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Cuben Haven arrived
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Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
What kind of weight variation is acceptable? on 06/19/2012 12:19:57 MDT Print View


no one is bringing out the torches. I too own severeal pieces of SMD gear and have been very happy with those products. I'm also very happy with the Cuben Haven.

My question was what weight variation is acceptable based on Ron's first reply "Weight of our gear is not specified as fixed value. Weights will fluctuate depending upon the materials used."

Many of us publish their gear lists in grams. Many vendors publish their gear also in grams (for example "Hexamid Twin Tent w/ Screen - 11.2 oz (318 grams)"). Thus I believe there is a justified expectation towards UL gear manufacturers to stay within a couple of grams of the published weight. My Haven Net Tent is by over 60 grams off. That is over 15% more than the published weight.

So my question to the wider community -- independent of vendor -- is how much variability do you find acceptable. 1%, 2%, 5% or even 10%? Or do you even accept 15% and 20% variability? What is reasonable? Should the vendors publish ranges if they don't mean the published weights to be fixed values? Or should they publish maximum weights? How far should a vendor go when publishing weights?

Just to reiterate. I like SMD products and this is the first time I have this kind of issue with any of the UL manufacturers I have bought from (SMD, GG, MLD, Lawson, Trail Designs, Zpacks etc.). So please no torches, just a sensible discussion about reasonable expectations.


Edited by Orienteering on 06/19/2012 13:39:55 MDT.

George Geist
(geist) - M

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: What kind of weight variation is acceptable? on 06/19/2012 13:35:40 MDT Print View

> So my question to the wider community -- independent of vendor --
> is how much variability do you find acceptable. 1%, 2%, 5% or even 10%?

I had a chance to use the Cuben Haven over the past weekend
and I'm really very happy with it. By using the SMD "L" stakes
rather than my groundhog stakes I saved 2oz, which would make
up for the Haven nettent weight difference.

As for variability. My experience is that the UL cottage guys
(and I have bought from most of them) have been always been
within an ounce of their specs. I think we have now established that
the Haven nettent is not manufacturing variability but rather
a change to a more durable netting. I expect that all the latest
batch of nettents will be very close to the same weight.

How much variability I would find acceptable varies by the absolute
weight. For example an item that is supposed to be 5 grams but
weighs 8 grams - I'm not going to care. That is way below what I
can feel even although the percent difference is huge.
On the other hand a 1 pound item, I would expect to be within an oz,
And a 5 pound item to be within a couple ounces of spec.

Ron Moak
(rmoak) - F
Manufacture Weight Deviations on 06/19/2012 15:21:23 MDT Print View

Sometimes when you've been around a longtime you forget that there are lots of new people who've not experienced the rough and tumble world that characterized the early days of ultralight gear. Also in recent years materials has become more consistent in weight. In the early days of SMD we'd get a supply of tents in two colors where one color was often as much as two ounces heaver than the other. Simply because the application of silicone could vary significantly between production runs.

There have also been times in our existence when we made changes to a product between production runs which lead to as much as 1.5 ounce weight savings. Yet, we maintained the heavier weight on our product pages for over a year. Funny no one accused us of running a fraudulent business when that happened.

I realize that many people associate weight as an absolute specification. The reality is that final weight is culmination of a number of processes. It can and does vary even between different products in the same production run. From a design aspect, we don't and can't specify a weight. We do set weight targets or goals we're trying to reach. Then we try and work with all of the various components to achieve the goal. This frequently means shaving a bit off here adding a bit there in the design phase.

Even then weights can alter when moving from design to production. So when issuing a new product, we generally delay publication of the weight until after we've received production items. Then a number of items are weighted, the average is generated and published.

Things start getting far more complex when doing subsequent production runs. Then add in buying large quantities of materials for multiple production runs of different items of gear that may share common fabrics and notions. Things occasionally get tweaked to respond to customer complaints or suggestions. Gear gets assembled differently as techniques improve, parts change if a style is no longer available or a better part is available at a lower cost.

Once a product is designed and added to our product mix, there are any number of places where weights are posted. These include numerous locations on the website, catalog, flyers, price list, hang tags, etc. Invariably if someone comes along a spots a discrepancy in the weights listed in any one of the possible locations, we'll get multiple emails from people happy to point out our failings. As such we try to maintain some handle on things by limiting our updates to times when we're dealing with our entire product and marketing literature at one go. It's easier and it ensures more accuracy in the end.

Believe me, there's no one who hates increasing the weight of gear as much as I do. Most of my thoughts are on reducing weight, not increasing it. So if we do need to occasionally increase the weight on an item it's done because it makes the product the better.

William Wang
(billwang) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
Thanks on 06/19/2012 15:43:46 MDT Print View

Ron, thank you very much for your prompt explanations. It all sounds very reasonable to me. I'm very much looking forward to the new tent. I've been using a Zpacks Hexamid Twin mostly for solo use and a Tarptent Double Rainbow for two person. I'm hoping the cuben haven with the net tent will take the place of the double rainbow for two person trips at significant weight savings. Thanks again. -Bill.

