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Thread: Thinsulate

  1. #1
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    Thinsulate

    Has anyone used Thinsulate for UQ or TQ? From reading it seems that it would be better than ClimaShield for UQ. I may have errored in my calculations but I think it is warmer per weight than CL. Has anyone used it in a TQ or UQ? I'm thinking about making an UQ along the way Eric made his.
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    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Thinsulate isn't a better insulator by weight than Climashield.

    Per this .pdf data sheet, Thinsulate has a CLO/oz value ranging from ~0.4 (for the type 200) to ~0.54 (for the type 40).

    Per Thru-Hiker, Climashield APEX has a CLO/oz value in the range of 0.82.

    That means, for a given weight of insulation per square yard, that APEX is roughly twice as effective an insulator. Now, this might vary a bit in real testing; for example, the Thinsulate is going to resist compression much better than the Climashield, so if you've got some of your quilt trapped between you and the hammock, the Thinsulate might actually do better. But, on a weight-to-weight basis, Climashield beats Thinsulate all hollow (and 800+ FP down beats both by an huge margin).

    That's not to say that Thinsulate doesn't have a place; it's just that weight savings in a quilt (which can be puffy without loss of effectiveness) isn't one of them.

    Hope it helps!

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    Senior Member GrayDog's Avatar
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    Climashield beats Thinsulate all hollow (and 800+ FP down beats both by an huge margin).
    Thanks FLRider! Do you, by chance, have some info that directly compares down w/ synthetic? It seems everything I've found rates synthetic in CLO and down in inches of loft for a given temp rating.

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    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrayDog View Post
    Thanks FLRider! Do you, by chance, have some info that directly compares down w/ synthetic? It seems everything I've found rates synthetic in CLO and down in inches of loft for a given temp rating.

    Dog
    This is the only information that I've seen on the CLO rating of down.

    However, you can make some (probably good) assumptions with a little math. Figure you need an inch of loft to reach 50 F (a CLO of roughly 3.88, per the third post in this thread, and the temp rating based on Western Mountaineering bag ratings in this post).

    There're 1,296 square inches in a square yard. With one inch of loft, that's also the number of cubic inches in a square yard. So, you'd need (1,296/800 FP = 1.62) 1.62 ounces of 800 FP down to fill a square yard at 1" loft (probably a little more to account for variations in loft, but "close enough" for back-of-envelope calculations). Which means that, since you've got a CLO of 3.88 per square yard, the average CLO/oz of 800 FP should be on the close order of 2.4. Which is roughly three times the CLO/oz value of Climashield APEX.

    If that 3.88 CLO rating is based on top and bottom insulation (it could be argued either way based on the post I read), then divide that in half and get a CLO value of 1.2--about one-and-an-half times as effective as APEX for the weight.

    It's possible that I've made an error somewhere in my calculations; that seems a little high to me. But, if I haven't (and I welcome anyone who spots one to point it out; I have a bad tendency to do that Before Coffee, which is where I am right now), then down is roughly three times as weight efficient as the best synthetics on the market right now.

    Now, not all of that weight savings is going to show up in a quilt; you've still got all of the ancillary crap that comes with one (shell fabric, stitching, baffles, suspension if it's an underquilt, head hole if it's a JRB-style one, etc.), but down really is much more efficient than its closest synthetic competitors. Mostly because it relies on the thermal resistance of air rather than the thermal resistance of the insulator--which synthetics rely on more than down does. That's one of the reasons that you don't use loft to calculate temp ratings with synthetics.

    Anyway, that's my understanding of it; it's more than possible that I'm wrong. I don't think I am, but please double check my calculations before you go ahead and drop hundreds of dollars based on them!

  5. #5
    Senior Member GrayDog's Avatar
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    WOW! Thanks!!!!
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  6. #6
    Mullach' Abu XTrekker's Avatar
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    Ok I have been reading up on the differences between Comfortemp® and Thinsulate, and here is what I have found.

    Comfortemp® is a great insulator for close to skin applications like undergarments. It is designed to absorb heat when it is in contact with heat source and then release it back when the source gets cold. It is not affected like other insulators when compressed because its design is not to trap air but rather to absorb heat and reflect and radiate back to the source.

    Thinsulate is a material that creates a form of an air pocket or traps air. Its poly fibers are micro size and allows for moisture to pass threw it and evaporate easily but keeps air and sound trapped in its material. It is commonly used in Outer garments like boots, gloves, jackets, hats and so on. It is measured in Grams and typical light insulated garments are rated between 200-400 grams where as things like cold weather boots are in the 1000 gram range.

    From the way Comfortemp® works vs the way thinsulate works, I think thinsulate would be a better choice for an UQ vs Comfortemp®. Unless you would be laying directly on the Comfortemp®, then I would say Comfortemp® would be better. Comfortemp® needs to be in contact with your body heat to work vs thinsulate does not.

