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HELP! with finding high quality silnylon in the right color
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Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
HELP! with finding high quality silnylon in the right color on 02/01/2013 23:54:56 MST Print View

A brick wall has appeared, blocking all efforts to find a very water resistant silnylon in a light color that will blend into the wilderness, like light green, beige or tan, for a tent. I've found a yellow that is close to hunters' orange, but nothing that blends into the woodland or mountain background.

This is not just for stealth or concealment, but also because I think the light earth colors simply make for a much better looking tent. I did find a material, Skytex 27, a paraglider nylon with a 'soft hand' made by Porcher Sport in France in a light green, but Roger Caffin tested it for me, and although it had around 1700mm hydrostatic head initially, it quickly broke down to well under 1000mm. It did the same thing on a loop on my back deck - after a longer and heavier rain, wetting out and beginning to leak.

The silnylons sold by Jardine are represented to be better quality, but come more in primary colors, like bright yellow and blue. Extrem Textil no longer seems to have the best quality silnylon, and even so, not in the lighter colors. The silnylon with the Cordura brand has a lower HH. I cannot afford to order the high volumes required by sellers in China. Tests on a muliplicity of silnylons from the usual sellers we go to in the USA showed that if the seller doesn't represent the material to have a high hydrostatic head, well ... it doesn't.

And for a number of reasons that I won't bore you with, I need to use silnylon, rather than Cuben, which can be obtained in light shaded green.

There's the rub. If anyone is on to a source that I might use for a tent or two, please let me know. I will even buy it through you to protect your source, and pay all additional expenses (would need a sample first, but will pay for it). You can PM me on this site.

Thanks for your attention.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: HELP! with finding high quality silnylon in the right color on 02/02/2013 00:03:12 MST Print View


A while back I posted a large number of HH tests I conducted. The Thru-Hiker silnylon tested the best by a very wide margin. Have you considered this material?

Nelson Sherry

Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
Re: HELP! with finding high quality silnylon in the right color on 02/02/2013 00:20:18 MST Print View

The Rain Shed in Corvallis Oregon has a wide selection of all kinds of outdoor fabrics including silnylon. I don't know how much shipping of product they do. But, what an amazing store!

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
silnylon, but ... on 02/02/2013 01:30:49 MST Print View

Thank you for your reply.
Yes, I followed your tests closely. Thank you for all the helpful work you did with them. Alas, T-H has only quite darker colors, along with the bright orange-yellow that I was referring to.

Yes, that is a great store. Not sure if Rainshed's were among the many tested, but am pretty sure the Skylite and Ultrasil are Westmark products, that have been tested and are OK, but nothing close to the Thru-Hiker "Shield" silnyons in terms of water resistance. Maybe I will order a bit of the Ultrasil, though, and see how it's doing these days (they have it in a sand color). You never can tell - thank you.

What is good about T-H's 'Shield' silnylon is that it is not only much more water resistant; but it also sags less than the others when cold and humidity increase. In falling temperatures in the rain, not unusual for backpackers especially in the shoulder seasons, I have observed silnylon to "mist" up heavily (including dripping) on the inside even when highly vented with no one under it, and expand so that it sags. This happened even when half of the canopy was shielded from the rain, and even when the HH was in the 3500mm range (not from T-H). And surprisingly, there was more mist under the shielded side than the side exposed to the rain. So, I don't think the mist is attributable to leakage, but whether it is or not, I would not want to spend the night under such a soaking wet canopy without a protective liner of some kind.

By sagging less, the higher quality coat silnylon will work better with less contact with a netting inner, and if indeed the 'mist' is partly from penetration, allow less of that from which drops can roll off. The most I hope to accomplish with the higher quality silnylon is to achieve a tauter canopy with both elasticity and substantially reduced sag, and to sew strong lap or flat felled seams without a lot of the gluing, bonding, clamping and tighter allowances that go with Cuben. That might be doable for many with a tarp; but with all the seams required for a tent, it is probably a recipe for MYOG madness, and IMO, certainly not an appealing project for those who visit this forum.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: silnylon, but ... on 02/02/2013 07:26:22 MST Print View

If a tent is made of a darker material, it will absorb sunlight better, thus dry out in the sun better.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Recent fabric hunt on 02/02/2013 09:13:42 MST Print View

Can't speak to the quality but, on a recent fabric hunt, Rockywoods and Seattle Fabrics had the widest variety of silnylon colors.

