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Cuben Mid Question
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Edward Jursek

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Cuben Mid Question on 08/18/2013 21:05:55 MDT Print View

Any particular reason most cuben mids use .75oz cuben instead of .51 cuben? I mean beyond general durability. Are there some structural stresses on a mid that makes .75 cuben the default weight? Do we not see mids from Locus Gear and MLD using .51 cuben for a particular reason?

Trace Richardson
(tracedef) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
FWIW on 08/18/2013 21:27:18 MDT Print View

FWIW, as far as I know all or most of the Zpacks Hexamids use .51 ... I've never had any issues ...

Edward Jursek

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Cuben Mid on 08/18/2013 21:36:57 MDT Print View

Yea, I have a Hexamid Twin and have never had an issue. That is part of the reason I am wondering why the major mid makers only use the heavier cuben. Why not a Solomid or Duomid in .51 as an option?

James DeGraaf
(jdegraaf) - MLife

Locale: Bay Area
.75 v .51 on 08/18/2013 21:46:02 MDT Print View

I believe you can get MLD gear in .51 if you ask for it.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Cuben Mids on 08/19/2013 06:38:29 MDT Print View

Cuben is a sandwich with plastic (mylar) outer layers and the tough "spectra" strands in between. These spectra strands are what really makes it strong. The 0.74oz cuben uses the same plastic layers as the 0.51oz, but it gets nearly double the spectra strands inside. So for a fairly small increase in weight you get a much stronger material.

The 0.51oz stuff is generally good enough, but more attention needs to be paid to tie-outs, seams etc and ultimately it's not as strong which can be a concern if you're expanding into 4 season use. Ultimately they're both good materials, but the 0.51oz stuff is more of a niche item. Manufacturers likely prefer the 0.74oz because it can handle some misuse by the customer - and because it is quite a bit stronger which means a longer lasting more versatile shelter for the same price and only 1-2oz in weight.

I'd use 0.51oz for a 2-3 season tarp, but for a mid that I want to use with snowloads etc I think the extra weight is well spent.

You also see people using 1-1.5oz cuben in some applications, but the appeal there is different. The main attraction with this heavier variants is the thicker outer layers, which are more than twice as thick and thus give it better abrasion resistance. It's still not great at abrasion though, so it's suited for gear that sees light abrasion (stuff sacks) but not serious abrasion (packs).

Edited by dandydan on 08/19/2013 06:39:49 MDT.

Edward Jursek

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Mid question on 08/19/2013 23:55:31 MDT Print View


Thanks for your cuben wisdom. I have a Hexamid Twin and I am very comfortable with the durability and strength of the .51 cuben. I don't plan on winter camping. It sounds like going with a Mid in .51 cuben will only provide minimal weight savings. I want a Mid for solo hiking as I like the simplicity, small foot print and wind/weather resistance. It is just they weight about the same as my Hexamid Twin.


Edited by on 09/26/2013 21:35:19 MDT.