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The Best Materials

The Truck-bedz product family are composed of three distinct materials which are suited to unique camping purposes.  

PVC vinyl film = Least expensive and least durable

TPU urethane coated nylon cloth = Superior strength nylon cloth and ultimate low temperature TPU polymer performance

PVC vinyl coated nylon cloth = The abrasion resistance of nylon cloth combined with PVC polymer for a more modest price.

 

Weekender Series: A quick material comparison shows that PVC Film is the least expensive material and for this reason we use PVC Film on our Weekender series of products. PVC Film while inexpensive also provides a softer sleeping surface with a flocked 'velour' coating on the top sleeping surface. PVC Film becomes brittle and may crack at temperatures near 40 degrees so care should be taken when using Weekender beds in colder climates

Expedition Series: The superior Truck-bedz product for colder climates is our Expedition line of products. The Expedition series of products are constructed of a thick 420D woven nylon cloth which is then laminated with a special blend of ultra high performance TPU urethane polymer which provides all Truck-bedz Expedition beds with incredible 4000 lb weight rating at temperatures that approach - 40 degrees. The TPU urethane coated beds are used to demonstrate the incredible strength by lifting trucks parked on top of the bed.

Gold Series: The third Truck-bedz bed material is used on our new Gold series, which use a PVC vinyl coating on the same thick 420D nylon cloth thus offering the best of both worlds providing the abrasion and puncture resistance of the nylon cloth and with the economy of the PVC polymer.  We're pleased that we can offer our outstanding patented designs with incredible features at a budgetary price point.  Truck-bedz Gold series beds are also for use above 40 degrees.


Air Bed Raw Material Primer

PVC Vinyl Film: 

Virtually all air beds sold in America by everyone selling any type of air bed, including all of the big camping companies, are made PVC and related vinyl films.  These the most common air beds because they are least expensive air bed material.  Vinyl film air beds have been sold by major camping brands for years.  The least expensive bargain brands tend use thinner PVC film to save money.  With the cost savings come strength loss.  Some air beds use vinyl film as thin as .30mm but this thickness might be OK for a pool toy or bargain brands but it does not produce a quality air bed.  Because you would not like to sleep on such a slick slippery pool toy surface everyone applies an electrostatic fuzz or 'velour' to the film to produce the softer sleeping surface.

All PVC films are prone to crack in weather with low temperatures below 40F.  In cold weather please pay particular attention when unfolding Weekender beds after they are cold.  Many times low temperature plasticizers are added to provide a little more flexibility.  Our Weekender series are built from .40mm PVC film with low temperature plasticizers and yet ALL PVC vinyl beds tend to crack near freezing temperatures.   Even when low temperature compounds are added to the PVC vinyl it only gains us a few degrees and the vinyl polymer as a whole is simply not a good solution for low temperture applications such as holding air.  To create a bed that will withstand lower than freezing temperatures we're required to use TPU urethane polymers rather than PVC vinyl.  The urethane materials are far more costly but perform with excellent strength down to temperatures approaching -40F.  Truck-bedz Expedition series are constructed with urethane polymers. 

 

Coated Fabrics:

Coatings: Specific coating types and coating thicknesses on textiles is a broad topic and requires addressing the difference between water proof fabric and air holding fabric.  Water does not tend to seep through coated fabrics like air under pressure does and so thicker polymer coatings are required for assured air holding performance.  The fabric permeation of all vinyls in general require significantly greater thicknesses when coating any textile because vinyl itself is prone to microporosity.  Therefore the same fabric can be coated to "Air Holding" grade with much less polymer when using TPU urethane because of its far tighter molecular structure whereas PVC vinyl with it's micro porosity issues must be applied in much thicker coatings to satisfy the same purpose.  For that purpose the TPU coatings on our Expedition series beds will be found to be thinner, on the same 420D fabric, and yet they are still far stronger than ANY thickness of PVC vinyl coating.