ETA: Quest also has forest, grey and tan.

Edited by DetroitTigerFan on 02/02/2013 10:01:07 MST.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: HELP! with finding high quality silnylon in the right color on 02/02/2013 10:09:14 MST Print View

Bearpaw Wilderness Designs sells fabric by the 1/2 yard. I haven't purchased any myself but recently saw one of his shelters in the 'Light Coyote Brown' which sounds close to what you're looking for.

Bear paw Wilderness Designs

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: HELP! with finding high quality silnylon in the right color on 02/02/2013 11:11:45 MST Print View

Seattle Fabrics

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
high quality silnylon on 02/02/2013 12:11:11 MST Print View

Jerry, if I run out of options, I'll try to keep that in mind whilst looking at a dark brown tent.

Sumi and Dale,
Yes, as best I remember, Roger was kind enough to test the Quest, Seatle Fabrics and Rockywoods offerings for me a few years back when he had more time available to do so. None of them came anywhere near the water resistance of the fabric currently offered by Thru-Hiker. Roger was of the opinion that due to environmental regulations, the process used to silcoat in the USA is not as good as it used to be, and I believe he has expressed that a number of times on this forum.

Eric, the Bearpaw material I don't think Roger got around to. So I should have some from which came the sample I sent him. He has been kind enough to give me a lot of advice about building and operating an HH tester along the lines of the one posted by Lance Marshall on this forum last year; so when that's done, there will be more tests. In the meantme, I will call Bearpaw and ask about the HH.

Thank you all for your helpful suggestions. This seems to be one of those 'Rome wasn't built in a day' situations.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
UPDATE on 02/02/2013 17:00:18 MST Print View

Dug out the Bearpaw and Rockwoods sils, purchased in 2011. They both emit drops at numerous locations when formed into a pouch and subjected to moderate pressure. By contrast, the Thru-Hiker sil does not emit drops no matter how hard I press (don't press like I used to, but the grip is still good). Therefore, it is probably not worth the time and effort to test them on a Suter device.

Will go over the tests that Roger kindly did for me to see if there is anything left out, but don't think so. In the unlikely event there is, will procure some, see how it performs, and post here. As noted in Richard's post above, he already Suter tested and posted the results here for a number of silnylons a year or so ago, so there is quite a data base there to go on.

My offer still stands if anyone can procure any of the 'Shield' silnylon in a medium to light earth color.


P.S. There was one positive development. Noted that Bearpaw sells a lighter .8 oz insect netting in polyester, and in an olive rather than a black, no less. Pretty sure that the polyester will sag less than the nylon, preserving more headroom, and the lighter color is more pleasant to me than black. On the other hand, if the polyester absorbs less water, as expected, would it be more likely to drip any condensation falling from the outer canopy shell? But what I've observed is that if the canopy is shaped to allow the water to roll down the inside, drips are much less likely, and the tauter polyester is better at keeping me and gear from rubbing up against a wet inner wall.

Edited by scfhome on 02/02/2013 17:08:56 MST.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
THANK YOU on 03/27/2013 20:52:00 MDT Print View

Just a note to thank all those who responded to the OP, and to inform you that a source was found. Judy Gross of Lightheart Gear contacted me and offered some lighter colored silnylon with a high HH. It may be offered on her site in the near future.

Thanks also to BPL for offering a forum to search for materials and information, whether it be for MYOG, or just to better understand the fine points of my GPS Foretrex or of calibrating a HH tester (Have faith, Roger - it will get done!).
Without BPL, none of these things would be possible.

Cheers for sure.