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"Refreshing" and modifying your crash pad
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keinangst


Sep 21, 2006, 8:40 AM
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"Refreshing" and modifying your crash pad
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You ever come across someone who has a brand-spankin'-new version of the pad you've used for a couple years? It's always so much nicer and stiffer (in a good way!)

I'm happy with my MadPad from 2003, but the closed cell foam is just getting flimsy. I see the same thing happening to friends, regardless of pad brand. I've priced closed-cell (HVA) replacement foam, but it's mostly been in the $70+ range, which would almost make it better to just buy a new pad. But still, I just don't think pads should be replaced every year or two.

Another idea I had was to replace the top 1" of closed cell with cheap polystyrene "house wrap", which is sold for about $10 for a 4'x8' sheet at Lowe's/HD. It's nice and dense, but it does crack and split and would have to be replaced pretty frequently. Even if cracked, I'd imagine it would still serve its purpose when encased inside the nylon pad shell.

The final idea I've considered (but had no luck investigating) is a thin, semi-rigid sheet of plastic to go between the closed and open cell foams. This would still leave you a soft landing surface, but would help to displace more air throughout the open cell upon landing. I think this is ideal, but it has to be thin plastic to avoid extra weight (maybe 8-10 mils?). I'm thinking along the lines of "rollable" plastic sheets, like the material that 3-ring binders use for page separators. You could adjust the hardness of the pad based on how many sheets you used. I don't know the right name for this stuff, so I haven't been able to find what I'm looking for.

Any experience, ideas, critiques?


sidepull


Sep 21, 2006, 10:08 AM
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Re: "Refreshing" and modifying your crash pad [In reply to]
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could you explain the physics behind "displacing the air"? I could see how the plastic would provide a more rigid spine but I don't understand the other point.

Maybe you've already tried this, but you can usually buy closed cell foam pads for camping and insert those into the crash pad. It's not as nice as having a pre-cut, perfectly fit single pad, but it works.


microbarn


Sep 21, 2006, 10:26 AM
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Re: "Refreshing" and modifying your crash pad [In reply to]
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In reply to:
I'm happy with my MadPad from 2003, but the closed cell foam is just getting flimsy. I see the same thing happening to friends, regardless of pad brand. I've priced closed-cell (HVA) replacement foam, but it's mostly been in the $70+ range, which would almost make it better to just buy a new pad. But still, I just don't think pads should be replaced every year or two.
I think this is the reason you don't see many homemade pads out. It isn't cost effective unless you have a friend with connections.

In reply to:
Another idea I had was to replace the top 1" of closed cell with cheap polystyrene "house wrap", which is sold for about $10 for a 4'x8' sheet at Lowe's/HD. It's nice and dense, but it does crack and split and would have to be replaced pretty frequently. Even if cracked, I'd imagine it would still serve its purpose when encased inside the nylon pad shell.
I imagine it would crack and break up enough to be uneffective after only one or two serious days at the crag. If it breaks up too much, then it won't stay in place enough to help.

In reply to:
The final idea I've considered (but had no luck investigating) is a thin, semi-rigid sheet of plastic to go between the closed and open cell foams. This would still leave you a soft landing surface, but would help to displace more air throughout the open cell upon landing. I think this is ideal, but it has to be thin plastic to avoid extra weight (maybe 8-10 mils?). I'm thinking along the lines of "rollable" plastic sheets, like the material that 3-ring binders use for page separators. You could adjust the hardness of the pad based on how many sheets you used. I don't know the right name for this stuff, so I haven't been able to find what I'm looking for.
Harder is better because it will spread the force out to the open cell foam better. If you get it too hard, it would be like hitting the floor though. If you could glue it to the open celled foam then it should help dramatically. I don't think adding sheets of plastic will actually increase the hardness. The sheets would slip between themselves too easily. They would not provide much extra stiffness in comparison to the first layer.

I don't think the displacing of air is what would help you in the open cell foam. Since the force is spread out more, the entire area of the open cell foam would help to disperse the energy.

Sorry to be sounding so negative on some of the ideas. I have looked at trying to get bouldering pads for cheaper for a while. I think the final idea has a lot of promise, but it sounds like it might take a lot of work to tweak. Unfortunately, you might have to buy a bunch of foam until you were able to work out something you were happy with.


keinangst


Sep 21, 2006, 10:33 AM
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Yeah, the closed-cell foam is just too pricy to justify regular replacement.

In reply to:
could you explain the physics behind "displacing the air"?

Well, the open-cell foam allows air to flow freely throughout (unlike closed cell, which has air bubbles trapped inside). The basic premise of a pad is that the closed cells sit on top and help distribute the weight more evenly across the open cells. You could take my term "displacing the air" and use "spreading the shock" or something along those lines. I'm imagining something that would spread the load far more evenly than just the top layer alone, so something semi-rigid, yet flexible, would be ideal:

ooooooooooooooooooooooooo CLOSED CELL
--------------------------------- PLASTIC LAYER
0000000000000000000000000 OPEN CELL
0000000000000000000000000
0000000000000000000000000
0000000000000000000000000


wax


Sep 22, 2006, 8:43 AM
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Re: "Refreshing" and modifying your crash pad [In reply to]
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Mountain Equipment Co-op sells a 'highball' plastic sheet for like $3 to be inserted into your crash pad to help disipate the impact force as well as help ankles on landings... might be what ur looking for.

has anyone tried that cheap blue camping foam walmart and the like sell as sleeping pads? i've used it for cheap but durable closed cell padding for bags, ad hock shoulder straps and what not... seems like it would be okay.

i don't think building wrap would be so hot, cuz you'd just end up creating more waste than replacing the pad cause you'd have to replace it so much. and polystyrene aint the best thing for landfills.

anyway, hope this helps!

~f


keinangst


Sep 22, 2006, 9:08 AM
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Thanks, wax, that's exactly what I was looking for:

http://www.mec.ca/...&bmUID=1158941088414

And only CAD$3 for a 36"x48" sheet!! So it probably stands to reason that we should be able to find something like this here for around couple dollars. But that's the general idea, I just didn't know it had been done commercially. Very similar to "trauma plates" used in body armor applications.

It lists the material as polyethylene, so I'm just going to search around for that.


bustloose


Sep 22, 2006, 9:57 AM
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OH OH, I know I know!!! why not just take a whole bunch of bubble wrap and stuff it inside your pad, that'd be DOPE, and super cheap, AND you'd get the bonus of being able to have a super dramatic "POPPITY POP POP" everytime you come off your proj!

there is a reason why some people design pads and some people just buy them... and you're it.

if you're that concerned about your pad softening up, then buy new foam from the manufacturer.


keinangst


Sep 22, 2006, 10:18 AM
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there is a reason why some people design pads and some people just buy them... and you're it.

Obviously you're more of the consumerist mentality, and that's cool. I'm trying to find good ways to improve on what I see as a fundamental design flaw in crashpads. Apparently MEC is aware of it or they probably wouldn't be selling the same thing I'm describing.

Long live DIY 8^)


wax


Sep 22, 2006, 1:35 PM
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no prob man... reducing waste and keeping an otherwise good pad going is not such a bad thing.

i'm gonna think more about using blue camping foam as a replacement product too.


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