EPIC for a Breathable Shelter
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JT Croteau
(Tobit) - F

Locale: Shadows of the White Mountains
EPIC for a Heated Shelter on 12/17/2011 07:37:14 MST Print View

Project: I plan on buying a Golite Shangri-La 3 or Shangri-La 5 and sewing in a stove jack for a heated winter shelter. This shelter would only be used when temps fall below 30F, I have other shelters for all other seasons. Dozens of people have done this with the regular silnylon versions of the Shangri-La (and other similar shelters).

However, I am wondering if using a breathable material, such as EPIC, for a heated shelter be disadvantageous? I'm wondering if it'd let more heat escape compared to the same structure constructed out of traditional silnylon which is not breathable?

prolitegear has the Shangri-La 5 model in EPIC fabric (this model is made exclusively for prolitegear) for only $40 more than the smaller Shangri-La 3. If the EPIC material wouldn't let more heat escape compared to silnylon, I may get the -5 in EPIC as I like the low-stretch properties of the material.

Any reason I shouldn't consider EPIC for this? I have used eVENT in the past for bivys but I have never used EPIC on anything.

Edited by Tobit on 12/17/2011 07:38:56 MST.

David Adair
(DavidAdair) - M

Locale: West Dakota
Re: EPIC for a Heated Shelter on 12/17/2011 12:01:50 MST Print View

My experience with hot tenting is mostly with cotton but this is an interesting question.

"I'm wondering if it'd let more heat escape compared to the same structure constructed out of traditional silnylon which is not breathable?"

The Epic is less breathable than the traditional cotton hot tent so heat loss wouldn't be a big concern. The wood stove puts out enough heat that the airflow is welcome and should help with keeping things dry.

My concern would be with wetting out and dripping. Obviously if the fabric is cold (like after the stove has gone out) then snow is no problem. If the stove is going and the fabric real warm there should be no problem. The water repellent finish should deal with short duration rains OK. However, sometimes snow falling on a slightly warm tent form little slushy dams that pool water and defeat the DWR. As steep as the walls are on the Shangri-la I would expect any water getting through would just run down the inner wall and not drip -so not necessarily a big deal.

The breathablity should make the tent more livable most of the time but there may be times you have to put up with wet walls.

Is there anybody out there with experience with these epic tents that can comment on how often they wet out and if it's been a problem?

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
DWR and tents in freezing weather on 12/17/2011 12:36:40 MST Print View

BPL members, pay no attention to the following. For non members only.


In cold climates, plain vanilla DWR works fine for tents. Keeps out snow. If there is a fire inside it will keep out rain. Epic should work okay too but is much less flame
retardant than uncoated DWR nylon and heavier and more expensive.

For deep cold a double layer of DWR uncoated fabric makes a warm tent and will keep out rain too if a steep pitch.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: EPIC for a Heated Shelter on 12/17/2011 12:57:27 MST Print View

There was an article completed by Ryan Jordan on the breathability of Epic in sub freezing temps. Sadly, his experience is that the breathability goes in the toilet pretty quickly. I believe you need to be a member to read it.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: EPIC for a Heated Shelter on 12/17/2011 13:37:49 MST Print View

A warning. I think EPIC fabric may melt and burn a lot easier than silnylon.
For a heated shelter, I really don't think the EPIC would have any advantages.

Cheers

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
silnylon melts on 12/17/2011 14:52:43 MST Print View

Common silicone coated nylon burns and melts quite well.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: silnylon melts on 12/17/2011 15:33:04 MST Print View

Hi Dave

Yes, silnylon can melt and burn. However, silicone polymer is very stable up to 350 C and only melts around 500 C, so nylon fabric encapsulated in silicone is fairly rugged. But, a determined twit can set almost anything alight!

Hum ... does the Teflon coating around the fibres in EPIC confer a similar resistance? Well, the layer is much thinner of course, but it is probably not bad. OK - both are better than uncoated nylon!

Cheers

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
EPIC for a Breathable Shelter on 12/17/2011 20:08:54 MST Print View

Roger, I have lit up US bought silnylons and Epic Malibu, and they both burn pretty fiercely due IMO to the silicone content in the treatments.

But, the discussion of how flammable silnylon is may be moot, because Golite says that their silnylon for this shelter also has PU in the coating and is flame retardant. The OP PM'd me, and I suggested contacting GoLite to see if their flame retardant treatment meets US CPAI standards.

I would choose a material that meets CPAI standards where a stove is going to be involved. That would decide it for me.

Will hunt for Ryan's article. Still haven't given up on Epic Malibu because of the no-sag polyester and vapor permeability. IMO a single wall silnylon tent, sagging in cold rain and dripping wet is frightful, regardless of whether the wet is from condensation or leakage. But the article sounds like a must read.

