Sep 21, 2011 at 10:06 am #1279614
I've been considering the purchase of a new pyramid type shelter for a while now, and I've read several reviews about heat build up in cuben shelters of this type. So I'm very interested in buying one made with the fairly new, reflective cuben material. An added benefit is the added privacy the reflective material would provide (at least I'm hoping it would). I've been corresponding with one of the cottage manufacturers, who is open to using the material if there's a demand for it.
Any thoughts, advice or words of wisdom would be most appreciated.
Also, I'd appreciate hearing from anyone who's also become interested in a shelter made from the reflective cuben material.Sep 21, 2011 at 10:16 am #1781641
@towalyLocale: Smoky Mtns.
I'm also interested in this material, because I have never heard of its existence before.Sep 21, 2011 at 10:23 am #1781645
I have sent at least four message to Lawson Kline trying to find out information about this stuff and have never received a single reply from him – and he is the only person out there who seems to have worked with it (that I can find) – so I too am rather interested in knowing some details of this material.Sep 21, 2011 at 10:33 am #1781653
I've got the Brooks-Range Rocket tent, which is made out of the material. I haven't had the opportunity to use it yet (it's definitely a winter shelter, you'd swelter in it in the warmer months). It would definitely give you added privacy – it was quite dark in the tent when I set it up in my yard in the middle of the day! (see pic here: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=48680&skip_to_post=413385#413385)
If you want a hands on look soon (before winter sets in when I want to use it), I'd be happy to mail it out to you so you can set it up in your yard and get a good look at the material, heat retention, privacy, etc. Then mail it back to me. Both ways at your expense, insured.
Let me know.Sep 21, 2011 at 11:15 am #1781669
Lawson did point out that the reflective Cuben passes less light, and therefore swelters a less than translucent Cuben in bright sun. I have no personal experience with it, but it makes sense, since it's the transmitted light that heats the interior of the shelter.
In winter, there generally won't be as much insolation anyway, so your body heat would probably be your main heat generator, making up for the lack of solar warming, I'd guess. Again, Lawson and anyone who has one of his reflective Cuben shelters or a Brooks Range Rocket are probably the best people to seek confirmation from :)Sep 21, 2011 at 11:22 am #1781672
That's a kind offer, but I'm very hesitant to borrow gear, even for a short time. I'm going to try to make it to the California BPL event in October. Will you be bringing your new Rocket to that event for "show and tell?"Sep 21, 2011 at 11:27 am #1781676
I'm not really sure what I'll be bringing, to be honest, haven't figured that out yet. Let me know when you decide whether or not you can make it in October. If I can make it as well, and you're going to be there, I'll bring the Rocket so you can have a look at it (as I'm sure others might be interested as well).Sep 21, 2011 at 7:01 pm #1781860
In an earlier thread (that Doug referenced in one of his posts on this thread), he said:
"Most of my cuben is the white cuben, but some is colored. The yellowish/green of the Cricket is pretty nice. The aluminized stuff blocks everything! More than I like, actually. I climbed inside my Brooks-Range Rocket tent during the day and it was nearly pitch black!
Are there any other owners of shelters made with aluminized cuben out there who can offer feedback about the lack of light inside?Sep 23, 2011 at 8:49 pm #1782894
Perhaps if the tent bottom has a high enough "bathtub floor", and if it's made of white cuben (which is the most transparent), that may let enough ambient light in to see inside the tent. Also, if the door or fly is open, there might be enough light inside to see.
My concern is that I was just told today by a tent maker that people have been having problems with the reflective cuben delaminating. I have not been able to confirm this by searching the web. It would be very informative to hear from anyone that has a reflective tent or tarp that is delaminating.
