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Cuben: The unbearable lightness of being........ugly.
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Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
The unbearable lightness of being........ugly on 07/22/2011 21:21:59 MDT Print View

Eugene the last ranking list I saw, posted on the MLife thread, had you 2nd from the top and I'm down much lower. I'm ranked close to the bottom so I'm guessing the list is fairly accurate as your much prettier then me.

Clint Wayman

Locale: East Tennessee, US
Re: The unbearable lightness of being........ugly on 07/22/2011 21:34:40 MDT Print View

"...or even worse you must be good looking to even be a member."

--so at least I get to keep my membership =)


The white cuben never has appealed to me either. The black, however, is pretty slick-lookin'. Aesthetically, I find that the sharpest designs are the thin-profiled, streamlined packs in either blacks or dark grays (i.e. the Ion, Bandoleer, or huckePACK). Regardless, I'm not sure that I could bring myself to spend that kind of money on equipment--surely I could find something more appropriate.


Rakesh Malik

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder on 07/22/2011 23:16:42 MDT Print View

I think that most of the Cuben tarps I've seen look pretty good. I don't see the problem there. The price tag is another story. I keep hoping that the price for Cuben will start coming down as the stuff gains popularity, but that doesn't appear to be happening, unfortunately.

(cuzzettj) - MLife

Locale: NorCal - South Bay
RE: Cuben: The unbearable lightness of being........ugly." on 07/22/2011 23:32:16 MDT Print View

...if any of you pretty people have anything cuben you would like to part with, for free; this ugly guy would love look better next to it. Especially a pack or tarp! But scraps will do.

Aris Dennis
(wentworth1) - F
Aha on 07/23/2011 03:07:49 MDT Print View

I thought so
"The Unbearable Lightness of Scones" by Alexander McCall Smith

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Cuben on 07/23/2011 09:56:54 MDT Print View

While cuben doesn't have the same aesthetic as some nice vintage packcloth, I don't mind the way it looks normally. I think it looks great for a shelter, fine for packs and maybe a little questionable for clothes. If you don't like translucent cuben for shelters, I think Lawson's funky variant of cuben he is using does any from that and gives a nice solid color.

The new blue 1.43oz cuben is going to be sweet for my new SUL pack. I like my olive green Zpacks Zero, but I'm even more stoked to get one in blue:

Blue Cuben

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Cuben on 07/23/2011 10:09:09 MDT Print View

"I think it looks great for a shelter, fine for packs and maybe a little questionable for clothes."

I have an RBH cuben Spectral jacket. Pretty much see-through white cuben. I also have a round, white belly and a navel usually filled with various colored lint. I like wearing the cuben jacket, with nothing underneath, to restaurants that are generally hard to get into. I walk in, people immediately lose their appetite, I get a table without waiting.

Like I said, function before form......

dan mchale
(wildlife) - MLife

Locale: Cascadia
UV on 07/23/2011 11:30:47 MDT Print View

Maybe BPL could do a comparative UV resistance test - maybe they can't, but that's another area Cuben would show up as shining.

Justin Tremlin
(notu) - F

Locale: Central Washington
Sexy, sexy Cuben Fiber. on 07/24/2011 00:21:42 MDT Print View

I would put Cuben Fiber under the same category as a house with a really bright paint job, or white carpet in a living room. It has a bold aesthetic. If you have a white Cuben pack next to a worn earth tone flannel, then it's not going to look good. But if you have the same pack next to bright green Mica rain jacket and a pair of dark senna Thorofare pants, It's going to look sharp. But one that same note some people are not going to like that obnoxious paint job or that white carpet no matter how well the living room is designed.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Cuben on 07/24/2011 02:12:19 MDT Print View

Ach, Doug! Why do you insist on dispensing your ever graphic anecdotes? There I was scarily imagining your lightly ensconced tummy and the scene of disaster that ensued. Reminded me of the final moment of "The Meaning of Life". "Everybody, leave the froie gras and run for your lives! It's The Uncle from Cuben!"

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: Cuben on 07/24/2011 08:00:53 MDT Print View

So Doug, do you count the things in your navel in your baseweight or items carried?

a b
Green Cuben ain't bad lookin at all on 07/24/2011 08:25:02 MDT Print View

Hey, i bought an MLD Patrol Shelter in green Cuben/ Spectralight.. whatever.
Anyhow i fully expected it to be a bright gaudy color.
When it first arrived I was pleasantly surprised at the color.
It is almost a stealth color of green.
Anyhow here are some pictures from the wilds of the AT to prove my point.
If you still don't agree thats cool cause it means more Cuben for Doug and I to charm the ladies with! ;)
.Green cuben MLD PatrolMLD Patrol Shelter in Green CubenGreen Cuben Patrol Shelter MLDCuben Cloud CapeMLD Patrol shelter in green Cuben Fiber at Skyline Ridge Open space
Okay.. I'll grant you that Cuben fiber clothing does not exactly exude sex appeal. Anyhow my Trail Lite designs Cloud Cape in black cuben fiber did attract girls that know about cuben.. or maybe they thought i was rich!! Actually the girl in the photo is Snorkel, she just set a new unsupported womens speed record on the AT!

