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Old 01-06-2006, 04:13 PM   #1
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1959 26' Overlander
Western , Massachusetts
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Bedding/Cushion advice offered

As new owners of a vintage coach, we have been mining this forum for tips, techniques and ideas. The quality of information we have found and the sense of community on this website are just overwhelming.

I'm sure I speak for many newbies when I say "Thank you!!".

So I sez to myself, I sez "How can I give back to the forum?"

I've worked in the bedding business for nearly 20 years -- for the company that manufactures Talalay latex foam. This is the material with the holes in it that was supplied in many vintage trailers. I just threw out our 43 year old latex foam cushions when we bought the '63 Globetrotter last fall.

I'm not in sales and actually have some good things to say about competitive products. I'd be happy to provide an industry insider's view to your questions.


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Old 01-06-2006, 04:44 PM   #2
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1964 22' Safari
Foresthill , California
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Ok, Ill start.
I plan to replace all the cushions in my 64 Safari this summer. I could use some knowledgeable advice on purchasing good quality comfortable sleeping foam for the gaucho bed and front dinette/bed cushions.

Where to buy (in Northern California), how to buy, what kind, manufacturers, quality etc.

I dont know what to ask for other than upholstery foam.
I would expect bedding foam might be better and more comfortable/supportive.
I dont need a NASA bed but a good nights sleep and comfortable seating.
I know there are different densities of upholstery foam but know little more.
The side gaucho bed, bed back and dinette/bed bottom cushions are 4.
The dinette back cushions are 6.

Thank you, Walter

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Old 01-06-2006, 04:48 PM   #3
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Here's another question: What might be good options for softening the twin beds on our new Safari? Foam with knobby surface? Solid foam? Memory foam? Wait for Select Comfort to make Airstream-compatible twin mattresses?

Okay, there was more than one question, but only one theme.
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Old 01-06-2006, 05:44 PM   #4
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There are three different foams to consider. Each has its benefits and drawbacks.

Polyurethane foam is the least expensive and lightest option available. The vast majority of furniture contains this product. Many spring mattresses have a layer of this foam above the innersprings. If weight and/or cost are your highest priority, this is your choice.

Memory foam, generically temperature-sensitive or visco-elastic foam, is best known as Temperpedic or NASA foam. It is heavier but more supportive than polyurethane. It has a very distinctive feel. There is a concern in the industry about the quality of some of the knock-offs. I’d recommend sticking with Temperpedic, Sealy’s TrueForm or a product from Leggett & Platt. Ask your distributor for the name of their source – walk if they don’t share it with you. I’m sure there are other good visco products, but I’m unfamiliar with other products.

I admit to a bias about Latex Foam, having slept on it for most of my life. It does have the “natural story”, but the comfort is what does it for me. It is the heaviest of the lot, weighing in at about 5 pounds per cubic foot. I believe it is the longest lasting.

The choice of visco-elastic or latex is a personal one. When you are lying still, the difference is not discernable by the average consumer. The difference appears when you roll over. Proponents of latex say that visco forms a crater that is hard to roll out of, proponents of visco say that latex is too bouncy.

What did Wally do? The gaucho foam that I just threw out was a foam sandwich. The outer “bread” was 2” of latex. The center was a lighter polyurethane core. Like many of his innovations, it was a well designed balance of weight and performance.

Walter: I’ll have to check with our salespeople about good upholsterers in Northern California. I’m on the right coast.

Walter and Mike – both of you addressed the toughest part of the decision – how to choose the right comfort level. The industry standard measure is something called ILD. For our purposes, it ranges from 10 to 50. A pillow is a 10, a soft topper like Mike wants is a 20. A 4” bed for a 150 pound person should be about a 28-30. For a 220 pound person, it should be about a 36. Our customers who prefer a brick choose a 45. I do warn you that the previous numbers are a rough guideline and are very generic!

Often, a supplier will let you lie on a sample of foam to see how comfortable it is. It can prevent some very expensive mistakes.

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Old 01-06-2006, 06:14 PM   #5
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I was looking for some new foam to replace the old double stacked 3 inch foam couch/fold down beds, they are getting real flat in time, any ideas???
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Old 01-06-2006, 06:23 PM   #6
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Do you have pics? I'm not sure what your trailer had.
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Old 05-17-2006, 06:37 AM   #7
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2004 30' Classic
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I have a 2004 30 foot Clasic and need to find fitted sheets. Those dam sheets just keep coming off. Does anyone know where I can d find some???
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Old 05-17-2006, 08:35 AM   #8
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Sheet Garters!

Don't want to hijack the thread, but there are several sources of EXPENSIVE fitted sheets for Airstreams. I fulltime and am "thrifty"... not cheap, "thrifty".

