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Substitute fabric for Spinnaker (5 Yards to SUL Article Pack)
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Christopher Chiappini
(Juggles) - F

Locale: NJ/NYC
Substitute fabric for Spinnaker (5 Yards to SUL Article Pack) on 07/01/2013 19:06:10 MDT Print View

Can anyone please recommend a more "Durable, SUL" substitute fabric for Spinnaker, for the Pack? I am very interested in making this pack.


Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Substitute fabric for Spinnaker (5 Yards to SUL Article Pack) on 07/01/2013 20:26:05 MDT Print View

I made one from 70d ripstop nylon. You could make one out of pretty much anything as there is so little fabric involved.

A few materials I'd consider,
1.43oz Cuben fiber
2.92oz Cuben Hybrid
210d Dyneema

Nicholas Pappas
Spinnaker availability? on 07/02/2013 09:41:44 MDT Print View

In the same vein, I was seeking out a vendor for the spinnaker itself without success (couldn't tell what is and isn't coated properly). Any thoughts on doing it with spin as where I might find some at a good price?

Edit: I am talking about making the whole 5yds set, not just the pack.

Edited by njpca on 07/02/2013 09:42:46 MDT.

Eric Lundquist
(cobberman) - F - M

Locale: Northern Colorado
Re: Spinnaker availability? on 07/02/2013 10:15:45 MDT Print View

If you're going to be ordering 5yds to do the whole set, I would pick cuben fiber. It's probably the better material for your tarp but quite an expensive project ~$140. You could use 70d silnylon as your first go around to work out the kinks and then redo the project in cuben fiber after you've gain the experience and like the setup.

I know has a listing for their Spinnaker Cloth,, but not sure if it is actually in stock anymore.

Edited by cobberman on 07/02/2013 10:17:24 MDT.

Michael Pappas
(Mpap89) - F

Locale: bay area
Starr with cheaper fabric on 07/02/2013 12:32:41 MDT Print View

I'd start with making everything out of some Silnylon seconds. You're going to learn a lot the first time around and most likely you'll want to remake a lot of stuff. Learn on some cheap materials like 70 or 30d Silnylon seconds then the second time around make some of the pieces out of cuben or come dimension polyant fabrics like vx07 or tx07. But for some things you'll want to stick with Silnylon. The stuff sack and tarp you'll definitely want to make out of Silnylon.

Nicholas Pappas
Thanks on 07/02/2013 12:46:29 MDT Print View

Thanks all for the insight. I'm tempted to go for cuben but for some irrational reason find it outside my price range (though not spin). I'm also very fond of the feel and look of spin (got a half yard from Seattle fabrics, but I understand its not coated) . I'm hoping one of the sail suppliers is cheaper than pro-lite but I could just take the plunge there.

To my Greek cousin, I have made each of these items out of sil (pack was sil / cordura) though not using these patterns. If I were to make this tarp with sil I'd do catenary curves and lengthen the tarp...

Colin Krusor

Locale: Northwest US
Spinnaker on 07/02/2013 13:20:10 MDT Print View

Spinnaker (silicone, melamine, or polycarbonate coated ripstop polyester) enjoyed a relatively brief (2-4 years) period of popularity among ultralight backpackers. It is appealing because some forms are very light (<1 oz/yard), they have low stretch, and they are very resistant to UV damage. But the tensile strength is low compared to silnylon and cuben, hydrostatic head values were never high, and coating consistency was problematic. Spinnaker isn't used much anymore for these reasons. Cuben of an appropriate weight and good silnylon have shortcomings but they are more waterproof and have better tear strength than spinnaker.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Spinn sub on 07/04/2013 23:10:35 MDT Print View

By SUL, do you mean you want a material no heavier than around 1 oz/sq/yd?
Your post was not clear on this point.
Cameron produces some great silnylons used for hot air balloons that weigh around 2.6-2.7 oz/sq/yd. I've not tested them for HH yet, but they appear quite water resistant, at least as much as Spinn, and are both durable and flexible.
PM me if you have any interest, and I'll give you contact info for someone who buys balloon remnants.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Spinnaker availability? on 07/05/2013 17:41:16 MDT Print View

On 7/2/13 I ordered one yard of the product that Prolite Gear calls, "Base Designs Pro .8oz Spinnaker Cloth".

Their more detailed description of the product said, in part:

First Quality Pro high thread count 0.8 oz spinnaker cloth. Including the silicone impregnation, the weight of this fabric is 0.95 oz/square yard. Sold by the continuous linear yard, roll width of 55 inches.

Width: ~55 inches
Hydrostatic head: ~2 PSI

I measured the average thickness as .046mm. To put in perspective how tissue paper thin this material is, the Patagonia Houdini averages .085mm thick. So far I was impressed.

I next measured the aerial density. It was 1.05 oz/yd2 which is close enough to the vendors coated specification value of .95 oz/yd2 to still be impressed.