Also suggested the OP give serious thought to the CO issues.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: EPIC for a Breathable Shelter on 12/17/2011 22:16:50 MST Print View

Here's a BPL article by Ryan re bivies with his evaluation of Epic's performance, mainly for bivies and sleeping bags (both poor), but also with brief comment re EPIC used for tents (better, maybe):

http://tinyurl.com/State-of-Market-re-Bivy-Sacks

Here's a link to BPL reader reviews for the Hex 3, including a review by Ryan that mentions using Epic material for a Hex 3 in winter conditions:

http://tinyurl.com/Hex-3-Reviews

And here's a link to BPL reader reviews for bivy sacks, including a review by Ryan re the Bibler/Black Diamond Winter Bivy (which is, or was, made from Epic):

http://tinyurl.com/Bivy-Reviews

Don't believe the above article and reviews directly address performance of a heated Epic shelter, but maybe they have some info helpful for your question.

As noted by an earlier posting, the article linked above is "member only" -- but I believe the two links for reviews are both open to public access.

Edited by JRScruggs on 12/17/2011 22:27:02 MST.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: EPIC for a Breathable Shelter on 12/18/2011 02:19:12 MST Print View

Hi Sam

> I would choose a material that meets CPAI standards where a stove is going to be involved.
Ah well, NONE of my tents have ever met what I regard as quite inane and environmentally hazardous American flame retardant specs. The chemicals used as retardants are quite dangerous.

And I have been cooking with white gas, kero and canister stoves inside the vestibule of my tunnel tents for the last ... well, it's a long time, anyhow! Never ever had an accident, and I imagine (am sure) there are thousands of others with exactly the same story.

Seems to me that too many of the 'product safety' laws are triggered by an accident to one idiot (or perhaps I should say 'created by said idiot'), then the entire community has to suffer there after because of some politically correct but otherwise mindless do-gooder efforts.


Cheers

JT Croteau
(Tobit) - F

Locale: Shadows of the White Mountains
Re: Re: EPIC for a Breathable Shelter on 12/18/2011 09:38:26 MST Print View

Thanks guys. I think I will stick with the standard nylon version. I am well aware that any nylon material can burn fast and that there are CO issues to consider as well. However, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of people who use a wood stove in Golite, Kifaru, and other similar shelters winter after winter without an issue. With proper safety, and common sense, practiced, I don't see this would be a problem for me.

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
EPIC for a Breathable Shelter on 12/18/2011 21:39:20 MST Print View

Roger,
Guess us yankees must be less self-reliant and need more watching.

I have seen one silnylon tent go up in seconds - reminded me of napalm - and also saw a couple of legal aid pals turn a Svea stove into a flame thrower, that went up about 12 feet. Luckily, we were in a metal roofed shelter, not a tent, and the shelter just got singed a bit. OK, they were from NY City, and may have got frustrated with the stove and kicked it around a bit. But still, lawyers!

So, the PU in the Golite coating with the flame retardant sounds like a pretty good deal to me. The PU might also cut down on the sag. Don't doubt the retardant might be hazardous in the factory, but not sure Golite tents are toxic in the field. Toxic tents! Nice alliteration, but it might be almost libelous, to make an allegation like that.

IMO, the OP made the right choice. And I'm working on a partly Epic tent, no less.
I do think it is worthless for bivies or clothing. The manufacturers generally use much higher HH material for clothing than for tents. We have to give them credit for knowing something.

Kevin Beeden
(captain_paranoia) - F

Locale: UK
re EPIC treatment on 12/19/2011 11:59:45 MST Print View

> Hum ... does the Teflon coating around the fibres in EPIC confer a similar resistance?

Isn't EPIC a silicone encapsulation process, rather than PTFE?

[Tries to find information on Nextec website. Thwarted by useless, information-free website...]

And it's a process, that can be applied to many different base fabrics, including nylon.

Expose equivalent weight EPIC-nylon and silnylon to heat sources, and my guess is the coatings won't provide much protection; they're thin coatings, after all, which will confer very little mechanical strength, I suspect.

Kevin Beeden
(captain_paranoia) - F

Locale: UK
re: lawyers on 12/19/2011 12:03:01 MST Print View

> But still, lawyers!

There probably wasn't a warning sticker on the stove saying "do not kick the stove around a hut and then try to light it", so, had anything gone seriously wrong, they've have sued for a gazillion dollars...

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
epic does burn nicely, especially when applied to cotton on 12/19/2011 12:58:35 MST Print View

I have a whole batch of swatches with Epic silicone rubber treatment. They all burn
quite well, the cotton ones best.

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: re: lawyers on 12/19/2011 13:01:22 MST Print View

My scoutmaster had a stove flareup (the old Svea 123, the kind you set it on fire to prime) and punted it into a tent. Now that I think of it, he was an attorney.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: re EPIC treatment on 12/19/2011 14:34:06 MST Print View

> Isn't EPIC a silicone encapsulation process, rather than PTFE?
Yeah, you might be right. I hadn't had breakfast at that stage. :-)

DO mentioned that EPIC-treated cotton burns well - I can imagine. But the whole idea of EPIC-treated cotton is petty stupid anyhow imho. Yes, I HAVE tried it.

Cheers