Forum Index » GEAR » Help me decide: cuben vs. silnylon for Skyscape upgrade


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Brian Johns
(bcutlerj) - M

Locale: NorCal
Help me decide: cuben vs. silnylon for Skyscape upgrade on 07/14/2012 13:57:41 MDT Print View

I purchased a SMD Skyscape Scout as a way of testing the waters on a hybrid solo shelter and am completely sold on the Skyscape design from Sixmoon Designs. My dilemma now is this: has cuben construction come far enough along to make more than tarps with it? Does it make more sense to wait for the price to drop on this non-mainstream material? Looks like SMD will be shipping cuben "X" model Skyscapes next week, and I'll be selling my scout to save a few ounces. But how many? 10 or 19? The difference weighs less than a can of beer, but a brew is oh so nice in the backcountry. What would you do?

Charles P
(mediauras) - F

Locale: Terra
Re: Help me decide: cuben vs. silnylon for Skyscape upgrade on 07/14/2012 14:45:06 MDT Print View

I would sell your Scout to me. Seriously. :-) And I'm local.

But to address your question: guess if you're comfortable spending the money, then do it. A fully enclosed shelter weighing under a 1 lb is a real treat.

Brian Johns
(bcutlerj) - M

Locale: NorCal
Fist dibs to Charles on 07/14/2012 14:54:34 MDT Print View

Should be up for grabs mid next week. You got first dibs. Just need to make sure if I head up to immigrant gap next weekend, I'll be covered. Thanks or the input. Keeps the meter with a slight edge toward cuben.

Nick Brown
(ojsglove)

Locale: Highland Park
cuben vs. silnylon on 07/14/2012 15:00:26 MDT Print View

I seem to remember reading recently that there will be an article coming shortly regarding shelter durability. It implied that Cuben didn't fair well. If you are swayed by such things perhaps it would be worth the wait. That said I do not own any cuben products and many people here seem to be very happy with theirs. The opinion of a hundred plus users may be worth more than a SOTMR. If the shelter is to be used in Winter silnylon is preferable due to the stretch. Good luck and enjoy your new digs!

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
tent on 07/14/2012 15:26:59 MDT Print View

People have got to get over the idea that gear should last forever. Sorry, it doesnt if it is used. Nothing does. You pay $40,000 for a car to last 7 yrs...if you are lucky, but balk at a pack or shelter not being as durable as cordura.

Its nonsense. Even if it did it wouldnt be used 10 yrs from now. How many people are carrying packs or shelters more than 10yr old? Or even 5 yrs old?

Durability and light wt are mutually exclusive, get used to that concept. The advantage with cuben, is you can repair it yourself with cuben tape, easily, professionally, and permanently.

As for the tent, go for the cuben. You will love having taped seams and not needing to slather goopy crap on it to make it water resistant. Heck that alone is worth at least $100.

Jeff M.
(Catalyst)

Locale: Costa Mesa, CA
$$$ on 07/14/2012 16:13:07 MDT Print View

Basically it comes down to whether or not it is worth the money. I went through this decision very recently and ended up choosing a silnylon shelter. I was a little concerned with cuben durability (and the above referenced SOTM report that will be coming out). I decided that cuben shelter durability would likely be fine for my needs (lots of people use them) but ultimately decided the difference in weight wasn't worth the extra money for me.

Edited by Catalyst on 07/14/2012 16:52:15 MDT.

Brian Johns
(bcutlerj) - M

Locale: NorCal
Thanks!! on 07/14/2012 16:50:16 MDT Print View

For all the great and thoughtful replies. They haven't tipped the scales for me yet, but have given me some new considerations to aid my decision process. Will let you know what I decide. Keep'em coming guys and gals.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: tent on 07/14/2012 16:53:27 MDT Print View

"How many people are carrying packs or shelters more than 10yr old? Or even 5 yrs old? "

I must be in a minority. My current backpacks are almost ten years old.

Lots of people are drawn toward cuben fiber because some of it is extremely lightweight, like much less than 1 ounce per square yard. However, much of that is not very durable. The durable stuff tends to be 1 to 2 ounces per square yard, but now it hasn't gained you much advantage in the weight category.

--B.G.--

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
Skyscape on 07/14/2012 18:35:33 MDT Print View

0.74oz cuben is amazing stuff. As long as the shelter is decently well constructed (which I assume it is) then I'd definately go cuben if you can afford it. Keep in mind the weight difference gets larger once you factor in 1-2oz to seam seal the silnylon version.

I forget what the Skyscape X uses for a floor, but I think it's silnylon which is preferable over 0.74oz cuben. IMO, 0.74oz cuben is a great material for the canopy/fly of a tent as it's super strong, but it's a poor choice for a floor because it doesn't handle abrasion very well. Silnylon or 1.2-1.5oz cuben is far better for a floor.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Skyscape on 07/14/2012 18:48:46 MDT Print View

Dan:

According to the SMD website, both floor and canopy are Cuben CT2K.08

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Skyscape on 07/14/2012 18:51:19 MDT Print View

" forget what the Skyscape X uses for a floor, but I think it's silnylon which is preferable over 0.74oz cuben."

