Forum Replies Created
- Feb 17, 2020 at 6:02 pm #3631824
Floppy can result from stake failure, or failure of anything else that holds the tent up and in place. But when I mentioned ‘saggy,’ was thinking about a tent pitched taut, but after moisture & humidity, wrinkling badly. So much so that with heavy winds, the moisture gets into everything and everyone, not to mention the frightful racket. You could call it ‘the monsoon effect.’ So, sagging and wrinkling must be minimized. It’s either that, polyester, or DCF, at present AFAIK.
You have some great approaches to the minimizing and I’ve also had some success with testing nylon pitched over a frame that expands the fabric more on the bias. Since nylon is heavy enough already, and even though polyester absorbs less moisture and sags less, am not enthused with polyester, because of the added weight needed to get strength equivalent to nylon.
As for DCF, have reread a long thread begun by Gary Pikovsky, ‘We have the next cuben fiber and it’s amazing!’ Get this, he wasn’t talking about DCF; rather the nylon on his GG tent. There are a couple 2016 posts in there from Ross Bleakney and Nick Gatel, who I believe are long time trekkers, attesting to the durability of their DCF tents. But turning to another thread, ‘Tarptent Notch Lithium,’ there is a Feb 2018 post from you that sheds doubt, ‘as the panels on a tunnel need to stretch a bit when it is erected.’ And the bonding produces seams that are ‘rather stiff.’ You also note that a couple others who used DCF on tunnels had similar experiences. Certainly agree about stiff seams ruining the function of a tent, not to mention packability.
So while your tunnels are not exactly like the ‘freestanding’ tents I like, they both rely on tension on the canopies to keep them taut, as do most small tents, I expect. So I think we have the same dilemma, albeit you have built a ton more tents than I have from scratch, and most of mine have been mods.
The only difference in our approaches may be that I spend more time thinking of ways to reduce weight, just so long as the shelter will also be adequate for my needs; and that includes durability, quick pitching and striking, dryness inside (although some say ‘bone dry’ cannot be achieved), snow shedding, and most important, wind shedding. I know that there are times and places in the Presidential range in NH when one cannot stand up, and some may want a shelter that can tolerate just about anything. That is OK if you are willing to carry more weight. Not having encountered conditions that extreme with no ability to retreat to more sheltered terrain, I’ve not been willing to carry the extra weight for a ‘bomb proof’ tent.
That may have been a factor in the OP’s attraction to DCF ‘freestanding’ tents; but I think that anyone wanting to backpack a shelter that can withstand just about anything is due for a disappointment, any maybe a fatal one. Don’t think trekking tents are made for monsoons and hurricanes.
It sounds like you folks down under have been having a rough time. Your weather has been on Public TV news all the time. When you get tornado force winds, I hope you will head for a storm cellar or the like, not for a tent; tunnel, DCF or otherwise. Isn’t backpacking supposed to be a form of recreation?Feb 16, 2020 at 10:32 pm #3631684
Sorry you took me literally, and my attempt at humor fizzled.
Only for you would I rummage through BPL’s archives to try to find that wrinkly picture. When there is time, will most certainly do so.
I’ve never had a hard time finding a place to pitch, so long as I started looking well before dinner time. If not, ended up once on a railroad bed. Like to think I’d sense enough that it was abandoned, but memory has faded.
Here are Zpacks specs for a .55 oz DCF used on its pocket tarp:
Tensile Strength: 63 lb/in (552 N/5cm)
Puncture Strength: 1.8 lb (8 N)
Water Resistance: 15,000 mmH₂O
And they are quick to point out no concerns about exposure to DWR chemicals.