    Thinsulate traps air, Comfortemp® absorbs it and releases it back.

    I hope stated everything correctly here and didn't provide any false info. I have been researching this stuff alot but have never personally compared the 2 against each other.
    Last edited by XTrekker; 07-11-2012 at 12:48. Reason: Original Post stated Climashield and was ment to state Comfortemp. Got my products mixed up. Sorry

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    Quote Originally Posted by XTrekker View Post
    Ok I have been reading up on the differences between Climashield and Thinsulate, and here is what I have found.

    Climashield is a great insulator for close to skin applications like undergarments. It is designed to absorb heat when it is in contact with heat source and then release it back when the source gets cold. It is not affected like other insulators when compressed because its design is not to trap air but rather to absorb heat and reflect and radiate back to the source.

    Thinsulate is a material that creates a form of an air pocket or traps air. Its poly fibers are micro size and allows for moisture to pass threw it and evaporate easily but keeps air and sound trapped in its material. It is commonly used in Outer garments like boots, gloves, jackets, hats and so on. It is measured in Grams and typical light insulated garments are rated between 200-400 grams where as things like cold weather boots are in the 1000 gram range.

    From the way climashield works vs the way thinsulate works, I think thinsulate would be a better choice for an UQ vs climashield. Unless you would be laying directly on the climashield, then I would say climashield would be better. Climashield needs to be in contact with your body heat to work vs thinsulate does not.

    Thinsulate traps air, Climashield absorbs it and releases it back.

    I hope stated everything correctly here and didn't provide any false info. I have been researching this stuff alot but have never personally compared the 2 against each other.
    Fair enough, but..."next to skin" is relative here. An underquilt is going to be snugged up against the bottom of the hammock as much as possible--putting it two (at most, three, in a double-layer hammock) layers of thin nylon away from your body. Those layers of nylon don't do much to insulate you (otherwise, you wouldn't need bottom insulation aside from the hammock), so the "trap heat and radiate it back" bit of Climashield is going to occur pretty much the same as if it was actually next-to-skin with only a single layer of nylon between you and it.

    And my understanding of Climashield is that it does both; it has air pockets inside of it (though not as many as down does, for the weight) and is thermally resistant to conduction as well. So's Thinsulate, but due to the thin construction of Thinsulate, it tends to not have as much air space inside of it. It is more thermally resistant to conduction, but doesn't do as much for convection--hence the lower CLO value per ounce.

    All insulators (according to my high school physics level understanding, at least) operate on the principle of preventing the movement of heat away from an heat source (in this case, your body). Some of them have greater thermal inertia (in other words, they can absorb more heat than others), while some have greater thermal resistance (in other words, they're good resistors to thermal transfer). Air is really good at the second, not so good at the first.

    But, we're not trying to gather heat and hold it for slow release back into an object we're trying to heat up here (as you would in a pizza oven with the stones; cooking a pizza requires even, moderately high heat). We're trying to prevent the loss of heat from an heat source: you. Which means that the second property (thermal resistance) is really what's desirable. Polyester and other long-chain polymers (plastics) tend to be good at this (one of the reasons that they get used in synthetic insulation), but air is better for the weight. Only if that air is not moving, though--which is where down comes in.

    Down prevents convection currents from moving hot air away from your body and into the huge thermal sink that is the rest of the atmosphere. It contains thousands (millions?) of tiny air pockets within it that don't move much. Which is why it's more effective for the weight as an insulator than polyester (or olefin or...); it has more air pockets for a given amount than the polymers.

    Incidently, this is why synthetics outperform down when wet. When down gets wet, all of those air pockets collapse and the water subsuming the down is a wonderful thermal transfer medium. Whereas, while the air pockets might disappear in a synthetic insulation, the synthetic fibers' thermal resistance remains unchanged. A synthetic quilt won't provide much insulation under those conditions (the water still transfers heat pretty well), but it'll be better than down.

    At least, that's my understanding of it. I'd be happy to have someone who's actually gone to school for all of this to chime in; I'm often wrong in my understanding of physics until someone points it out to me.

  8. #8
    Senior Member DemostiX's Avatar
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    Climashield cannot be both lightweight and act also as a potent heat sink and reservoir, in the manner of cast iron. That defies physics. It is an insulator working in the class and manner of numerous other insulating fillings, with properties understood in ordinary insulating terms.

    Climashield is special only here and a few other places. Mostly, that is a matter of selective availability, promotion and touting. The pleasant properties for DIY purposes for folks like me with limited, training, skills, experience and preparation / setup make it an attractive synthetic bedding material. But, I don't kid myself that numerous other products used in tens of millions of garments and quilts are inferior.

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    Mullach' Abu XTrekker's Avatar
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    My apologies. I meant to say Comfortemp not Climashield. Im not sure where my brain is today. My previous post said Climashield and I ment to say Comfortemp. Please take note of it as to not create confusion. I will correct the previous post.

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