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  1. #1
    Looknup's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
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    Cuben Fiber Tarp - Summer or Winter use?

    I've just taken delivery of my new ZPacks CF Tarp, without doors. It seems to have great coverage, great workmanship, spectacular weight and it should serve me well for years to come. I hung it this evening in about 35 deg with a light breeze. It seems to be draftier than my Mamajamba. Is it the way it was hung and the direction of the breeze or is a CF tarp more suited for warmer weather? It looks like such thin material so I'm wondering if I should expect more draft through it. I love the tarp and I'm not regretting my purchase at all. I can't wait to go to the woods with it.

  2. #2
    Senior Member lazy river road's Avatar
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    I use CF all year round. IMHO it was not the CF material that made things colder but as you mentioned the possible direction of the wind blowing through or under the tarp and not having doors to cover the ends up with as well. Another thing to is that with a CF tarp on a windy day you gotta pitch it pretty low to the ground to insure that wind is not wiping underneath you stealing your UQ heat. Hope this helps.
    Sometimes I like to hike and think, And sometimes I just like to hike.

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  3. #3
    Old Gorge Rat Hawk-eye's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
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    More a function of how you hang it ... wind direction, how much space you have between the sides & ground and size of the individual tarp. Those sort of thing.

    Same size Cuben vs same size Sil ... no difference in your temperatures other than the clearer Cuben will allow sunlight to warm the inside of the space more ... at least in my experience.

    Both are water and wind proof and neither have any insulation properties.

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  4. #4
    Senior Member HamMike's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
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    I don't think it's draftier in the sense that air is passing through it more than silnylon.
    "He who makes a beast of himself, gets rid of the pain of being a man." Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

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  5. #5
    Looknup's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
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    Thanks for the fast replies. The sides of this tarp are not as long as the MJ sides are and I know they were probably 12-16" from the ground. I did have a hard time getting it rigged so that the sides would be close to the ground, which would have reduced the draft, but not have the hammock/UQ dragging. I'm sure it was in the way I had everything rigged, I'm going to spend some more time on it this weekend.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Risk's Avatar
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    I have the zpacks cuban tarp as well. It is half the weight of my silnylon tarp and I appreciate that. I was surprised how fluffy the tarp is. I have gone to carrying it in the netting pocket on the back of my pack, with nothing else.

    I was under the hammock during a cold rain a week or so ago, and reached up to touch the inside of the tarp. A silnylon tarp is very cold to the fingers in that situation, but the cuban tarp was warm to the touch... I am guessing that silnylon wets through and I am touching wet cloth. The Cuban does not wet through and I am touching dry cloth.

    After a windy night, I was surprised to find that the edge parallel to the ground had become a little floppy as though it had stretched. When I dried the tarp, it retained the floppy edge. If this persists as a problem I may sew a catenary curve in that bottom edge.
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  7. #7
    MedicineMan's Avatar
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    years of use? wind passing through? seasons to use?

    I would bet that cuben is attacked by UV light (someone please confirm or deny this belief) so years of life might depend on how much you use it=I wouldn't leave it set up unused outside for lengthy amounts of time.
    Wind passing through? There is a test that tells at what p.s.i. water will penetrate a given subrate. Again I'd like a professional answer but cuben by its nature has got to be far better at water (or wind) penetration than nylon even when coated with silicon.
    Seasons to use? I use cuben (in sock form) year around now. It is the go-to fabric; but I used to say that about other materials over the years, materials that are now in the history books.

  8. #8
    Acer's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
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    Couple of reasons I went to cuben,,was in heavy rain,,I found silnylon to mist in a hard rain,,and in a dewy wet even rain,,the inside of the silnylon would be wet when I got up and if I touched it in any way was wet. You won't get this with cuben. I love the transparency of cuben and being able to see thru. Enjoy your tarp as its nothing but cuben goodness from Joe of Zpacks. He makes a mean tarp and enjoy the lightness in packing it as its definitely way much lighter. It stretchs tight when hung and you never have to go back and re-tighten as well. Just take care of it as the big downfall of cuben is its not as abrasiveness as silnylon. Take a small repair kit with you just in case you were to get a hole poked in it sometime. Well worth the money in my book and best material going for tarps. Enjoy!!!

  9. #9
    MedicineMan's Avatar
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    speaking of cuben repair, best thing you can carry for it is transparent duct tape. and you can easily fix cuben in the field, more so than sil-nyl.

  10. #10
    Senior Member ExPXGUY's Avatar
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    The Z-packs is 8.5 x 11', the Mamajamba is 10' x 11', the larger tarp will usually give you better protection.
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