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Cuben Fiber - what's not to like?
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Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Cuben Fiber - what's not to like? on 05/03/2013 16:32:29 MDT Print View

It's ugly and translucent. Looks like wax paper. Those who own it can sometimes be elitist snobs. Then there are those who wind up like Doug. Too expensive.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Cuben Fiber - what's not to like? on 05/03/2013 17:27:16 MDT Print View

"It's ugly and translucent. Looks like wax paper. Those who own it can sometimes be elitist snobs. Then there are those who wind up like Doug. Too expensive."

I may be ugly and translucent, and look like wax paper, but I am NOT expensive. Pretty cheap, actually.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Cuben Fiber - what's not to like? on 05/03/2013 17:30:36 MDT Print View

Cost is an issue for sure. When I purchased a Duomid a few years back the savings per ounce were not worth it to me. However, I did eventually get a cuben fibre Trailstar, as I thought it could be my one and only shelter. However, I soon found that the lack of stretch meant it wasn't as flexible in its pitching options as the silnylon version, so back it went. Interestingly Colin Ibbotson recently posted a very detailed review of the MLD Cricket and again the silnylon version was more flexible in terms of its pitching options. The stretch in silnylon can definitely be a benefit sometimes.

I do now have a cuben fibre shelter, the Hexamid, and so far I like it.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Cuben again on 05/03/2013 23:04:12 MDT Print View

Now that lighter polyesters and nylons are becoming available, and more waterproof coatings are coming from Asia, it is hard to justify Cuben, especially at the price.
I still prefer woven fabric, so long as it is in the one ounce range like Cuben.

Specifically, GoLite, One Planet, Snow Peak and Mountain Hardwear, are all selling tents now with coated woven fabric well below the 30 denier we thought was the new light when silnylon first became available in the nineties. I plan to try out a couple of these using fabric in the 15-20 denier range this summer to see how they hold up. My gut tells me they will hold up fine, without any of the downside issues with Cuben.

With respect to the weight issue, even using heavier 30 denier nylon, .76 oz cuben with a denser layup of Dyneema fibers weighs about .5 oz per sq. yd. less than 1.28 oz. silnylon coming from Asia with a substantially higher HH, or water resistance. A typical solo tent will use about 6 square yards for the outer canopy wall. So the Cuben saves about 3 ounces overall. With larger tents, the savings is greater.

The chief attractions to me of woven fabrics are the superior ability to hold stitching, and the elasticity that resists punctures and abrasion, while also allowing for a taut canopy.

The sagging issue with nylon can be addressed by using woven polyester, which is less water absorbent, and by using nylon with more water resistant coatings. The sag is also less of an issue in tents with more frame support, whether they be domes or multiple hooped tunnels. Also, some of the paraglider woven fabrics are sub one ounce, and are treated to resist sagging. With better treatments for water resistance, some of these fabrics, like Porcher Sport Skytex 27 for example, would be excellent for tents and tarps.

Cuben may soon be passe.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Cuben again on 05/04/2013 07:14:50 MDT Print View

For me, honestly, it's not really so much about the weight. For that much money it really isn't THAT much in weight reduction. But having owned a sil tent and now a cuben hexamid, I simply cannot believe the difference in how it behaves in the rain. I no longer have to roll up this soggy, heavy, uncontrollable mass of wetness and shove it somewhere safe in/on my pack...

I give the cuben a few good shakes, maybe do a quick wipe down with a bandana and voila! nearly completely dry shelter to pack up. Even IN the rain.

I'm not sure ill ever have another sil shelter again........unfortunately for my bank account.....

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
Cuben Fiber - beauty is in the eye of the beholder! on 05/04/2013 08:28:57 MDT Print View

I may be alone but I love the "high tech" look of Cuben Fiber when used on a well designed UL shelter (l actually like the transluecent appearance and being able to see the fabric weave, much like carbon fiber when used on high end bike frames I prefer to see the carbon fiber weave over say the same frame painted). A poorly designed shelter or one made using less than quality craftsmanship can ruin the look and performance ability of any shelter, but combine a quality material, a great design and top level craftsmanship and you have a winner. For me that material is Cuben Fiber.

In regard to storing the shelter, I designate my packs front pocket for use in storing my shelter along with items such as my ground cover and wind shell. No stuff sack required.

Edited by thomdarrah on 05/04/2013 12:55:12 MDT.

Evan Chartier
Negatives to Cuben on 05/04/2013 11:58:29 MDT Print View

After reading the previous posts, I can honestly say that these are non-issues for me. The cost is higher than with silnylon, so as a student that can be difficult, but by making careful purchases on BPL I believe I have been able to minimize the cost difference between sil and cuben. The benefits just outweigh everything else for me. I love the look, packability, weight, and non-stretch abilities as well.

not like on 05/04/2013 15:35:12 MDT Print View

Well, I did wake up one night recently and felt like I had a flashlight shining in my face. It was a full moon. The inside of my tent was almost like daylight.

Aside from that, the no-stretch is one of my likes.

Sara Dhooma
(Sara) - F

Locale: Southwestern Ontario, Canada
Re: Re: Cuben Fiber - what's not to like? on 05/06/2013 18:30:33 MDT Print View

"I even like that weird chemical smell it has ;)"

I love the smell too!
I'm glad I'm not alone. :)

Cuban fiber EVERYTHING!

Packman Pete
(packmanpete) - MLife

Locale: Rainy Portland
Re: Re: Re: Cuben Fiber - what's not to like? on 05/06/2013 18:49:26 MDT Print View

Some don't like the look of it
Some don't like the feel of it
Some don't like the scent of it
How about the sound of it? Crinkly
And the taste of it? Slimy

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Cuben Fiber - what's not to like? on 05/07/2013 06:50:51 MDT Print View

Agreed, the full moon came up at 2AM and I thought it was the sun. I got up, packed up and hiked. My brain wouldn't accept that it was that early.

I will say that I do like the fact that my pitch doesn't sag in the middle of the night.

I also like the fact that condensation doesn't cling to the surface of cuben the way it does with silnylon or even spinnaker. I end up with a drier bag/quilt in the morning and a drier and lighter shelter in my pack.

I don't smell the cuben anymore. Like knew car smell, it doesn't last long.

I never found cuben to make crinkly noise. That may be an aspect of the very thin versions of cuben.
I did find my spinnaker shelter to be a little crinkly, but only until it was pitched.