Edited by Ice-axe on 07/24/2011 08:37:04 MDT.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Cuben: The unbearable lightness of being........ugly." on 07/24/2011 09:52:38 MDT Print View

Oh man, thanks for that Doug, you just reinforced many of the opinions I hold in regard to cuben....if the cuben fiber can't eclipse the whiteness of your belly....then you sir need to get some sun! ;-)


Good analogy, it's definitely a bold material choice, not for everyone. I have a bright yellow Trailstar that is pretty obnoxious and bright by some people's standards, I find the yellow to be pretty cheerful right as the sun is going down or as it rises, it makes the best of available light.


That's one sharp Patrol! I see you weren't able to keep your eyes open in that photo, blinded by cuben?

How did the Cloudcape work for you on the AT?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Cuben clothing on 07/24/2011 10:47:11 MDT Print View

When I see photos of Cuben clothing, I am reminded of the seal gut clothing used by arctic folk. The Yupik people have the lead on UL wind and rain gear by a few thousand years :)

Yupik seal gut parka

Edited by dwambaugh on 07/24/2011 10:47:45 MDT.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Cuben: The unbearable lightness of being........ugly." on 07/24/2011 11:35:44 MDT Print View

Awesome Dale!

For a second I thought it was a cuben Packa.

Evan Cabodi
(BlackRock) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
WPB Cuben Fiber Clothing on 08/25/2011 11:41:10 MDT Print View

I'd agree that Cuben Fiber has that "look" to it that you've got to like, especially for clothing. I just got in some of the brand new second gen WPB and it's actually got a fabric-esk feel to it! It's also a different coloring than before and I think it looks a lot better. We've got some brand new super ultralight rain mitts made from a combination of the WPB Cuben and the standard Cuben that actually look pretty cool and are better than I thought for clothing, though I think rain mitt's are more of an accessory than if you were to make a jacket out of the stuff.

Though I'd say this new WPB Cuben that's double sided might make a really nice shell and actually feel like more of a normal rain jacket, though the price would be pretty high due to fabric costs.

b willi jones
(mrjones) - F

Locale: NZ,,, best place in the world !?
Re: Re: Cuben on 08/25/2011 15:19:21 MDT Print View

hey Doug, whats the secret to getting your various colored belly button lint? no matter what color top i wear, be it white, red, black, green, my lint is blue, always BLUE. what am i doin wrong?

Edited by mrjones on 08/25/2011 15:39:24 MDT.

Dale South
(dsouth) - M

Locale: Southeast
"Cuben: The unbearable lightness of being........ugly." on 08/25/2011 19:46:12 MDT Print View

This thread reminds me a lot of my wife. She does not care how something works just as long as it looks good. I always tell her she puts form above function lol.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Cuben for packs on 08/26/2011 21:55:52 MDT Print View


Sounds from your post that you are ready to accept Cuben in shelters, like the good looking one Matt posted, but still have reservations about its appearance in packs.

I was in the same place, so bought some of the OD stuff for packs. Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it gave me some pause, also.

The Zpacks site says, "...The material eventually begins to fray and separate from excessive sun exposure and general use. This is what limits the lifespan to 2500 miles or so. You will likely have duct tape on some frayed areas by the end of a long thru-hike."

The BPL review of the Blast 18 pack says, "... (I found seams starting to separate in response to the all day stress of hiking with 35-lb loads), and the fabric is more subject to punctures from sharp things (e.g. thorns and deadfall), more so than woven nylons such as the 210 Dyneema grip ripstops ..."

I also noticed that the creases in the mylar laminate from folding the Cuben material remained indefinitely after it was unfolded and hung.

That all gave me some more pause, so took a second look at the 5 oz. Xpac material from Rockywoods. Unlike PU coated nylons, water would not squeeze through it. I had already decided to use it for the top pocket and upper and lower portions of the backpanel of a pack, with the much lighter 1.5 oz. Cuben for the main bag; but after crunching some numbers, found that the Xpac would add only a total of 1.75 ounces to the pack weight. And that's not counting the added weight of reinforcements bonded to the Cuben at stress points, such as strap and loop attachment points, and possibly seams as well.

The Xpac is a diamond gridstop, looks nice, and comes in several colors, so I decided to use it for the whole pack, except the mesh in the middle portion of the back panel and the bottle pockets, and the 70 denier silnylon (1.9 oz nylon weighing 2.4-2.5 oz/sq/yd with the coating) for the inside backpanel, as the design needs that panel to be slightly elastic, and it will not be exposed to as much abrasion.

If you are thinking of buying a pack ready made, comparison of the total weights might be more useful than going with Cuben for its own sake. The pack manufacturers appear to be using some very durable lightweight materials like Xpac. John Donewar ("Newton") posted on MYOG a pack he made of Xpac weighing around 16 oz, which is pretty light. Hope all this is useful to you in making decisions about pack materials.

Justin Ayres
(ayresco) - F
Re: Get to know her on 08/27/2011 00:32:09 MDT Print View