May 3, 2013 at 6:00 am #1302491
Hey guys, I've been using cuben tarps for a few years, and am considering going back to silnylon or home-made polycro tarps. Why? There are some inherent qualities about cuben fiber that I just can't stand. I wonder if anybody else feels this way. I'm going to start this thread and list one frustration I have with cuben, and I would expect any other commenters to also list one. let's see where this goes…
It does not 'stuff' into a stuff sack. It's not compressible and slippery like silnylon. You must fold it and roll it as tight as possible to make it fit into tiny included stuff sacks. It leaves wear marks where it is folded each time, and takes two people to get it right. Hate it!May 3, 2013 at 6:21 am #1982810
@timdcyLocale: Gore Range
The price.May 3, 2013 at 6:50 am #1982816
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
It does not take abraision well without leaking.May 3, 2013 at 6:59 am #1982818
I have cuben (0.74) stuff sacks and they are still completely waterproof and they get compressed, twisted, and stuffed in my pack.
I have never used cuben for a shelter, however.
Edit: damn IphoneMay 3, 2013 at 7:13 am #1982820
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
I have no problems whatsoever stuffing my cuben hexamid into its teeny stuff sack. Then it compresses even more when it's in my pack. So far I love the stuff.
I even like that weird chemical smell it has ;)May 3, 2013 at 7:22 am #1982823
I can't get mine to fit back into their stuff sacks to save my soul. I have to do this ridiculous and meticulous fold-up procedure each time. Drives me batty. I like to cram and jam!May 3, 2013 at 7:27 am #1982825
Sounds like you just need a different stuff sack ;)May 3, 2013 at 7:54 am #1982829
While I generally do a fold/roll with my cuben shelters, I have just stuffed 'em into a stuffsack when I've been in a hurry. Never worried about it, so it's certainly doable. There was a thread on here, I think a couple of years ago, about folding/rolling vs. just stuffing. I think the general consensus was there was no appreciable difference.
And I've always just stuffed my cuben quilts, never a fold/roll. Slightly different than a shelter, I know, just adding info.
What's not to like? No phosphorescent colors. I like things nice and bright. Other than that, as Tim said, the price. And, perhaps, the fact that Henry won't make any of his shelters with it.May 3, 2013 at 8:00 am #1982831
It is too expensive to suit me. I figure that I can have a base weight of 7 pounds or so if I want to go pretty minimal without spending much. With a few Cuben items to replace my silnylon ones, I could save a few more ounces at the cost of 100's of dollars. It doesn't seem like a good deal to me, so I'll pass for now.
Since I am too cheap to buy Cuben fiber stuff I can't speak first hand to it's disadvantages.May 3, 2013 at 8:13 am #1982836
@azajacLocale: South West
+1 to getting a larger stuff sack. However, my current strategy is to go without the stuff sack. I don't have much long-term experience with this method, but I usually just fold my 8×10 tarp until it is pretty flat and shove it into my pack between my pack liner and pack to avoid wetting my stuff while still protecting the tarp. I don't know if this will affect its durability, but I seem to remember an article on BPL discussing damage and failure rates for people using different tarp/tent stuffing methods. I haven't given it a thorough read, but it looks like it could provide some answers.May 3, 2013 at 10:53 am #1982882
@barrypLocale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
“You must fold it and roll it as tight as possible to make it fit into tiny included stuff sacks. It leaves wear marks where it is folded each time, and takes two people to get it right.”
Oh oh. No one told me this. But I have never folded Cuben. I have the Hexamid and I just stuff it. Joe’s sack is big enough. I think on his website, he folds it though.
When I pack a tent, here are the easiest to hardest:
1. Hexamid – Cuben; extremely easy to stuff
2. GG squall classic – Spinnaker; fold, roll, and slides easy into tube bag (also of Spinnaker). That is nice stuff.
3. Tarptent Rainshadow – Sylnylon; fold, roll, and it’s hard to get in bag! Especially if there’s any dampness on it. That’s another thing; silnylon hangs onto moisture in humid environments and then bloats. That’s hard to get in a bag.
+1 on needing a different stuff sack.
-BarryMay 3, 2013 at 11:19 am #1982888
The price is definitely the biggest issue. I use a cuben dry bag for my EE quilt. My last trip was through an absolute monsoon. Even with the pack cover, everything was soaked… except the stuff in my cuben bags. What I paid for the cuben bag wasn't much more than a comparable sized sil or eVent bag and certainly weighs less.May 3, 2013 at 11:36 am #1982893
@eugeneiusLocale: Nuevo Mexico
It's silly, I know. My biggest complaint lies with the aesthetics of cuben. There is absolutely room in backpacking gear for the luxury of style preference. Cuben as a material currently doesn't make my list.
Cost is what it is. I don't have to pay the premium so I'm not going to knock it for that reason. I understand why folks pay the premium for cuben, it does excel in some areas where other materials performance depreciates.
Cuben is to silnylon what carbon frames are to steel in cycling. Pick your flavor and be happy.May 3, 2013 at 12:03 pm #1982903
"Cuben is to silnylon what carbon frames are to steel in cycling. Pick your flavor and be happy."
I want a cuben fiber frame for my bike, and I won't be happy until I get one….May 3, 2013 at 12:16 pm #1982908
I fold my hexamid over lengthwise so that the screen is on the outside, and the cuben on the inside, about the height of the sack
Then roll up
Then cram into the stuffsak
Nothing meticulous about it, takes a minute
It is rather bulky for the weight. Without the screen, it would be much much less.May 3, 2013 at 12:34 pm #1982915
W I S N E R !Participant
I'm with Eugene. I don't like the look or the feel of the stuff.
