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Thread: firetarp Embers

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    firetarp Embers

    Thinking about tarps I have a question about fire resistance. In the past we have burned holes in coated nylon with flying embers. (I know, proper wood choices and all that vs what's handy when it's wet and cold.) I've always assumed silnylon would be more susceptible due to the lighter weight fabric. Can anyone confirm that?
    What about cuben? Anybody tried to burn a hole in it?

    As far as that goes can one hot cut cuben?

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    Senior Member WV's Avatar
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    I've used my wood burner stove under a cuben tarp with about 3' of clearance a number of times with no problems. I hold my hand near the tarp fairly often to check the temperature above the stove, and it stays pretty cool. The fuel I use and the small size of the fire have prevented any flying embers so far. It's possible to get quite a large fire going in a small stove, but it's not efficient use of the fuel, and it's scary if there's a tarp overhead.

    You can hot cut cuben, but it isn't really necessary because it doesn't fray. The Dyneema fibers melt at a lower temperature than the polyester laminate, so they don't present a problem, though it feels a bit bumpy going over them. There might be an advantage in hot cutting if you find the Dyneema dulls your scissors, but the fibers are so small that it's not like cutting fibergalass or Kevlar fabric or Amsteel line. I made cat cuts on a cuben tarp by outlining the curves with blue painters' tape and running scissors along the tape edge. (You need to cut in a direction such that the Dyneema fibers are pulling the scissors closer to the tape to get a smooth cut. When you get halfway you need to stop and make a new cut from the opposite end.)

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    Senior Member gargoyle's Avatar
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    All nylon is flammable. Even if its treated to flame resistant, it can still burn or be damaged.
    Care should be taken to control any embers/sparks/heat from contacting your gear.
    Quilts, hammocks, tarps, clothing all have the potential for damage.
    Use your own judgement on "safe".
    Ambulo tua ambulo.

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    I couldn't imagain a fire happening and loosing all my gear!

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    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nothermark View Post
    Anybody tried to burn a hole in it?
    Really? "Tried to burn a hole".

    I'm as much a fire bug as the next guy, but for what I paid for my cuben tarps, a snowball has a better chance in that hot place than me going out of my way to try to burn a hole in one. I've no doubt an ember will melt a hole, so I don't setup too close to the main campfire, if there is one. Like others, I frequently bring my stoves (woodburners and cannisters) under the tarp with me on cold trips. With the woodburners, it's just a matter of prudent fire skills and just enough fuel to heat whatever I'm warming. Never had any problems.
    Trust nobody!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cannibal View Post
    Really? "Tried to burn a hole".

    I'm as much a fire bug as the next guy, but for what I paid for my cuben tarps, a snowball has a better chance in that hot place than me going out of my way to try to burn a hole in one. I've no doubt an ember will melt a hole, so I don't setup too close to the main campfire, if there is one. Like others, I frequently bring my stoves (woodburners and cannisters) under the tarp with me on cold trips. With the woodburners, it's just a matter of prudent fire skills and just enough fuel to heat whatever I'm warming. Never had any problems.
    There are scrap pieces.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasonb986 View Post
    I couldn't imagain a fire happening and loosing all my gear!
    not talking about that. I talking about pinholes in a tarp used to shelter a cooking fire.

    Calibration:
    I don't see replacing my coated nylon or silnylon tarps with cuben because of the weight. If I was going to do the AT, maybe. For what I do the cost benefit ratio is not there. OTOH I would spring for an 8x10 or so cook tarp that did not turn into swiss cheese when I'm stuck with bad wood. I really don't like cooking in the rain. ;-)

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    Senior Member AaronAlso's Avatar
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    I've considered making a fire reflector/kitchen tarp from the aluminized nylon @ DIYgearsupply. I would DIY sil or heavy duty DWR the nylon side. I don't know first hand, but I suspect the aluminized side would resist burning rather well, especially small embers. I'll get around to it one day.
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    Look on youtube for some examples of people who deliberately lit nylon tents on fire. You will be mazed at how quickly they go up in flames. If you were inside at the time, you might have a hard time getting out alive.

    Worse yet, nylon melts, and it will melt on you. There is nothing worse than burnt skin with nylon or some other synthetic melted into the burned area. A real nightmare for emergency room people.

    Finally, if you lose your gear to a fire in bad weather, survival could become an issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbinhood View Post
    Look on youtube for some examples of people who deliberately lit nylon tents on fire. You will be mazed at how quickly they go up in flames. If you were inside at the time, you might have a hard time getting out alive.

    Worse yet, nylon melts, and it will melt on you. There is nothing worse than burnt skin with nylon or some other synthetic melted into the burned area. A real nightmare for emergency room people.

    Finally, if you lose your gear to a fire in bad weather, survival could become an issue.
    You are confusing questionable practices like cooking in your tent with rational issues like wanting a tarp to shelter under near your cooking fire. The reason we do the latter is so we don't lose the rest of our gear. The reason we do it away from our hammocks/tents is so we don't get unwanted visitors.

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