Unfortunately, the floor of the Skyscape X is .74 cuben. It was a concern for me, but I decided to chance it and use a piece of polycryo underneath. I'll report back at the end of the year. If it doesn't work out, I'll probably ask Ron to upgrade it to heavier cuben for me if the cost isn't too high. Sweet tent otherwise.

Brian Johns
(bcutlerj) - M

Locale: NorCal
.74 oz. canopy and floor on 07/14/2012 18:59:19 MDT Print View

The specs on the SMD site say CTK2.08 which, I believe (after googling a bit) is .74 oz. cuben fabric. The floor is white and the canopy olive but the material weight, unlike the 20D/40D silnylon canopy/floor on the Trekker, is the same weight. Would this cause any reluctance for you in terms of the pressing durability question? For an extra $225 I could probably cut a pound off my sleep system for warmer trips at least, i.e., with an enlightened equipment or similar quilt to replace my MB UL SS spiral bag which weighs 28-ish ounces.

Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Alaska
Cuben vs Silnylon on 07/14/2012 19:05:50 MDT Print View

I just haven't been able to drink the cuben koolaid. 24 ounces vs 15 ounces isn't really that big of a deal, and will be hardly noticeable in your pack, as you alluded to.

Personally, while I am not super tough on my gear, I don't see the point in paying twice the price for less durability. I suppose it depends on how often you want to use the tent, how tough you are on your gear, and whether you're willing to pony up the cost. I would imagine the extra cost for cuben could better spent somewhere else. Your mileage may vary.

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
Skyscape on 07/14/2012 22:44:15 MDT Print View

I wouldn't buy a shelter with a 0.74oz/CT2K.08 floor. You could get away with it if you did meticulous site prep and/or used a groundsheet, but if you use a groundsheet then you're cancelling out the weight savings. IMO, it's what Skurka would call 'stupid light' but some guys love it. Depends on your hiking style and locale.

Edited by dandydan on 07/14/2012 22:45:17 MDT.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
More opinions on 07/14/2012 23:12:12 MDT Print View

on John Abela's site about the cuben version. He really liked it. Good advice above from a few people very familiar with cuben though. Can't beat first hand experience.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Help me decide: cuben vs. silnylon for Skyscape upgrade on 07/15/2012 02:08:12 MDT Print View

I have used cuben and silnylon shelters. To me, the question that would be worth asking yourself is: "When and where do I do the majority of my backpacking?"

In my opinion, the entire choice between shelter materials can be determined in a large measure as to the climate and seasons you go backpacking. Since you live in the lovely Bay Area, I suspect that the Sierra and northern California will be your general backpacking area. If that is the case, and presuming that you don't spend the majority of your time backpacking the wetter sections of the coast (Santa Cruz mountains and far northern reaches of California), then few of the downsides of silnylon really applies, other than the weight penalty over cuben. Silynylon sags in the rain (or areas with high humidity), that much is known and accepted.

In California, I found this isn't much of a consideration, since it barely rains during the summer (again, an assumption that you are a three-season backpacker) and the relatively humidity is very low. You could use just about any well-designed shelter and it would fare well. So then, the entire question becomes one of money, weight and anticipated wear-and-tear. Silnylon is strong, especially in wind. It will put up with a lot. Cuben needs to babied a bit more, as Nick points out.

To some, the weight savings would be worth the money. I prefer cuben here in (often) wet Washington, for the sag factor. But the silnylon tents I've owned were definitively tougher.

Dirk

Edited by dirk9827 on 07/15/2012 04:23:27 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Gear Durability on 07/15/2012 13:24:41 MDT Print View

@ "MB"

Gotta disagree with you MB. Gear that is durable does not necessarily have to be heavy. My TT Moment tent or CC Sidewinder stove are light yet quite durable. It all depends on the QUALITY of construction - and of course, reasonable care given during use and storage.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Skyscape on 07/15/2012 16:41:26 MDT Print View

"but if you use a groundsheet then you're cancelling out the weight savings."

Use a trimmed down polycryo ground sheet and you're coming in at around 16.5 oz. That's still far lighter than the silnylon version.

"IMO, it's what Skurka would call 'stupid light' but some guys love it."

C'mon, Dan. You can disagree, fine, but stupid??

Charles P
(mediauras) - F

Locale: Terra
review on 07/15/2012 16:58:39 MDT Print View

Here is link to John Abela's review. Its fairly glowing, worth a read.

But: though he reports being satisfied with durability of 0.74 cuben fiber for the canopy, he would like to see an option to have a bathtub/floor made of 1.24 cuben fiber.

http://hikelighter.com/2012/04/03/six-moon-designs-skyscape-x/

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: review on 07/15/2012 17:14:41 MDT Print View

"But: though he reports being satisfied with durability of 0.74 cuben fiber for the canopy, he would like to see an option to have a bathtub/floor made of 1.24 cuben fiber."

Myself, as well, and I've bet $450 that Ron will be amenable to that, especially if user feedback indicates problems with the .74 Cuben. He has integrity and cares about customer satisfaction, not to mention making sure his products are manufactured to the highest standards. It'll be interesting to see how this one plays out as folks gain experience with the current version of "X". As I said, I put $450 on the line, despite questions about the floor, based on the above assumption. I'm not worried.