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Cuben Fiber tarp
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Steve Peterson
(spetersodlb) - F
Cuben Fiber tarp on 05/02/2006 09:52:49 MDT Print View

At the behest of BillF in the Cuben Fiber thread, I put together some photos and text describing my cuben fiber tarp.

Comments/suggestions/questions are welcome, but I'll be hitting the PCT starting May 8, and won't be able to answer questions until (hopefully!) October.

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Cuben Fiber tarp on 05/02/2006 14:47:22 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the info! I received my samples and am about to order fabric. With the minimum order being 10 yards, I will be making all kinds of stuff. My main goal is to make a new canopy for my Hennessy hammock. The current canopy weighs 11 oz. The lightest Cuben fiber should cut that to about 4 oz. I am torn between the CT2K.08, CT1K.08, CT0.6K.08, and the CT0.3K.08. What are your thoughts? Would you go heavier or lighter than you did? You mentioned that you experienced some flapping. Was this along the ridge line? Would you advise me to use some catenary cuts? It sounds like the adhesive tape worked very well. Did you do any sewing at all? I assume there is a seam down the ridge line. Is this correct, and if so, how stiff is it? Will it interfere with stuffing or folding? Sorry for the rapid fire questions. I can't wait to get started and want to get it right. You've inspired me.

Edited by ericnoble on 05/03/2006 07:32:20 MDT.

AK Hiker
(akhiker) - F
Tarp on 05/02/2006 15:02:49 MDT Print View

Very cool! Thanks for posting.

I also saw your pack, that looks nice too!

I love the simplicity of this design.

Good luck on the PCT and enjoy hiking!

Edited by akhiker on 05/02/2006 15:16:44 MDT.

Steve Peterson
(spetersodlb) - F
Re: Re: Cuben Fiber tarp on 05/02/2006 17:16:59 MDT Print View

Eric: ten yard minimum order? That must be new, because they've never mentioned that to me. Anyway, to your questions:

1) Lighter or heavier? I used the lightest stuff they sent me a sample of (3 years ago). For a tarp, I think it's substantial enough. I wouldn't go heavier, and depending on how flimsy the lighter stuff is, I might not go any lighter, either. Without having a sample of the lighter stuff, I just can't say. Given that you're using it for a hammock, which implies you're in trees, you may always be sheltered enough to get away with something lighter. I do a lot of camping above tree line where there isn't a lot of natural shelter.

2) The ridgeline always stayed taut; it was around the edges that it tended to flap or, when a really big gust hit, the whole thing would shake, rattle, and roll. I'm talking serious wind here. I can't say "Definitely use cat cuts" -- except in stong winds, the thing is pretty solid with just straight cuts.

3) I did no sewing whatsoever. Yes, there is a seam down the ridgeline--it's not stiff at all, the tarp packs very compactly and easily.

Finally, be warned: you may feel pretty exposed under this stuff--it's so light you almost don't feel sheltered. Also, it doesn't block moonlight much, so it can stay pretty bright under there. You'll get used to both of these aspects after a while though.

Good luck!

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Cuben Fiber tarp on 05/03/2006 08:31:36 MDT Print View

I'm rounding on the minimum order. I think it was 9.82 yards. It is to bad about the minimum because it limits how much I can experiment with different fabric weights. Maybe if I beg.

A few more questions occurred to me. What width is the 3M tape you used and did you vary the width of it in any way? Did you purchase it from Cuben Fiber? I was also curious what you used to cut the fabric? The edges of your tarp look very straight and clean, and it appears you did not finish them with a hem. I would like to do the same thing unless you think a hem would reduce the flapping. I am thinking of using a rotary cutter.

My final concern is the puncture resistance of the fabric. I've played with my samples and have a sense of the issue but no practical experience. Have you experienced hail or perhaps the errant pine cone, and did your tarp suffer any damage? This particularly concerns me because I plan on making a poncho/tarp and rain chaps after I finish the hammock canopy. I read about your Cuben fiber pack as well and thought your experience with that would be relevant.

