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Please help me choose a Cuben Fiber tarp
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John Gelack

Locale: North East
Please help me choose a Cuben Fiber tarp on 06/24/2011 09:48:03 MDT Print View

Hi, I am intrested in upgrading to a Cuben Fiber tarp, I am currently using a Spinn tarp. I am looking a three tarps, a 8x10 .51 Cuben at 4.9 oz, the same tarp (with the addition of doors/beaks) at 6.5 oz, and a Mountain Laurel Designs 8x10 .75 Cuben tarp at 7.8 oz,(I may be able to get this tarp down to 7 oz. with some mods) all of these tarp come with bonded seams. The weight of the first tarp is very tempting, as is the door option on the second tarp, however I've used my tarp without doors/beaks for years without any problems, so I'm not sure how necessary they are. My main concern with the first two tarps is that they are constructed with the .51 Cuben, I've noticed that alot of manufacturers have switched to the heavier .75 Cuben, including BackpackingLight, for durability reasons. So I'm thinking I might be better off going with the .75 Cuben MLD tarp, even though it weighs slightly more. This is a pretty expensive purchase, so I'd like it to last more than a couple of seasons. In Addition MLD has been working with Cuben for years, so I would imagine they have perfected the process. Which tarp do you think I should go with? Is the .75 Cuben worth the extra weight, or would you rather carry the lighter, but less durable .51 Cuben? Whats your thoughts on doors/beaks? Any one use any of the MLD Cuben tarps, whats your opinion on thier performance? SORRY for all the questions, any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks John

Stephan Doyle
Re: Please help me choose a Cuben Fiber tarp on 06/24/2011 11:01:55 MDT Print View

It's a compromise - more weight for more durability. I have a 51 shelter and I'm confident in it – it's stronger than silnylon and SUL.

Brendan S
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
Re: Please help me choose a Cuben Fiber tarp on 06/24/2011 11:25:23 MDT Print View

I recently made a cuben tarp and after much deliberation went with the .75. My reasoning was mostly because of how windy and gusty it can be at times where I spend most of my time (high desert/CO plateau), and also that I wanted a flat tarp so I knew I wouldn't be getting quite as tight of a pitch as if it was cat cut. I figured for a pricy piece of gear 2 oz was worth the peace of mind. I really wanted to go with .51 though and I think if used carefully in certain places it'd be fine.

Edited by brendans on 06/24/2011 11:31:56 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Please help me choose a Cuben Fiber tarp on 06/25/2011 11:56:26 MDT Print View


I have been very happy with my BPL tarp. MLD makes quality products. I am more comfortable with the heavier material for durability.

You already answered your beak/door question. You have done fine without them.

Also, if most tarp users are like me, they only use the tarp in poor weather. This adds years to longevity, IMO.

The MLD tarp is about $100 cheaper than the BPL and weighs about 2 oz more. Also it is a little wider at the front and rear. Both are the same length.

I would suggest either. Consider cost, coverage, and weight. MLD wins on the first two, BPL on the last.

Matthew Perry
(bigfoot2) - F

Locale: Oregon
Lawson Cubens all the way. on 06/25/2011 15:25:14 MDT Print View

Lawson Equipment's reflective cubens are on sale:

I've got the hammock model and love it!!

Kevin Ridge

Locale: Southeast MI
Lawson cuben on 06/25/2011 15:49:50 MDT Print View

+1 on the Lawson Equipment. The only issue is not a big difference in weight from your spinn to the reflective cuben. But really nice product and feels very durable. Another option to look for may be the hyperlite mountain tarps.

Edited by Dblcorona on 06/25/2011 15:50:59 MDT.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: Please help me choose a Cuben Fiber tarp on 06/25/2011 18:38:47 MDT Print View

Hello John,

I would like to offer the suggestion that you check out the ZPacks Hexamid Tarp.

I did a full video review on it (and the accompanying bug insert) that will show you how it looks and works and my overall thoughts on it.

At 3.2 - 4.1 ounces I believe it will be lighter than anything mentioned above.

Without a doubt my favorite CF tarp!!

Justin R
(5150Bronco) - F

Locale: Bay Area, Ca.
Echo 1 system on 06/25/2011 21:49:30 MDT Print View

Have you considered hyperlite mountain gear shelter systems?

John Gelack

Locale: North East
Thank You on 07/08/2011 14:05:37 MDT Print View

Thank You for all your input. I ended up ordering the MLD .75 Cuben tarp. I have a couple of other MLD products and have been impressed with their quality. With this tarp I will cut about 3oz. off the weight of my current tarp and it will be more waterproof, durable, and packable. I realize I could have dropped a few more ounces going with the .51 Cuben, but right now I just feel more comfortable going with the heavier weight Cuben. Maybe after gaining some experience using this tarp, I'd feel more comfortable going lighter. Thanks again everyone for your advive. John

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Choosing Cuben Fiber Tarp on 07/08/2011 20:04:05 MDT Print View

You will be very happy with the MLD tarp. I have the MLD Grace Solo which I use with a Serenity Shelter in warm weather & a Superlite bivy in cooler weather. No durability issues after 2 years of use. It seems more durable than spinnaker tarps that I have previously used.