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  1. #1
    Senior Member T-BACK's Avatar
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    Durability of Cuben Tarps

    I've been out of the loop for quite some time. I see that a substantial number of you are using Cuben Fiber tarps now. I made one for my long hike and was severely disappointed in it overall. Although lightweight and absolutely waterproof, I found it was easily punctured by sticks and pinecones that fell from trees during windy and/or stormy nights. It was easily patched with tape but that is not something I had an unlimited supply of and it adds weight to the tarp. I could have bought a heavier weight Cuban but then I might as well get Spinnaker fabric (much cheaper and about the same weight). I am just wondering if any of you have really put your tarps to the test and how they faired against falling debris. Thanks for your insight.
    Brian
    ...and there came to be a day, all too soon, that I became aware that I could travel no more on my long journey. Though I did not arrive where I had planned, I believe that here is exactly where I am supposed to be...

  2. #2
    dragon360's Avatar
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    With all the new offerings (and temptations), this is something I would very much like to have a greater understanding of.
    The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering. - St. Augustine

    Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.
    - Bob Marley

  3. #3
    R00K's Avatar
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    Which Cuben did you use?
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Joey's Avatar
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    I have only had mine a short time now. I hung under some pines at the Spring MAHHA for 2 solid windy days with out issue. This weekend I was under some hemlocks for a night, again without issue. I heard a few things hit the tarp as the fell from the trees. No sign of damage. I consider my cuben to be the same strength as my silnylon, just lighter and doesn't stretch.

  5. #5
    Senior Member T-BACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R00K View Post
    Which Cuben did you use?
    It was .48 oz s/y. There is spinnaker fabric that weighs .5 oz s/y and .75 oz s/y for about $11.00 s/y. If the weight is the same, I am just wondering what the advantage of Cuben is over spinnaker.
    Brian
    ...and there came to be a day, all too soon, that I became aware that I could travel no more on my long journey. Though I did not arrive where I had planned, I believe that here is exactly where I am supposed to be...

  6. #6
    Member Snowbound's Avatar
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    I too am curious about this. I'm not convinced that the tried and true sil/spinn tarps will become obsolete, but I do want to upgrade to cuben for my thru hike next year and I've been a little nervous about the durability. Lots of folks have been using them for awhile now with no issue though, so I'm sure they hold up quite well.

  7. #7
    R00K's Avatar
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    My CF tarp from Zpacks was made with .51 cuben - If it's any less durable than spinnaker it's not noticeable to me. If the problem is the fabric being pierced - that can happen to any tarp if something heavy and pointed hits it with enough force.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member hangnout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R00K View Post
    My CF tarp from Zpacks was made with .51 cuben - If it's any less durable than spinnaker it's not noticeable to me. If the problem is the fabric being pierced - that can happen to any tarp if something heavy and pointed hits it with enough force.
    Cuben will be pitched a lot tighter so when it is hit by something sharp it does tend to get a hole easier than silnylon. From my exprerience the hole will not continue to tear and is easily fixed by tape. I made my cuben tarp about the same time TBack got his a couple years back. I do like the .7 weight cuben for just a little more durability.

  9. #9
    Senior Member finskie's Avatar
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    If you had the same weight cuben and spinn, wouldn't the cuben be thicker, and therefore just as puncture resistent if not more? My understanding is that weight and thickness are not the same. Could be wrong though. My cuben food bag seems like it is considerably thicker than my sil bags, and weighs less.
    What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. - C.S. Lewis

  10. #10
    Senior Member T-BACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hangnout View Post
    Cuben will be pitched a lot tighter so when it is hit by something sharp it does tend to get a hole easier than silnylon. From my exprerience the hole will not continue to tear and is easily fixed by tape. I made my cuben tarp about the same time TBack got his a couple years back. I do like the .7 weight cuben for just a little more durability.
    This was my experience. Mine had 8 to 10 holes in it before I had hiked 250 miles. I felt like I just couldn't trust it as I prepared to enter the Everglades. I switched to my homemade sil tarp with doors. I made it through the swamp lands and on to the sugar cane field dikes where I weathered a tropical storm. A few days later while on the dike of Lake Okeechobee another Tropical Storm hit while I was bedded down in an exposed area. As they say, it's not that the wind is blowing, it's what the wind is blowing...My tarp took more heavy strikes than I could count without damage.

    Maybe you guys are on to something with the stretchability of each fabric. Perhaps the Cuben punctures easier because it has no give, being mylar. Maybe the stretch of the sil that we all hate might be an an asset when it comes to puncture resistance.
    Brian
    ...and there came to be a day, all too soon, that I became aware that I could travel no more on my long journey. Though I did not arrive where I had planned, I believe that here is exactly where I am supposed to be...

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