- Jul 1, 2015 at 8:52 pm #1330373
It boggles my mind that here we are in 2015 and there are only two manufacturers of cuben fiber freestanding tents. I guess all the cottage companies are making “enough” money not to push the R&D further. Start making freestanding cuben shelters with super light aluminum or Carbon poles already. A simple two pole designs will only add about 5-9 oz. Design some decent shapes that will coincide with pole configurations, add some pole clips and heavy duty elastic to the outside and get it done! I guess this is what happens when people settle on what currently works and are not willing to drastically innovate and lead. "see Cottage Stagnation"Jul 1, 2015 at 9:08 pm #2211564Jeff JeffBPL Member
Is there much of a market for it? I would think that most people willing to pay that much for an exotic material would forgo a freestanding tent.Jul 1, 2015 at 9:23 pm #2211568Greg MihalikBPL Member
"Design some decent shapes that will coincide with pole configurations, add some pole clips and heavy duty elastic to the outside and get it done!"
I think the number of pieces and the absolute precision of assembly is a daunting task. Freestanding designs require curves. Silnylon will stretch to accommodate variations. Cuben will not. And we all know how demanding, picky, and critical some UL folks can be.
And, how much are you willing to pay for said tent? Given the complexity of freestanding, I'd expect a significant premium over a Zpack Solo at $450.
Last, the weight of the dedicated poles would exceed the weight of the tent body by a considerable amount. That will be a tough sell to the aforementioned UL crowd.Jul 1, 2015 at 9:24 pm #2211569
Yes, I think if people like myself are already willing to pay $600-825 for an Ultamid 2 / 4, Cuben Supermid or Duplex / Triplex they would be happy to buy a simple freestanding cuben shelter. Even if it had no floor or inner.Jul 1, 2015 at 9:26 pm #2211570Adam WhiteBPL Member
@awhite4777Locale: On the switchbacks
> …A simple two pole design will only add about 5-9 oz…
But add 5-9 oz to what? My cuben shelter weights 6.31 oz. I am only one datapoint, but I would be unwilling to add 2 oz to add freestanding capability–much less double the weight of it. It's just not that important to me.
Jeff asked the same question I would–is there a strong demand for this? I was always under the impression that if you were in the market for a cuben shelter, "freestanding" was probably not that high on your priority list.Jul 1, 2015 at 9:28 pm #2211572
The cottage industries that make CF shelters serve a relatively narrow market, almost entirely UL backpackers, and they are not going to spend the time or funds to develop products that they know are unlikely to sell very well in that market. I don't believe that there's enough people interested in buying a free-standing shelter that would both weigh and cost significantly more than current offerings.Jul 1, 2015 at 9:41 pm #2211576Cayenne RedmonkBPL Member
@redmonkLocale: Greater California Ecosystem
Maybe, a material with zero stretch isn't the perfect fabric for a tent used outside of a show room ?Jul 1, 2015 at 9:42 pm #2211577
What are the advantages? Less stakes needed, no trekking poles required, better in wind, faster pitch, less tinkering, easier to pitch solo.
What are the advantages of a non freestanding tent? lighter weight and that's about it….Jul 1, 2015 at 10:00 pm #2211580
"What are the advantages of a non freestanding tent? lighter weight and that's about it…."
Lighter weight and lower cost. Weight savings is the by far the main reason people buy CF shelters in the first place. CF shelters are already very expensive, with many people (myself included at this point) not finding enough weight savings to justify the cost over silnylon. Now you would be talking about increasing the cost by quite a bit and losing the weight savings that you went to CF for in the first place.
The advantages that you listed are legit, and I'd like to have those as well. But I just don't see enough people being willing to carry the extra weight and pay that much more to get them. If someone could make one within 5 oz. or so of a staked shelter and keep the cost within $100-$150 of current CF shelters, it might sell, but I just don't see either of those factors being possible at this point.Jul 1, 2015 at 10:26 pm #2211586Katherine .BPL Member
There's freestanding and then there's not-trekking-pole-supported.
If* executable, would it be nice to have the option of a TarpTent Rainbow or Hogback in cuben? Yes it would.
Do i care about a BA Copper Spur or an REI Half Dome in cuben. No.
(*seems big w/the curve/stretch issues)Jul 1, 2015 at 10:54 pm #2211592[ Drew ]BPL Member
@43tenLocale: Central Valley CA
"Yes, I think if people like myself are already willing to pay $600-825 for an Ultamid 2 / 4, Cuben Supermid or Duplex / Triplex they would be happy to buy a simple freestanding cuben shelter. Even if it had no floor or inner."
