Hi Cloud Nine,
[quote]Organic and or natural latex
We understand that the organic label applies primarily to the production of the rubber liquid itself and that getting a 100% pure natural latex Dunlop mattress could be less expensive and still provide the same level of comfort and quality versus a mattress with an organic designation? Is this the case?[/quote]
Yes. There are two manufacturers that produce organic raw latex (CoCo latex and Latex Green) and one of these has now had their production method certified as well (Latex Green) so their actual latex cores are now certified. There is more about this in post #6 here. The main benefit of the organic cores is the certification itself which for some people this is important but the actual difference between 100% natural Dunlop and certified 100% natural Dunlop (outside of cost) in terms of performance or even the composition of the latex would be minimal if anything at all.
More than anything this wold depend on what your personal testing tells you and on how evenly you tend to sink into a mattress. For example … I am 6.5" and 195 lbs and my DH is 5’7" and @ 130 lbs and we tend to do well on the same type of layering. Of course the difference between you and your wife is larger so the odds are greater that a mattress would need to have a specific design that could accommodate both of you. There are some types of layering patterns that could do well for both of you where for example a middle transition layer acted more as part of the comfort layer for the heavier half of a couple and as more of a support layer for the lighter half of a couple. If you are testing mattresses locally then your testing and the guidance of the person you are working with (assuming they are knowledgeable and can help you check for alignment) should be your guide for this but if you are ordering from an online manufacturer that makes a side to side split and you don’t have a reference point of a specific layering that you have tested that works for both of you, then I think a split layering would be helpful in your case yes.
We don’t want a plush euro style topper that you sink in to. We want something that will deal with pressure points effectively but still leave us with a firm feeling. We both tent camp a lot and like a somewhat firm thermarest mattress[/quote]
This would probably depend on which of the Thermarest mattresses you are using but in general there are two ways to choose a mattress. One is with your personal testing experience where you can feel the mattress in person which would be the most accurate and the second would be by using “averages” or more standardized height/weight/sleeping position choices for an online purchase and of course the more standardized layering can also be adjusted to take into account your own experiences and preferences for the firmer feel of the Thermarest in “real life”. The overall softness and firmness of the mattress will come from a combination of the firmness of the deeper layers (which will primarily control support and alignment how far you sink down into the mattress which some people will use to “rate” the overall softness/firmness of the mattress) and the thickness and softness of the upper softer comfort layers (which will primarily control pressure relief and which others will use more to “rate” the overall softness firmness of the mattress). In other words … each person may use a different set of criteria to rate a mattress depending on whether they are more sensitive to the pressure relieving or support properties of the mattress.
Overall though … for you I would probably suggest firmer support and/or transition layers than your wife. For example with a 2 layer mattress a very firm 6" core or with a 3 layer mattress then X-Firm/Firm. A thinner 2" comfort layer may also be more suitable considering your “camping” preferences because a thinner comfort layer will allow more of the firmness of the layers below them to “come through” than a thicker 3" comfort layer. For your wife Firm/Medium may be more suitable because of her lighter weight. The comfort layer choice would likely be medium in both cases because of your firmness preferences. This would mean an 8" mattress would likely work well and it would also be firmer overall than a mattress that used more latex (such as 12") even though for most side sleepers a 9" mattress with an extra inch in the top comfort layer (3") would be closer to the “average”.
I would also have a more detailed discussion with the manufacturer of the mattress if you are ordering online because they are the “experts” with the specific designs of the mattresses they make and the materials and options they have available and also have the benefit of a large customer base that can act as a reference point. If after a more detailed discussion with them their suggestions are different from mine I would tend to go with theirs.
With Dunlop latex the most important “spec” is the natural latex content. The density of the latex is primarily what controls the firmness level not the quality. As long as the Dunlop latex you were considering was 100% natural and from a known supplier (which would almost always be the case) then I would consider the quality to be roughly equal.
Yes. Unlike polyfoam and memory foam … density primarily controls the firmness/softness level of latex but not the quality.
No … I would focus on the description of the manufacturer of the mattress (or personal testing if you are buying locally). The manufacturer will have “translated” any density ratings into their appropriate softness/firmness levels (either ILD or a “word rating” that most people would relate to) and if the latex is 100% natural Dunlop then only the softness/firmness ratings would be important in your selection.
No … there is little consistency across the industry in terms of “word” ratings for softness/firmness. If a latex core has been accurately tested for ILD/IFD on the same thickness layer then this would be consistent across the industry for the same type of foam. The key with this is that the layer has been accurately tested at some point between its manufacturing and you and not just “assigned” a rating which may sometimes be incorrect. Other than that … the closest way to make meaningful comparisons between different Dunlop cores would be through density comparisons. These will not always be identical between different manufacturers and layers though because with Dunlop there there will be a variance in ILD/IFD in different areas of the layer surface and there will also be a variance that depends on whether a layer was cut from the top or bottom of a 6" core (the whole core is assigned the density rating but the top 3" would be less dense than the rating (softer) and the bottom 3" would be denser than the rating (firmer) even though both cores would generally be “rated” to match the whole core). There would also be some slight differences in different latex foam formulations, different latex hybrid species or production years of latex raw materials, and variations in the method of manufacturing the core. In spite of all of this … density comparisons or ILD/IFD comparisons (if they are correctly assigned) or better yet both would be the most accurate way to make the most accurate possible comparisons. If for example one layer has a density of 85 kg/M3 and another is 75 kg/m3 and the higher density latex is being rated as the same ILD/IFD or “word rating” as the lower density version then I would be asking some questions about why and probably assume that one of them has been incorrectly rated or with different criteria.
The better manufacturers will use ILD/IFD or word ratings that are fairly consistent across their different materials and they will be very informative in a conversation about how their different options compare so you can get a good sense of how they may feel but this may not always “translate” well between different manufacturers.