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New Latex Mattress = New Lower Back Pain

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07 Apr 2020 12:38 #21 by alikigia
Hi again!

Thanks again for your response. So because if the outbreak the planet is experiencing, I wasn’t able to even go out to try wool toppers so I searched again online and found that avocado green makes a new alpaca and wool topper. They say it’s 3” but I just received it and it’s really more like 1 inch. Any thoughts about this topper in terms of its durability since alpaca is not a material I have seen in the toppers from the companies recommended on this site. I do have to say I like the feel of it over the classic 8 Essentia and it did in fact make it a bit firmer in the sense that it’s more of a stable sleep surface in comparison to the memory foam feel the Essentia has. So I am wondering now if I should return it since they offer a full refund and go for one of the manufacturers from your site here as they offer discounts on replacing the toppers since now I know I like the feel of wool. Of course I wonder if the alpaca feels any different to just wool . If you have any advice or information please share! Avocado green could not tell me if the wool is pre compressed the people I chatted with online didn’t know what I meant. All I know is it’s 24lb for the king topper I bought. One more question...would a 6 inch wool topper be significantly harder than say a 3 inch as avocado claims this is. I feel that if this topper were any harder it couldn’t be ideal for my mattress. Thanks! Just wondering if you would know about plushness and thickness relationship If there is any. Thanks again!

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14 Apr 2020 08:42 #22 by Sensei
Hey alikigia,

Sorry for the delayed response, things have been crazy everywhere as you mentioned, thanks for your patience.

"They say it’s 3” but I just received it and it’s really more like 1 inch."


AG’s Alpaca/Wool MattressTopper is listed as being 3” in thickness (2” of Alpaca wool in between 0.5” layers of wool) My guess is that it has been compressed for shipping which would require some fluffing up and allowing it to decompress before use.

Any thoughts about this topper in terms of its durability since alpaca is not a material I have seen in the toppers from the companies recommended on this site.


Alpaca is more durable and it has a much higher tensile strength than wool does. It is the second only to silk and some of the phloem fibers such as hemp, linen, flax, ramie.

I do have to say I like the feel of it over the classic 8 Essentia and it did in fact make it a bit firmer in the sense that it’s more of a stable sleep surface in comparison to the memory foam feel the Essentia has.


I agree with your initial assessment of your new Alpaca topper as it has many superior qualities over a memory foam comfort surface. Both materials used in your topper are high-performing in terms of feel, temperature regulation, moisture wicking and as you have noticed comfort and “stability” vs the “memory foam” feel. When talking about memory foam ... words like “stability" or "supportiveness" really mean degrees of softness. Memory foam is a pressure relieving comfort material not a support material. The support layers underneath the memory foam are the supportive part of the mattress. It responds very slowly to new and changing positions and some have described it as a little like "sleeping in sand". Also it is difficult to control how far you sink into a memory foam layer as it may soften over the course of the night and what started out as correct spinal alignment could turn into a "hammock" position and a backache by morning.

So I am wondering now if I should return it since they offer a full refund and go for one of the manufacturers from your site here as they offer discounts on replacing the toppers since now I know I like the feel of wool. So I am wondering now if I should return it since they offer a full refund and go for one of the manufacturers from your site here as they offer discounts on replacing the toppers since now I know I like the feel of wool.


I would hesitate to advice one way or another. This is truly a personal preference and you would need to run it by your Mattress buying personal value equation that are most important to you. This topper is of very good quality, durable, and performs well over time. Once you found a product that works well for you, I would certainly not encourage to return it for the benefit of a discount. From the ethical point of view also I’d bear in mind that many companies cannot resell used products such as this.

Avocado green could not tell me if the wool is pre compressed the people I chatted with online didn’t know what I meant. All I know is it’s 24lb for the king topper I bought


I’d contact Avocado directly by email as you can get more details in an email.

One more question...would a 6 inch wool topper be significantly harder than say a 3 inch as avocado claims this is.


Thicker comfort layers are usually recommended for higher BMI individuals. The difference between a 3" and a 6" comfort layer can be quite dramatic and also depends on a person's weight, shape, and sleeping positions. Side sleepers will notice it more (they are more likely to go "through" a thinner comfort layer) and feel more of the properties of the layers below it. The thinner a layer is ... the more you will feel the properties of the layers below it.

Just wondering if you would know about plushness and thickness relationship If there is any.


The thickness of a mattress is much less important than the specifics of what is inside the mattress and which specific design is the best match for you in terms of PPP. There is more in post #14 here about the potential benefits of thicker individual layers or the mattress itself. 8" - 9" of latex is inside the range for the thickness of the latex layers inside a mattress that would allow for a suitable design for the large majority of people.

Now that some time has passed since you received your topper I'd be interested in any updates that you may have.

Thanks,
Sensei :)

Sensei(@ TMU Team)
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28 May 2020 10:41 #23 by alikigia
Thanks for all your input Sensei! I too apologize for the delayed response. I’ve been trying to decide whether I’d not to keep the topper. I had removed it from the bed and noticed hair strands coming out of it in several locations. I asked avocado green and they said it’s normal but to still hold on to the box. Is this normal ? Do the experts you have on this site agree with that? If this normal what would be an accurate life span of the topper? I am just wondering how much wool continues to poke out over a period of time and how long until it’s no longer stuffed. Please, any support you could provide would be greatly appreciated!

