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Which Packs Smallest - Silnylon or Cuben?
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Evan Guengerich

Locale: Vancouver Island, B.C.
Which Packs Smallest - Silnylon or Cuben? on 10/06/2013 11:00:35 MDT Print View

I am considering jumping in on my first MYOG project--a simple, small enclosed solo tarp/tent. For the amount of material that will be used, the difference in weight between silnylon and Cuben Fiber isn't that significant to me given the cost difference. However, the final packed size of the tarp is really important and I haven't been able to find any information on that. Can anyone that has used both materials give me an idea which packs the smallest for a given amount of material (say 6 yards) and is the difference in size significant?

Valerie E
(Wildtowner) - M

Locale: Grand Canyon State
RE: Which Packs Smallest - Silnylon or Cuben? on 10/06/2013 11:07:00 MDT Print View

No question that cuben is thinner and can pack smaller, but a 1.1 oz silnylon is really not too bad. Again, it's a question of just how much you value ($$$) that little bit of extra smallness... I assume for a shelter, you'd be using one of the thicker cubens, anyway.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Cuben/Sil on 10/06/2013 12:42:51 MDT Print View

Cuben is thinner but I find silnylon packs smaller. Maybe it's because cuben retains some 3D wrinkles or maybe I'm just packing the silnylon more aggressively. I go easy on cuben when I pack it because twisting and creasing isn't good for it, whereas silnylon shrugs that off better.

Edited by dandydan on 10/06/2013 12:43:25 MDT.

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - MLife

Locale: The SouthWest
RE: Which Packs Smallest - Silnylon or Cuben? on 10/06/2013 14:27:42 MDT Print View

Here is my experience with two tarps:

Silnylon: 8x10
Cuben: 8.5x10

When just stuffing, the silnylon tarp definitely packs smaller. The material is slippery and very flexible and so it stuffs very well. Cuben is stiffer and less slippery so it doesn't stuff that well IMO.

If I take the time to carefully fold the cuben tarp and get all the air out, I think it packs a little smaller than silnylon. For reference, this is with 0.5 oz/sqy cuben - don't know about the thicker variants.

Evan Guengerich

Locale: Vancouver Island, B.C.
That's Surpising on 10/06/2013 17:15:29 MDT Print View

That's great information...Thanks! I must say that I'm really surprised. I expected Cuben to pack smaller but what you're saying makes sense. I was sort of heading down the road of using Cuben and looking forward to gluing instead of sewing. Given the cost differential, if Silnylon packs to the same or maybe even less I think that's the way to go. It sounds like I should start getting some sewing lessons from my wife...

just Justin Whitson
Re: That's Surpising on 10/06/2013 17:58:11 MDT Print View

"It sounds like I should start getting some sewing lessons from my wife..."

Haha, that's kind of like the inverse situation of teaching one's wife to drive stick or a motorcyle (speaking from experience here)

For the sanity of both of you, have someone else teach you for the love of God!

(j/k...well...mostly, my wife did a good job of teaching me of sewing ;)

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Packed Volume on 10/06/2013 19:21:01 MDT Print View

You might also consider weight, durability, and water resistance. Just a thought.

"... enclosed solo tarp/tent"
Sounds more like a tent than a tarp, albeit there is a big gray area.
To attach netting to the Cuben, you will have to sew.
And to attach the Cuben to itself, many use clamping with the Hysol PU adhesive.
If you think sewing could be challenging, try clamping the entire length of every seam on a tent. A bit easier with a shaped tarp.
And even with clamping, the Hysol bonds can be readily peeled apart.
Thought you should know.