Back on piste, finally realized that in order to bring the weight of a freestanding design down to acceptable limits would have to go to DCF, or change the structure of the carbon pole framework a bit, to bring down the total fabric area. Since the old I.Q. is not much above average, and falling fast, need to make some readily adjustable scale (6:1, with music wire poles) models to accomplish this. But am not overly concerned, because space will still be ample compared to the lighter offerings of the cottage companies. Would like to find a pole configuration that with a side entry allows a 2-peg front vestibule, and a 1-peg rear vestibule for pitching in high winds, as your tents do. So as I posted, back to the drawing boards.Feb 16, 2020 at 9:47 pm #3631680
A terrific bagless hood. Now just have to find the right quilt or bag before freezing solid.Feb 13, 2020 at 10:34 pm #3631230
If you loved the Precip, you are one easy to please hiker. Maybe they can get you an REI Kimtah eVent jacket. They were very popular, but got phased out.Feb 13, 2020 at 10:06 pm #3631226
Oops, thought Brad’s photo was from Franco. Sorry about that.
OK, Now I get it. All issues with silnylon tents are the fault of the user. But you’ve driven me to stop hinting and reveal that the second most wrinkly tunnel I’ve seen was in a photo in one of your posts or articles. I think it may have been from a trip you and Sue took to the European Alps.Feb 13, 2020 at 9:56 pm #3631220
The second photo was taken just off an old logging track on the side of Long Mountain, which is just above the White Mountain National Forest in northern New Hampshire, a far cry from a nice grass lawn. Not sure why you would pitch a tent at the place shown in your photo. Guess I’m a little more choosy about where to pitch.
The first picture, as you say, was of a pitch on the back lawn. It was chosen just for the better view of the side of the tent. Anyway, here’s the same tent pitched off trail on the side of Mount Washington. Was just looking for a windy spot to see how it would hold up. But no, I wouldn’t spend the night there either:Feb 13, 2020 at 12:30 am #3631050
The picture posted above was an old one lifted from the BPL forums as a good example of tent sag; but I’ve seen tents pictured on BPL that were almost as bad. From a number of photos on BPL that have shown tents in real life, I thought the above picture would be representative. But perhaps not.
So, another picture from real life:
Note that the front of the tent, to the right of the photo, is beginning to wrinkle a bit; however the side of the tent, to the left, remains taut. This is partly because underneath the portion of the fly between the guy-out patches, there is a spreader strut that keeps the poles apart. The guy-lines also help with this, as does the shock corded stake loop at the front of the tent.
But look at what happens in a photo taken just after a long rainstorm:
The front of the tent develops a lot more wrinkles over an area that is mostly the vestibule cover, an area contacted when going in or out of the tent. Note that the tent fabric is 15D PU coated nylon. Silnylon might have been more wrinkled, especially if the increase in humidity were greater, which is not uncommon.
Well designed DCF and polyester tents don’t have this problem. They can’t really, because many are not domes with frames to support the fabric, and the tent walls run straight from the peaks to the ground without additional support. If they were to sag, living space in the tent would be greatly diminished, and really uncomfortable if the tent were a single wall, as many are.
So while domes supported by frames do limit nylon sagging somewhat, non-sagging DCF tents are likely to appeal to many who have suffered under sagging walls, and there is a temptation to address this with DCF or polyester fabric. As noted earlier, from testing I think that with a nylon tent, a design that uses crossed poles to bow out the fabric on the bias, or diagonally across the grain, will greatly reduce sagging.
But this does not help with the vestibules, that are not bowed out except on heavier designs like the Hilleberg Soulo; so the best option may be to use polyester fabrics for the vestibules, which means adding about 1/4 oz per sq. yd.; for example, ~1.3 osy polyester vs ~1.o5 osy silnylon fabric, OR, to use DCF as this thread suggests. Maybe polyester could be used just for the non-weight bearing door panel(s) of a dome tent. It’s back to the drawing boards, but will come up with something unless persuaded that DCF is the best option for a frame supported dome.
While there are a few exceptions pointed out on this thread, it doesn’t look now like DCF domes are in the cards, so a design for a sag resistant nylon dome with slightly heavier polyester doors may make the most sense.Feb 11, 2020 at 10:27 pm #3630903
Thank you, Roger and James. As was already admitted, I’m not the chemist my dad was.