Andy Duncan
(bluewater) - M

Locale: SoCal
Manufacture Weight Deviations on 06/20/2012 12:36:40 MDT Print View

Thanks for starting this post Manfred. I just noticed it last night so I'm a little late joining in. I also ordered a Cuben Haven with the Net Tent. It was mailed out on schedule (June 12th).

I weighed both when they arrived and my first impression was that these are high quality ultralight products with the innovative design typical of SMD.

cuben haven

net tent

net tent scale

The tarp weighs 10 ozs without the stuff sack. The net tent weighs 16.7 ozs with the stuff sack and 16.1 without it.

I haven't setup the tarp because I noticed some of the seams were not taped and it looked like the stitching was stretching the material.

Ron took my call yesterday and spent a lot of time thoroughly explaining the reasons for the difference between the advertised weight and the actual weight of the net tent. The variation in the weight of the newer material was described in his post.

Ron also explained that all of the load bearing seams have been taped and that the few seams that have not can be sealed with a silicon based sealer (like other tarps) or with the use of cuben tape. He mentioned that the tape used on the tarp is for structural reinforcement and the water tightness is not the primary benefit.

Considering the total price for the tarp and net tent I was impressed with the cuben tarp, but disappointed by the weight variation in the net tent.

My only experience with industry variations is in the residential and commercial real estate appraisal industry. We typically accept a 10% range as acceptable. This 10% range means 5% above or 5% below an indicated value. In the appraisal industry an acceptable range for a 14 ozs piece of gear would be from 13.3 ozs to 14.7 ozs.

Is this applicable to ultralight gear manufactured by a designer with decades of experience in the cottage industry? Probably not. It's important for me to remember that UL gear is for recreation, not a federally insured financial transaction.

Although I wish I had one of the lighter weight net tents from the previous batch, I'm still psyched to get out on the trail with my wife and use this new gear. I'm a gear head. I weigh all my stuff. This gear is extremely cool.

I'm glad that designing, manufacturing and delivering innovative high quality gear when promised are the top priorities, although having the advertised and actual weights match would be appreciated when deciding what gear to buy in the future.

NW Hiker
(king2005ify) - M
website on 06/20/2012 12:50:19 MDT Print View

I find it funny that after all this discussion, and the now known weight of this inner tent, that the SMD web-site still has the wrong weight listed.

I would be upset if my item came in ounces over the listed weight (couple of grams fine, but items can't be off by ounces ever), and obviously everyone purchasing these isn't going to read this so I guess they'll be upset.

Also, since they are changing materials, does this now mean all items utilizing this new netting will have incorrect weights as well?

weight on 06/20/2012 18:45:39 MDT Print View

The issue I see is that the listed weight is an important criteria which people use to make their purchase decision, relative to their other purchase options, and they expect only normal possible variances.

The lighter and more expensive the item, the more important it becomes, and the less variance they expect. I suspect that when paired with the silnylon Haven, for a 32oz tent, the objection would have been less than when expecting a 24oz tent paired with the Cuben Haven.

It is especially interesting that some mfgs may report to the nearest 0.1 oz, and be right on the money.

I have no doubt that it is a problem which becomes compounded by scale of operations, outsourcing, raw material variances between suppliers, etc. However, it IS still the responsibility of the manufacturer to maintain the listed information as accurately as possible. The difficulty of maintaining correct information and on-spec product does not absolve the mfg of the responsibility, it is but one more cost of running a successful business, and that applies to most industries.

In this particular case, I dont think 0.5 oz would have raised an eyebrow. 2oz does, especially when it turns out that the mfg knew about it and failed to inform potential buyers.

In my industry, if I shipped a company a product that did not meet the purchase specification, it would be sent right back with a corporate complaint filed, and you would possibly lose a customer. Maybe I just have higher standards based on real world business, I dont know. I am used to mfgs bending over backwards to insure customers have the correct info on their products. It insures a happy customer if their expectations are met, and that means a repeat customer.

Edited by livingontheroad on 06/20/2012 19:01:13 MDT.

Mike Hensel
(mike220) - M

Locale: Northwest
Updated weight on net tent on 06/22/2012 15:15:56 MDT Print View

Saw the Net Tent for the Haven has a note on the features section stating the current weight, and and details regarding the difference.

William Wang
(billwang) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
Tarp and net tent weights on 06/25/2012 22:25:22 MDT Print View

Hi, I just opened my Cuben haven tarp and net tent and weighed them. On my Pelouze scale the tarp weighs 9.8 oz (279g) and the net tent weighs 16.0 (453g), both without the supplied sacks. I haven't set them up yet but I expect the total setup to weigh in at about 28oz with 6 easton nano stakes and some extra spectra line. I can't wait to set it up but its dark now!

Nathan Stuart

Locale: Hunter Valley - Australia
Off weights on 06/25/2012 22:49:41 MDT Print View

As an owner of plenty of cottage industry "cuben" bling !! I'd be dissapointed with a 2oz difference on a shelter total weight. Maybe a 1/2 oz variance on a tent/tarp is ok.

We pay big bucks for this gear and trust the manurfacturer to be on the money with weight. I have read all the comments and think a good explanation has been given for why the extra weight but it's nice to know that before purchase, not find out when it arrives.

