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Ultralight sailcloth from
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Cord Dennig
(cdennig) - F
Ultralight sailcloth from on 10/18/2009 19:35:14 MDT Print View

I wonder if anyone has used any of the 0.75 ounce sailcloth varieties from for backpacking gear?

They have several 0.75 ounce ripstop nylon sailcloths (Challenge, North, and Bainbridge, at least), in a wide variety of colors. All the 0.75 ounce ripstops are described as "impregnated", and the prices are very good, typically $7.75/60" wide yard, US$.

I'm interested in hearing from people who have used these sailcloths for gear. If the consensus isn't negative, I'll get some and report my results.


Edited by cdennig on 10/18/2009 19:47:20 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Ultralight sailcloth from on 10/18/2009 21:53:15 MDT Print View

Many of these fabrics go under the term 'spinnaker'. It is very light stuff, but:
a) after lots of crinkling it tends to leak along the crinkles
b) it is kinda noisy in the wind (if that matters)
c) it may be coated, but that certainly does NOT mean it is waterproof (I tested some).

Also, some of it has a coating which contains silicone (and other stuff), such that PU seam sealant does not always work.


Cord Dennig
(cdennig) - F
Thanks! on 10/19/2009 01:23:13 MDT Print View

Thank you. I'm disappointed though; I liked the color selection much better than the typical white/grey/olive Cuben fabrics. Oh, well.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Thanks! on 10/19/2009 03:11:53 MDT Print View

Hey, don't be put off! Just understand the limitations. Buy some of the fabric and make some prototypes anyhow. They will probably last you for a few years. Trust me, you NEED prototypes!


Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Sailcloth on 10/22/2009 22:40:42 MDT Print View

Early this year, I ordered small quantities of several of these fabrics to test. I found that air would readily pass through all of them (held them to my mouth and blew), which is not the case with silnylon. The company is pretty honest about the weight, as they post reader comments indicating that the sailcloth listed as under an ounce actually comes to over an ounce per sq yd finished, or close to the 1.3-1.4 oz typical of silnylon. I also ordered ".75" oz silnylon from another kite company, Goodwinds, and found that it also came to about the same weight as silnylon readily available, but was much more "crinkly." So at this point, I am pretty much wedded to the silnylon, although I wish there were something less flammable available. I had some old 1.7 oz (total wt) urethane coated that I got from Northface years ago (yes, they actually sold fabrics), and found it was almost as flammable as the sil. I am still leary of the cuben, altho I respect that everyone makes their own choices.
I have to disagree with Roger a little bit though, as after many hours cloistered in my basement workshop, I later found that the sil I used on my first prototype dome was inferior. Note the comments of Ron Bell on his site and posts on this site. The tent was mostly Epic, so I could readily do the sil floor over, but would rather spend the time on my most current designs. The problem seems to be that by the time I get a tent done, I have come up with a much better design. This process carried to its extreme means that no tents get done as I just keep thinking up new designs before getting started on old ones.
So my current emphasis is on coming up with designs that are simplicity plus to construct. After all, the whole idea is to get outdoors.
My opinion from pressure testing is that the the best sil is from Quest and Warmlite, as well as thru-hiker according to Ron Bell, although their color choices are limited. I cannot tell you if it makes a difference to order firsts or seconds from Quest.
Cheers, Sam Farrington, Chocorua NH

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Sailcloth on 10/23/2009 03:06:28 MDT Print View

Hi Samuel

> I later found that the sil I used on my first prototype dome was inferior
I don't think we are arguing! I agree: American-made silnylon has gone down the tube.

> by the time I get a tent done, I have come up with a much better design
ROTFLMAO! Join the club! What version(s) are you up to?

As for stoves ... I am up to version 34 ...
But it's fun.


Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Sailmakers yard. on 10/23/2009 08:04:22 MDT Print View

Sailmakers and some of these kite builder web sites quote the weight per sailmaker's yard rather than square yard.
Sailmaker's yard is 36"x28.5" = 0.79 square yard = 0.66 m^2
Often the quoted weight is the weight before any waterproofing, so silnylon is often listed as 1.1 oz/yard^2 (37 g/m^2) but actually weighs 1.3-1.4 oz/yard^2 (44-47 g/m^2)