If there are no such problems reported, I think the advantages of reflective cuben (protection from heat and light as well as adding privacy) would be well worth it. But I'm only going by what I've read on the web.Sep 23, 2011 at 11:18 pm #1782920
On April 8 of this year I posted my test results, for the reflective CTF3 used in the Brooks Range tent, as a forum post entitled “Submission 42”. My testing showed a catastrophic failure of the adhesive used between the > .18 clear Mylar lamination and the aluminized Mylar layer after 3 cycles of simulated aging which approximates an average of 3 weeks of wet weather field use. The opaque yellow/green colored adhesive that Cubic Tech used on the other side of the lamination between their standard .08 Mylar and the Spectra fibers does not result in delamination. Also note that both the clear adhesive and the colored adhesives that they use for their other CTF3 variants, for both .08 Mylar and .18 Mylar, do not result in delamination from wet flexing. Cubic Tech purchases the Clear Mylar / Aluminized Mylar sheet layer prefabricated.
The “Submission 42” post can be found at http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=45026&startat=60
The aging data for Submission 42 can be found in the post entitled “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”. In particular look at the notes for submission 42 in the “Summary Aging Chart Source Data” at http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=45026&skip_to_post=399304Sep 24, 2011 at 4:03 am #1782949
Richard, thank you so much for your extremely helpful reply! I will have to remove reflective cuben from my list of acceptable tent fabrics.Sep 24, 2011 at 9:22 am #1783023
Richard, your research intrigues me.
I had a Brooks Range Rocket tent. It had survived winds over 150kph which flattened my Hilleberg Jannu so I was very impressed with the tent's design. However, it started delaminating badly after just minor usage so I sent it back to Brooks Range and they told me they couldnt figure out what happened, but it was apparently such a common problem to the point that its been taken off the market completely to be replaced with their Propel tent. Its basically a silnylon rocket tent.
They sent me a propel tent as a replacement + a jacket to make up for it. I've already got so many silnylon tents and would have preferred them do something to fix the delamination issues, but your research explains this issue.
Never had any problems with my cuben duomid so maybe Brooks should have just changed the type of cuben?Sep 24, 2011 at 9:35 am #1783029
@daviddrakeLocale: North Idaho
Thanks for your excellent work with the hydrostatic testing. In your opinion, do you think the failure with the reflective cuben results from a manufacturing defect (eg, poor QC or adhesive choice by the fabricator)? Or are there inherent (maybe insurmountable) difficulties using aluminized mylar in a Cuben-type lamination?Sep 24, 2011 at 9:50 am #1783038
Thanks for the incredible amount of work you spent testing materials. Thanks, also for the link to the results of the Brooks product testing. I was away quite a bit (on and off) for the past few months. Did I miss the results of Roger's sample testing or have they not been posted?
The results with your Brooks Range Rocket tent seems to confirm Richard's test results. Thanks for posting. As great as it sounds to have a cuben shelter that reflects heat and enhances privacy, I'm going to take if off my list of possible shelter materials.Sep 24, 2011 at 12:17 pm #1783072
You da man Richard.
RyanSep 24, 2011 at 12:22 pm #1783073
Richard, its good to see you're still around these forums!Sep 24, 2011 at 2:49 pm #1783107
The problem with the reflective CTF3 was primarily attributable to neither Cubic Tech nor the reflective CTF3 product vendors doing an aged HH test.
Changing the adhesive process used between the clear thick Mylar and the aluminized Mylar should be an inexpensive engineering fix. Their warranty costs and reputation costs are bigger problems.Sep 24, 2011 at 3:02 pm #1783108
IMO it is a relatively simple QC problem to solve; see my comments to Ken's post which preceded yours.Sep 24, 2011 at 3:18 pm #1783111
Roger's sample testing results are scheduled to be published in a future BPL article.Sep 24, 2011 at 4:08 pm #1783128
@daviddrakeLocale: North Idaho
Thanks, Richard.Sep 24, 2011 at 10:52 pm #1783281
@jacobdLocale: North Bay
For whatever it's worth I had a very similar experience with the metalized Cuben.