I recently changed over from a 22ft CCD (full) to a 25ft Safari front bedroom Special Edition (queen). The 22 footer taught me that standard sheets, even the expensive ones with high thread count designed for pillowtop mattresses don't exactly fit on the non standard curved end Airstream mattresses.

I really don't like high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets... they are very soft but the fabric pills after many washings. They are also clingy, and as many Airstreamers report problems with high humidity inside, a clingy sheet is undesirable! For the new one, I went to Sam's club and found the CHEAP white poly-cotton blend "hotel sheets" for a queen... Six FLAT sheets for about $40. I flip the mattress up on it's side, drape the bottom sheet over and using long sheet garters clip the sides of the sheet together under the mattress, I then use 4 standard sheet garters at the corners and have a military tucked bottom sheet that stays tight. The top sheet I just throw over the mattress and safety pin to the bottom sheet underneath the mattress. Most of the time I sleep under just the sheet. I can pull the coverlet up and make the bed quickly when I get up.

Oh, long sheet garters - just replace the 9 inch elastic with a piece that's 20-30" long, or clip two standard ones together.

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Old 05-17-2006, 10:14 AM   #9
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I replaced all the foam on my '74. My father in law, in the furniture sales business, went to a foam supplier with our existing foam so it could be cut to match. He told me he got us "the best money could buy". He mailed us one of the smaller pieces to admire before he delivered the rest. Looked and felt really good. I was excited about brand new, clean, uniform and firm bedding. I don't know the exact "type" of foam, only know it was new foam - did no research - first time restoration project. A local seamstress was making new covers for all the upholstery. When she inserted the foam into the new covers and zipped them up, the mattresses became so firm you could bounce an anvil off of them. After a few trips out, we had to purchase a top layer of faom (egg crate) to put underneath the sheets when we made the bed. It was like sleeping on a granite counter top. Foam, looked and felt great, but when compressed by the covers, it just rocked up. It must have been a super, high density poly urethane. Looked great, no wrinkles, fabric shifting and nice and firm for sitting. Take this into consideration.
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Old 05-25-2006, 09:42 AM   #10
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1974 27' Overlander
Redding , California
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Cool Clean or replace gauchos?

I have just read this thread because I am considering replacing my foam in an 1974 Overlander. The covers are in great shape, but despite shaking out and beating the foam, it smells from 30 plus years of ownership from a heavy smoker. No offense, I am just allergic and to smoke and cannot sleep through a night although the bed still holds its shape and is still comfortable. Does anyone have a cleaning solution in place of replacing the foam. I am confident the material cover can be dry cleaned again if I have to. I have repaired a minor spot of dry rot under one window, replaced the shag carpet, and check the insulation for wetness, it is fine. I believe dealing with the gauchos is the next repair, as the lingering cigerette smell seems to be coming from the foam.
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Old 05-25-2006, 10:11 AM   #11
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A friend of mine works at one of the aforementioned foam factories. She got me replacement matresses (slabs-o-foam) for my bunks...gonna get the gaucho cussions replaced sometime soon. anyway, the stuff is like a granite slab. (which is good, imo!). not sure what type it is, other than to say it is not memory foam. Its the "free" kind.

But just out of curiosity...why would NASA need fancy foam mattresses? Astronauts in 0-gravity don't need "support"....the only pictures of sleeping astronauts that I've seen, they're simply teathered to a wall, so they don't float into stuff. (kind of creepy looking, actually...)
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Old 05-25-2006, 03:50 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by 63GT
There are three different foams to consider. Each has its benefits and drawbacks.

Polyurethane foam is the least expensive and lightest option available. The vast majority of furniture contains this product. Many spring mattresses have a layer of this foam above the innersprings. If weight and/or cost are your highest priority, this is your choice.

My question is this.

What is Airsteam using now and is it different from what they used in 1961. Okay fine then... How Different?

My statement is.

I should have kept my old mattress. I just figured after 40 plus years it had to be buggy or worse. Well, I gave it to someone and he is still using it and I am jealous because I HATE my new, very firm foam. A brick to sleep on and after just a couple of years it has a permanent grove from sitting/sleeping on it. RATS!

I am going to redo soon.
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Old 05-25-2006, 04:02 PM   #13
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I'm investigating getting a quality 2" Memory Foam topper for my 22' CCD front bed. I'm sure it'll have to be specially cut to conform to the rounded corners. Does anyone know of an on-line manufacturer/dealer that sells these custom toppers?
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Old 05-25-2006, 06:22 PM   #14
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1966 26' Overlander
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rseagle - The best way to cut memory foam is with an electric turkey cutter. I suggest purchasing the 2in topper at Costco and cutting it yourself...That's what I did for my rear twins.

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