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  1. #1
    MacEntyre's Avatar
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    Announcement: Prototype PEF UQs

    IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

    Insultex is not the costliest component of an IX UQ, but it has the largest minimum order cost of any component.

    The board of directors of Molly Mac Gear have asked me to investigate replacing IX (Insultex) with 1/32" PE (polyethylene foam). Insultex is polyethylene foam quilted inside a polypropylene scrim. Plain PE foam, like Insultex, is only available in large rolls (670 yards), but costs far less, and can be purchased locally without paying shipping costs. I will not use PE foam without a nylon cover, because it is not quilted or faced. A prototype Baby Orca PEF UQ will be completed this week.

    What got me interested in PE is a comment from Ed Speer last spring. He said, if PE based Insultex is essentially a vapor barrier, why not use PE foam instead, since it is much less expensive?

    Ed, we're going to give it a try!

    - MacEntyre
    Last edited by MacEntyre; 09-07-2010 at 07:56.
    "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." - Ben Franklin
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  2. #2
    optimator's Avatar
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    Good luck Mac! Cant wait to see the results!
    It's only an addiction if your trying to quit

  3. #3
    Member dutins's Avatar
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    Looking forward to it, if you need any help testing i would be happy to! Need an uq anyway!

    If anything it will be cool to check out when we get to the gorge!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Browny's Avatar
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    Just a quick side comment, in some circles PE is Polyethelene, HDPE (High Density Poly Ethelyene) being softdrink bottles as one exaple. I think mebbe Pe as a differential?

    Or maybe I just need more sleep, it's been a long and busy day down here today.
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  5. #5
    Running Feather's Avatar
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    What about it's comparative insulating properties?
    "If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you should do is STOP DIGGING "

  6. #6
    Senior Member Just Jeff's Avatar
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    Wondering about the durability, as well...will it stand up to repeated stuffing/unstuffing? I've never handled it so I don't know, but now you have me curious!
    “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall when the wise are banished from the public councils because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” ~Judge Joseph Story

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  7. #7
    MacEntyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Browny View Post
    Just a quick side comment, in some circles PE is Polyethelene, HDPE (High Density Poly Ethelyene) being softdrink bottles as one exaple.
    I'm sorry, Browny, I wrote polyester when I meant polyethylene. Thanks for pointing that out! I edited the OP.

    UHMWPE is rope. There is HDPE, PEX, MDPE, LLDPE, LDPE and VLDPE. Polyethylene is the most widely used polymer on earth. It's been around since 1898, when it was called polymethylene. It's been in commercial production since 1939. What we are interested in is polyethylene foam, so maybe I should call the under quilts made with it PEF UQs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Running Feather View Post
    What about it's comparative insulating properties?
    Insultex recently achieved an R rating of 3, which is the same R rating that polyethylene foam has been given in the past. That makes sense, since IX is PE. They should be indistinguishable... we shall see!

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Jeff
    Wondering about the durability, as well...will it stand up to repeated stuffing/unstuffing? I've never handled it so I don't know, but now you have me curious!
    PE foam is pretty durable. Certainly the quilting and the scrim facing material should make Insultex more durable. That's why I will only use plain PE Foam with a nylon cover on at least one side. But I don't consider 1/32" PE foam to be a fragile substance. It should do fine with the fold, roll, stuff and compress that is involved in backpacking.
    Last edited by MacEntyre; 09-07-2010 at 07:55.
    "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." - Ben Franklin
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  8. #8
    Member slvravn's Avatar
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    With 1/32 PE durability will be a big issue, but if it is covered as previously stated and is not for ground use then you should be fine. What I would be curious about is is there would be a weight penalty for using the PE instead of the IX?

  9. #9
    MacEntyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slvravn View Post
    With 1/32 PE durability will be a big issue, but if it is covered as previously stated and is not for ground use then you should be fine.
    I don't think it will be a big issue. PE foam doesn't pick and pill like the polypropylene scrim on the outside of Insultex does. It is smooth and nothing will stick to it.

    Maybe I will make an uncovered PEF UQ just to see how durable it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by slvravn View Post
    What I would be curious about is is there would be a weight penalty for using the PE instead of the IX?
    IX is 1.0 oz per square yard. The 1/32" PEF that I have is 0.6 oz per square yard.

    IX is PE plus a PP scrim. The heavier IX is carrying the PP facing on both sides, plus all the thread from 4" quilting diamonds.

    Essentially, all I'm doing is considering if we can do without the PP scrim and quilting.
    Last edited by MacEntyre; 09-07-2010 at 08:11.
    "We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." - Ben Franklin
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  10. #10
    Senior Member ikemouser's Avatar
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    PE + Cuben = revolution?

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