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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Question Lightweight Fabric Durability and Material Choice

    Like every specialized piece of equipment directed at lightweight,it's obviously a balancing act between weight and ruggedness,
    between the abuse it has to withstand and rate thereof..

    When used at a more or less normal rate they seem to hold up quite well but
    i wonder how they fare in an everyday use scenario

    Now for hammocks i`m quite convinced fabric with 1.1oz/sqy (37g/m) or more especially when more than on layer is used will do the job for a very long time, but how susceptible is it to be punctured by objects you accidentally lie on or even thorns ?
    Of course it's to be avoided but you never know right?!

    And what i`m personally most worried about is the tarp..
    How appropriate is Ripstop Silnylon really considering UV exposure and occasional scuffs it might take on a long trip.
    Is Pu coated Nylon to be preferred ? Or even Polyester , Polycotton ?

    With such a rich (in experience) community i hope you can help me out here

    I was planning to build a tarp from 60-80g/m (1,7-2,4oz/sqy) Ripstop Silnylon with the seams glued with elastosil instead of sewing, but i grew slightly reluctant ...

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Sil is great if taken care of. I don't often have my tarp up when the sun is shining on it; it happens, but I try to limit it. Scuffs are very limited as it lives in the mesh pocket of my pack. It could happen, but it wouldn't be easy to scuff it when it's stowed. Otherwise, I just exercise caution when I'm handling it. Once it's pitched, I don't have any worries.

    The weight difference is well worth the little bit of extra care IMO. If you really want the good stuff, check out some Spinntex. It's dreamy.
    Trust nobody!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Heber's Avatar
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    I'm sure the sun does some damage to my tarp along with various other things it comes in contact with while I'm hiking. I wish I could go hiking enough so that that would really become a concern for me.

    The truth is that I don't expect to buy a new tarp because the old one wore out. It will be because I see a cooler one that I just can't do without!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Rushthezeppelin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heber View Post
    I'm sure the sun does some damage to my tarp along with various other things it comes in contact with while I'm hiking. I wish I could go hiking enough so that that would really become a concern for me.

    The truth is that I don't expect to buy a new tarp because the old one wore out. It will be because I see a cooler one that I just can't do without!
    This is true....most people on this site can't use one product long enough to even wear it out in the first place

  5. #5
    Senior Member animalcontrol's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rushthezeppelin View Post
    This is true....most people on this site can't use one product long enough to even wear it out in the first place
    gear wears out?

    Well, at least my interest in it wears out...
    "Every day is a new day to a better future"
    "Of all the things that matter, that really and truly matter, working more efficiently and getting more done is not among them." ~ Mike Dooley
    "What if I told you that you couldn't have anymore of anything... No more friends, no more money, no more anything, until you first got happy with what you have?"~ Mike Dooley
    "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing." ~ Socrates

  6. #6
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    So it's not an option to leave the tarp deployed should i stay more than one night at a certain place with sil !?
    I see how SilNylon is a great material but i think it might not be perfect for everyone?

    As i understand it the UV tolerance is mostly not a question of the coating but the base material.
    Do all polymer fibers share such a low UV stability?

    Cotton or Polycotton on the other side besides being a lot heavier for the wanted strength are not as wind and watertight.
    So keeping the tarp as example,
    is there any solution to combine the wanted characteristics
    of Silnylon (sufficiently wind and waterproof,lightweight) and UV resistance?

    Spinntex does sound interesting in regards to its higher UV resistance but afaik its tensile strength is lower than Sil ,
    supports less water and would be even more prone to getting damaged.
    It's probably still a great fabric for UL gear when properly cared for but it sounds like i`d stay clear from it seeing how i would like to be able to rely on it for a long time without having to coddle it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by utilisateur View Post
    Spinntex does sound interesting in regards to its higher UV resistance but afaik its tensile strength is lower than Sil, supports less water and would be even more prone to getting damaged.
    It's probably still a great fabric for UL gear when properly cared for but it sounds like i`d stay clear from it seeing how i would like to be able to rely on it for a long time without having to coddle it.
    That's exactly what people told me when they saw it on the AT. But, I beg to differ. The self-proclaimed 'gearheads' lined-up to tell me that it is super vulnerable to abrasion. One "kind" woman even sat me down to lecture me about knowing more about my gear before taking it to the trail. So, I was paranoid for a long time. In the end, a thru hike is a thru hike is a thru hike; stuff gets damaged and I started treating it like every other member of my gear family. I threw it over here and over there when it was in my way. I stuffed it without regard for its 'feelings' into my pack; often with the stakes somewhere in the mass of fabric. I even watched (helplessly) as a limb fell from 30' above and landed square in the center of the wall of the tarp. The tarp today still looks as if it is new. My sil tarps haven't held up half as well with less use. I only wish that I knew the name of the "kind" lady that was nice enough to provide me with a gear lecture so that I could let her know how grateful I am to her sage wisdom.

    I guess I'm just trying to say that you can't believe everything you read in the reviews; mine included. My experience with Spinntex has been wonderful and you would be hard pressed to find someone rougher on their gear. I love my gear, but it is a tough love.
    Trust nobody!

  8. #8
    Senior Member guySmiley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by utilisateur View Post

    Do all polymer fibers share such a low UV stability?
    The backpack that I just ordered is going to made of Dyneema. http://www.dsm.com/en_US/html/hpf/home_dyneema.htm

    It's tough as all hell. They claim that it is not effected by UV light, and many of the other things that will weaken lesser artificial fabrics.

    I don't think that it has any stretch at all which may make it unsuitable for a tarp, but you might want to look into it.

  9. #9
    LostCause's Avatar
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    I did a DIY tarp and I treated the base material with a product called UV-block by ATSKO before treating it with the silicone mixture.
    I haven't had a chance to prove it's potential just yet, but I do plan to.

    I have some scrap material that was treated and I plan to do a test with some untreated fabric to see how well it holds up.

  10. #10
    Senior Member whitefoot_hp's Avatar
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    i am leaving for my thru on sunday, bringing a sil nylon tarp i have used every month for the past two years.

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