May 18, 2014 at 3:03 pm #1316951
I've just purchased a rain skirt from Zpacks–cuben fiber. I haven't had a chance to hike with it yet, but trying it on in the house makes me wonder–does the potato chip bag sound moderate over time, or do you go down the trail sounding like someone is waving a plastic bag in the air?May 18, 2014 at 4:07 pm #2103739
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
you go down the trail sounding like a potato chip bag.
But it makes a great ground cloth for your vestibule, too!May 18, 2014 at 4:11 pm #2103742
@wildtownerLocale: Grand Canyon State
It's not so bad out west, because usually rain is accompanied by high winds, and the wind's sound partially masks the cuben crinckle.May 18, 2014 at 4:24 pm #2103744
I really like this piece of gear. I've never really noticed the noise it makes. Now I'm probably going to notice it all the time…….thanks. Yes, as a groumd cloth it works great….also under the tent or as a clean surface to change cloths or eat off of too.May 18, 2014 at 4:51 pm #2103755
Chad “Stick” PoindexterParticipant
@stickLocale: Wet & Humid Southeast....
It'll always make some noise, but I have never really had an issue with it… especially when it was raining… and yes, it does make a good ground sheet, or an addition to a ground sheet…May 18, 2014 at 5:38 pm #2103773
Possibly trying the skirt out first thing in a quiet house wasn't the best idea. Rain pants make that "sshh-sshh" sound as one walks, this may not be any worse, just a different frequency. I am looking forward to better circulation and less sweat underneath. And, a place to put gear down on will be nice.
I'm thinking I'll probably take it when the temps are going to be over 50 F for the day. Under 50 F, especially with wind, sounds like a better situation for rain pants.May 18, 2014 at 7:34 pm #2103829
Also makes a good beak when neededMay 18, 2014 at 7:38 pm #2103830
Chad “Stick” PoindexterParticipant
@stickLocale: Wet & Humid Southeast....
It really is a great piece of kit. As can be seen here, there are tons of uses for it. I have actually used it as a back wall on an A frame tarp, a beak on a half pyramid, and of course as a ground sheet, as a sheet to put all of my gear on while packing, and a sheet to spread out and have a nice lunch or break on. It has had its share of being used as a rain skirt to of course, but probably less as a rain skirt than all of the other options. Unless I am specifically cutting all weight out of my pack for a trip, it comes with me regardless of temps. Even in cold weather, it is a nice option in lighter rain than pulling on the dreaded rain pants…May 18, 2014 at 8:00 pm #2103843
I'm curious, what's the rationale for choosing a cuben fiber rain skirt over a silnylon one?
I can understand for tents and tarps for the weight savings or crazy tensile strength, or larger things like ponchos for weight savings, but with a rain skirt, there won't be much of weight difference nor no need for that crazy tensile strength, but a pretty big price difference especially if you make your own silynylon skirt. You can quite literally make one for about 6 to 20 dollars or so depending on the quality of the material you buy.
Is less than ounce of weight savings, worth the extra 54 to 30 dollars? Oh, and no significant sound.May 18, 2014 at 8:26 pm #2103861
"what's the rationale for choosing a cuben fiber rain skirt over a silnylon one?"
Cuben is a stiffer material and therefore the skirt tends to hold it's shape (i.e., stick out away from your legs), whereas silnylon would just tend to sag and cling to your legs.May 18, 2014 at 9:01 pm #2103875
So it might be a bit cooler and more venting? I wonder how much the stiffness matters though? I remember reading about an experiment done on kilts using woven fabrics–not stiff, indicating that the movement of the fabric along with the open space allowed it to vent and disperse heat more efficiently than shorts–which in this case was not a good thing as they were testing it for colder weather use.
If there is a difference between silnylon and cuben in that area, it's probably pretty small. Probably similar between the difference of silnylon and cuben based poncho as well?
For the less well off or more frugal person, if stiffness is a desirable or significant feature, there is also Tyvek Homewrap which is a bit more stiff–also really cheap, and in such a small garment pretty light weight. A typical rain skirt uses about a yard and half of fabric. The cuben in question is 1.0 oz per square yard, silnylon is typically 1.3-1.4 oz per square yard, and Homewrap about 1.85 oz per square yard, more vapor permeable and polyethylene is extremely heat conductive so a very cool material in combination with venting. Point is, there isn't much of a weight difference between these three, but a considerable price difference between option 1 and options 2 and 3.