Still if the website isn't reflecting what the net tent actually weighs I think thats dodgy after all the explanations and chat here about it.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Off weights on 06/25/2012 23:00:20 MDT Print View

The much easier solution is to move away from those manufacturers who are full of excuses. I already have.


NW Hiker
(king2005ify) - M
On the site on 06/26/2012 10:59:00 MDT Print View

Hey guys, did you not see Mike's response a couple of posts up "Saw the Net Tent for the Haven has a note on the features section stating the current weight, and and details regarding the difference."

Looks like they are making note of this and pointing it out, although I don't see why the posted weight is still 14 oz, is it that tough to change on the site?

George Geist
(geist) - M

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: Haven Tarp under spec weight on 06/26/2012 11:12:24 MDT Print View

> On my Pelouze scale the tarp weighs 9.8 oz (279g)

Seems like a lot of the Haven Tarps are actually coming in UNDER the spec weight.
That's what I like to see.

Jacob D
(JacobD) - F

Locale: North Bay
Re: What kind of weight variation is acceptable? on 06/26/2012 14:30:42 MDT Print View

Manfred, to get back to your question...

Typically when one is purchasing any raw materials tolerances are available from the material manufacturer. I don't know if this holds true for all fabrics, no experience here to answer that. I think to come to a reasonable number on what an acceptable variance is we'd have to have an idea of the tolerances of the materials utilized.

For me, 5% seems reasonable and my gut feeling tells me that should be a realistic number to hit, but again I don't know.

It really shouldn't be too difficult for gear manufacturers to go the extra mile and work out some tolerances for their finished products in order to publish maximum weights as well as 'typical' and/or minimum weights; the weight has got to be one of the first specs a UL backpacker looks at. (gauntlet thrown down)

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: What kind of weight variation is acceptable? on 06/26/2012 15:37:35 MDT Print View

Every piece of UL gear I have purchased from cottage manufacturers has pretty much come in right at or near specs with maybe a few grams here or there. This includes my Six Moons Wild Oasis. And I have bought a lot of UL gear.

zPacks has been the most accurate, usually within a couple grams and I have probably purchased at least a dozen different items from Joe, with different kinds of materials.

The cottage manufacturers are probably more attuned to weight than the traditional manufacturers, and they usually market their products based on weight... more than value, price, etc. And we purchase these products with a "heavy" (pun intended) eye on the weight. So a large variation of more than a couple percentage points is not going to be acceptable to most of their customers.

If a manufacturer cannot produce a product at a consistent weight, then it would be best to publish the weight range. Gossamer Gear this. The weight spec on a 3/4 length Nightlight pad is: 10.6 - 12.8 oz. (340 – 352 g.)

That is quite a variation, but the buyer knows it before purchasing it.

Tim Cleary

Locale: Lost
Well as much as I enjoyed the extended discussion about weight variances... on 06/26/2012 19:53:04 MDT Print View

I just wanted to get back to the OP on the tent. It looks awesome. I wish I had the coin to pick one of those up. SMD website makes it sound like these are going like pancakes.

Looking forward to the first field report,.,,

Mikkel Filskov

Locale: UI
Re: What kind of weight variation is acceptable? on 10/25/2012 14:33:29 MDT Print View

Manfred, could you post some pictures showing how small this all packs down together? I'm looking into buying one as well, but are unsure of the bulkfactor in real world conditions.


Edited by mikkelfilskov on 10/25/2012 14:34:59 MDT.

Brian Johns

Locale: NorCal
To be fair to SMD on 10/25/2012 22:27:01 MDT Print View

They do strive for accuracy in weights and in my experience are below the stated weight (I have owned a Scout and currently own a Trekker in Silnylon. After seam sealing in a cuben stuff sack its .5 oz. under the stated weight. The scout was the same way, 2 oz. under before sealing. The net tents, while heavier than stated, are not the expensive component of the Haven system. They are reasonably priced. You could sell it and see if someone like Bearpaw could provide a lighter product. I am not sure, given the space, that anyone else could beat that 4 oz. spec.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: To be fair to SMD on 10/26/2012 01:52:07 MDT Print View

I too want to echo my support of SMD as many others have.

This year I have purchased two SMD Skyscape X shelters from Six Moon Designs. I purchased each one from two of the different production releases that they had - in other words, the shelters were made at two different times in two different batches.

Both of them where *exactly* 425 grams! As somebody who buys a number of shelters throughout the year (8 last year, 6 this year) I have to say that when the second one showed up and it was dead-on exactly what the manufacturer claimed weight would be was truly amazed - I wrote SMD an email expressing my appreciation to quality control on of their products. To anybody who doubts the QC of SMD on a large scale basis, I simply find that hard to accept.


George Geist
(geist) - M

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: Cuben Haven Packed size on 10/28/2012 21:25:11 MDT Print View

> could you post some pictures showing how small this all packs down together?

Hi Mikkel,

Here is the size of the Cuben Haven packed with all cordage and stakes.
Cuben Haven packed size

Does this give you what you wanted to know about the size?