Fabrics: The next consideration is of the fabric and it is all about the thickness and the tensile strength of the fabric itself. Strength comes with thickness and the bigger the yarn type the better.  Ballistic bullet proof nylon is 1000D and a random tent wall might be closer to 40D.  Bigger is better. Our 420D material is getting pretty close to ballistic grade.   By layman's example consider your clothing; the thinner shirts might be a polyester and are softer and weaker than your heavier denim pants.  Using a 200D or 210D fabric is like a weaker pair of  knock off bargain brand pants as opposed to the strength of the original unwashed Levi's 501's, which are closer to our stout 420D nylon fabric.  

The same 420D yarn in organic cotton material is what makes canvas or duck cloth.  We use nylon for the higher tensile strength and far greater mildew resistance. The weaker and less expensive polyester yarns are found in 170D and 200D and are smoother for a given thickness, much like your dress shirt, and therefore require less polymer for coating.  Of course all air beds built with coated polyester are rather flimsy as both the fabric and the coating are too thin for typical camping usage let alone for what we call "Mountain Usage"   

The next grade up from the thin polyesters are the thin nylons such as the 200D nylon used by lesser coated fabric products.  Since nylon is a rougher, coarser fabric than the polyester it requires more polymer in order to hold air and when one skimps on the coating it tends to delaminate after several uses.  

The fabric used in Truck-bedz products is constructed of a much thicker and very rugged 420D yarn.  This requires more polymer coating but provides a bed that is noticeably stronger the the competitions inferior thinner materials.

The Truck-bedz 420D fabric is more like a new set of Levi's rather than a dress shirt, which would you prefer used to build your bed?

 

So the cheapest route is to use a 170D or 200D polyester coated with a minimal .20mm or .25 of PVC vinyl. This is good enough for waterproofing, and some competitors, but poor for anything but temporary air holding as both the fabric and the polymer are so thin.  Failure is a given, it's a matter of time but others use this material.

Slightly better is the 200D nylon upgrade from polyester and with adequate polymer coating delamination reports should be less prevalent.  Use of thin .30mm coatings on 200D nylon fabric are still suspect but some products use thinner coatings to keep the prices low, quality be damned.  

Truck-bedz Gold series were tested at .40mm coating and then we were still were not satisified with product strength until we changed to .45mm polymer coating on the thicker 420D fabric.  Might make the bed heavier but now they are MUCH more rugged.  Costs a bit more.  Yeah you’re right.  You did want the better product.. right?   Now you can enjoy the abrasion and puncture resistance of the rugged Truck-bedz 420D nylon fabric but with the more budgetary PVC vinyl coating.

 

The BEST material: Truck-bedz Original Expedition Series we start by using only the best 420D nylon fabrics selecting for special long term UV and mildew resistant fabric grades which are far stronger than 210D nylon and stronger still than 210D polyester used by competitors. Then we coat this stout cloth with a special TPU thermal polyurethane to give the Truck-bedz Expedition series far greater ability to hold air over any competing PVC vinyl film and PVC vinyl coated cloth solutions. TPU polyurethane coated fabric yields far stronger and far more durable air beds than anything built out of PVC coated fabric or PVC based vinyl films.  As we know all good things cost a bit more and TPU coated nylon's stellar outdoor engineering performace comes at a price.  For those who expect higher performance from their gear it's entirely worth it.

Truck-bedz Expedition series are the strongest air beds in the outdoors market and we routinely park large vehicles on them.  We've 'derated' them to 4,000 pounds weight capacity though what do the numbers mean they are strong enough to be used to lift large vehicles?

ALL PVC based vinyl film air beds, with or without 'fibers' are usually rated at only 400 - 650 pounds burst strength despite errant marketing claims to the contrary.  This includes our own Truck-bedz Weekender series and every Coleman or Aerobed or every other fuzzy "velour" top bed available today.  

Truck-bedz NEW Gold Series are PVC based coating on the rugged 420D nylon cloth and while not as strong as the Expedition series they are stronger than the Weekender series and ANY other competition not named Truck-bedz Original Expedition Series.

 

Thank you for your interest in Truck-bedz, please let me know if we may answer any questions


Terry

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