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Ray Jardine examines Cuben Fiber
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Dirk R
Well said, Dale on 03/02/2013 01:21:54 MST Print View

Agreed. +1 "If you can run a 50' sailboat upwind, you should be able to use it for a tarp!"


"I'm not going back to silnylon. Much less condensation with cuben." +1 Anthony

Edited by Dirk on 03/02/2013 02:35:40 MST.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Much less condensation with cuben. on 03/02/2013 03:47:18 MST Print View

I'm not sure that cuben in and of itself as a material is less prone to condensation than say PU coated, silnylon or any other material.

If the temperature outside of your tent or tarp varies greatly enough from the temperature inside or underneath your shelter I believe you will see condensation.

Condensation is produced by the evaporative effect of a temperature differential in much as the same way it occurs in an air conditioning unit "evaporator" coil.

I'll agree that some materials are better conductors of heat than others. This is confusing to me though because if for the sake of discussion cuben is less prone to condensation wouldn't that make it more breathable?

Correct if I am wrong, but by nature isn't silnylon more breathable than cuben?

What kind of shelters are we speaking about? How are they set up? Are they single wall, hybrids or double wall shelters?

I want to understand what makes cuben less prone to condensation if it is so.

Party On,


William Chilton
(WilliamC3) - MLife

Locale: Antakya
Cuben fiber v. silnylon on 03/02/2013 03:53:46 MST Print View

Perhaps Ray should watch this video .
It's well known that cuben fiber tears easily from a cut edge. It would be interesting to see the same test with a seamed strip of cuben. Also, is it just me or is Ray pulling the cuben differently from the silnylon? He seems to be jerking it more, and angling the pull to maximise the stress on the weak cut edge.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Cuben fiber v. silnylon on 03/02/2013 04:00:00 MST Print View

"It's well known that cuben fiber tears easily from a cut edge. It would be interesting to see the same test with a seamed strip of cuben. Also, is it just me or is Ray pulling the cuben differently from the silnylon? He seems to be jerking it more, and angling the pull to maximise the stress on the weak cut edge."

Obvious to me. Note the grunting on the soundtrack for the silnylon video. Pure PT Barnum!

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Cuben condensation on 03/02/2013 06:36:26 MST Print View

I've only had a chance to use my hexamid about a dozen nights or so, but I find the condensation is far easier to manage, not that there is necessarily less of it.

When the silnylon would get wet it would hold onto the moisture, sag like crazy no matter how tight the pitch was the night before, and seem to just stay wet. The cuben does get wet, especially over my head (which happens to be where the dog sleeps I blame him), but doesn't seem to drip, sag, or cause me difficulties in any way. It slides down the wall of the hex, runs into the netting on the floor, and worries. (As an aside, while initially quite skeptical of the net floor, I find it rather ingenious now)

This is why, sadly for my bank account, I don't think I would ever buy a silnylon shelter again.

I guess I just need to be careful about pulling it against a sharp edged piece of wood, as some previous folks have warned. Thanks for the heads up!!!

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Ray Jardine examines Cuben Fiber on 03/02/2013 08:22:46 MST Print View

Posted here in On The Web section on 2/18.

Edited by annapurna on 03/02/2013 09:14:53 MST.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Condensation on 03/02/2013 08:50:13 MST Print View

Here's my take on the cuben condensation thing:

Condensation occurs when humid air cools off (contracts) and thus is carrying more water than it can hold so some is squeezed out. This can occur when all the air is cooling off (ie. evening) or it can occur when warm, moist air happens to run into something cold - i.e. your breath in the winter.

Consider a person wearing glasses in the winter who walks inside and the glasses become covered in condensation. Those glasses were cold, so the warm air in the house hit that cold surface, contracted and released condensation. But why does it happen so predominately on the glasses (as opposed to on their hat or something)? It's because the glass has a high heat capacity (essentially density) and it's quick to transfer heat, so any air coming in contact with the glass cools rapidly. Conversely some more insulating doesn't cool air nearly as fast, so condensation is slower to form if at all.

So I suspect that cuben is more insulating than silnylon - perhaps because there may be tiny air spaces between all those spectra fibers. If nothing else, there's less to it so it has less ability to absorb heat (cool off air). So when your warm breath inside the tent hits a cuben wall, it cools off slower and thus may end up being ventilated before it hits the condensation point.

That's my guess. There's also the greenhouse effect with cuben, but that's not really a factor for an open tarp.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Cuben condensation on 03/02/2013 08:56:26 MST Print View

"The cuben does get wet, especially over my head (which happens to be where the dog sleeps I blame him)"

I guess this saves you from having to wear a balaclava?

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Re Balaclava on 03/02/2013 09:00:09 MST Print View

Or skin moisturiser. :-)

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
sil vs cuben .74 on 03/04/2013 12:44:48 MST Print View

breaking test sil vs cuben .74A simple test. the seam between the fabrics is just rolled over and stitched once. I applied body weight and jumped a bit. The main rolled seam held and the cuben fiber tie out connection stretched the stitch holes but held, the silnylon failed at the tie out. Nothing was reinforced.

A shelter that sags when wet can be due to poor pattern design.

Dale South
(dsouth) - M

Locale: Southeast
Canvas vs Sil on 03/05/2013 05:58:13 MST Print View

Just wonder what forums would have been like if the Internet had existed back in the day when nylon appeared on the scene to replace canvas? Probably an awful lot of nylon shelter detractors.

Tony Ronco
(tr-browsing) - MLife
ZPacks Cuben Fiber Material Comparison on 03/17/2013 20:35:40 MDT Print View


Peter Longobardi
(paintplongo) - F

Locale: Hopefully on the Trail
Trolls on 03/19/2013 06:30:18 MDT Print View

Look at all the cyberhikers go!

What does it matter what he thinks about Cuben to you?

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Trolls on 03/19/2013 06:32:42 MDT Print View

Why do you care what they care about Peter? Or are you just hurling insults this morning? Pot calling the kettle black.

Steve B
(geokite) - F

Locale: Southern California
actually on 03/19/2013 12:49:33 MDT Print View

Actually I have no idea what he things of cuben. The video didn't have any text or voiced opinions (other than grunting). But it leads us to conclude that he doesn't know how to examine it properly, or that he wishes to sway his minions with a distorted test. But what he thinks of cuben? I have no idea.

Certainly you knew this. right?


Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: cuben on 03/19/2013 15:25:48 MDT Print View

Wow, I see an awful lot of tarps and backpacks out of those two pieces of sail!!

Edited by ben2world on 03/19/2013 15:27:02 MDT.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Re: Re: cuben on 03/19/2013 18:37:57 MDT Print View

Don't forget about the dry bags and rain skirts which could be made out of the off cuts :-)

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: Re: Re: cuben on 03/19/2013 18:42:19 MDT Print View

Ray is always 10 years too late and 95 cents short.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Cuben Pirates on 03/19/2013 18:44:12 MDT Print View

Will Ultralight backpackers form pirate bands and raid sailing boats for their sails? I have this image in my head of UL hiker/pirates climbing over the rails with titanium swords between their teeth.
Okay I'm weird.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Cuben Pirates on 03/19/2013 18:57:48 MDT Print View

Titanium swords and carbon fiber peglegs.