Where to buy closed-cell Minicell foam for hip and thigh padding? I see 1"x12"x12" Grey Closed Cell Crosslinked Polyethylene Foam, 2.0lb density known by the brand name Minicell on Kayak Outfitting for $9 with shipping and the same size NorthShore NSI Minicell Foam (no density given) on Amazon for $16.50 with free shipping. $9 is attractive but are all Minicell made the same?
I also just discovered 1/8"x12"x42" neoprene foam used to cover the Minicell on Kayak Outfitting for $16 with shipping and the same size of Dualplex Neoprene Sponge Foam Rubber Roll Adhesive Amazon for $18, free shipping.
Does anyone use neoprene foam? Again, is all neoprene foam made the same? Your thoughts are appreciated.
Minicel is just a trade name for microcellular polyethylene foam. It’s available in different densities and colors, and even in different formulations. For example, I have some with extra EVA in it that make is more rubbery. That said, the stuff that’s marketed for kayakers seems to be pretty much the same. It will all work, but you may find that one product is a bit better than another depending on how you’re working with it.
Neoprene varies pretty dramatically in quality. There’s a lot of Chinese stuff on the market that’s not very durable and at the other end of the scale, there’s premium product that may be more than you need for simply covering pads. I’ve used neoprene for that but frankly, while it looks nicer, it really doesn’t improve their functionality.
Thanks Bnystrom, my guess is Kayak Outfitting is a good source. They claim - “Grey Closed Cell Crosslinked Polyethylene Foam. 2.0lb density is the product most people simply refer to as “outfitting foam” it is also known by the brand name Minicell. This is the workhorse of any kayak or canoe outfitting project. It is the same product that you see throughout the kayak industry for center walls and outfitting. You can sand it to shape it and you can glue it to itself and almost any surface with contact cement.”
I have used a lot of minicell foam outfitting canoes and kayaks, and while there is some variation in appearance and texture I have found that just about all the minicell I have purchased has functioned fine.
Thin (1/8") neoprene used to be a lot more widely available than it is now. In years past I sometimes covered minicell thigh braces, knee pads, or pedestal seats with it. But I agree that it did not seem to add anything functional above the minicell alone.
Check out FoamN More for those do it yourselfers out there.
I bought a few large blocks from them. The price is very good and the foam is as good as any I have ever seen. Used to make hip and thigh pads and also a full seat. LOTS less expensive then other places I have shopped on line, and no complaints about service of quality.
Frankly, I can’t remember where I got the neoprene I have. Buying it from a kayak outfitting specialist is probably your best bet. The other option would be places that sell it for wetsuits, but that’s more likely to be expensive, premium product.
The foam with extra EVA in it was something that I was offered at a discount by a supplier in the Boston area when I went to pick up a bunch of foam for an outfitting class, several years ago. It’s more flexible and rubbery and I typically use it for simple seats. However, it’s harder to carve and sand, since it’s grippier, too. I bought it as something to try and it works well for some applications. I don’t know if I could ever get it again, as it was something that the supplier made as an experiment.
Some kayaks have molded braces that wrap around your leg some to give solid purchase even if slippery. Some kayaks have less - more like a bump, that can be kind of slippery with wet legs. I’m pretty big on staying loose, eliminating tension where it isn’t needed. And I’ve had a couple of boats where I would have my leg slip off the brace in rough water a few times. I picked up something labeled dragonskin many years ago that addressed this very thing. It was thin and flexible, and very grippy against wet skin. The perfect thing if you didn’t want to add padding, but just grip against what was already there. I don’t know if that was some kind of special neoprene to offer super grip, or what exactly it is? Good stuff though. It easily bends and forms into any wacky curvature, where typical outfitting foam blocks do not. Maybe that’s a purpose for neoprene?