Hammock Gear Standard Cuben Fiber Tarp with Doors

Specs

Weight 6.5 oz / 184 g
Ridgeline 11 ft
Width 8' 6"
Material Cuben fiber

Reviews

Ultra light, ultra coverage that even wind driven…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $311

Summary

Ultra light, ultra coverage that even wind driven sideways rain can't penetrate!

Pros

  • Ultra light
  • No stretch pitch
  • Repair kit included
  • Massive coverage
  • Multiple pitch options
  • Included 8.5" x 13.5" cuben stuff sack
  • Catenary cut
  • Packs small

Cons

  • Expensive
  • High cost
  • Lost of money

I've been camping all my life, so I know what it is like to sleep in a tent...on the ground, on a cot, on a ground pad. Then I discovered that hammocks weren't just for the backyard. Then I discovered they're lighter than most backpacking tents.  And that they don't offer much protection from the elements by themselves.

Step in the myriad tarps used with hammocks. Sure, you could use a typical fiberglass tarp from your favorite big box store — but do you want to pack that weight or bulk?  

That is one of the great things about cuben fiber items, you can't get much lighter and they pack smaller than comparable sized items made of other material. The Standard Cuben Fiber Tarp with Doors from HammockGear fits a bill for going as light as you can go in a 4-season tarp.

I purchased the option to have a 12' ridge line so that I can use the tarp in a wider array of applications than just my hammock. For instance, I have a 2-person bug net bivy that fits very well underneath with plenty of space to keep gear out of the elements as well as myself and a companion.

The tarp packs down very small — it fits in the included 8.5"x13.5" stuff sack with plenty of extra room. I'm using 10 - 8' poly cords for tie outs and 50' length of Zing-it for the ridgeline — all of it fits into the stuff sack and still has room for more. In the stuff sack with cordage it weighs just 16.8 oz. However, for that, opened out, there is approximately 80 sq ft of coverage. That makes a nice front porch or fully enclosed shelter.

The 10 side tie outs and 4 sidewall tie outs offer any number of options for pitching the tarp. Particularly 4 "doors" that allow 360 deg protection from weather when closed up. No rain or snow in here!  Since it is cuben fiber, there will be virtually no stretch from wetness, helping to make sure a tight pitch every time and stays tight. The catenary cut sides will help make sure wind doesn't flap the tarp in high wind when pitched and so reduces noise — great for sleeping. With all this protection, it's perfect for obscene weather and has handled itself well in several rainstorms and wind driving downpour.

The ridgeline is bonded and does not leak. The seams are bonded and sewn at the tie out points. The tie outs are plastic d-rings and will accommodate small cordage.

The thing, though, about cuben fiber gear, is that it is not for the weak of stomach financially. You could easily purchase any number of lightweight shelters or shelter systems for the cost of the tarp alone. If it helps to swallow, the tarp is very well built. This was my first purchase from HammockGear, and I've since gone back for other gear based on the build quality. Winter hammocking, here I come!


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G00SE

I salivate over your tarp. If only it wasn't $300+!


5 years ago
dirtwheels

Nice review of a great piece of gear, my prized tarp is a spinn Warbonnet Edge that I use sil doors. It's much smaller than yours and it certainly was cheaper since I bought it used. You should have plenty of winter camping opportunities this winter if the forecast are right, enjoy!


5 years ago
Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Nice tarp review, Eric. Don't let Goose drool all over it (though it can probably handle the moisture).


5 years ago
Eric Owens

Thanks for the warning, Alicia! Goose, that's why the list of cons!


5 years ago
Eric Owens

Dirtwheels, had I gone with anything that packed larger, I would have also been looking at the cost of a new pack added into whatever tarp I purchased.


5 years ago
Ashleigh

Thanks for the helpful review, Eric. I like the pictures! $300 is hard to justify for a tarp, but it looks as if it would actually be worth it.