Richard, I had never heard of or read about your experience until this thread, so this is interesting to learn of. In my case the failure happened after only a couple of weeks and the shelter was never in the field, only in my back yard, pitched a few times. The temps did reach into the 100's during that time which may have accelerated the process. No wind or loading other than the tension from the tie outs. Due to the way the material failed it was very obvious that the problem was not due to bad construction… the stuff just started peeling apart here and there.
It's a shame because this material seems to have potential… on a sunny day it is quite blinding if looked at wrong though!Sep 25, 2011 at 1:05 pm #1783436
Thanks for the feedback. Which product/shelter did this happen with? Did that manufacturer use the same fabric that's used in the Rocket tent?Sep 25, 2011 at 7:50 pm #1783532
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
Thank you, Richard, for the reminder about your tests of the reflective material. There were tons of data, and some if it didn't stick.
Coincidentally, Warmlite had similar problems when it first began laminating reflective mylar to its tents. Don't know if they fixed it, but they still sell tents with reflective material many years later, so they probably did. Richard states it is any easy fix.
Guess that is the chance we take buying or making tents using advanced materials made by small companies developing new stuff. After a lot of hemming and hawing, and the help of a lot of info on this site, especially Richard's posts, I decided it is worth the risk, as have many others making/using cuben shelters and reporting good results. But not everyone gets to be a winner, apparently not the Rocket tent people, unfortunately. Haven't seen much of the older model, but the newest model looks to be excellent for maximum protection at minimal weight.
No doubt there is something of a greenhouse effect with cuben in a tent. On another thread about the reflective cuben, someone pointed out that many of us wanting light shelter for long distance treks use the small tents in the dusk, dark or early morning, or in the rain when there is also no bright sunshine. The cuben is available tinted, which affords privacy, and looks better IMO. So not sure there is any need for the reflective material among trekkers. Maybe it is a different story for climbers – don't know.
The only real drawback of a tent with the tinted cuben in the summer might be that when arriving at a campsite in the sunshine well before dusk, you would need to wait until later before putting up the tent. On the other hand, in colder weather, putting up the tent early would allow it to gather some heat. Not too bad a trade off.
I would not be interested in the reflective fabric, even with the defect corrected, for the same reason I don't like tents made of dark colored fabrics – way too gloomy.Sep 25, 2011 at 8:21 pm #1783548
Cuben has had a noticeable greenhouse effect for me. It doesn't lend itself well to setting up for some shade in the afternoon to take a nap. On hot trips, reflective cuben would be fantastic.Sep 30, 2011 at 8:06 am #1785164
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I have a lot of experience using laminated metallic materials on my tent trailer. Although not laminated to cuben, I have the same de-laminating problem. These covers are popular with tent trailer owners because the provide substantial "cooling" in warm weather. A set of covers last me about 1 year before they delaminate. Most tent trailer owners get several years out of theirs, as they do not camp as often as I do. Most years we are out for about 100 days in our camper. This usually includes several trips of 1 -2 weeks in duration, when the the covers are exposed to the elements 24/7.
I think a couple factors are at work here. The repeated folding of the material and heat. I do not fold mine but just stuff it inside the camper during take down.
The materials used for these covers are a light vinyl base (similar to a blue tarp, but much thinner, with metallic laminated on top. I also use a similar cover on my telescope when it is set up during the day, to limit the swings in temperature.
I had a metallic/tyvek tarp made for desert hiking. It is phenomenal for afternoon siestas, but heavy at around 16 oz, so I stopped using it.
I would not be willing to risk the cost of metallic laminated to cuben, because of the cost of the cuben. Here are some pictures.
View of covers. They do a remarkable job of keeping inside temps down.
You probably cannot see the detail, but the metallic covering is beginning to crack and will soon de-laminate.
Some experimentation at Lake Mead in December of 2008. Nighttime temps below 30F. I reversed the covers to see if the reflective laminate would reflect radiant heat and help retain the heat. Results were inconclusive. However if you look at the windows, I have inserted Reflectix in all of them. In extreme heat or winter cold they are fabulous for insulating. Also work like black-out curtains. Fairly light and can be rolled up. Possible uses for BPing?
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