My concern about what may seem irrelevant stems from the focus of this thread; namely the feasibility of freestanding DCF domes, meaning stronger and lighter domes that do not sag. One of the key reasons folks are leery of nylon domes is suggested by pictures like this one:
Despite DCF’s drawbacks, there is none of that, plus less weight. Polyester fabrics also have much less sag, but for equivalent strength and durability there is a substantial weight penalty.
And there is some confusion reflected on BPL forums about the distinction between the benefits of nylon’s elasticity and the curses of sagging like that in the photo above. In order to address that sagging, we need to know more about what causes it, and how it can be addressed, if at all; otherwise, I fear that folks will shy away from nylon and choose DCF or polyester, even at much greater expense and less durability.
There are reports of several tent companies switching to polyester for just this reason; but I’ve not found much about strength for weight in polyester tent fabrics compared with nylon. However, I do have a Snow Peak 4 season dome with a polyester fly fabric that the company made in Japan because they felt the quality of the polyester tent fabric on the Asian market was unacceptable. This tells me that there are substantial differences in degrees of strength for weight among polyester fabrics, but the years fly by, and not much more is known, or at least shared by those who do know.
At this point, I’m inclined to go ahead with the lighter nylons now available, but with designs that will address sag like that shown above; realizing, however, that DCF may have improved greatly (look at the HH specs on some of TarpTent’s DCF tents), and that stronger and more durable polyesters (with their resistance to sag) may be right around the corner. So it is a conundrum. Would like to be able to have a better answer for myself and for the OP, but don’t have it yet.Feb 11, 2020 at 12:42 am #3630778
Roger, you haven’t explained why the tautly stretched silnylon, as well as sil/PU nylon, wrinkles up in rainy or increasingly humid weather, when there is no water even touching it. And as was noted, I recall PU coated tents sagging in rain or humid weather. But do not question that you saw the threads getting wet in your HH tester.
Sorry about no pictures, but had problems with the editing, and it is way past my bedtime here in the land of the free. When the tent is done, there will be pictures aplenty.Feb 11, 2020 at 12:04 am #3630776
Thanks, Eric. Did not know Big Sky was doing DCF. There was a good thread recently about its nylon tents which were impressive (Chinook and some others). But for the DCF Mirage, the link states that orders are closed for this year (2012?). The DCF Wisp is a bit larger than the similar REI tent that is discussed on this page of the gear forum, is around half the weight, and with the DCF would accumulate less condensation than the REI tent, both tents being single wall. BUT the price of $600 is steep, and the photo showing a lot of wrinkling and lack of tautness in the DCF is a caution. You’d expect their own photo would show a taut tent if it could be pitched that way.
Roger, re: “The silicone coating IS porous to water. I can SEE the water getting into the threads under pressure in my HH tester.”
Well so is PU, if my sagging older tents were any indication. Certainly when drops are forming at over 3K HH the silnylon has been penetrated. But not sure how you can see water penetrating at 3K HH, when drops don’t form until 5-6K HH with the 1.06 oz silnylon from Extrem Textil. Since I sent and you tested that fabric, perhaps you can comment. I’m wondering more if the water vapor that condenses on the inside of a tent wall also penetrates through the silnyon to the threads. But that doesn’t explain why my tautly stretched test samples set between the glass and outer window screens develop wrinkles, even though the rain does not strike them directly. Is there a lot more water vapor in the air when it’s raining or humid? Maybe that’s it, and if so, there is nothing for it.
But the good news is that I put some lengths of knitting needle (plastic with a music wire core) criss-crossed diagonally to the fabric grain, and slightly bowed underneath the fabric test loops in dry weather. When wet or humid weather arrived, the fabric stretched in the loops remained taut on most of its surface, except around the inner perimeter of the loops. So am thinking that the death of sagging silnylon may be at hand with the right tent design, including the shock corded stake loops on the downwind side. That only works of course if the tent is designed so that elastic tension on the downwind side affects the whole tent, as is the case with your tunnels.
Only remaining problems are: The slight increase in weight of the nylon over DCF to insure durability, regardless of what one thinks about durability of DCF, and 2) The slight increase in weight of a dome’s pole structure in a design that stretches the fabric on the diagonal.