5 years ago
Joseph Renow

Great review Eric. In drier climates I think the difference between Cuben and Sil is negligible (so the savings with Sil are the way to go)...but for very wet climates I have been converted by Cuben (which is saying a lot because it is terribly expensive). The weight and space benefits are a nice secondary prize with Cuben...but it is the low-stretch quality that is the real prize. If your tarp is not your primary shelter then Sil offers a lot of cost savings and not much bother...but if your tarp is your primary shelter the low-stretch quality of Cuben prevents a lot of the sag and flopping around in windy-storms that you get with Sil. Personally the BIG three for me are 1) pack 2) shoes 3) shelter...you do not necessarily need to spend a lot of money...but the money you do spend is justified by every ounce you carry + mile you walk + drop of rain you avoid...I would make compromises with everything else before I compromised on them.


5 years ago
Eric Owens

Thanks! We aren't all that dry here in Missouri, Joseph! ;-) Spring can get not only very wet, but very wet anywhere above freezing. The last thing I think anyone wants is wet insulation in the colder temps if you're unlucky enough to get caught in it. I also feel that for summer, it offers plenty of protected area to stay out of the lighter rains and shade from the sun (though our humidity really makes shade useless).


5 years ago
Eric Owens

Thanks, also, Ashleigh. Like I said in the review, it serves multiple situations, so I also add that into the equation of cost vs benefit. Light enough and small enough to be used all year long for any situation, logistical or weather? I'll take that.


5 years ago
Joseph Renow

I play in Missouri a lot in the Spring + Summer + Fall...I cannot speak to the annual rain-fall there since I do not live there...but I can say the t-storms and tornadoes are serious business:-( When I was speaking of drier climates I really meant more in the western part of the US where Sil-Nylon first came into wide-spread use (think desert and mountain). Also...if you get a chance...you should add a photo of your tarp in "storm-mode"...since the doors and sexy cat-cuts (wise-choice for the low-stretch of Cuben) are two of the more notable design features of your tarp!


5 years ago
DonP

Eric, nice review! However, I do take a minor issue with one thing though. I've had one of these for about 17 months and have used it about 7 times in different weather. Everything you say about its true, except the noise part. If you pitch it in porch mode, and the wind turns right, you've got a very noisy time on your hands. No matter how tight you pitch it, it will still flap a bit and makes a ton of noise. The one thing that's left out too, is that if it's windy, the lightness of the tarp makes pitching it hard, cause it just wants to blow away. Otherwise, everything you've said is spot on.


5 years ago
Eric Owens

Thanks for the additional insight, Don. I've not had that experience with it (yet), but I do indeed appreciate knowing beforehand. Although, setting up even a tent in the wind can rough, too!


5 years ago

Super lightweight. No stretch. Packs small. Expensive.

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $300

Summary

Super lightweight. No stretch. Packs small. Expensive.

Pros

  • Very lightweight
  • Low/No stretch
  • Great coverage
  • Packs small

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Translucent
  • More stakes and cord

This is an incredible product for hammocks. It weighs just over 8 ounces without tie outs and included stuff sack. I use the sack as a waterproof bag for some down items.

The product is well made, for easy deployment its packed in no-see-um skins and kept in an exterior mesh pocket on the pack. I haven't had any abrasion issues or wear. You can buy a silnylon big tarp with doors for $150, but it's going to be heavy. This is the opposite of heavy, the weight savings is what sold me and keeps me using it every time I hang. Of course you have unparalleled coverage and wind protection.

It's taut when deployed, once up there is no need to adjust. No need for shock cords for your tie outs. No need for a continuous ridge line, either. Just tie off the ends.

It does have downsides, but the weight and tautness overcome them for my use. The material is translucent, so you're really going to notice when the sun comes up.  

The fact that you're going to need four extra stakes for the doors and and probably 25 feet worth of tie outs adds some weight, and a minute or two extra to set it up is a consideration. I have used one tie out for each pair of doors and it closes pretty tight and allows me to open the "doors" easily. Quick setup variations can be figured out easily. After all, you did pay $300 or so for this thing, so you're probably pretty interested in getting the most out of it.

If I ever went somewhere (god forbid) that didn't have trees, I'm pretty confident it would make a great shelter with two trekking poles. Never had a condensation issue, but I would consider that more of a  local weather factor than something due to the material. I have other wearable cuben fiber products, so I assume it breathes. Don't know for sure. I'm also not sure how well it will handle wine stains.  I'm trying REALLY hard not to find out...

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Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Nice review and pics, Andy. Thanks for sharing them.


4 years ago

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