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  1. #1
    Senior Member Northern Mike's Avatar
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    Types of Fabric and terminology

    I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to fabrics and the terminology used to describe them.
    I'm currently looking to pull the trigger on a good length (30+ yrds) of rip-stop nylon for a few projects, but without being able to physically see and touch the fabric, I'm at a loss as to what I need or want when ordering online.

    Could some of the more experienced Hammock DIY guys give a quick break down of what fabrics would be used for what purpose?

    I'm thinking something like;
    Hammock: xx to xx denier rip-stop(xx denier preferred for lighter weight)
    Fly/Tarp: xx to xx denier rip-stop (xx denier preferred)
    stuff sac:
    backpack:
    etc

    This should help those with lack of experience figure out what we're looking at and or pricing.

  2. #2
    New Member Rothman's Avatar
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    Also, what the heck does callendered mean?
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    The problem is there are no hard and fast guidelines that we would all agree on. For example, I like polyester taffeta rather than rip stop for hammocks. Others prefer ripstop. Cuben fiber has it's advocates. In reality, you can use just about any fabric you want for just about anything you want. If you are ordering from one of the cottage vendors here on the forums they would be a good guide. Let them know what you want to do and they can guide you with their own opinions. Just remember, an opinion is like a belly button. Everybody has one.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

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  4. #4
    Senior Member Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rothman View Post
    Also, what the heck does callendered mean?
    Calendared is a process of heating the nylon between two pressurized rollers. It helps stabilize and seal the weave helping to make the fabric down proof. It is generally used only on the lighter weight fabrics unless specs call for it from the manufacturer.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
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  5. #5
    PapaSmurf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rothman View Post
    Also, what the heck does callendered mean?
    EDIT: Ramblinrev beat me to the answer and said it better anyway.

    Many hammocks are built with calendared fabric and there is nothing wrong with using this. Most often, I try to look for "pure finish" fabrics for hammocks because they are not calendared and are a little more breathable. I find that some heavily calendared fabrics tend to give me a wet, clammy, slippery feeling in the summertime. This doesn't seem to bother some users, though. Probably has more to do with the amount you perspire?
    Last edited by PapaSmurf; 04-10-2013 at 11:12.

  6. #6
    Senior Member awilder's Avatar
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    RamblinRev:

    You keep saying Polyester Taffeta, but when I went to Joann's I found Crushed Taffeta and Crushed Satin, both of which are 100% polyester. I didn't find anything that was called Polyester Taffeta.

    Are these similar, same, different,...?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Northern Mike's Avatar
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    OK, so that was a bit of a fail I guess.
    Going back to the OP thought process, can someone clarify the weights for me?
    I'm wondering what is too light and what would be too heavy.
    Looking at my ENO DD material vs. the coated ripstop I saw at the local frabric shop, they are not even close to the same density.

  8. #8

    Types of Fabric and terminology

    Polyester is the chemistry, taffeta is the weave. Taffeta is a plain weave. So it's polyester vs nylon for the hammock--I like them both. And then taffeta vs ripstop for the type of weave, and again, I like the both. For hot weather, my favorite hammock continues to be (my memories of) the heavy cotton one my grandad brought back from Brazil.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Pag's Avatar
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    Like rev said - so much is personal preference. I can throw in some common fabrics/uses to help guide some. Please note that this isn't by any means a fits all guide - different uses require different fabrics. These are merely some common choices as seen by me - a pretty goofy observer.

    For hammocks I use 70-90 denier rip stop nylon (1.9-2.2 oz/sq.yd.) Many have gone with 30 denier rip stop nylon (1.1 ounce/sq.yd) and have been very happy, but it's too stretchy for me. I have no experience with polyester taffeta hammocks so I'll leave that for someone else.

    For tarps a good fabric for lightweight is 30 denier (1.1 ounce/sq.yd) silicone impregnated ripstop nylon. I have a couple of winter tarps made out of 50 denier, but if I did it over I would stick with the lighter 30 denier. For a really nice tarp I would recommend cuben fiber ct1k.08, but it's fairly spendy. You could use a polyurethane coated fabric but it will be heavier than the silicone impregnated.

    Stuff sacks can be made of anything - seriously just grab anything. I have seen stuff sacks made out of no see um netting, tyvek, x-pac, momentum, cuben fiber, nylon, poyester.....yeah, if it can fit through a sewing machine it'll work.

    Backpacks are another widely varied item. Some like a backpack that can repel velociraptors and carry a spare big block v8, and for those I recommend heavy cordura, terrain x-pac, heavy canvas, and similar fabrics. Others prefer to have a backpack that works when carrying 4 ounces, downhill, with the wind, in perfect weather...yeah..hyperbole - no flaming please. For those cuben works wonders. A standard material for an in between pack is usually a combination of a heavier fabric near the wear areas (400-1000 denier cordura, x-pac) with a lighter material in non wear areas (30-50 denier silnylon, taffeta, uncoated ripstop). My definition of wear areas is the bottom where it sits when not being worn and the points where straps attach. If you plan on putting something awesomely heavy/rigid (spare headers perhaps?) I would make a pocket out of a heavier fabric to cradle the totally useful - to a specific person - hiking cannonball.

    For most purposes of diy hammock tom foolery a good standard fabric is 30-50 denier nylon. Tarps should be waterproof (read coated/impregnated), down containing goodies should be calendared (or the down will leak out), hammocks should be uncoated (coated fabrics typically don't breathe).
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Northern Mike View Post
    I'm wondering what is too light and what would be too heavy...
    (Edit: Pag beat me to the punch.)

    Very generally speaking, 1.1 oz = 30D and is the lightest ripstop nylon widely used for hammocks and tarps. 1.9 oz = 70D and is the heaviest rs nylon widely used by the cottage manufacturers and DIY'ers for hammocks and tarps. These weights are for non-coated fabric...coating adds weight but is not normally included in the "advertised" weight.

    You want an uncoated material for hammocks and a coated/waterproof material for tarps unless you want to deal with DIY silnylon (I don't).

    RS nylon from Joann's, Hancock's, etc. is generally 1.9 oz.

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