Mmmm...Wet Dog Smell
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Landlocked Calgary Alberta Canada
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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.
"Newfoundland dogs are good to save children from drowning, but you must have a pond of water handy and a child, or else there will be no profit in boarding a Newfoundland." - Josh Billings