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  1. #1
    REV's Avatar
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    Thumbs up tarp material differences?

    ok, ive learned a ton about the different cuts and all, and now i was wondering about 1 thing i cant seem to find.

    so i figure you can break tarps into these materials and im thinking ive got it based on weight and price:

    blue/walmart tarps. Loud and crinkly, heavy and big

    poly. ???

    SilNy. quiet ???

    SpinnUl. noisy???

    Cuben. ???



    aside from weight, whats the main differences? im ok with a slightly heavier tarp if its quiet and isnt huge when packed.

    maybe if this hasnt been talked about in depth it could be stickied?
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  2. #2

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    You left out the old standby urethane coated nylon. It was the "good" stuff before silnylon then cuben and the other engineered fabrics. Speer is dumping excess at a good price. http://www.speerhammocks.com/Products/Sale.htm

  3. #3
    Senior Member DiscoveryDiver's Avatar
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    Colors are another difference...
    ...if you had your heart sent on camo or other unusual colors, Cuben and Spinn are out AFAIK...

  4. #4
    mbiraman's Avatar
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    If you want quiet at a reasonable weight and price then you want sil.
    " The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it."

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  5. #5
    Senior Member finskie's Avatar
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    Sil is quiet, but strictly speaking not completely water"proof" (misting in heavy storms), and cheaper.
    Slightly lighter, more expensive, and considerably louder is Spinn, and is more water resistent, but lately there has been bad batches that fail in the waterproof department (hence is more difficult to come by).
    Cuben is considerably lighter than sil or spinn, quieter than spinn but louder than sil in a rain storm, is waterproof, but is much more expensive and (i hear) more difficult to work with.

    Almost identical tarps offered right now for comparison:

    Sil- BMJ with Panel pulls- 13.5oz- $110
    Spinn- OES MCD- 10.2oz- $160
    Cuben- Zpacks Hammock Tarp- 5oz- $235
    Last edited by finskie; 06-05-2011 at 09:45.
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  6. #6
    Whoooo Buddy)))) Shug's Avatar
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    You can listen to a sound comparison on this video between Sil and Spinn.......
    Sil....quiet....strong.....absorbs rain water and is quite heavier when wet.
    Spinn....lighter than Sil by a hair......crinkly.......not as puncture resistant as Sil.....seems to absorb a wee less rain water.
    Cuben......just got one! Very light.....see through......noise is between Sil and Spinn. Seems to not absorb any water....... still getting to know this tarp.
    Shug




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  7. #7
    gargoyle's Avatar
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    Poly urethane or poly- Weighs more due to the urethane coating process adding weight to the fabric. Good performance overall. Packs larger due to the weight issue. Generally weighs ~3-4 oz per yard (an ounce or two for the fabric and an additional ounce for the coating(s)). In my experience, poly seems to be the most sturdy and robust fabric. It is available with a flame retardant coating, making it a popular choice with the bushcraft crowd. Prices vary, but reasonably priced. Good color selections and available in camo patterns. Some coating qualities are not as good as others. And some PU fabrics delaminate with age, leaving a powdery mess, as well as loosing the water-resistance. Modern day PU coatings seem better.

    Spinn is lighter weight (.75 OZ/YD), has a crinkly potato chip bag sound to it. Fragile to falling projectiles, like acorns and small branches. Price varies, ~$14ish a yard.

    Sil is the popular choice due to packability, reasonable price, quietness, fairly good color selections, and toughness. They use sil for parachutes and hot air balloons, so it must be tough, lives depend on it.
    2nds have some light cosmetic flaws (a wandering thread of ripstop or weird glob of color), but still work for tarps. $3.00-up per yard.

    Cuben is the new kid on the block (although some have been tinkering with it for over a year.) Limited availability, small specialized production runs, priciest of the bunch at $25+ per sq yard. Needs to be taped and sewn, so labor and manufacturing cost is more for an actual consumable good, like a tarp. Weight is a superior aspect of cuben. Lightest of all the fabrics entioned. Weights vary. Strength can be good if properly taped/sewn. Pricey. Packs reasonably well, slightly crinkly at first. Softens with usage.
    Overall long term durability and water resistance are still in question, but reports look promising. Pricey. Extremely limited colors...faded light green and a translucent grey are all I know of. As cuben becomes more popular, availibility may improve.
    And its pricey.

  8. #8
    REV's Avatar
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    so are poly tarps not worth getting (since ive heard nothing of them) and whats up with the silny misting? is it going to be "raining" under my tarp?
    Give a man fire and he's warm for the night.
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  9. #9

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    poly?

    I think there is some confusion in "poly" between polyethylene (sheet plastic with scrim), polyurethane coated nylon, and polyester coated with urethane like Hennesy uses. As far as I know the last has better UV properties and less stretch than nylon but is otherwise about the same.

  10. #10
    REV's Avatar
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    when i say poly im referring to things like the HH Hex Rainfly 70D Polyester or the JRB camo poly. half the price of the sil versions and heavier, but i dont know if itll be quieter or not
    Give a man fire and he's warm for the night.
    Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life. Dante

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