I think those weight increases can be kept to less than 8 oz; so all depends on whether that is too much extra weight for some to accept vs a DCF dome. With the drawbacks of DCF discussed on this thread, I think it is no contest, but others may not agree.Feb 9, 2020 at 10:00 pm #3630649
Roger, thanks for responding. The first I heard of mylar, was when Jack Stephenson tried to bond it to his nylon tents to cut down on condensation. It was a clear or silvered material, like the covering of a clear cigarette wrapper, and nothing I’d identify with the woven polyester in clothing.
James, that is very helpful. But was hoping someone would explain why my doubts were unfounded. You have only reinforced them. But thanks for the additional insights.
I think the key to all this is to design a domish tent that when pitched will stretch nylon more on the bias, or diagonally across the weave, so that its sagging will be greatly reduced when wet. And perhaps with 6,6 nylon from Dupont or the equivalent, that will be even more durable, and in the 7-20 denier range. Then we can forget about DCF and polyester, and carry super lightweight nylon domes that are very durable, very strong, and cost about half as much to make or to buy.
There are just a few reservations. Why does 6-7K HH water resistant nylon, impregnated with silicone covering both sides, expand and wrinkle when dampened? It’s not the temp, as I have nylon samples, tightly stretched, that stay taut outside all winter, through freezes and thaws, as long as they don’t get wet, or even exposed to humidity. But despite their high water resistance under high pressure, when it rains or humidity rises, moisture apparently gets into the nylon fibers and they expand. Is the moisture coming through in vapor form? Maybe someone more schooled in these matters can explain.Feb 9, 2020 at 8:57 pm #3630635
YKK makes the toothed, aka Vislon, zips in no 3. Have some from Warmlite.
But most pant zips I’ve seen are not water resistant and many are coils. If vertical, they should open from the top end, so stuff doesn’t fall out, and tension is maintained when being unzipped downward with one hand. And as Roger says, if there are protective flaps, they should be stiff, but not sure I’d want the slippery.Feb 9, 2020 at 8:32 pm #3630631
“But it looks like tails off fast.”
For sure. A single wall 2 pole may work in a larger, well vented mid, but not in a tent like this if you want to stay dry and comfortable. And the info on the site page misled folks on two key points already. And the specs say it is a two pole tent, and so it appears; but no rear view is provided to show the other pole at work. Best guess it is a must carry, and a trekking pole can sub for the other pole; but the description is confusing. Note that no info is provided about the denier, osy, or HH of the canopy or floor materials, as many companies do these days.
REI has a longstanding habit of making low end solo tents that are really light but designed to fail. One of the two of us brought a similar one several tent incarnations ago. We found a flat opening in the forest large enough for pitching and located on the side of a mountain. A heavy rain and windstorm arrived during the night. Her tent was swamped because the fly did not overlap enough to protect the inner tent from rain during high winds. A day was lost drying out gear, so we were almost running the next few days so she could keep an appt. I bought her a Hubba, and redid the fly and poles with much lighter materials, and there was no further swamping during our trips and AFAIK, her many end-to-end solo hikes. The modded Hubba weighed just over two pounds, and that was with 30D nylon, not like the 20D, 15D. or even 7D available today.Feb 9, 2020 at 7:22 pm #3630619
Was looking for very light carbon fiber strips. Thanks.Feb 6, 2020 at 11:40 pm #3630208
How do you think choices would stack up between the down and synthetic jackets if they were being worn all day in drenching rain or sleet, or is it de rigueur to wear a shell over the down jackets.Feb 6, 2020 at 11:28 pm #3630207
Forgive me Roger, I’m not the chemist my father was. The early threads on BPL about Cuben were explicit that the outer film was a mylar material. By ‘PET’, are you referring to the outer film, or to the Dyneema fibers inside. Thanks.Feb 6, 2020 at 11:11 pm #3630206
Am not sure about using tautline hitches in the kind of weather in Ryan’s video. Would expect the cord to ice up at the knot. But like Paul, am not enthused with the popular Lineloc 3. Am also not enthused with running the cord twice through the same hole, or with bar tighteners that have been great for a lot of applications, like making pulleys for webbing, but not the apps they were intended for.