So far the topper is a huge relief for my existing my essentia classic 8. No more back pain! A wool topper definitely did the trick! Of course now I’m just concerned about the quality of this one that I purchased given that the wool is coming out.

I finally also found out that they do not pre compress the topper. What does this mean for the loft of the topper if it even means anything at all?

Please get back to me as soon as you can because my trial period is about to end. I hope that the fibers coming out is normal but if isn’t then I need to return it and continue my search. I hope this will help others in making decisions as well. Thanks again!

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29 May 2020 14:12 #24 by Phoenix
Hi alikigia.

I see that Sensei is taking good care of you :) I am briefly chiming in with some information that may be helping with your decision.

I’ve been trying to decide whether I’d not to keep the topper. I had removed it from the bed and noticed hair strands coming out of it in several locations. I asked avocado green and they said it’s normal but to still hold on to the box. Is this normal ?


A little bit of fuzziness and pilling is perfectly normal and so it depends on the degree, but I can’t tell for sure how “normal” it is in this case as I do not have the product in front of me. Some pictures can be more or less helpful to determine, the degree of pilling you are experiencing with your new Alpaca & Wool topper. When posting any photos, I suggest you take the picture with a pencil or object as a measurement reference.

Wool (the uppermost layer under the topper organic cotton fabric) of your topper and to some extent the Alpaca sandwiched between the 0.5” of wool can work themselves free out of the fabric even for cotton with high thread counts. These fibers can also bunch together in tiny balls and form some pilling. Typically this diminishes over time as wool will compress and the stray fibers break away. Assuming that the stranding and piling is minor and localized more to areas of higher use and friction … IMO you have a very good product and just a matter of cosmetics that can be a bit of a nuisance for some more esthetically inclined. (It is nice of Avocado to recommend keeping the shipping box which may be a way of saying that they'll that's it back if you are not happy with it. )

So far the topper is a huge relief for my existing my essentia classic 8. No more back pain! A wool topper definitely did the trick!


I am happy to hear that the topper works so well for you and you are not experiencing back pain on your 8-year-old existing Esentia mattress. Just as Sensei was mentioning previously... Once you found a product in terms of comfort/support that works well for you…. I would certainly not encourage to return it for the benefit of a discount.

I finally also found out that they do not pre compress the topper. What does this mean for the loft of the topper if it even means anything at all?


After the initial fluffing from unpacking, the product will compress and firm up a bit over time forming a more stable cradle ... it will have a greater effect on the foam underneath it as it becomes a little firmer. A wool mattress pad/topper isn't an integral part of the mattress and will conform more to your shape and the layer underneath it. and would be generally "softer" than a wool quilted mattress for example. How well a wool topper will conform also depends on the topper/pad fabric. The more stretchable the material (stretch knits as opposed to a woven damask cover) the better conforming qualities on the shape of the body and the more pressure relieving,

To loop back to your initial question about the differences between Alpaca and wool the list I compiled below describes the main ones. Provided the animal age and breed are taken into account as they can significantly alter the material qualities, here are some differences between Alpaca and wool. In very basic lines I’d just think … Camel vs Sheep. Camel ( laminoids ) can handle extreme temperature variations, UV exposure, moisture control. Aside from price which is a major consideration of the main “difference”, here is a sum-up of some of the “differences” between the two fibers.
• .Alpaca fibers are shorter and most often thinner in diameter than the wool fibers and can also amount for the strands you are seeing in your new topper.
• Alpaca fibers are less wide (in the ranges of 18 to 32 microns) vs wool resulting in a softer and more luxurious feel.
• Alpaca fibers are hollow or almost hollow vs wool fibers that have air pockets> The additional hollow space provides better insulation and provides better temperature regulation properties feeling warmer in winter and cooler during summer.
• Alpaca has better moisture-wicking properties. While on average it absorbs 35% of its weight in moisture vs wool that absorbs 50% of its weight in moisture, Alpaca’s fiber structure and trapped warmth allows for better moisture evaporation vs wool that can get saturated and cause the moisture to get trapped next to the skin. This means that Alpaca dries faster, better wicks moisture, and is feels warmer for similar-sized fibers.
• Alpaca has very low height fiber scales, which is less itchy than wool and also contributes to the softer and more luxurious feel.
• Alpaca does not shrink or felt as much as wool when laundering.
• Alpaca lacks lanoline and is considered hypoallergenic vs wool that has to be super washed to remove the barbs and lanolin which, in some cases, it is treated with synthetic resins.
• Alpaca is more durable and it has a much higher tensile strength than wool does. It is the second only to silk and some of the phloem fibers such as hemp, linen, flax, ramie.

You can read a bit more about alpaca/wool comparisons in the back-packing-light forum and generally about Alpaca Fibers on this Fabric Guide Masterclass article , also Wikipedia has a good article

I hope that this adds good insights for you to help with your decision to keep or return the topper.
I’d be curious to know which way you chose to go.

Phoenix

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