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Cuben Tarps: HMG vs ZPACKS
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Michael Schwartz
(greenwalk) - MLife

Locale: PA & Ireland
Cuben Tarps: HMG vs ZPACKS on 12/09/2012 12:47:10 MST Print View

I am looking to get a cuben tarp and am considering two, one from HMG and the other from ZPACKS.

Would appreciate comments about the differences and/or preferences. Also, should I be considering another company's offering? Any info/insights appreciated. --Mike

Info taken from each company’s website:

• 8.5 ft x 10 ft
• Constructed from .74 oz/sq yd cuben fiber fabric.
• New - The ridge seam and all tie out reinforcements are now sewn and taped for extra strength. No seam sealing necessary!
• 12 tie out loops (extra loops are $2.00 each)
• A Cuben Fiber stuff sack and the seam tape is included in the prices and weights shown.
• The material width is 54" so the maximum width with a center seam is about 8.5 feet.
• Weight: approx. 8.2 ounces
• Cost: $270.00 (includes $15.00 custom charge) with free shipping

• Dimensions = 8 ft. X 10 ft.
• Made from ultralight CF8 (.78 oz/yd)
• Fully bonded radial double reinforced tie-outs with line locs
• Fully bonded, "stitchless" ridgeline seam
• 16 Perimeter tie-outs
• Custom-made ultralight Spectra guy lines
• Weight: 8.6 ounces
• Cost: $325.00 plus shipping

Edited by greenwalk on 12/09/2012 13:20:57 MST.

William Chilton
(WilliamC3) - MLife

Locale: Antakya
Re: Cuben Tarps: HMG vs ZPACKS on 12/09/2012 13:14:22 MST Print View

The standard ZPacks tarp is made from .51 oz/sqyd cuben fiber, not .74 oz. They will do them in .74 oz if you request it, but I suspect there will be a small extra charge.

Michael Schwartz
(greenwalk) - MLife

Locale: PA & Ireland
Cuben Tarps: HMG vs ZPACKS on 12/09/2012 13:23:54 MST Print View


Thanks for reminding me. I have edited my original post to reflect ZPACKS $15.00 custom charge and the weight increase of approx. 1.5 ounces for the .74 cuben. Thanks for that! I'm sure both tarps are excellent choices. Just wondering what others think. Hopefully I'll get some comments based on field experience too.

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: Cuben Tarps: HMG vs ZPACKS on 12/09/2012 14:04:35 MST Print View

Hey Michael,

I have owned and used tarps from both companies.

You asked about other companies worth looking at. You should add the MLD CF Grace Tarps to your list of ones you are looking at. Pretty sure MLD has been making CF tarps a year or two longer then ZPacks and waaaay longer then HMG.

So here is how this works Michael:

HMG makes extremely overbuilt shelters. Their extra weight comes from larger sized re-enforcements and their custom made guy line that everybody I know removes and replaces.

MLD makes their shelters middle of the road when it comes to construction. They, I and others believe, perfected the method of how to work with cuben fiber, bonding the seams and threading.

ZPacks pushes the boundaries of working with cuben fiber in order to provide the lightest weight possible cf tarps that you can buy. The smallest re-enforcement areas, the least amount of tape and thread, yet still provide a durable shelter for all but the most horrific situations.

In the end, cuben fiber is cuben fiber is cuben fiber. They all buy it from the same company. ZPacks, unlike HMG or MLD offers the ability to have your shelter made in multiple weights of cuben fiber.

I have used 0.74, 0.51 and even a 0.34 tarp from ZPacks. None of them have ever failed me.

I have used a 0.74 tarp from HMG. Without a doubt the most bombproof tarp I have ever owned and never failed me.

I have used a 0.74 tarp from MLD. It was the finest made of all the tarps I have ever used and never failed me.

So really Michael it just all comes down to the sizes of the different shelters, the weight of material that you want to go with, and how abusive you are with your gear.


Michael Schwartz
(greenwalk) - MLife

Locale: PA & Ireland
Cuben Tarps: HMG vs ZPACKS on 12/09/2012 16:10:19 MST Print View


Thanks for your reply with a very useful overview. This is EXACTLY the kind of info I was hoping to get here. I can't believe I overlooked MLD; I thought they specialize in cat cut tarps but will look into their cuben rectangular and square tarps.

I always enjoy reading your blog. Cheers!

James DeGraaf
(jdegraaf) - MLife

Locale: Bay Area
MLD v HMG on 12/10/2012 09:39:08 MST Print View

Hi, I have the 9'x9' from HMG and its awesome. The only downside is that the ridge line tie out points don't have trekking pole grommets like there is on the MLD. Otherwise they both come with line locks, bonded ridge line (aka no seam sealing required), side panel pull outs. MLD and HMG are the two cuben tarp companies I have experience with and I don't think you'll go wrong with either. Bonus I just remembered the MLD tarps have hang loops on the inside of the ridge line.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F on 12/11/2012 07:43:15 MST Print View

if you're looking for a larger tarp, add a 4th company into the fray...

they make a smaller one as well.

i use that tarp to hammock, but would have no issues using it on the ground...

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Cuben Tarps on 12/11/2012 09:11:49 MST Print View

One other option to consider is Bear Paw Wilderness Designs. They're the lowest cost of the bunch (8 x 10 is $250) and their customer service is awesome.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
.51 vs .74 Cuben tarps from HMG or Zpacks follow-up on 03/28/2013 12:12:37 MDT Print View

Reviving an older thread.

I'm looking to trade-in by BPL .74 cuben catenary tarp for a flat cuben tarp. I want to start hammocking a bit this summer and a 8.5'x8.5' flat tarp could serve as both hammock and ground tarp.

My only real dilemma is really .51 vs .74. I have the .74 cuben BPL tarp, so I'm familiar with that and it withstood a pretty intense hailstorm in the Sierra's a couple years back. I suppose I should really just get the either the HMG or pay for the custom upgrade to .74 cuben in the zpacks for an extra oz or two, but I wouldn't mind hearing people's opinions on the .51 stuff first.

Steve Meier
(smeier) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Virga Outdoors? on 03/28/2013 13:32:16 MDT Print View

You may want to add Virga Outdoors to your search as well. I have their bivy and was so impressed with it that I ordered their cat-cut Wraith CF tarp as well. Good price on their products as well.