But there are all kinds of acetal plastic tighteners out there, a number of which I looked at when working on a clamshell tent design posted on another thread last year. Found different ones on Amazon and some other sites.
Paul’s post on the thread linked in Rene’s OP focuses on the ‘knife edge piece of plastic’ inside the lineloc LL3. That always bothered me too. The LL is bulky, yet has some tiny plastic parts. Don’t see a need to use grosgrain or twill tape, when 1/4″ lace will do, and take a smaller tightener. The Dutchware tightener shown in Chris’s post near the beginning of this thread looks a lot more solid to me, altho needs 3mm cord – yet he says there are other smaller ones: https://dutchwaregear.com/product/line-lock-hook/
So it looks like ordering the least bulky yet strong ones available, stringing them with some spectra core cord, and break testing. Will have to think of a way to generate enough force to break them. Maybe a small hydraulic jack set up, or my farmer’s jack that is tall enough to set up to stretch a foot or two of cord.
I think there are sleeker and stronger line tighteners out there for 2-2.5mm spectra core cord. There was a thread on BPL a few years ago with names of arborists selling spectra cord at lower prices; don’t have a link, but maybe someone will be able to post one.Feb 6, 2020 at 12:12 am #3630068
I’m not one to use a 26 letter phrase, or an acronym, when a five letter word in common use will do.
Granted, I’ve not looked at DCF since Dyneems took over manufacture, but understand that it has gotten better than the stuff made by Cubic Technologies. I’d be disappointed with TarpTent using the material if that were not the case.
However, Richard Nisley has posted on BPL about numerous tests of it, beginning with Cuben in his “dirty little secret” thread. All of the available materials below .8 osy and suitable for tent canopies have had a suffix of .08, which I believe refers to the weight of the mylar. The .o8 suffix is the same whether the DCF is .35 oz, .5 oz, or .75 oz. The mylar on the selvage, or edge of a fabric roll, protrudes from the borders of the fabric and unlike the fabric, is not laminated over the dyneema fibers. It is very fragile, so much so that lab tests are not needed to see its inferiority to saran wrap or the like.
Your statement that the .75 osy DCF is very resistant to punctures may reflect improvements to the material, but I’d be interested in lab tests that show this. I’ve expressed this interest a number of times on BPL, and my curiosity has not been answered. In the meantime, I can’t buy the idea that an extremely fragile sandwich is going to make the unwoven dyneema fiber filling any more puncture resistant. Granted, I’m not talking about puncture with a hunting knife, but separation of the unwoven fibers when stuck with a pin is another matter. A few pin size holes in a tent wall will admit a good bit of water in a heavy downpour. Roger’s observation that he finds pin holes wherever the fabric is folded raises more concerns, unless he is talking about Cubic Tech’s Cuben, not the current DCF, although it appears Dyneema is still using the same suffixes. And there have been a number of reports on BPL of leaky DCF tents after a fair but not unreasonable amount of use.
Although I think the weight of mylar in a water bottle is vastly greater than the mylar in DCF, I’d love to be persuaded that the Cubic Tech stuff has been improved, as it might make it possible for me to construct some lighter tents. For what the material costs, though, I’m looking for more than I’ve seen on BPL in the way of test data, especially where the purported strength seems somewhat counter-intuitive. And your use of the word, “eventually” raises more questions for me than it answers.