I then did a hydrostatic head test and the result was only 10% of what the vendor specified. I tested .2 PSI versus the specification value of ~2 PSI. I was now ready to throw it in the trash and caulk it up to experience.

I did a series of air permeability tests and they averaged 2.63 CFM.

I analyzed the weave and coating to see if I could determine why the HH was abysmally low. To do this I took a micrograph showing a 1.5 mm section of the fabric. I used a special filter and exposure value so interstices that had been properly coated would show in yellow and those not properly coated would show in white.


In summary I see no UL backpacking application for this fabric as either a shelter or clothing. The HH is too low to be a shelter or rain gear. The air permeability is too low to be a viable clothing material for aerobic activities such as UL backpacking.

It could be used as a pack, which is what Chris originally asked about but, durability is normally correlated with the denier. So, I would expect it to have a VERY short lifetime based on its .046mm thickness.

Edited by richard295 on 07/05/2013 19:51:03 MDT.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Re: Spinnaker availability? on 07/05/2013 19:21:21 MDT Print View


Every time you test some random fabric it always makes think of Jack Nicholson in Batman. "Where does he get all those wonderful toys?!?!" If you have never seen that movie, this will make no sense to you. Carry on.


Edited by ViolentGreen on 07/05/2013 19:22:08 MDT.

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Re: Re: Re: Spinnaker availability? on 07/05/2013 19:46:02 MDT Print View


It is even worse than you think (smile). I also did an air permeability test which I originally forgot to document but have since updated in my original post.

Edited by richard295 on 07/05/2013 19:48:58 MDT.

Christopher Chiappini
(Juggles) - F

Locale: NJ/NYC
Re: Spinn sub on 07/05/2013 21:17:54 MDT Print View

Hey Sam, I don't have an answer to your question, I think that's why I'm asking my question! : ) Is there a consensus regarding what weight of fabric is considered SUL?

All I know is that I would like to copy the design of the 5 Yards to SUL article for the Pack with a fabric that is more readily available then Spinnaker and that doesn't have the cons of it too.

Christopher Chiappini
(Juggles) - F

Locale: NJ/NYC
Re: Re: Substitute fabric for Spinnaker (5 Yards to SUL Article Pack) on 07/05/2013 21:18:50 MDT Print View

Thanks Eric! You opened my mind to knew fabric! I'm digging the Cuben Hybrid and VX07!

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Substitute fabric for Spinnaker (5 Yards to SUL Article Pack) on 07/05/2013 21:41:41 MDT Print View

The area of fabric a pack requires is small, so fabric weight isn't that important.

If you need 1 square yard, and you use the lightest Cuben is 0.35 ounce. Lightest nylon or heavier Cuben is 0.7 ounce. Silnylon is maybe 1.4 ounces. What's VX07, maybe 2 ounces? Difference in pack weight isn't that important.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Spinn on 07/06/2013 16:30:27 MDT Print View

Thanks for that great info. Always wondered about the Prolite stuff.
Seems like Paul Nanian was right all along.

You can do some simple math to figure the square yardage needed for your pack design,
then multiply by fabric wt per sq. yd. to compare weights. I do not think there is anything as light weight, water resistant, flexible, durable and sew-friendly as good balloon cloth; so that's why I mentioned it to you. Consensus is great, but sometimes you have to chart your own course to move the ball ahead.

If this sounds like eating my words, OK, it is.
Was under the impression that the VX07 was a lot heavier than 2 oz. Have looked at WX and TX that are or were very light Xpac (Dimension Polyant) products and are over 3 oz. They did not seem very durable, especially when sewn (same issues as Cuben). Lightest Xpac Rockywoods has sold was around 5 oz. The Cuben 'Hybrid' from Zpacks at just under 3 oz. looks better, but is very stiff, and when sewn looks like it might break the thread. Anyway, not ready for that, or for a bonded carbon fiber container either. IMO, flexibility of the pack material is essential for durability, not to mention ease of use. The balloon cloth is lighter than the hybrid, anyway. It is used by folks who think nothing of spending around $100K for a balloon, so is probably the best material they can get for outdoor use in a variety of adverse conditions. Would be interested in hearing about any Xpac or Cuben Hybrid balloons if there are any out there, though.

Christopher Chiappini
(Juggles) - F

Locale: NJ/NYC
Re: Spinn on 07/07/2013 13:08:51 MDT Print View

Sounds good Sam. I'll PM you if I decide to go down that route.

FWIW - I want to share a new MYOG/DIY website I just found via Googling VX07 fabric.

(smoke) - F
Spinnaker on 07/12/2013 07:05:14 MDT Print View

According to info obtained from Gossamer Gear regarding The One Shelter (and Spinn shelters in general), GVP stated that they have been unable to find a reliable source of shelter worthy UL Spinn, since their old source dried-up. Evidently, they expended a lot of effort in trying to obtain a good replacement fabric. Therefore, I'd say chances are slim in finding good shelter worthy Spinn.

However, if somebody does luck out and find something, please let us know!