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M Adventures in Laminating Silicone-Impregnated Fabrics

by Jim Colten

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Article Summary:

I have a talent for mistaken first impressions, and questioning those first impressions is the single most useful thing I've learned on the journey to lighter backpacking. I use the following standard two-word response to those times my own (not so) good sense tells me that a technique can't work for me: Prove it! Tarps, quilts, frameless packs, low-cut lightweight footwear and leaving most spare clothing at home were all initially rejected out of hand, but are now mainstays of my gear list and planning. This article is the outcome of questioning another of those faulty first impressions.

Several years ago, someone in a forum somewhere asked about attaching guyline loops to the center of large panels on silnylon shelters. One answer was Sew the loop to a scrap of silnylon and glue that assembly to the panel using GE Silicone II. My reaction? Nah, that can't be strong enough. When I decided to add additional guyout loops to a shelter, it was time to prove it.

I completed that shelter modification just in time to test it in a storm that delivered six inches of wet snow. The glue held under a load that exceeded the holding power of Kelty TripTease line threaded through ITW Nexus LineLoc 3 adjusters, which are widely used on shelters found in the gear lists of many BPL members.

Since that time, I've used the same procedure to attach guyouts to two other shelters, to attach reinforcing patches for guyout loops at the edge of tarps, to attach stake loops to a bivy floor (avoiding ground level stitching), to make two-layer laminates for use where a stronger, stiffer, or more abrasion resistant material is wanted, and I'm currently trying it in seam allowances and high stress areas in a pack I'm making. Recent discussions on Backpacking Light's forums have revealed other members enjoying success with glue laminated guyout reinforcement patches.

ARTICLE OUTLINE

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