I am one of those people who was willing to pay $600-825 a cuben pyramid shelter with inner, and I would NOT buy a freestanding cuben shelter. For 2/3 of the price I could have had a silnylon version, so why would I want to eat up those weight savings with some "5-9oz" poles? The shelter itself only weighs 11oz, so I definitely wouldn't want to increase the weight by 50-100%. Many of us use trekking poles irrespective of our shelters, so tent poles would just be redundant. Plus, many 'mid designs do significantly better than the vast majority of freestanding designs.
I'm generalizing, but only UL hikers have a serious interest in cuben shelters, primarily due to price. Traditional backpackers aren't going to buy a REI quarter dome or BA flying spur whatever for $900 because it's made of cuben. It appears that there isn't a market for what you're postulating – and thus far tents like the SD Mojo UFO have been flops.Jul 2, 2015 at 1:54 am #2211606
I think it would be cool if the rain "flys" of some freestanding tents were made of Cuben. The rest of the body could be mesh and silnylon. I'd much rather have a sil floor anyway. With a Cuben fly, the weight would drop, the price would increase but not exponentially and IMO you'd have a more water resistant/ easier to dry fly. Or even if a cottage just took the time to replicate the flys of certain popular tents such as the FlyCreek and CopperSpurs and sold them as after market options. I don't thin it would take too much R&D to make a couple patterns..?
I wouldn't be able to afford them, it took me a couple months to afford my Cuben shelter and it's the only Cuben item I own! Hah.
Just a thought.Jul 2, 2015 at 2:38 am #2211611Franco DarioliBPL Member
I think there are a few misconceptions here.
First if you do a really simple two pole crossover design, like the classic Bibler I Tent :
the weight savings over the typical 1.3oz silnylon would be around 4-5 oz.
Next as far as cost , depends what one calls not a substantial increase but it will be at least double.
That is not just because the material itself is more expensive but it is also harder to work with.
Not a problem for the DIY guys, it is however for manufactures that need to pay they workers by the hour and proportionally to their expertise.
If you then go all the way and add lighter poles to it , you end up with a more substantial weight saving but at a much higher cost too.
The Terra Nova Voyager Ultra (a "freestanding" tent (only 6 stakes required) ) is about 1 pound lighter than the equivalent silnylon version (Voyager Ultralite) however it has an RRP of £1400 vs the silnylon one at £400 (yes pounds, not dollars)
Lastly, as already pointed out, you cannot in most cases use the same patterns with different materials.
Some tried to do that in the early days of Cuben and failed.
(mind you, I also hope that no one takes seriously the idea that "cottage" manufacturers should be copying someone else design)Jul 2, 2015 at 2:57 am #2211613
I've seen several posts where someone copied a rain fly for someone's production tent. I can search them out if you'd like. I see nothing wrong with making a Cuben fly for a production tent. Change it slightly, and you've done nothing wrong.
that's my opinion,but I'm not a "tent expert".Jul 2, 2015 at 4:32 am #2211619James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Well, Cuben is not a fabric. It cannot *just* be sewn. So, you have two different processes for the same item: Gluing, Sewing (G&S.) This slows production. G&S fouls needles and slows production. The precision in engineering can be easily had with computers, but cutting is a real pain. Exact cuts, within 1/4" are not easy. If you go with laser computer guided cuts, the fabric needs to lay perfectly, no tugging or pulling in any direction. Expensive machinery, or, slow tedious work.
IFF you can accomplish this, then good for you. Now you add in extra weight for poles, sleeves, pockets, and other reinforcement points. The material should be the heavier .74oz cuben for durability, since no one will spend the better part of $1000 and not have it durable. Since you have that much tied up in the tent, you should have some lighter pockets, and, zippers built in. Again, slow production. Since you only save the weight of the fabric, not the poles, line or stakes, shaving 50% off of the body will only save about 1/4-1/3 of the overall weight. So, you have a 49oz solo tent that now goes for 38oz. You have a 71oz double tent going for 56oz. Yet, you can simply go out and get a Hexamid Duplex for around 22oz.
Basically, the bigger you go, the less material is needed for the volume covered. You start out saving about 1/2 the weight for small single tarps, about 1/3 the weight for small duplex tents, and about 1/4 to 1/5 the weight for 4 person tents. So, to make a "free standing" tent for you and your wife and 2 children is not going to save enough to worry about. You might save 8oz on a 5 pound tent, not enough to justify the the 4x-5x difference in price. It starts getting iffy at two people.
"Free Standing" is a misnomer. You still need to stake these down or carry enough stakes to do so in a good wind. And, Cuben packs a bit larger.
