When it comes to most things I own and here we are talking hiking / camping I take great care of my kit, though I ought to wash my car once in a while. I am what could safely be called a light user and I most certainly do not abuse my kit! Of course having bought quite a bit, its use will inevitably be shared out too!
This blog is primarily about how I use / treat my Cuben Fibre.
I don't have much experience with cuben fibre, just what I read, hear and reading between the lines of various opinions, whether correct or not, it at least gives me thoughts, and of course what I see with my own cuben, which it's fair to say is a lot. So far mine is holding up. No damage at all. But it's use has been exceptionally light!
Because I have very heavily invested in this material in shelters and groundsheets / inners it is in my interests to treat it well and see how long I can make it last.
So these are my observations so far...
First up, at this stage I don't regret getting any of it!
Cuben is an odd thing, it seems to have it's likers like me, but some detractors! From what I can ascertain it's good and strong and light but its longevity appears to be under scrutiny in some quarters, I'm in no position to debate this. For the likes of me it'll hopefully last many years, speaking to Colin Ibbotson gives me that impression with my light use.
The impression I'm getting is constant sustained use by these long distance walkers over months at a time does potentially seem to wear it out. My attitude is that that comes with the territory. Lightweight in any material will never last forever. Cuben of course comes in various weights. Minimum I'd say is 0.75oz.
I look after it. Pack it in over sized bags at home and store uncompressed in my cupboard. I think crushing it into stuff bags repeatedly over months could shorten its life in the long term.
I also think where you pitch, especially groundsheets needs care. I'll avoid any sharp spiky objects and stones. But I'd assume you'd avoid that where possible anyway. Though I have seen pitches over heather and the such like. I'd personally be cautious of pitching my cuben groundsheets on that. Personally I'd aim for grass, or such soft ground where possible. We do live in a green country... So I'll pack my lawn mower and roller! Of course long term camping finding grass won't always be possible. But I'll dream it is! For now I'm looking short term anyway.
It can be easily repaired too with Mylar tape (this is not cheap, but then we are dealing with Cuben!!) or Duct Tape. Of course with my entry level experience I've not camped on anything other than good grass. I'm more than happy with that! I'm quite happy with heather (heath) in my garden, not in my shelter...
All my Cuben is from Ron of MLD in USA. Mountain Laurel Designs. He has been working with it for many years and probably knows it better than most, so I anticipate it'll last well. For what I paid, it ought to!
The only other Cuben I have is from OookWorks a floor for my Trailstar and a tiny bit from Quest Outfitters in USA. I use this as you may see in a video as a foot rest / sleeping bag protector at head end. My sleeping bag is wide and can overflow the groundsheet!
A groundsheet obviously comes into contact with the ground so is bound to potentially suffer more. It'll be interesting how mine goes. Again with my light careful use I'd expect many years!
Of course a shelter in cuben, for me, should last even longer as it should receive no pressure from the ground. I guess this goes back to my initial care thing of not packing away in tight stuff sacks day in and out, and having several shelters to choose from. I'm never going to be reusing the same each trip.
Of course bare in mind my lack of credentials. But sometimes not being influenced and being in cloud coocoo land can help. Maybe.
Yes, I use and like Cuben Fibre.