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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    cuben tarps evaluation

    Need help deciding between the Mountain Laurel Design hammock tarp in cuben and the zpacks hammock tarp in cuben. Both measure almost identically (8.5x10.6 for MLD and 8.5x11 for zpacks). MLD is 7.8 ounces and zpacks is 5.1 ounces. That's a big weight difference in the ultralight, gram weenie world. Oddly, the lighter zpacks tarp is $55 cheaper than the MLD. Here's the difference. The MLD tarp is 0.75/ounce cuben while the zpacks tarp is 0.51/ounce cuben -- thinnner, less strong material. My hammock is a Grand Trunk Nano 7, so it's just 9 feet long and the 1/2 inch extra ridgeline difference isn't important to me.

    If I don't foresee myself regularly using the tarp in crazy heavy wind, and I don't plan to use it when heavy snow and ice will fall, wouldn't I be ok with the lighter, weaker and less expensive cuben zpacks tarp?

    I currently have a MacCat Deluxe in Spinn, and love it. But I'm chasing the ultralight dragon. Also, does anybody else make a super light cuben tarp that is appropriate for a small hammock?

  2. #2
    Senior Member animalcontrol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorapido View Post
    Need help deciding between the Mountain Laurel Design hammock tarp in cuben and the zpacks hammock tarp in cuben. Both measure almost identically (8.5x10.6 for MLD and 8.5x11 for zpacks). MLD is 7.8 ounces and zpacks is 5.1 ounces. That's a big weight difference in the ultralight, gram weenie world. Oddly, the lighter zpacks tarp is $55 cheaper than the MLD. Here's the difference. The MLD tarp is 0.75/ounce cuben while the zpacks tarp is 0.51/ounce cuben -- thinnner, less strong material. My hammock is a Grand Trunk Nano 7, so it's just 9 feet long and the 1/2 inch extra ridgeline difference isn't important to me.

    If I don't foresee myself regularly using the tarp in crazy heavy wind, and I don't plan to use it when heavy snow and ice will fall, wouldn't I be ok with the lighter, weaker and less expensive cuben zpacks tarp?
    In my limited experience, the lighter (.51 oz/yd) cuben is fine for tarps. The warp breaking strength for .51 oz/yd is 68 lbs/in while the heavier cuben .74 oz/yd is 105 lbs/in.
    For a reference, silnylon has a warp breaking strength of 78 lbs/in.
    I’m going the DIY route, but when I was considering buying a tarp, the Zpack design had my vote…HYOH
    "Every day is a new day to a better future"
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  3. #3
    I think they are both great manufacturers, but I only own joe's stuff. So far what I have seen of his gear is top notch. I also know he makes all his tarps and tents out of that same fabric.

  4. #4
    Joey's Avatar
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    I went with the zpacks, for the lighter tarp. I think it will do just fine for where/how I will be using it.

    I've seen a video with the MLD cuben tarp withstanding some very strong wind with out even a flap. Very strong.

    Either would be a great choice, your preference.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    I am in the same boat as you. I would go with Joe. I think his wait time might be longer then MLD though, if that is a consideration.

  6. #6
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    Both have gotten good reviews here on prior threads. I don't think you will be going wrong by choosing either of them. For what it's worth, I had the MLD and liked it a lot. Zpacks stuff is also widely praised.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mike_O's Avatar
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    I went with Joe because of the weight. That said I have a MLD UQ and TQ with another 2/3 UQ on order, not to mention 2 tarps in spin. You would be happy with both but I think that if you understand the limitations of the lighter tarp then you will be fine and can save th extra ounces for things like alcohol.

  8. #8
    Senior Member SteelerNation's Avatar
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    Also keep in mind that you can custom-order your tarps as well. I talked with Joe at Z-Packs and he is custom building me a tarp that has all of the benefits of my superfly with doors (little narrower, but not much) and about 20 ounces less weight! Can't wait to see it.

    SN

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    My zpack custom with doors is headed out on the AT with me for 5 months. I guess that tells you how much I trust it.
    Bat
    Beginning my NOBO trip on the AT on 2/28/12.

  10. #10
    Senior Member drewboy's Avatar
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    It depends what you are looking for in a tarp. Ron Bell at MLD has more experience building cuben tarps than just about anyone. He has concluded that the lighter weight cuben fabric does not meet his standard for reliability. Ron also sews a substantial reinforcement panel onto every tieout point. The zpacks tarps do not have this. If you are a weekend warrior and the cost of equipment failure is not that great for you, then go for it and save that ~1.5-2oz in weight. If I was a thru hiker, or even someone who backpacks into remote locations and a piece of cuben fabric was all that I had protecting me from the elements, I'd carry the extra 2oz. But that's just me. BTW, if you are looking for a solid cuben tarp in that weight range you should also check out HMG. I posted a mini review and picture in the HF recently of mine.

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