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  1. #1
    squidbilly's Avatar
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    Membrane Sil 15 denier Review

    Recently, Kyle of Ripstopbytheroll sent me 8 yards of his newMembrane Sil to make a hex with. I thought I would take a break and share my initial impressions with you. I just happen to have 8 yards of SilArgon to compare it to. As far as weight, it is comparable.Argon Sil.jpgMembrane Sil.jpg

    Like Kyle said: the Membrane has two distinct sides. The face has a matte finish and the back is more glossy. It is not a ripstop, but a plain weave.

    Amazingly, it does seem to have much less bias stretch than the 15 or 20 denier ripstop sil-fabrics. I don't know how to quantify that for you, but it is noticeable.

    The first thing I noticed is the way it feels and handles. It feels as soft and light as Argon, but is much less slippery than other silnylons, including SilArgon.
    Being less slippery, it sews like a dream: no problems with feeding or uneven stitches from the fabric layers sliding against each other. Compared to regular silnylon it is very easy to sew. Have you noticed how silnylon will slide itself off the table if even the smallest portion is left hanging off the edge?
    Not this stuff. 20141219_141814_resized.jpgcutting.jpg20141219_132649_resized.jpg20141219_140412_resized.jpg

    I will post pictures of the tarp later when it's finished, I just wanted to share my initial impression of this remarkable new material with y'all.

  2. #2
    jnunniv's Avatar
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    Sounds awesome! I look forward to seeing the results
    "There's not much of a learning curve with a tent. Lay on the ground and suffer; repeat as often as necessary." - Silvrsurfr

    http://jnunniv.wordpress.com

  3. #3
    squidbilly's Avatar
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    Here is a picture of the finished tarp on the scale12'x10' Membrane tarp.jpg
    That is 11ozs for a full 12' X 10' tarp. And yes, that is a quart size ziplock bag. That should give you an idea of how small this fabric will compress down to.

    Other views: Membrane Sil tarp.jpgbroadside.jpgcorner tie out.jpg If you like the non-glossy flat black look you will love this material. The flourescent green thread I used for contrast really pops out.

    cat-cut edge.jpginside view.jpg Not much puckering or twisting along the cat-cut edges under tension that I've seen with other lightweight sil materials. You see a little on the inside view picture. Also, it's hard to tell in the picture, but it has a purple or bluish tint on the inside with light shining through.

    I have done no hydrostatic testing of this fabric: I think Kyle covered that pretty well already. Again, the most noticeable difference in this fabric is the feel and ease of handling/sewing. It's actually a joy to work with.

  4. #4
    craige's Avatar
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    Looks great! I'll probably have a go with this fabric at some point. The green stitching looks great, and WOW... those are some straight stitch lines. I'd like to hear how this fabric behaves in use compared with normal sil.

  5. #5
    Zilla's Avatar
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    Thanks for the review, allthough it looks like you could make any material look good with that level of thread injecter skill.
    As far as the material goes it looks like it's exactly what everyone who hikes has been waiting for - for all these years, i think the stuff sack that my hammock lives in wieghts more than that tarp.

    Very nice looking fabric and definitly one to watch for how well it's gonna hold up.
    Kyle , over at ripstopbytheroll has been knocking them out of the park this year!!
    Hat's off to both you guys,- Squidbilly for the awesome workmanship and Kyle for another top class fabric..
    Last edited by Zilla; 12-20-2014 at 22:20.

  6. #6
    Grapenut's Avatar
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    Nice sewing job on the tarp Squidbilly. Thanks for sharing the comparison info on the fabrics. G-Nut
    Do more with less...and repeat...or, get "Roched" on every piece of cool, lightweight gear you see and end up being a gear junky like me!!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Dave-O's Avatar
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    Great job with the tarp! Your edge hems are amazing. Did you use a flat felled seam for the ridgeline?

    What are your impressions of the material regarding its strength vs. the elements? Do you think the material is strong enough with just the rolled hem or if you had to do it again would it be worth edging the tarp with grosgrain to increase its strength?