It just doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to buy DCF from RBTR, or Extrem Textil and start testing when I’ve not the apparatus, and sil or sil/PU coated nylons out there run from .7 to 1.06 osy and have been tested on BPL to be very durable and waterproof. And they’re a heck of a lot easier to make a tent with than DCF.Feb 3, 2020 at 3:38 pm #3629742
Shock cords are often used to prevent sagging silnylon, but only where their placement will do that, and only on the down wind side. (Like Roger Caffin’s tunnel tents) I suppose they could also be used to reduce shock to a canopy and to stake points; but have never seen much discussion about that on BPL (altho would welcome it). Would think that for that purpose the shocks could be much shorter, and only located at guylines from points that would be subjected to much greater forces in a windstorm.Feb 3, 2020 at 3:18 pm #3629737
Re: “Also, basically all gear is in the x-gucci bracket. Unless you hike for a living it is (extremely nice) hobby.”
All is not lost. Patagonia has frequent online sales, particularly around black fridays, but at other times as well. An M-10 rain jacket that retails in the $350 range cost around $250, pricey, but it actually works, unlike many other waterproof breathables that are often the subject of complaints on BPL. It has lasted me over 10 years and looks like new with no washing (when worn, it is being rained on). Once they have a purchase, they send the buyer postcards for every sale – the February sale will begin shortly.
Also, there are a number of Patagonia outlets in the USA that have frequent sharp discounts.
Yvon Chouinard founded Patagonia to create a separate business selling other than climbing gear. Besides being an accomplished climber, he is anything but a snob. Still have a handwritten letter that he sent me in response to a gear inquiry. And the item I sought was added to their next catalog. Not to say that when the company is taken over by newbies it will remain as user friendly. The idea that newbies should have no compunctions about changing the face of institutions has become popular in these populist times. At one time we could rely on institutions and respected them.Feb 2, 2020 at 10:28 pm #3629661
That’s about $830 US for a DCF simple dome.
Re: “I think it would be cool if the rain “flys” of some freestanding tents were made of Cuben.”
Was confronted with this issue. But will use 20D silnyon,1.06 osy, for the two vestibules, front and rear, where there is a greater chance of wear due to traffic. But will use Rockywoods 7D sil/PU nylon for a separate fly over the main tent, about 0.7 osy, and no bonding required except for the reinforcement patches. How much is DCF going to improve on that with 0.8 osy, or even 0.5 osy?
Don’t think DCF is difficult to cut. On the two swatches I sent to Stephen S. to test, a simple utility knife, albeit with a fresh blade, sliced through it much easier than nylon, where I do better with very sharp Fiskars, that slide right along the cut lines.
Other than that, however, agree with all the reasons why DCF is or could be much more expensive to manufacture in a simple dome; hence more expensive to sell. Hence $830 US.
But do not agree that the DCF is all that lighter than a range of 0.7 to 1.06 osy for sil nylon or sil/PU nylon. Pick a ballpark sq/yd number for a simple dome, do the math, and see what you get.
Add to that the abrasion resistance, puncture resistance, longevity and stuff size issues, not to mention concerns about deformity in the hot sun. So DCF has more tear resistance. Problem is, no one including our moderator has reported a nylon canopy ripping apart, unless from a broken pole puncture, and at that point the tent must be taken out of service to be repaired, And I’ll bet the DCF would puncture from the same event, so with either Nylon or DCF it would be a matter of patching in a wind and/or rain storm.
I think there is a mystique about the DCF from the tear resistance demos that ignores vulnerability to aging, punctures and abrasion. Sure, the dyneema fibers may be many times stronger than steel, but they are not woven into a fabric, and between the dyneema fibers there is nothing but mylar that is more fragile than saran wrap. The burden should be on the industry to show reliable evidence of durability vs nylon in terms of long term resistance to abrasion, puncture and wear; so let’s see it.
In the meantime, we should be just as happy with our silnylon tents, sewn into whatever configuration we like, and much less expensive.Feb 2, 2020 at 8:30 pm #3629642
Re: LINELOC ALTERNATIVE
Agree that using two rings to make a buckle for webbing works, albeit a mite archaic. But there are so many neat little acetal buckles out there designed for webbing or tape.
However the title of Rene’s thread suggested doing it with guy line, for which the linelocs I’ve seen are a bit bulky for the job. So took two of those little plastic rings that come with the mitten hooks so beloved by TarpTent. (Have you seen Franco’s video of how to clip and unclip mitten hooks faster than a speeding bullet?)