Btw, i made and have rain skirts made out of both silnylon and homewrap, they both work pretty well ime, but i have not compared them to a cuben one.May 19, 2014 at 3:09 am #2103921
@pkhLocale: Nova Scotia
I've also found a use for it while kayaking. There are times when I just don't want to bother with a spray skirt over the cockpit, and the rain skirt provides protection from spray and drips – also a surprising degree of warmth.May 19, 2014 at 8:45 am #2103975
To be truthful, I didn't give it much thought. I wander Z-packs site regularly, and have more than one piece of their kit. The design is well-thought out, enabling it to be used as more than just a rain skirt.
The cheapest option, although probably not the most durable, would be to take a draw-string garbage bag, cut the bottom off, and step through, tightening the draw-string around the waist. As for sil-nylon, I already have a couple of sewing projects that are languishing in my hobby room for lack of time or interest.May 19, 2014 at 7:49 pm #2104180
@kevperroLocale: Washington State
I like to wear mine cowboy. Just lift the skirt and you can do your thing.May 19, 2014 at 8:40 pm #2104196
If it works, who cares.May 20, 2014 at 9:46 am #2104333
"If it works, who cares."
Well can't say i care THAT much, but i guess i was channeling my inner Spock–"It's not logical". Point is that silnylon and tyvek homewrap will do the same thing at much cheaper cost with no significant weight "penalty" over the expensive cuben fiber.
I both like saving money, and also it's a practical necessity for me. I figure there are probably others out there in a similar place, so if i can help them with that and not being convinced they "need" a cuben fiber garment, then i haven't typed in vain.
I'm not a cuben hayt'ah btw, i like cuben for some things, because for some things it makes sense and there is an added value despite the added cost increase. I have a cuben solomid i bought used for an example. I also think that Zpacks is a great company, and charges quite reasonable prices considering they are using an expensive material—i have a few Zpacks products. Heck, their prices on larger cuben products are similar to and competitive with the prices that some companies charge for the much cheaper silnlyon material made tents and tarps.
But with that said, i don't see the sense in paying 59 dollars for a rain skirt when one can make a perfectly usable one out of silnylon or homewrap for around 6 dollars or so (and extremely easy to make), and it weigh maybe a half an ounce to an ounce more. Homewrap also has the added benefit of being a very cool (very heat conductive) material (and more vapor permeable, but that won't be much of a factor if at all).
I'm not telling people don't buy a cuben fiber based rain skirt, just trying to point out that there are much cheaper and perfectly practical alternatives. Most of the regular posters probably don't really need that pointed out, but there are always newbies or lurkers that might benefit from such a pointer.May 20, 2014 at 12:28 pm #2104375
I really don't think silnylon would be the best just because it would be clingy on the legs when wet. With a skirt, there is quite a bit of movement between the skirt and your legs as you walk.
I have a cuben skirt and it performs well. But I see no reason why a tyvek one would not do fine, especially if you soften it up a bit so it is flexible but not clingy.May 20, 2014 at 12:33 pm #2104377
Justin, in the forums you can see that plenty of people have used, and continue to use silnylon, tyvek, and garbage bags to make rain skirts. Off the top of my head, ULA and Etowah have also offered silnylon rain skirts for sale.May 26, 2014 at 8:50 am #2105969
I tried it out this week-end on a hike on the Olympic coast, and I'm pretty sold. It may not have been the best choice of kit for the hike, but the skirt did great. The rain wasn't ever pounding, driving rain, mostly our constant coast drizzle with heavier periods, but I wasn't sweaty under the wrap, stayed pretty dry, and wasn't cold. Here's why I say it might not have been the best choice: walking the coast wasn't just walking on the beach, it amounted to bouldering or constantly walking through talus fields. The coast is coves punctuated by rocky headlands, and many of the headlands are a choice between walking amongst piled up rocks or slippery beds of seaweed. I had to step up, squat down, ease onto my butt while using other rocks for handholds, spread wide for jumping across a channel, and without the zipper in the skirt it would not have been possible. I wasn't sure the fabric would hold up, but in spite of straddling logs and scooting, climbing up and over headlands on brushy overgrown trails, and sliding across rocks, no cuts or holes. Had to adjust it several times, the stiff fabric wanted to crinkle up and stay up when it rode up but it would stay put most of the time.
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