And cost. Saving ounces isn't worth that much to me.May 3, 2013 at 12:45 pm #1982918
"Saving ounces isn't worth that much to me."
Yeah, I can appreciate that. In the beginning I bought cuben to save some weight, but that stopped being a major reason quite some time ago. Now, for me, it's really just about playing with different stuff, some cuben, some not. I'm that way in most aspects of my life, not just backpacking.May 3, 2013 at 12:45 pm #1982919
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
"Saving ounces isn't worth that much to me."
Easy for you young bucks to say.
Check back in 30 years and talk about it – of course I will have checked out by then :)May 3, 2013 at 1:01 pm #1982927
I am not exactly a young buck (62 next month) and I think saving weight needs to be looked at with the right perspective. It isn't too hard for me to get to 10 pounds base and with some more serious trimming and no luxury items to 7 pounds with no Cuben fiber. So the last few ounces at the cost of hundreds of dollars just isn't worth it to me.
I am not knocking Cuben for those who choose to spend on it, but I might snicker a bit at folks who spend lots of money to save a few ounces when they have not yet trimmed the easier cheaper weight. To me once I get to sub 10 pounds, anything I trim just doesn't have all that much impact.
The bottom line for me is that the lower hanging fruit should come first and once I do that I am already pretty light. I'll happily trim ounces or even fractions of ounces, but it has to be a reasonable bang for the buck.May 3, 2013 at 1:06 pm #1982929
Initially I liked cuben vs silnylon because the latter stretched when wet. I find that I kind of miss the stretch when setting up the tarp. It allowed a nice tight pitch if you tugged hard enough. Cuben doesn't stretch and requires a perfect pitch to really get tight. If not, there are ripples in the panels that won't go away.
Know what I mean?May 3, 2013 at 3:32 pm #1982975
– -K.T.- –Participant
It's ugly and translucent. Looks like wax paper. Those who own it can sometimes be elitist snobs. Then there are those who wind up like Doug. Too expensive.May 3, 2013 at 4:27 pm #1982990
"It's ugly and translucent. Looks like wax paper. Those who own it can sometimes be elitist snobs. Then there are those who wind up like Doug. Too expensive."
I may be ugly and translucent, and look like wax paper, but I am NOT expensive. Pretty cheap, actually.May 3, 2013 at 4:30 pm #1982993
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
Cost is an issue for sure. When I purchased a Duomid a few years back the savings per ounce were not worth it to me. However, I did eventually get a cuben fibre Trailstar, as I thought it could be my one and only shelter. However, I soon found that the lack of stretch meant it wasn't as flexible in its pitching options as the silnylon version, so back it went. Interestingly Colin Ibbotson recently posted a very detailed review of the MLD Cricket and again the silnylon version was more flexible in terms of its pitching options. The stretch in silnylon can definitely be a benefit sometimes.
I do now have a cuben fibre shelter, the Hexamid, and so far I like it.May 3, 2013 at 10:04 pm #1983059
@scfhomeLocale: Chocorua NH, USA
Now that lighter polyesters and nylons are becoming available, and more waterproof coatings are coming from Asia, it is hard to justify Cuben, especially at the price.
I still prefer woven fabric, so long as it is in the one ounce range like Cuben.
Specifically, GoLite, One Planet, Snow Peak and Mountain Hardwear, are all selling tents now with coated woven fabric well below the 30 denier we thought was the new light when silnylon first became available in the nineties. I plan to try out a couple of these using fabric in the 15-20 denier range this summer to see how they hold up. My gut tells me they will hold up fine, without any of the downside issues with Cuben.
With respect to the weight issue, even using heavier 30 denier nylon, .76 oz cuben with a denser layup of Dyneema fibers weighs about .5 oz per sq. yd. less than 1.28 oz. silnylon coming from Asia with a substantially higher HH, or water resistance. A typical solo tent will use about 6 square yards for the outer canopy wall. So the Cuben saves about 3 ounces overall. With larger tents, the savings is greater.
The chief attractions to me of woven fabrics are the superior ability to hold stitching, and the elasticity that resists punctures and abrasion, while also allowing for a taut canopy.
The sagging issue with nylon can be addressed by using woven polyester, which is less water absorbent, and by using nylon with more water resistant coatings. The sag is also less of an issue in tents with more frame support, whether they be domes or multiple hooped tunnels. Also, some of the paraglider woven fabrics are sub one ounce, and are treated to resist sagging. With better treatments for water resistance, some of these fabrics, like Porcher Sport Skytex 27 for example, would be excellent for tents and tarps.
Cuben may soon be passe.May 4, 2013 at 6:14 am #1983085
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
For me, honestly, it's not really so much about the weight. For that much money it really isn't THAT much in weight reduction. But having owned a sil tent and now a cuben hexamid, I simply cannot believe the difference in how it behaves in the rain. I no longer have to roll up this soggy, heavy, uncontrollable mass of wetness and shove it somewhere safe in/on my pack…
I give the cuben a few good shakes, maybe do a quick wipe down with a bandana and voila! nearly completely dry shelter to pack up. Even IN the rain.
I'm not sure ill ever have another sil shelter again……..unfortunately for my bank account…..
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