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Hybrid Cuben Fiber - Nylon Fabric
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Ceph Lotus
(Cephalotus) - MLife

Locale: California
Hybrid Cuben Fiber - Nylon Fabric on 10/03/2011 21:34:06 MDT Print View

I just noticed Zpacks is now selling the fabric used in their Exo backpacks - the 2.92 oz/sqyrd Hybrid Cuben Fiber - Nylon fabric. $39 per linear yard, and available in black or tan.

This stuff is more durable than cuben fiber alone.

Colin Krusor

Locale: Northwest US
Cuben/nylon laminate on 10/03/2011 22:21:13 MDT Print View

I can't think of any advantage that this material would have over the far cheaper xpac laminates from Dimension Polyant.

Mike D.
(mpd1690) - F
Lighter on 10/03/2011 22:30:11 MDT Print View

It is far lighter than anything that DP has. I do like DP products though.

Adam Kilpatrick
(oysters) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: Hybrid Cuben Fiber - Nylon Fabric on 10/04/2011 18:27:16 MDT Print View

I'm considering getting some of this to modify my existing pack (harness is great, material too heavy). I would be cutting off the back 3/4 of the pack fabric, leaving the panel that is attached to the harness, and attaching this stuff to that. The back panel is 500 denier nylon.

How do I attach this cuben hybrid to 500 denier nylon? Just sew it, then seam seal with silicon afterwards? I'm guessing cuben tape isn't going to work on the 500 denier nylon? I'm assuming though that cuben tape works on the inside of this new fabric? How are people attaching two pieces of this fabric together? How do Zpacks do it? With the nylon face fabric, I guess sewing is much more viable, then you could tape over that on the inside...?

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Cuben/Nylon Laminate ~3osy on 10/04/2011 21:14:37 MDT Print View

Wouldn't you know this would happen while building a pack, and after ordering some 1.5 oz cuben, researching endlessly about it, and finally deciding on and ordering Xpac instead. But thank you for the heads up. Know that you weren't deliberately trying to torment me.

"I can't think of any advantage that this material would have over the far cheaper xpac laminates from Dimension Polyant."

Have to agree. Given less than one sq. yd. surface area for the pack, then the weight savings is less than the 2 ounce/sq/yd difference between this and the 5 ounce Xpac.

IMO, cost aside, somewhere around an ounce and a half or so of weight savings is not worth shelving the very durable and waterproof 5 ounce Xpac from Rockywoods. Tempting, though. But expensive, too. Is there some point at which embarrassment sets in from what your gear is made of? Depends on the person, I guess.

Edited by scfhome on 10/04/2011 21:15:34 MDT.

Colin Krusor

Locale: Northwest US
Hybrid Cuben vs. DP X-pac on 10/04/2011 21:42:34 MDT Print View

Michael, the hybrid cuben is not far lighter than any of the xpac and xply fabrics Dimension Polyant offers:

Hybrid cuben described by OP: 2.9 oz

WX07: 3.6 oz (0.5 mil film, dacron diagonal reinforcement, 70 denier nylon face fabric)

VX04: 3.0 oz (as VX07 but with a 40 denier nylon face fabric)

TX07: 2.8 oz (advertised as 2.6 oz, two layers 0.25 mil film w/ 800 denier dacron fibers between and 70 denier ripstop nylon face fabric)

TX02: 2.4 oz (as TX07 but with a 20 denier nylon face fabric)

PM02: 2.2 oz (Nemo's earliest airbeam fabric, 500 denier dacron scrim + 0.5 mil film)

These are all laminates composed of a woven nylon or polyester face fabric (except PM02), a grid of diagonal reinforcing fibers (Dacron), and PET film. They are exactly the same thing as the hybrid cuben, but with Dacron reinforcement instead of Dyneema. I'll grant that some of these materials aren't easy to find from vendors, and must be obtained directly from DP (and they don't always have affordable roll-ends or short lengths in stock), but the hybrid cuben has no weight advantage over them. Incidentally, none of these DP fabrics cost more than $15/yard.

Edited by ckrusor on 10/04/2011 23:10:11 MDT.

