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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 03-15-2008
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Mattresses

Years ago your old Wombat designed furniture and new pretty much all there was to know about polyurethane foams and dacron wadding. Last time I made a mattress for a boat was some 30 years ago and coincidentally that boat is now for sale again and I note that my mattress is still there and looks to be in pretty good shape.

Nonetheless I'm sure technology has moved on and in investigating custom made boat mattresses one of the producers swears by latex, either by itself or in a pad form overlaid on top of innerspring.

The big pluses according to them is that latex breathes and is highly recommended by back specialists. Breathability is a big downside to polyurethane foam and although this can be overcome partially by adding layers of Dacron wadding over the foam it's not a perfect solution.

Anyone with thoughts or experience on Latex ?

Anyone with thoughts or experience of inner spring on a boat ?

How on earth do you get an innerspring mattress through a hatch ?

Cheers
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Old 03-15-2008
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I have a good friend who cruised for 5 years and swore by his latex foam mattress. If you go this route I'd love to hear what you think of it.
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Old 03-15-2008
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I've got a complete replacement of all the the "soft" stuff in my boat coming up. While the mechanical/glass issues are no problem, the cushions/bench foam is a mystery for me. I too am looking forward to any insights shared on this thread. I have no clue! Stear me away from kitchen sponges and duct tape!
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Old 03-15-2008
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Hoffa had a mattress thread not too long ago, you might find something good in there. Hoffas Mattress Thread Here

In that thread there is a link to an industious guy who shows you how to make your own inner spring vee berth mattress. Make Your Own Mattress

Hope it helps
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Old 03-15-2008
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I love latex...but it is HEAVY. Much heavier then any of the standard closed cell foams apart from neoprene pr vulcanised rubber foam. HEAVY.

The way to get around this si to have a honeycomb mattress with lots of holes drilled in it. This makes the mattress lighter, softer, and even more expensive then the already insane prices.

having said that, it does improve air circulation even more, though takes away fomr the "memeory foam" characteristics of latex (on of its best features, in my opinion).

I would not go for a latex over box-spring arrangement. A latex/poly laminate may be a good option. A half thickness of poly closed cell HONEYCOMB, laminated under a latex solid. Saves half the weight, about half the money and seems to do the best job of answering all the downsides.

I have no experience with box springs at sea, but woudl only go with it if the springs weer stainless. I think that clanging sound was the noise that EXPENSIVE makes when it lands.

Sasha
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Old 03-15-2008
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Also, latex can cause serious allergy problems in some people. Latex does not breathe AFAIK... Ever wear a pair of the latex gloves when doing epoxy work... don't breathe worth a damn.
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Old 03-15-2008
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I'm off to read up on Hoffa's thread, thanks for the pointer,Sapper.

Dog, interesting what you say but according to the mattress fellas Latex both breathes better than poly foam and is also less likely to cause any allergic reactions.

Sasha, thanks as well. I realise that there is gonna be a bit of a clang but this boat is going to be slept on a lot so the financial hit could well be worth it. The poly foam mattress on Raven is murder, were we going to keep her for much longer it would have to go but given that we only sleep on board a few weeks a year plus about half the weekends then I'd replace with a good poly foam with overlay. The rust problem was a concern with springs btw.
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Old 03-15-2008
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We have a "Number Bed" air mattress. It's light, comfortable, and we each can control the firmness we like. Sounds like an advertisement, I know. But if you have the room, it's worth looking into.

We had first purchased an innerspring mattress to replace the ancient foam/vinyl pads which were uncomfortable and smelled bad. A giant of a guy from across the dock folded it in half and lowered it through the aft companionway (ours is a center cockpit with aft cabin). When it came to removing it, I had to tear it apart and cut up the springs to get it out of the boat. What a hassle. While we had it, it was difficult to get to the area beneath it to service the hydraulic steering. It was too heavy and bulky to move around and clean behind and beneath (see:mold and mildew). I don't recommend an innerspring.
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Old 03-15-2008
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Heya Wombat,

I spent many years in the bedding business (both retail and manufacturing), so I may be able to offer some insight...

IMHO latex is probably the best material available in any bedding product today...period.

It is very breathable...has holes throughout as a by-product of the manufacturing process. Which helps to regulate the bed's temperature as well as moisture.
The latex used in bedding is completely hypoallergenic. Latex allergies or intolerances are only found in very low grade latex (such as some cheap disposible gloves), and there has never been a recorded incident of a latex allergy to a bedding product in North America (info per: ISPA: International Sleep Products Assocation).
Latex offers excellent body support. Due to it being a 'rubber' rather than a 'foam' it responds to increased weight application with increased resistance (in other words it pushes back where weight is applied, whereas poly-foams just get firmer until they can't compress any further).
Latex is very anti-microbial...which is very relevant to high humidity environments like on boats. It will offer far superior resistance to mold, mildew and bacteria growth compared to poly-foams. Even so, it would probably be wise to have the mattress elevated a tiny bit on slats or whatever system you prefer to improve air circulation underneath.
Latex is very durable...it will not break down as quickly as poly-foams.
Like traditional foams, latex is also available in a variety of different firmnesses, but please note, the ILD for comparable feel and support is much lower in Latex than in poly-foam. If you select a 40lb ILD poly-foam it will be a moderate firmness, whereas a 40 ILD latex will feel very firm.

The downsides to latex are several:
Latex, even with it's holes, is still quite a bit heavier than traditional foams (with the exception of Viscoelastic / Memory foam...which is also quite heavy and which in most cases I would not recommend in a boat).
Latex is more expensive by a fair margin than traditional poly-foam, but you get what you pay for right?!
The availability of latex is more challenging than poly-foam...there simply aren't as many places to find and try the products. Like your bed at home, you definitely want to try-before-you-buy...but don't bank on a 30/60/90 night comfort guarantee on a marine bed.

Bottom line is, if you can find an all-latex bed to try and you like the feel, it's an excellent way to go, but comfort is the number one criteria!!

FYI...I have no stake in the latex world...I'm just sharing what I know, and I hope it helps. I've only offered a high-level fly over, so if you want any more detailed info just PM me.

Regards,
C.J.
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Old 03-16-2008
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I haven't figured this one out yet, but friends report that putting either raised slats or plastic grids or a sort of artificial birds' nest in roll form between the mattress and the flat surface of the bunk did wonders for air circulation and reduction of condensation and hence mildew and mold.

It does add to the height of the bedding, however, which may mean higher fiddles and less headroom, depending on where you sleep. So many aft cabins these days seem to have the headroom at feet and head, with the middle a little close to the underside of the cockpit for my taste. We have the same issue, but our aft deck cockpit is 2 x 4 feet, more or less, and so doesn't "impose" itself so much in the aft cabin.
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