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Why do tent manufacturers continue to use PU coatings?


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Home Forums Gear Forums Gear (General) Why do tent manufacturers continue to use PU coatings?

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  • #3811124
    Paul S
    BPL Member

    @pula58

    I see that Slingfin avoids PU coatings because they degrade fairly quickly into a smelly tent. We all probably are well acquainted with THAT smell. Tarptent also appears to be using Nylon with a PE coating (Stratospire Ultra), NOT PU.  And then there are companies like Hilleberg, many of who’s tents cost in excess of $1000 who continue to use PU coatings. Does that mean that your $1000 tent will stink after 5 years? I had an Akto that stunk, and the floor was getting a little sticky. I sold it before it had a chance to get any worse. The cost of a Hilli is a deterrent, but the thought that such an expensive purchase is going to stink and get sticky in a handful of years is a bigger deterrent. I just wonder why manufacturers haven’t made the switch yet to PE instead of PU? Is it simply a matter of cost?

    Your thoughts?

    #3811150
    Jeff McWilliams
    BPL Member

    @jjmcwill

    Locale: Midwest

    Excellent question.  I had a very nice, expensive Black Diamond mountaineering tent that got sticky due to PU hydrolysis and BD refused to offer any sort of replacement.

    Durston says PEU coatings are better but it’s unclear to me what tent fabrics are using it (aside from Durston tents).

    I’m confused about your experience with Hilleberg tents.  According to their website, most of their tents are made with a fabric called Kerlon, which is some denier of Nylon impregnated with Silicone.  i.e. SilNylon, not PU coated Nylon.

    https://hilleberg.com/eng/about-our-tents/materials-uncompromising-quality/#kerlon1200

    On the TarpTent Stratospire Ultra:  only the floor is made with Sil/PeU Nylon.  The outer is made with Challenge Sailcloth Ultra TNT, a laminate similar to DCF but not quite.

    #3811151
    Diane “Piper” Soini
    BPL Member

    @sbhikes

    Locale: Santa Barbara

    I have a pack cover that’s a horrible sticky mess now. I only used it once. What a waste.

    #3811156
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    My understanding is that there are now several sorts of PU coating. The original one was prone to degradation – by hydrolysis I think. A newer one is TPU: thermoplastic-PU. As far as I know, it does not suffer the same fate. Then there is PePU: polyethylene-PU, another animal. Afaik, it too avoids the sticky fate of the original.

    The original PU coating is probably the cheapest to make and to apply. Whether or not that is so, it seems to mean that Buyer Beware still reigns supreme.

    Cheers

    #3811244
    Ken Thompson
    BPL Member

    @here

    Locale: Right there

    Hillebergs are sil poly, no pu.

    #3811296
    Paul S
    BPL Member

    @pula58

    Hi Jeff, Yes, Hilleberg uses silnylon for the rain fly, but their tent floors use nylon with a PU coating.

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