# Thread: What is this Insultex (IX) stuff anyway?

1. ## What is this Insultex (IX) stuff anyway?

This is just a follow-up to this thread
http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...=Insultex%2CIX

and this one:
http://www.hammockforums.net/forum/s...615#post241615

But clearly experience with this material will be and is advancing rapidly.

I don't see how this stuff can even work other than a vapor/radiant barrier. There is obviously some warmth ( maybe quite significant) with even one layer. But it looks like I have a thin piece of paper hung under my hammock. Other than VB/RB effects, how can that even insulate more than a couple of degrees? I think it does, but how does it? I know there is supposed to be some trapped air, but a CCF pad has trapped air. And .021" of CCF ( and even less so with down or CS) is not going to insulate much! So, what is going on?

The insulation claims at these websites seem preposterous:
http://www.insultex.com/index2.html (One layer = -13 degrees F
(2.0 CLO value) )

http://www.idigear.com/insultex.php
lightest thinnest warmest
A factual example of the efficiency of Insultex™ is as follows:

• 1 layer of Insultex™ protects a person to –25º C (-13º F)
• 1 square yard of insultex™ is 0.021 inches thick and weighs 0.42 oz.
• 8.8 oz. of insultex™ can float approx. 287 lbs. of body weight
• Insultex™ has a melting point of 194°F
• Insultex™ material can be sewn and/or laminated
• Multiple layers of Insultex™ can be used to provide practically unlimited levels of insulation

I don't understand these outrageous claims. They seem to be saying one layer is good to MINUS 13F? Even if one .42 oz/sq.yd layer is good to 40 or 50, I still think that is great, but -13? Come on! What could they be basing such a claim on? And if accurate, does it have something to do with the shells and fit? And again, I don't see how this stuff is even insulating 10*F worth( i.e. warm at 60F), but it definitely is.

OTOH, it is hard to argue with the testimonials ( large numbers of ice fishermen 100% positive) and videos. Many videos of newspeople, wearing the Arctic Armour product, jumping into an ice bound lake. After initial yells due to the shock of cold, they completely float and settle down quickly. And after the end of the test, they are all warm enough. This stuff seems like magic.

And is it a vapor barrior, and waterproof, or not? The above IDI page shows it being like a waterproof/breathable fabric, per the illustration shown. "Other properties possessed by Insultex™ include being very thin, lightweight, flexible, waterproof, windproof and buoyant."

So, what is going on here? What is this material, where did it come from and is it as good as they claim? I think it definitely has major potential for us hammock hangers, for a super lightweight booster or stand alone. But can it be as good as the companies, newsfolks and testimonials claim?

But it is good to know that if I my hammock falls into a river, I will float rather than drown! ( actually, if I was an ice fisherman, I would be thrilled with that property!)

2. What is it and how does it work??

So far nobody is saying or maybe nobody really knows. I read someplace in the past that it is patented, but the patent is in Korean so unless you are proficient in Korean, that doesn't help.

Anybody know a Korean?

I can just imagine some dedicated tinkerer testing all kinds of materials and combinations thereof and finally hitting upon one that works. I seriously doubt that it came out of the research arm of a large company. If it had i.d.i.gear wouldn't have the rights to the stuff. Of that I am sure. After meeting the i.d.i.gear people, I am also sure that i.d.i.gear didn't invent the stuff. Somehow the president of i.d.i.gear found out about the stuff, recognized it's potential, or hoped he did, and swung a deal with the Korean inventor. If he had the financial backing of a large company, or maybe even more financial backing than his own pocket, it would be pushed a lot more aggressively.

As far as it being waterproof - not really. Water gets through slowly, it just takes a while.

As far as the claims? They don't make any sense and I have always just discounted them as marketing hype. When I visited i.d.i.gear to pick up the first roll, I inspected the Arctic Armour suits they have hanging around. One was pulled apart at the seams. Their Arctic Armour suits use a waterproof outer layer for the wateproofing. I questioned the President of the company about the waterproofing capabilities of Insultex and he said no, that the covering fabric must provide the waterproofing and proceeded to show me in the Arctic Armour suit that is torn apart for inspection.

Even inspecting the Insultex layer it is hard to believe what it can do.

Remember though that even i.d.i.gear uses 3 layers of the Insultex in the Arctic Armour suit. So that gives you an idea of how much to trust their -13 claim.

Rely on the experience of the Arctic Armour users. They trust the suits.

As for it being a vapor barrier - I don't think so. It will stop wind though.

3. I know a guy that is married to someone from Korea. If you can post a link to the patent, I'll see if I can get him to ask his wife to translate it for me.

4. Originally Posted by LostCause
I know a guy that is married to someone from Korea. If you can post a link to the patent, I'll see if I can get him to ask his wife to translate it for me.
I wouldn't even begin to know where to look. I read that somewhere, but have no idea where. And I could be wrong given the reliability of my memory.

5. Thanks, TeeDee.

I see now that, looking at the illustration IDI uses, that (as you say) they are probably getting the water proofing from a membrane laminate. So, their garments are WP but not from the IX. Although, the insultex.com web site seems to claim waterproof for IX itself. But it is not. How does that IDI poncho of yours get water proofing? I guess it must have the same shell fabric as the jackets.

I followed a link you provided to a review by a bow hunting mag. http://www.bowhunting.net/artman/publish/SilkIDI.shtml That was really interesting. He tested using two different one IX layer IDI garments( shirt and jacket) which he layered. (He was supposed to follow up with a test of 3 layers at below zero, but I never found it. ) He was not completely comfortable wearing just the guide shirt and cotton tee shirt, sitting around at 24*F. But he was plenty warm with both on. Wind had no effect.