Then took some quarter inch lacing of the type used for sewing loops onto tents for guylines, and wrapped it around the mitten rings, and secured it with the nose of a small Vise-Grip, thus:
The lines on the paper are 0.9 cm apart.
Had first tried a pin, but the Vise-Grip better mimicked sewing the lace together up closer to the rings in order to hold the cord tight.. Voila! This arrangement tightened the guyline cord to any position with zero slippage. But think it might be better to find some metal rings the same size as the mitten rings for serious use. (I do not quite get Ryan’s post, but trust that it probably raises some genuine hackles that must also be taken into account). And since the shape of the mitten rings holds fine, would not use flat metal rings, as I think they would abrade the line cord pretty quickly.
There is also the question of whether the guyline cord will come loose from and separate from the tent when it is not tightened. Our growing puppy would love doing that. But a simple knot at the pulling end of the cord, along with the stake loop at the other end, would prevent this from happening.
So MYOG may have created the technology to do away with those bulky plastic linelocs. If ALU rings the size of acetal mitten rings can be found (a big if), would definitely use this to replace bulky buckle linelocs on the next tent, thus reducing the weight of line tighteners to no more than a tautline hitch (Daryl’s or regular). And if the mitten rings are the only rings of this size around, well … not sure about trusting the small diameter acetal mitten rings.
Oh, and if you doubt me, here is our growing puppy:
This post was interrupted by once again having to get her away from chewing burnt wood chunks from the ash bucket.Jan 31, 2020 at 11:24 pm #3629450
The original UL Epic pullovers made by Wild Things had poor breathability and left me soaked in rain/sleet storms, either from my own sweat, or from leakage, or a little of both. Later, however, Feathered Friends and some others offered sleeping bags with Epic outers, and don’t see how they could do that if the breathability had not been improved; but can’t vouch that it was, as I wold never buy Epic anything after my experience with it..
Wild Things only makes one shell now with the Epic treatment, a High Loft cold weather Jacket made for the Marine Corps, but sold on its website. Can’t vouch for that either.
I think much more breathable tops are out there. It has been posted on BPL that eVent sold its process to some garment manufacturers, but GTX seems to predominate now. I never tried the eVent, but their were many fans on BPL. If you want data, there is the article on BPL by Alan Dickson, but it is a bit old by now.
Would offer you my two Wild Things pullovers, but know that you would be disappointed, so won’t.Jan 30, 2020 at 5:54 pm #3629360
I’m working on an all purpose pack for both day hiking and backpacking, so thought I’d respond to your post.
The biggest issue has been reducing not just the weight; but also the volume of the BP kit, so it will fit into a smaller pack. As any long distance hiker knows, this means going through every item in the kit and either getting rid of it, or substituting something much lighter, and in this case, less voluminous. Just one example: Getting rid of the Polartec fleece top, and substituting a grid fleece one, like the ones from Patagonia, that compact to around half the size. This, and not the pack design and construction, may be the most time consuming and challenging part.
The next step was to design the pack so that it is narrow, around 12″ to 14″, top to bottom, and using stuffsacks that completely fill that width, no more and especially no less. The narrow width will also fit better on a bicycle, but that was not my purpose. The depth of the pack must also be reduced to fit snugly over the stuffsacks, which are stacked horizontally, on top of each other from the bottom to top of the pack, with just enough space at the top for a hanging zip bag that holds small items, like headlamp, PLB, mini-camera, sunglasses, etc.
Next, did not want to have to go rummaging for things, so made the pack a panel loader from top at least half way to bottom. This is controversial, but found it works with #5 WP YKK zips, plus flaps like the older packs had over their leaky zips. The fabric is WP, and the bottom half of the pack is sealed, so no water is going to get in if crossing a waist high stream, and the top half of the pack protects against rain and other precip. If there may be falls creating full immersion of the pack, quick recovery, along with WP stuff sacks, will prevent water penetrating the upper zipper and soaking the contents. If the pack could be totally immersed for some time, as when on a trip that includes kayaking, I just store the pack in a dry bag in the kayak. But I don’t want to carry all that extra weight when hiking, and store the kayak, portage wheels and drybag before the hiking portion of the trip. Sometimes even in the woods, if there is no better option to be found.