Mike D.
(mpd1690) - F
I see on 10/05/2011 10:24:48 MDT Print View

You must have a newer fabric listing than I do. I contacted Hale at DP not long ago to get an updated list, and he said they do not have one. Could you PM that one to me? The lightest I've used from is VX07, which I think is the lightest listed on my product sheet.

I know that some of theTX07 is light, but cuben is more durable than 70D nylon. Having said that, I don't think I could justify that price difference. I have seen the new nylon cuben and I'm not sure how much durability it will actually add.

Edit: I do have TX07 listed on my sheet. But it is listed at 3.2 oz/y^2. Have they changed it?

2nd Edit: Just found a sample of it. I think it is just a trade of off durability and price. Cuben is much, much more tear resistant, but much more price. The dyneema is much more dense than the dacron in DP products. I do like DP a alot though, especially its price.

Edited by mpd1690 on 10/05/2011 10:45:12 MDT.

Michael Cleveland
(wunnspeed) - MLife
Euro supplier on 09/16/2013 14:47:29 MDT Print View

Hi gang... I'm relatively new here but I have a small business making bikepacking gear. I normally use X-Pac but I want to offer Cuben Fiber or Cuben Hybrid. The big issue for me is that I live in Germany and the only supplier I can find here ( is at least 50% more expensive than any of the U.S. suppliers. Does anyone know of a European supplier for Cuben materials?

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Hybrid Cuben Fiber - Nylon Fabric on 09/16/2013 16:21:16 MDT Print View

Have you been in touch with these guys to see who they use -

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
hybrid pack materials on 09/16/2013 21:10:16 MDT Print View

Colin and Jason,
Thanks for the listing of DP materials and the link to Laufbursche.

Since my post 2 years ago on this thread, ran across balloon fabric and put up the following post:

As you can see, the response was truly underwhelming. It seems the only course is to finish building the HH tester and report the results for the balloon cloth. From primitive tests, am pretty sure they will be very good for this 2.6 oz nylon silcoated on both sides. It appears much tougher and durable than the usual 70 den silnylons, and unless it does surprisingly poorly on the HH tester, will go into the next pack for which I'm currently building an hourglass frame from Easton 340, 7075-T9 tubing.

For a few who may have a HH tester, if you PM me, I will send a 6x6 inch sample.
In case anyone questions my motives here, a fair question on BPL for sure, it is just that I can't see wrestling with these laminates that don't sew well, when there appears to be a much better alternative.

Daniel Collins
(Diablo-V) - M

Locale: Orlando FL
Hybrid Cuben-Nylon on 09/17/2013 07:36:16 MDT Print View

I just received my Hybrid fabric chest pack(from Z-Packs) made of this material referenced by the OP.
My non-analytic impression is very nice - very thin and very tough. Perfect for my planned use - to carry a 18 oz camera with 9 oz tripod and additional padding.
I wish I had an entire backpack made from this.

Colin Krusor

Locale: Northwest US
Balloon cloth on 09/17/2013 11:14:26 MDT Print View

Samuel, I'm interested in the balloon cloth. I'm looking forward to hearing how it perfoems in HH tests, especially for samples that have been abraded. Silicone coatings are less abrasion resistant than urethanes, and a pack will be in the abraded state for 95% of the time that a person owns it. So the post-abrasion HH is the more important number in my opinion.

Also, tenacity before and after abrasion would be interesting. If you have a piece of rebar, you could pull HEMMED strips of balloon cloth and HEMMED strips of other coated nylons (sil and urethane, DP laminates, cuben) over it a standardized number of times under a known load (hang a weight from one end and pull down on the other end). Then you could hang the strips and load them to failure to measure the tenacity. This is similar to the abrasion tests often done in the textiles industry.

Doing a battery of tests is a lot of work and very time consuming, but if the fabric performs really well, it could be a great option for MYOG packs, gaiters, groundcloths, bivy bottoms, and other articles requiring a medium-weight material.

John West
(skyzo) - F

Locale: Borah Gear
Re: Balloon cloth on 09/17/2013 15:59:02 MDT Print View


I'm really interested in seeing how that balloon cloth does on the HH tester as well. Although I don't really mind sewing cuben for MYOG packs, it would be nice to have a cheaper alternative that is easier to sew and much cheaper.

