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Packman Pete
(packmanpete) - MLife

Locale: Rainy Portland
Cuben Fiber - what's not to like? on 05/03/2013 07:00:07 MDT Print View

Hey guys, I've been using cuben tarps for a few years, and am considering going back to silnylon or home-made polycro tarps. Why? There are some inherent qualities about cuben fiber that I just can't stand. I wonder if anybody else feels this way. I'm going to start this thread and list one frustration I have with cuben, and I would expect any other commenters to also list one. let's see where this goes...

It does not 'stuff' into a stuff sack. It's not compressible and slippery like silnylon. You must fold it and roll it as tight as possible to make it fit into tiny included stuff sacks. It leaves wear marks where it is folded each time, and takes two people to get it right. Hate it!

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: The Gore Range
Re: Cuben Fiber - what's not to like? on 05/03/2013 07:21:58 MDT Print View

The price.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Cuben Fiber - what's not to like? on 05/03/2013 07:50:50 MDT Print View

It does not take abraision well without leaking.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Cuben Fiber - what's not to like? on 05/03/2013 07:59:37 MDT Print View

I have cuben (0.74) stuff sacks and they are still completely waterproof and they get compressed, twisted, and stuffed in my pack.

I have never used cuben for a shelter, however.


Edit: damn Iphone

Edited by FamilyGuy on 05/03/2013 09:06:15 MDT.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Cuben Fiber - what's not to like? on 05/03/2013 08:13:57 MDT Print View

Hmmm...

I have no problems whatsoever stuffing my cuben hexamid into its teeny stuff sack. Then it compresses even more when it's in my pack. So far I love the stuff.

I even like that weird chemical smell it has ;)

Packman Pete
(packmanpete) - MLife

Locale: Rainy Portland
Re: Re: Cuben Fiber - what's not to like? on 05/03/2013 08:22:20 MDT Print View

I can't get mine to fit back into their stuff sacks to save my soul. I have to do this ridiculous and meticulous fold-up procedure each time. Drives me batty. I like to cram and jam!

Jeff M.
(Catalyst)

Locale: Costa Mesa, CA
Re: Re: Re: Cuben Fiber - what's not to like? on 05/03/2013 08:27:03 MDT Print View

Sounds like you just need a different stuff sack ;)

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Cuben Fiber - what's not to like? on 05/03/2013 08:54:23 MDT Print View

While I generally do a fold/roll with my cuben shelters, I have just stuffed 'em into a stuffsack when I've been in a hurry. Never worried about it, so it's certainly doable. There was a thread on here, I think a couple of years ago, about folding/rolling vs. just stuffing. I think the general consensus was there was no appreciable difference.

And I've always just stuffed my cuben quilts, never a fold/roll. Slightly different than a shelter, I know, just adding info.

What's not to like? No phosphorescent colors. I like things nice and bright. Other than that, as Tim said, the price. And, perhaps, the fact that Henry won't make any of his shelters with it.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
The Price on 05/03/2013 09:00:37 MDT Print View

It is too expensive to suit me. I figure that I can have a base weight of 7 pounds or so if I want to go pretty minimal without spending much. With a few Cuben items to replace my silnylon ones, I could save a few more ounces at the cost of 100's of dollars. It doesn't seem like a good deal to me, so I'll pass for now.

Since I am too cheap to buy Cuben fiber stuff I can't speak first hand to it's disadvantages.

Andrew Zajac
(AZajac)

Locale: South West
cuben stuff sacks on 05/03/2013 09:13:12 MDT Print View

+1 to getting a larger stuff sack. However, my current strategy is to go without the stuff sack. I don't have much long-term experience with this method, but I usually just fold my 8x10 tarp until it is pretty flat and shove it into my pack between my pack liner and pack to avoid wetting my stuff while still protecting the tarp. I don't know if this will affect its durability, but I seem to remember an article on BPL discussing damage and failure rates for people using different tarp/tent stuffing methods. I haven't given it a thorough read, but it looks like it could provide some answers.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=31071

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: Cuben Fiber - what's not to like? on 05/03/2013 11:53:22 MDT Print View

“You must fold it and roll it as tight as possible to make it fit into tiny included stuff sacks. It leaves wear marks where it is folded each time, and takes two people to get it right.”