I thought this was particularly interesting:
Since Insultex is advertised as a one-way moisture wicking fabric I tested it for water flow. Basically a puddle of water was held within a piece of the fabric that was formed into a cup shape. From the outside no water passed through to the inside, however, in reverse, inside out, the water slowly found its way through. Basically this means that in super cold temps the moisture from your body sweating will wick out quickly enough to keep you dry. If the temps are too warm you will certainly feel the inside of the garment become wet.
BUT, the question is: was he testing the garment with shell ( most likely he was) or just a layer of IX? Strange that it made it through in one direction but not the other.

After reading this, I ran my own test by pouring about 4 oz water into the raw IX quilt and letting it sit. It didn't take all that long for the water to drip through. Then I looked closely- DUH! No way WP. This fabric is "quilted"(?), so to speak, with tiny, tiny seams dividing the fabric into ~3 sq.inch segments. Many, many needle holes, though they are extremely small. But water will go through those easily. So the fabric MIGHT( or not) be a bit WP, but all those seams would defeat that. On the positive side, it dried competely within a few minutes, in the shade on a warm day.

I also ran a little experiment for insulation. I am going to repeat the test later, going for more accuracy and checking multiple layers. I took one water bottle and wrapped it loosely in 1 layer of IX and placed in the Tyvec shipping bag, and another bottle wrapped in nothing at all, and put both in the freezer. After about 1 hr 25 minutes, the uninsulated water measured either 42*F or 44*F. ( I messed this measurement up(distracted). I'm sure of the 44, but I might have seen a 42 first. So I will repeat later.

The IX bottle, after 1 hr 30 minutes, was 59*F. So, looks like at least 15*F worth of insulation from 1 layer. Which would make it, theoretically, usable to about 55F without any help from clothing and such. This test sound valid to you guys?

I also found I could not blow through it, so it should provide some good wind proofing. Even a slight breeze getting under a tarp can make an other wise warm at 55 quilt not as warm as it should be. I don't think that will matter with this material.

6. I have some IX, it looks to me to be thin polyethylene microfoam quilted to a thin synthetic scrim. It traps some air and acts as a vapor barrier...

Microfoam is used a LOT for many things: mostly protecting electronics and other fragiles in shipping, and in laminate floor underlayment. You can buy many many yards of thicker than IX microfoam at home depot relatively cheap.

I'm wondering if somebody had an automatic quilting machine, if you could feed in 2 layers of microfoam and a thin batting or 1/16" scrim and use it as an effective insulator...

7. Originally Posted by JohnSawyer
I have some IX, it looks to me to be thin polyethylene microfoam quilted to a thin synthetic scrim. It traps some air and acts as a vapor barrier...
This notion that Insultex is a vaport barrier keeps popping up. Insultex has not been shown to be a vapor barrier. Personal experience and that of others indicates it is not.

Originally Posted by JohnSawyer
I'm wondering if somebody had an automatic quilting machine, if you could feed in 2 layers of microfoam and a thin batting or 1/16" scrim and use it as an effective insulator...
Give it a try.

My personal opinion - I think you will find it not to be what you think it to be. Appearances can be very deceiving.

8. Interesting... My experience with it is definitely limited, so I'll bow to the more experienced. Mac keeps insisting it IS a VB, but I'm wondering if that thread/quilting is enough to transfer water vapor... Either way, it seems to keep me warm, and that's that matters.

Someday, some crazy hanging engineer with develop a scientific and repeatable test to put the debate to rest...

Perhaps it's more of a Water Vapor Resistor, aka, it has a reduced vapor transfer rate... Something more than a space blanket, and significantly less than a piece of untreated nylon ripstop. In my limited use, I had no condensation issues.

9. Originally Posted by JohnSawyer
Perhaps it's more of a Water Vapor Resistor, aka, it has a reduced vapor transfer rate... Something more than a space blanket, and significantly less than a piece of untreated nylon ripstop. In my limited use, I had no condensation issues.
Bingo! It probably has limited ability to transport vapor. That will be a plus in many situations but there will probably be others where too much moisture will build up.

10. Originally Posted by JohnSawyer
Interesting... My experience with it is definitely limited, so I'll bow to the more experienced. Mac keeps insisting it IS a VB, but I'm wondering if that thread/quilting is enough to transfer water vapor...
I'd say for sure it is. The fabric by itself might not be breathable, but I can see unobstructed daylight through those seams. BTW, I tested with a few oz of water staying away from the seams that MacEntyre added when he put in the reinforcement that runs across from the diagonal tie outs. Water dripped through fairly easily, so you know vapor will pass easily one way or another. Either through the fabric or just through the needle holes. But that should allow vapor to pass. MacEntyre, and reviewers, report mucho sweat when on the move. But, is that caused by it's VB qualities, or by too much insulation for the level of activity? I'm guessing the latter.

Either way, it seems to keep me warm, and that's that matters.

Someday, some crazy hanging engineer with develop a scientific and repeatable test to put the debate to rest...

Perhaps it's more of a Water Vapor Resistor, aka, it has a reduced vapor transfer rate... Something more than a space blanket, and significantly less than a piece of untreated nylon ripstop. In my limited use, I had no condensation issues.
If I had some IX clothing (one layer to avoid overheating) I'd just sit around zipped up tight in it. In my experience, with a true VB, you will feel the "clamminess", or the extreme (maybe unpleasant) humidity, pretty quick. It reaches a certain level ( if you don't overheat and actually start sweating) and that's it, but it is easy to feel and I am quickly aware of it. Damp but very warm. If I didn't feel this while sitting around in the IX, then I would declare it at least somewhat breathable.

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