I looked around on eBay briefly and on the web for a supplier, but haven't found anyone in the US that sells the 2.3oz stuff.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Balloon cloth vs hybrids on 09/18/2013 21:37:06 MDT Print View

Colin and John,
Got a PM from a BPLer who is going to do some HH tests. Sent out three samples this morning. We should hear in a bit.

Please note, the weights are 2.6 and 2.7 oz including coating, not 2.3.

Not sure about the inferiority of silcoats to PU, as I've been using MYOG silnylon tent floors for several years with absolutely no damage or leakage. Maybe it is the second layer of silcoat on the inside. One thing I'm sure, the greater elasticity of the silcoated nylon helps with abrasion resistance on the bottom side. There just isn't any sign of abrasion on the floor longest in use.

With a pack, however, the elasticity might not be so helpful. Thinking of rubbing a tightly packed pack up against a rock or rough tree branch or thorny tall bush. Certainly I would put a heavier nylon bottom on a balloon cloth pack, and protective strips of material on the top where branches will rub. Would do that on a pack using any material under 3 oz, though.

Also think the higher HH silcoated nylon that is just becoming available will better resist abrasion because of the better quality coating. That's a second reason for wanting to HH test first.

So we may all see how the B-cloth does, and egg may find its way to my face. Not a problem (except for my ultra low cholesterol diet). Rome wasn't built in a day.

Colin Krusor

Locale: Northwest US
Fabric on 09/18/2013 22:53:09 MDT Print View

Samuel, I don't forsee any egg. The balloon cloth seems like a good find, especially if the tenacity is higher than other nylon fabrics of similar weight. Whatever the HH, pursuing it was a good idea.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Balloon cloth vs hybrids on 09/22/2013 22:17:38 MDT Print View


I finished a non-
aged analysis of the three samples you sent me:


The Royal Blue sample has some surface defects that cause squirting at a relatively low HH. Since this is the same weave and weight as the silver coated oxford, use the silver oxford as the most probable sample indicator.

Prior samples of nylon in this areal weight range indicate that oxford samples would hold up poorly from abrasion. I would estimate about 20,000 abrasion cycles best case as opposed to double rip stop which would at least double the abrasion resistance. Higher denier fabrics would also be much more abrasion resistant.

The 2,109 HH, tight uniform weave, and the very low emissivity of the silver coated sides would make the double rip stop silver fabric an excellent shelter fly material.

Attached are micrographs of each sample shown with a 1.4 mm FOV:

Royal Blue Oxford

Silver & Grey Oxford

Silver & Grey Double Rip Stop

Edited by richard295 on 09/23/2013 19:56:29 MDT.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Balloon Cloth tests on 09/23/2013 19:32:46 MDT Print View

Thank you very much, Richard.
The results are bitter-sweet, not as bad as they could have been, but not so good as I'd hoped.

Your comments about abrasion resistance relate somewhat to Colin's concerns about it also. I suppose a basic issue is whether silcoated materials per se are suitable for pack material. I have some 3.8 oz double ripstop from Rockywoods - it is still offered there I think - that is PU coated. But I'm doubtful if the HH is much over 2Kmm either, and it is heavier. Also have some 200 denier ripstop from Seattle Fabrics that has a heavy 1.5 oz PU coat and is around 4.5 oz.

My chief attraction to the nylon is the lesser damage it suffers from stitching and pressure on stitching than mylar or PET laminates, not to mention that 6,6 nylon is a fairly sturdy material in its own right.

So my inclination is to go ahead and build a pack from one of the gray/silver materials. All these materials are obtained by a person who picks up remnants from balloon makers, so it is quite possible that some of it gets discarded due to defects, which might well be the case with the blue.

It will be interesting to see how the pack survives the elements, primarily in terms of water and abrasion resistance compared to the light PU coated 4 oz spectra gridstop used in the past. If I can get the pack done this winter as planned, there should be something to report here in Fall 2014. Most of the focus and work on the project has been on developing an hourglass frame design from Easton 340 tube and elbows sold by Quest Outfitters; so worst case, another pack could be built for the frame from the Seattle Fabrics offering to achieve greater abrasion resistance and WP, but with added weight.

Thank you again. I'm hopeful others will benefit from this info also.