An alternative to 1/2" minicell foam

I called around for 1/2" minicell foam and only one shop had any in stock: $5 for a 1-sq-ft piece!

Went to the Army Navy Surplus store and bought a Wenzel sleeping pad made of 3/8" blue closed-cell foam. The stuff feels and behaves exactly like the small pieces of 1/2" minicell I have. $10.99 for a 20" x 72" pad, or just over $1 per sq ft.

I cut a couple pieces to use for padding on my J-cradles and will see how it works for that tomorrow. If it’s good, I’ll be buying this stuff instead of the ridiculously-priced minicell.

It probably will work for you . . .
There aren’t too many variations of closed cell foam - just be sure its closed cell.

I have used plumbing pipe insulation for projects (though it tends to not be as strong as the expensive stuff), but my favorite discovery in this vein was a closed cell 1/2" yoga mat. It was bought online for something like $14. And, you can get it in colors - not just industrial black. I cut mine up and used it for bracing material and for a wider “saddle blanket” feature to add extra padding under the Thermarest seat.

Thanks for sharing your discovery.

A even cheaper alternative is:
old discarded indoor-outdoor carpet.

I found it doesn’t break apart like the foam pad does .

by the way, you can get those sleeping pads at Wally World too and they make great seat pads, (cut them to fit)



It will compress
The sleeping pad foam will compress to paper thinness in J-cradle duty.

Look for anti-fatigue floor mats. Can often be found in the Christmas Tree shop at $9.99 for four 2 x 2 foot tiles.

another option
Armaflex insulation, like used for pipes is also sold in sheet form about 3/4 of an inch thick. I saw an insulator at a construction site using it for insulating a water meter. I was thinking of picking some up for seat padding.

It has a cool squishy feel, and will not absorb water.

$5 bucks too much? Really?
If I could find a local supplier for minicell, I wouldn’t grouse at that price–the stuff is really darn useful, and rugged.

There are too many people who want to spend less on crap than more for quality

I used blue-green camping pad foam
for knee pads in a canoe, way back in the 70s. Those pads lasted a long time.

$5 for a square foot of plain 1/2" minicell is a common price in retail stores. I have often paid $14 for two roughly square foot pieces of 3/8" minicell with peel-and-stick adhesive. That’s about $7 a square foot for convenience. And, it saves the mess and fumes of contact cement.

I got some lock together
floor pads at Costco. It is 1/2" grey, dense and has a “diamond plate” pattern on one side. It looks and feels and works just like minicell.I carpet taped two together for my bulkhead foot pad.

Source for bulk

yoga mat
I saw how expensive mini cell foam was and decided to use my yoga mat and the yoga blocks to outfit my kayak.

What density you looking for…

Kayakoutfitting has several densities…


…and, a skibootfitting site, has some

thin(~1/8") very dense, yet not hard stuff…

Did this quickly…sorry they’re not links…


Probably will, eventually
The foam did not squish down much after one trip, but it had definite “relief marks” from the underlying hardened rubber ribs on the Malone J-cradle. As would the 1/2" gray minicell foam that is of similar density.

The cheaper, firmer foam (the REALLY cheap sleeping pad stuff) I tested earlier using leftover scraps was better for this purpose. I guess I need to go spend $6 for a 72" x 20" x 1/2" roll of that stuff :wink:

Those tiles are great
I use them in the truck bed, under my sleeping pad. Otherwise, the large metal ridges in the bed would be horribly uncomfortable. Two layers of those tiles is stiff enough for me to lie on without problem.

I have been trying to buy more to tweak my BH foam system, but apparently they are available only occasionally, and of variable density. The stuff I looked at today was lighter and felt squishier…not good enough for BH-footpedal use.

That foam is too squishy
It also tears easily. I put some on a couple of tripods’ legs to keep my hands off the cold metal in winter.

It might do well for your seat pad, though.