Nope, manufacturers won't go for it because there is simply not a market for car camping. Packing volume, not weight, means more.Jul 2, 2015 at 5:04 am #2211622Roger CaffinModerator
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> Exact cuts, within 1/4" are not easy.
With non-stretch Cuben, a tolerance of 1 or 2 mm (not 6 mm) is needed imho in sewing, if not in cutting.
CheersJul 2, 2015 at 5:05 am #2211623Woubeir (from Europe)BPL Member
That's why at least I make a difference between freestanding and self-supporting tents:
self-supporting tents still need stakes for e.g. vestibules while (at least for me) truly freestanding tents need even no stakes for the vestibule(s).
But it's certainly true that even self-supporting tents need stakes for the guylines,…Jul 2, 2015 at 5:08 am #2211624
Yeah, a cuben "freestanding" tent wouldn't make much sense from a "start from scratch" perspective. But *I* think it would be neat if someone offered after market rain flys for production tents. It would be like getting after market poles from Fibraplex. Or an after market nest for a mid. Doesn't need to be an exact copy.
The manufacture of after market parts is a pretty big industry. (No talking specifically hiking equipment)Jul 2, 2015 at 6:51 am #2211635JohnBPL Member
@johnnyh88Locale: The SouthWest
I think it may be cost. And partially weight. And the mindset of users who are interested in such expensive tents.
Constructing a well-designed tent with poles can be more complicated than making a pyramid tarp or similar design (I've sewed up several pyramid tarps and am now sewing up a dome tent). Also, a dome tent of similar interior volume as a trekking pole supported tent would use less fabric (so potentially reduced material cost – not including poles); however, a design which uses less fabric has less weight to "lose" when moving to a lighter fabric.
Perhaps the best comparison for weight is these two single-wall 2-person tents:
ZPacks Duplex (cuben fly and floor): 20.0 oz and $595
Big Sky Mirage 2P (cuben fly, sil floor, carbon poles): 30.0 oz and $770
Big Sky Mirage 2P (cuben fly, cuben floor, carbon poles): 26.5 oz $1000
Some of this weight difference can be attributed to Big Sky using heavier weight netting vs ZPacks. And ZPacks does not use zippers for the outer doors. Either way, most users of cuben fiber tents want the lowest weight possibleJul 2, 2015 at 6:54 am #2211636Diane “Piper” SoiniBPL Member
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara
I used to think a freestanding tent was the best option and why would anyone consider a tent that requires stakes. Then I bought one. I have never had a problem finding a place to set it up and I've hiked the PCT and done lots of other trips in lots of other places. I no longer consider freestanding tents with their extra poles to be the best solution.
I think the idea to make a fly for your freestanding mesh and sil tent is a great idea. One could possibly do it themselves. Use your current fly as a pattern. My skills are terrible, but a lot of you are really good at this stuff.Jul 2, 2015 at 11:56 am #2211691John McBPL Member
I happen to be a fan of freestanding tents. I love their simplicity and their small footprint. I hike until it starts to get dark, at that point I look for a flat spot. Sometimes I'm on a 3,000 ft hillside and I need a flat 3' x 7' area. If I had a non-freestanding tent I'd be searching much longer for a larger spot to set up my tent.
Anyways……ZPacks made one several years back. Here's a story about it.Jul 2, 2015 at 12:43 pm #2211704
There are certainly benefits to a free standing tent. I have one, a 4 lbs Kelty two person from my Trad backpacking days. As was mentioned by someone else, they do need to be anchored unless there is no wind, but its still much easier to set up on those areas where the soil can make finding staking points difficult.
But with regards to free standing vs. staked in a Cuben tent, I just don't think that the benefits are worth the extra weight, and certainly not the extra cost.Jul 2, 2015 at 2:42 pm #2211742Alex WallaceBPL Member
@feetfirstLocale: Sierra Nevada NorthJul 2, 2015 at 3:08 pm #2211754Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Weight, complexity, expense, durability and fiddle-factor. That and the fact that most free-standing tents are only free-standing to the point that they will stand up with the poles inserted, but it takes a quiver full of stakes to make it truly useable and weatherly.
Sinking 11-12 stakes in rocky mountain soils or improvising as many anchor points is a poor way to start the evening!Jul 2, 2015 at 4:01 pm #2211767Lori PBPL Member
@lori999Locale: Central Valley
Since chasing a "freestanding " tent after a gust of wind turned it into a box kite, I classify freestanding tents as non freestanding.
I'll stick with light, weatherproof and trekking pole setup over "freestanding" — and I use a tent only when part of the route is above tree line, and never miss "freestanding" at all.
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