Oh oh. No one told me this. But I have never folded Cuben. I have the Hexamid and I just stuff it. Joe’s sack is big enough. I think on his website, he folds it though.

When I pack a tent, here are the easiest to hardest:
1. Hexamid – Cuben; extremely easy to stuff
2. GG squall classic – Spinnaker; fold, roll, and slides easy into tube bag (also of Spinnaker). That is nice stuff.
3. Tarptent Rainshadow – Sylnylon; fold, roll, and it’s hard to get in bag! Especially if there’s any dampness on it. That’s another thing; silnylon hangs onto moisture in humid environments and then bloats. That’s hard to get in a bag.

+1 on needing a different stuff sack.

-Barry

Corbin Camp
(heycorb)

Locale: Southeast
For some things, CF can't be beat on 05/03/2013 12:19:45 MDT Print View

The price is definitely the biggest issue. I use a cuben dry bag for my EE quilt. My last trip was through an absolute monsoon. Even with the pack cover, everything was soaked... except the stuff in my cuben bags. What I paid for the cuben bag wasn't much more than a comparable sized sil or eVent bag and certainly weighs less.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
Re: Cuben Fiber - what's not to like? on 05/03/2013 12:36:10 MDT Print View

It's silly, I know. My biggest complaint lies with the aesthetics of cuben. There is absolutely room in backpacking gear for the luxury of style preference. Cuben as a material currently doesn't make my list.

Cost is what it is. I don't have to pay the premium so I'm not going to knock it for that reason. I understand why folks pay the premium for cuben, it does excel in some areas where other materials performance depreciates.


Cuben is to silnylon what carbon frames are to steel in cycling. Pick your flavor and be happy.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Cuben Fiber - what's not to like? on 05/03/2013 13:03:58 MDT Print View

"Cuben is to silnylon what carbon frames are to steel in cycling. Pick your flavor and be happy."

I want a cuben fiber frame for my bike, and I won't be happy until I get one....

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
cuben on 05/03/2013 13:16:38 MDT Print View

I fold my hexamid over lengthwise so that the screen is on the outside, and the cuben on the inside, about the height of the sack

Then roll up
Then cram into the stuffsak

Nothing meticulous about it, takes a minute

It is rather bulky for the weight. Without the screen, it would be much much less.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Aesthetics on 05/03/2013 13:34:48 MDT Print View

I'm with Eugene. I don't like the look or the feel of the stuff.

And cost. Saving ounces isn't worth that much to me.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Aesthetics on 05/03/2013 13:45:06 MDT Print View

"Saving ounces isn't worth that much to me."

Yeah, I can appreciate that. In the beginning I bought cuben to save some weight, but that stopped being a major reason quite some time ago. Now, for me, it's really just about playing with different stuff, some cuben, some not. I'm that way in most aspects of my life, not just backpacking.

Edited by idester on 05/03/2013 13:46:16 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Aesthetics on 05/03/2013 13:45:25 MDT Print View

"Saving ounces isn't worth that much to me."

Easy for you young bucks to say.

Check back in 30 years and talk about it - of course I will have checked out by then :)

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Saving ounces... on 05/03/2013 14:01:08 MDT Print View

I am not exactly a young buck (62 next month) and I think saving weight needs to be looked at with the right perspective. It isn't too hard for me to get to 10 pounds base and with some more serious trimming and no luxury items to 7 pounds with no Cuben fiber. So the last few ounces at the cost of hundreds of dollars just isn't worth it to me.

I am not knocking Cuben for those who choose to spend on it, but I might snicker a bit at folks who spend lots of money to save a few ounces when they have not yet trimmed the easier cheaper weight. To me once I get to sub 10 pounds, anything I trim just doesn't have all that much impact.

The bottom line for me is that the lower hanging fruit should come first and once I do that I am already pretty light. I'll happily trim ounces or even fractions of ounces, but it has to be a reasonable bang for the buck.

Packman Pete
(packmanpete) - MLife

Locale: Rainy Portland
Stretch on 05/03/2013 14:06:11 MDT Print View

Initially I liked cuben vs silnylon because the latter stretched when wet. I find that I kind of miss the stretch when setting up the tarp. It allowed a nice tight pitch if you tugged hard enough. Cuben doesn't stretch and requires a perfect pitch to really get tight. If not, there are ripples in the panels that won't go away.

Know what I mean?