  8. #8
    squidbilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by craige View Post
    Looks great! I'll probably have a go with this fabric at some point. The green stitching looks great, and WOW... those are some straight stitch lines. I'd like to hear how this fabric behaves in use compared with normal sil.
    Thanks craige. I just quickly strung it up with shock cords to take some pics, so I really can't answer that just yet. It seems like it is going to be as good to use as it was to sew, but time will tell. I plan on taking it out for a couple of nights after Christmas. I'll let you know what I find out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zilla View Post
    Thanks for the review, allthough it looks like you could make any material look good with that level of thread injecter skill.
    As far as the material goes it looks like it's exactly what everyone who hikes has been waiting for - for all these years, i think the stuff sack that my hammock lives in wieghts more than that tarp.
    Very nice looking fabric and definitly one to watch for how well it's gonna hold up.
    Kyle , over at ripstopbytheroll has been knocking them out of the park this year!!
    Hat's off to both you guys,- Squidbilly for the awesome workmanship and Kyle for another top class fabric..
    Thanks, Scott. Kyle really did a great job developing this fabric.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grapenut View Post
    Nice sewing job on the tarp Squidbilly. Thanks for sharing the comparison info on the fabrics. G-Nut
    Thank you, Joe. It really is some great fabric. It really doesn't act like silnylon, (except of course, for repelling water) A real joy to work with. And it does compress down about as well as Silargon.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave-O View Post
    Great job with the tarp! Your edge hems are amazing. Did you use a flat felled seam for the ridgeline?

    What are your impressions of the material regarding its strength vs. the elements? Do you think the material is strong enough with just the rolled hem or if you had to do it again would it be worth edging the tarp with grosgrain to increase its strength?
    Thanks Dave-O. Yes, I used a flat felled seam. I felt the need to do it all traditionally since I was reviewing the fabric. I was most interested in how well it handled and how hard or easy it was to sew. (very easy) And concerning my edge hems: I use that homemade plastic rolled hem guide invented by PrisonerOfGravity. I made it about 3/8" wide. I pop the fabric out when I get to the reinforcements, tuck them in and sew, put it back in and continue to the next corner. After that, I feed the edge under the foot in the opposite direction to use the narrow prong of my straight stitch foot as a guide to keep the second line of stitching parallel.

    Even though this is a plain weave-not ripstop, I think it is plenty strong and will hold up well. Time will tell. I have some similar camo material that I made my first DIY sil tarp out of. It has been hanging out in the yard for a couple of years of abuse now. The tie-out cordage is shredded from the wind pulling the stakes up and flapping the cords around, but the material is still good: no tears and it is still waterproof. To answer your question, I would put grosgrain on Silargon to strengthen the cat-cuts. Grograin would be worth putting on anything for longevity, unless you're counting the grams, but I don't think it's absolutely necessary for Membrane.


    I guess what everyone is wondering is: Is it worth the difference in price? If you struggle with sewing slippery silnylon, you will think it is worth it--it really is that much easier to sew.

  9. #9
    squidbilly's Avatar
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    After one week, I have discovered a big problem: I'm going to have to find something else to use as a seam-sealer. After repeated flexing (packing and unpacking) the Silnet starts to separate from the material. Permatex Flowable Silicone doesn't work any better. In fact it doesn't hold as well.

    Until I find something that works better, as a seam-sealer, I'd have to recommend using the grosgrain binding method of joining the halves of your tarp.

  10. #10
    ripstopbytheroll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squidbilly View Post
    After one week, I have discovered a big problem: I'm going to have to find something else to use as a seam-sealer. After repeated flexing (packing and unpacking) the Silnet starts to separate from the material. Permatex Flowable Silicone doesn't work any better. In fact it doesn't hold as well.

    Until I find something that works better, as a seam-sealer, I'd have to recommend using the grosgrain binding method of joining the halves of your tarp.
    Thanks for letting everyone know Squid. If you can report back on what you find I would appreciate it. I have to think there is something out there that will work. For what it's worth, I've never seam sealed my tarps and have yet to experience a leak. Then again we are using a different seam from the flat-felled. It also never hurts to be totally sure.
    - Kyle

    www.RipstopbytheRoll.com | "1st Quality Fabric at Wholesale Prices. NO ORDER MINIMUM."

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