Seat Cushions

Seat Cushion - Varilite Evolution PSV seat cushion

Varilite Evolution PSV seat cushionWe ordered the Varilite Evolution PSV seat cushion, 16"x18", 3.8" thick, with a mesh cover and extra coated (incontinence) cover.

Overall, we are very impressed with the cushion especially the light weight. We had considered a contoured cushion, but find this to work very well because you can adjust the amount of air to sink in a little more. The weight is fantastically light, especially when compared to the Pride Mobility - Synergy Spectrum Air and the previous Jay 2 cushion we had.

Because the chair is configured for foot propulsion (toddling) he uses the cushion to help adjust for seat height. When he needs a lower seat height for foot propulsion and ADL activities he lets air out of the cushion. When he need a higher seat height when using the footplates, when he uses his ZX-1 or when traveling and having many bumps he adds air to the seat cushion.

For both covers the top is polyester with reticulated foam inside. The foam appears to be thicker for the incontinence cover, and the top is coated. We got this because my husband is a smoker, and I thought it might be more resistant to burns.The sides are urethane coated nylon, and the bottom is non-slip vinyl.

Here is a picture of the cushion with the mesh (front) and incontinence (back) covers:

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We have had a few concerns about the cushion covers, which I have  written to Varilite about. They have been very fast about responding to my questions and are going to send us 2 new replacement covers soon.

Both covers have creases from the foam padding bunching up underneath it. It is as if the foam padding stretches too much relative to the cover for the hammock in the ischial area. Varilite wrote back about this, because I asked if maybe we just had cushions from a faulty batch and that the reticulated foam inside was cut too large. They verified that". It is unlikely that the reticulated foam lining is too big as it is produced with a tool with a set perimeter".  I'm not sure if this will be the same with the replacement covers or not.

Here are some pictures from the inside (left) and the outside (right).

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We also found that the button holes that the valve goes through are not finished very well on either cover, and there were threads that were loose. Varilite said that they have a new buttonhole machine to address this, and they will be fixed when we receive the new covers.

I tried to reverse the valve from the right side to the left by flipping the cushion over, because it sticks out really far, and gets in the way of transfers, and also my husband often mistakens the valve for the brake lever. I asked Varilte and they confirmed that the cushion can be flipped over, because the ischial area and other foams are symmetrical throughout the cushion (vertically and horizontally).

Although there are button holes for the valve on both the left and right sides of the cover, they are positioned at the top, as is the PSV valve when it is on the right, and the button hole will not fit the valve properly when flipped over left, because the PSV valve is then on the bottom. I am waiting to hear about the solution for this from Varalite.

Here is a picture where you can see that the button hole is being stretched in order to fit over the valve when the cushion flipped over to the left:

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On the PSV (Pressure Setting Valve) it's hard to see the numbers on the valve indicator (1, 2 or 3) through the Indicator window even with the cushion off the chair in broad daylight. It is impossible to see them when on the chair in darker conditions. Varilite has suggested to use some red nail polish on the number we set it at, and I will give that a try later.

It looks like the valve is definitely going to be a weak point, especially because it sticks out so far. The valve looks like a similar quality of valve we have on some Thermarest camping cushions (same company). That is not really what I expected when paying so much for a wheelchair cushion.

We ordered the Cascade Valve Repair Kit, which I think will probably be needed at some point [Note: Sportaid’s price is better than what I see at online camping stores]. I should have also ordered the Universal Repair Kit with cover patches, but I think I should be able to find that at a camping store or online locally if needed. Varalite has offered to send us the repair kit when they send us the new cushion covers, which was very nice of them.

Update: 26/04/2014

I had been concerned about this happening, and now it has. The outside part of our valve broke on the Varilite Evolution PSV seat cushion. It has always seemed like an accident waiting to happen, and now it has, after 1 year of normal use. Unfortunately, the cushion is just past the warranty period by a few weeks. Although I had ordered an extra valve, it is the Cascade valve, and not the PSV Valve. I'm reluctant to try replace it because we can still close the valve. I think I will wait a bit longer and see how it goes. I'm also going to check with Varilite to see if we can use the Cascade standard valve instead of the PSV valve. For some reason, we have never really been able to get the hang of it, and the standard valve is much smaller, and I hope, out of the way more.

I had it confirmed by Varilite that we can use either the PSV or the standard valve as replacements. Because we were in the 2 year warranty period, I asked them to send us the PSV valve kit, and they said they would do it. Overall, their customer service has been excellent, and they have been very prompt to reply and thorough in the answers.

This link for a video showing how to do the replacement.

Supracor Stimulite Silver Cushion

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAWe ordered an extra Supracor Stimulite Silver Cushion 16"x18" with a Polyester Cover, 1-1/2" thick, 1 lb.  I’m very impressed with this as a cushion that will be used for showers at home, and when travellng in the car and on airplanes. I don’t think it would work as a cushion for full-time chair users unless they are very active. So far, it has worked very well for showering at home, and replaces a non-slip mat without much padding on a hard shower chair. It has been soft enough for showering without the cover, but I will be curious to see how well the cover dries if we do use it for showering. We do not have the XS cover, a softer top layer of the honeycomb material, because it is not available on the Silver version. While travelling, the idea is to use the chair, with the ADI seat base (Varilite cushion off) with the Supracor Stimulite Silver Cushion.

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Supracor Stimulite Lumbar Support

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI think this will work for the reason we go it, which is for showering at home and when travelling. When travelling, the idea is to use the chair, without the ADI back cushion along with the Stimulite Silver Cushion. Possibly we will take the ADI back off completely, another reason for the quick release back, and only use the Lumbar Support strapped around the back posts. Note: you can not take off the cover from the Lumbar Support, as it is sewn together with the honeycomb (no zippers), so drying may be a problem.