To keep the pack from acquiring food odors, and having a place to secure items for short periods, there is a shelf on top of the pack with criss-cross stout bungee cords. The food is stored in an ursack lined with an odor proof inner sack. Because I prepare, pack and seal the food in small plastic bags trimmed to remove excess, the size of the food pack for 7 days is much smaller than what I’ve seen other hikers use, and there is still space to stick soft items like a wind shirt under the top bungees.
Since there is a zippered drop flap, there can be a couple flat zipped pockets on the inside of the drop flap that can be quickly accessed. Flat items, like folded rain gear, maps, and a notebook go into these pockets. The one exception is the pack wallet, sealed in a small WP bag, that goes into a small pocket with a horizontal zipper just above where the top of the shoulder straps connect on the back of the pack (and below where the lift straps connect). The wallet is not used for long periods, so it occupies its own place out of the way from everything else.
There are also two horizontal straps that buckle across the drop panel and are used to secure items like my fold-up camp chair, socks to be dried, or whatever.
Having a top shelf held up by the pack’s frame has been an enormous convenience. Besides providing a separate place for the food, it holds up the top of the panel loader for easier zipping and access, and holds up the hanging storage bag inside for small items. I’d never be without it.
Since I want a full suspended mesh backband to separate the pack from my back, the frame is either butterfly or perimeter shaped, like an Osprey pack for example. When such a backband is properly designed and tensioned, it does not create a lot of empty space between the back and the pack that moves the center of gravity further back. Users of the old pack frames have known this, but some still believe otherwise, possibly because some of the Osprey bands have been way too stiff, not to mention the frames themselves.
To minimize weight, the heavy tubing of the old pack frames had to be replaced by smaller diameter tube less than half the weight. Roger Caffin did this with a conventional ladder frame, and this is what I’m working on now, but in a butterfly or hourglass shape to use less tubing, and bend at the top to create the shelf support.
The small outer dimensions of the pack will also make for a great daypack, easily stuffed, and cinched even tighter toward the back by just the couple of straps mentioned above. No need for those fancy side lacings that are sometimes seen. Protective clothing and rain gear then go in the bottom of the pack instead of the sleeping gear and clothing needed for a longer trek. And the shelf can be left mostly unused. The cinch straps can also hold such items as snowshoes. Has anyone tried the foam ones? My brother thinks they are nuts, and refused to give me a set for Xmas.
Hope this provides some food for thought, and will do an OP when the project is completed and tested.Jan 28, 2020 at 10:51 pm #3629159
Re: ‘“load my spine”’
Weight lifting is done with supervision, by folks who have developed healthy spines and well developed musculature. However, over the years a healthy body declines. It is part of the natural cycle of life, and death. Add to that years of backpacking interspersed with sedentary employment in a service economy, or even a serious accident and injury, and the spine becomes more vulnerable. That is why those in the medical profession who treat these issues do very well, from whole practices devoted just to epidural injections of corticosteroids to a host of chiropractors, and so on. And their waiting rooms are filled with folks in many stages of life.
As an “Ugly American” In Southeast Asia, I often saw people loaded up with huge bags of rice that were larger than they were. None of them had reached late middle age, although some looked much older than their years. The illusion of immortality is a Western invention and luxury that for all but a few lucky ones, is fast disappearing, as for more and more people the quality of life becomes more akin to that of folks who live from cradle to grave in the third world,
Understanding this, and if one wants to enjoy backpacking as a life long pursuit, it is only smart to take precautions, and using gear that can abuse the spine makes no sense. This is particularly true with MYOG gear, often fashioned by people like me in garages or basements without much guidance. This assumes, of course, that our remaining wilderness areas will last as long as we do, and not be devastated by climate change.