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Cuben Fibre and UV damage/General wear and tear?
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Alasdair Fowler
(MessiahKhan) - F

Locale: Newcastle, UK
Cuben Fibre and UV damage/General wear and tear? on 06/03/2011 15:44:14 MDT Print View

I'm currently in the process of designing a custom made pack (To be made by Chris Zimmer. Thanks Chris, i'm very excited by it!) and am currently collating ideas and features that I would like to see in my pack. One area that I am not sure about is the actual fabric for the pack. The main purpose of the pack is for a PCT thru hike next year, but I would like the pack to last long after that. It won't be a ultra light weight pack, I want more emphasis on comfort than weight, but still the lighter the better.

The two main options I am currently considering are Xpac (VX21 & VX07) and Cuben Fibre. Cuben is obviously lighter, but is it durable enough? My main concern is about UV damage over a full thru hike. How much does Cuben suffer from de-lamination and fraying when exposed to prolonged sun exposure? I don't want to be keeping the pack together with Duct-tape by the end.

Are there any other fabrics I should consider alongside Cuben and X-Pac? Ideally I want white fabric, although this isn't essential. Does anyone know if you can get white X-Pac?

On a related note, does anyone know where you can get red or green webbing from? Also can you get coloured 'hardware', ie buckles etc?

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Cuben Fibre and UV damage/General wear and tear? on 06/03/2011 15:54:43 MDT Print View

You could try spraying your cuben fiber occasionally with this stuff:

I don't know if it'd stick to the fabric, but it's supposed to help prevent UV damage.

Peter Griffith
(petergriffith) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Cuben in the Sun on 06/03/2011 16:32:59 MDT Print View

According to Joe at ZPacks, who used cuben fiber packs to hike the PCT and CDT:
"The material eventually begins to fray from excessive sun exposure and general use. This is what limits the lifespan to 2500 to 3000 miles. You will likely have duct tape on some frayed areas by the end of a long thru-hike."

Colin Krusor

Locale: Northwest US
UV damage to cuben on 06/03/2011 17:10:12 MDT Print View

I would guess that the fraying of the cuben is due to abrasion more than sun exposure, but the difference isn't important in practice. The cuben should be much more resistant to UV damage than the nylon face fabric on the X-pac, I think, but the X-pac is much more resistant to abrasion. I think the X-pac would outlast almost any cuben product.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: UV damage to cuben on 06/03/2011 17:46:15 MDT Print View

The laminates in cuben are mylar...which is polyester and more UV resistant than nylon. The problem with cuben is that it has low abrasion resistance due to the thin film. CubicTech now makes some heavier weight cuben with much thicker film that would probably last much longer than the cuben that Joe used (I may be wrong, but I bet at the time he was using the more common CTXXX.08 cubens that have only .08 -don't remember units- thickness of mylar).

With the new .18 thick versions, they have far more (more than twice really) abrasion resistance. They even have a high bias (extra 45 degree layers of thread) with 0.18 thickness weighing in around only 1.3oz/yd^2. Super strong and abrasion resistance without much weight...maybe not as bomber as xpac but getting close.

Alasdair Fowler
(MessiahKhan) - F

Locale: Newcastle, UK
Cuben Fibre and UV damage/General wear and tear? on 06/04/2011 00:53:53 MDT Print View

Thanks for your comments guys. From everyone's findings I think leaning towards the use of X-Pac instead of Cuben. I may have to research the new .18 thick Cuben a bit more though. I would not only want it to last the full thru hike, but also a good time after.

Any ideas about my other questions? :)

Edited by MessiahKhan on 06/04/2011 00:58:15 MDT.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Cuben Fibre and UV damage/General wear and tear? on 06/04/2011 05:17:12 MDT Print View

Colored hardware will be difficult, most is black or tan.

What size webbing do you need? 3/4" and 1" shouldn't be too hard to find. Climbing webbing comes in those sizes and a wide range of colors.

This site also has a lot of colored webbing for use in pet collars, but should be more than adequate for packs.:

EDIT: The above site apparently has colored plastic buckles too!

Edited by upalachango on 06/04/2011 12:21:43 MDT.

Jerry Wick
(JerryW) - F

Locale: Illinois
Colored Webbing on 06/05/2011 14:05:41 MDT Print View

Another webbing and hardware supplier: