"The way I see it, spinnaker has the characteristic of having very little stretch, is often made of polyester, which has inherently higher UV resistance and hydrophobic qualities, when compared to nylons, such as sil-nylon. It is also significantly less expensive than Cuben fiber, although it is probably the most easily damaged of the three, by abuse or trauma. The best thing that Spinnaker seems to have going for it is that it seems to have come down in price lately.
(+++ = best)
Cuben = $$$ / no stretch / UV ++ / abrasion + / weight +++ / waterproof +++ / strength +++
Spinnaker = $$ / no stretch / UV +++ / abrasion + / weight ++ / waterproof ++ / strength +
SilNylon = $ / stretch / UV + / abrasion ++ / weight + / waterproof + / strength ++
The many different manufacturers of Spinnaker and many different weights of Cuben obviously skew, so do consider them as well.
Where is Christopher Graf? - he is a big fan of Spinnaker and Glen VP of Gossamer Gear seems to still be using it more than anything else for his shelters."
--- Domestic Silnylon is treated to be UV resistant, and
I would argue that when you use a thinner thread ie. lower
denier as is in most silicone coated spinnaker, you increase
the surface area of the material and expose more to the
sunlight. Also reducing the silicone coating thickness will
decrease strength and waterproofness of the fabric.
That said, I think spinnaker, when used in a well designed
shelter, can save a bit of weight when used with thought.