blank and hand shape the arcel blank. Then I would use a heat gun and hot glove to use hand pressure to laminate the the arcel foam core of the bodyboard to the Cross linked foam skin to arcel core.

I live near Oceanside,California where Morey Boogie,Custom X, and other body board manufactures are they use a a Heat press to mold the top and bottom layer skin to the arcel core. I could not afford the heat press so I gave up on the bodyboard manufacture dream. I was friends with the body board manufactures who most started out at the old morey boogie plant before they move down to mexico. So they started their own companies.

Post script additional foam experiment information:
I went out in my shed found some of the old film I used for labeling my bodyboards.I did not have the aluminized mylar but the color black I used my old iron and the black film and turned up the iron up to high.
With my body weight as the press and I was able to get the black mylar to to stick to the ridgerest scrap I had. But it destroyed the
foam. But I took the a evezote gossamer gear foam pad scrap and the film would not stick. but it compressed the foam from 3/8th "thick to 1/4" thick . It did not destroy the foam. I just used the iron only and compressed evazote pad it did stick to the iron or destroy it just put a skin on the foam and compressed it and made the foam less resilient to compression.

I then want to see if the film would laminate to 1.1 non coated nylon from thru hiker. It did not laminate.

Edited by socal-nomad on 10/30/2010 15:43:27 MDT.

Peter Longobardi
(paintplongo) - F

Locale: Hopefully on the Trail
Idea on 10/30/2010 18:22:38 MDT Print View

I've seen this topic visited several times now. If you think it's such a great idea and they would sell millions of units, you should just source something like that yourself. You would be a millionaire in no time.