I wanted to congratulate you on your "do it yourself" projects. Your commitment and skill are very apparent. Thanks again for your help!

Steve Peterson
(spetersodlb) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Cuben Fiber tarp on 05/03/2006 10:26:27 MDT Print View

I used 1/2" tape. I bought it from RS Hughes ( which had a local outlet. They often didn't stock it but brought it in from another store. The 1" wide tape seems to be stocked more frequently. I doubled the tape so I actually had 1" wide adhesive on all seams, including the beaks and tie-outs. If you do that on the ridge, make sure there are no gaps or water will work its way in through capillary action. I used 1/2" tape rather than 1" because I knew I'd be needing 1/2" for other projects. If I were just doing a tarp, I'd buy the 1" and be done with it (or buy a roll of each if you think you'll use that much).

I cut the tarp with a 2' metal straightedge and a razor blade against some medium heavy cardboad--you want the razor blade to extend into the cardboard a bit. I have also found that a really sharp pair of scissors can be used if you don't try to "scissor" them, but just hold them open and slide them through the material (hard to describe but maybe you can experiment and get the idea). But the scissors have to be really sharp and there's a knack to it. I have never tried a rotary cutter.

I did not hem the edges--they don't fray (at least so far). You could hem them, but it seems to me that the only thing that might cut down on the flapping would be to give the edges a catenary cut--that's just a hypothesis since I haven't tried it. I notice, however, that some folks that make cat cut tarps do give the edges a cat cut, too.

Puncture resistance was tested "by hand" vs. silnylon. It "felt" about the same with a really sharp object. I doubt that hail would puncture it unless you're talking about really big stuff. I've had light hail on it and aside from being noisy, it didn't have any effect. Pine cones, depending on size and how prickly they are could be a problem. Sharp, needle-like things go right through without much effort, but they also easily puncture silnylon, so I'd say you're no worse off. The heavier the film (of the cuben) the tougher it is, of course.

Rain chaps would give me pause. Depending on how much brush you intend to go through, they might not last very long. Walking through long wet grass would be fine, as would "soft" brush. But if there are stiff twigs in the brush, you'll get quite a few holes, I'd think. With my pack, my body tends to hit the branches first and sweep them aside so they don't hit the pack as much as I think they would your legs. Also, I'm really really careful with the pack--if you were walking through miles of brush and were as careful with your chaps as I am with my pack, you'd be doing about .5 mph. Just so you know, I considered cuben chaps and decided to use Dripstopper pants instead for the northern Washington section where I'm expecting tons of rain.

Thanks (to everyone) for the compliments.

Robert Miller
(procab) - F
Re: Cuben Fiber tarp on 05/03/2006 23:10:33 MDT Print View


Thanks for shareing your creations with us. I especially appreciate your thoughts on the tieouts. Are you currently using the sheet bend style tieouts? What if you extended the pictured tieouts beyond the edge of the tarp an additional 2" and put a twist or two in it before making the second attachment? The twists would accomplish the desired bunching.

Have a great hike,

Edited by procab on 08/26/2007 23:30:32 MDT.

Steve Peterson
(spetersodlb) - F
Re: Re: Cuben Fiber tarp on 05/04/2006 06:40:23 MDT Print View

Robert: look for me around the 5-7 of June!

Re the tieouts, twisting them is a good idea; I had thought of giving them a 1/2 twist just to keep the loops open and make it easier to get the guy lines in (not that one takes them out and puts them in that often), but I hadn't considered twisting them to make a "cord" out of the flat material.

When I noticed the cutting problem, I had loops in my guylines (bowlines); I've since gone to multiple overhand knots which grab the tieout tightly, thus bunching the material. That seems to have solved the problem, but hasn't been tested extensively. I also added some new tie outs as backup, but haven't used them yet.

erik tobin
(gooby) - F
Cost on 05/09/2006 16:20:11 MDT Print View

Hi, what does it cost though for the .2oz one?

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Cost on 05/09/2006 17:08:20 MDT Print View

The CN0.6k.08 costs 13.70 USD per yard, but you are asking about the CN1K.08, which I don't know.