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  1. #1
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    Silnylon vs silpoly

    All you dudes out there who are more experienced than I, which fabric do you prefer and why?

    I have read through many other forums about this, and have shelters in both. Just wanting to hear from you roksliders who may have strong opinions / experience as to why you prefer which fabric.

    Thanks!

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Kevin_t's Avatar
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    We have built and tested shelters with both, but only have sold shelters in nylon.

    Personally, the lack of "stretch" part people talk about with Poly as an advantage is not correct IMO. It is mostly design. For reference, I have had two SilPoly shelters I have used recently a long with 3 nylon variants, and one DCF .

    Now, one advantage to SilPoly is that sand and dirt do not stick to the coating as much .. but the coating is not as good either.
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  4. #3
    Senior Member Beendare's Avatar
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    ^ OK....we have a real pro here- nice......you have a lot of experience with this so let me ask a couple questions.....BTW, I have a tipi from Silpoly the 1.6oz PU 4000 from RSBTR.

    I chose that ^ from specs alone.

    How are the coatings different?

    Don't sil poly fabrics have a higher tear strength and thread count over Sil Nylon at the same weight?

    You mentioned stretch....but didn't elaborate....silpoly is stronger over all correct?

    I know by the sheets my wife buys there is a significant difference in fabrics.....vs the stuff at Motel 6 /grin
    “Everyone has a plan .......until they get punched in the face” Mike Tyson

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  6. #4
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    Kevin,

    I know you're a busy man... But could you elaborate on the stretch concept between poly and nylon? For me, I dont notice a difference between my DST and JT skyline in terms of the stretching. Yet, that seems to be rule number 1 on the internet, that silnylon sags. I also havent had enough time out in super wet conditions with either. Love the DST. I was surprised it didnt pack smaller.... Dont mean that to knock it, but the skyline xl packs smaller, yet I think its bigger. And still, not as versatile as a DST.

    Was wondering if there is a compressibility difference inherent in the two fabrics....splitting hairs, I know...
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin_t View Post
    We have built and tested shelters with both, but only have sold shelters in nylon.

    Personally, the lack of "stretch" part people talk about with Poly as an advantage is not correct IMO. It is mostly design. For reference, I have had two SilPoly shelters I have used recently a long with 3 nylon variants, and one DCF .

    Now, one advantage to SilPoly is that sand and dirt do not stick to the coating as much .. but the coating is not as good either.
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  7. #5
    Senior Member Kevin Dill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sverimerica View Post
    All you dudes out there who are more experienced than I, which fabric do you prefer and why?

    I have read through many other forums about this, and have shelters in both. Just wanting to hear from you roksliders who may have strong opinions / experience as to why you prefer which fabric.
    I've owned and used shelters made from both materials and I have yet to find the limits of, or see a clear advantage to either fabric. They've both performed extremely well for me under long and sometimes hard use. I too think design and construction has far more to do with the performance of a sil-fabric shelter than the base fabric. Of course the discussion goes around and around on this. I think what would cause me to favor one fabric over another would be consistent testimonials of poor performance, excessive stretching/sagging, weaknesses, etc. I've not personally seen that.

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  9. #6
    Senior Member Kevin_t's Avatar
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    Ok I will try to answer these best I can. I am mostly going to be out the next two weeks, so if I am slow on follow ups please forgive.

    Both SilPoly and SilNylon have a lot of variations. I will use for comparison our Silnylon , and the MTN Sil from Ripstop since it has a similar coating as ours and SilPoly from Ripstop.

    Regarding packability, most of the time a pure Silicone coated fabric will be better at packing. However , the 1.1 ounce Silpoly from ripstop is a 20 denier fabric not a 30 denier like ours, thus you may get a bit better packing.

    Sil Poly means polyester vs nylon is some sort of nylon base ( Nylon 6, 6.6 etc) . In general, nylon is stronger, with better long term durability while polyester has less stretch, better UV resistance, and absorbs less water. These are however moving targets as in tents color and construction have a lot to do with it. Our muted colors do far better over long term UV exposure than bright nylon colors (As an example).

    Now the Sil Poly does stretch, maybe not as much as a Sil Nylon, but i think it depends on the Nylon. In comparison to ours, I don't see a noticeable difference and it mostly about construction.

    Now in comparison to Sil Pu 4000 the SilPU 4000 is a good coating with good longevity. Likely it will pack a bit larger due to the PU and likely it will have less stretch and likely it will tear and propagate tears easier.

    In general - Nylon is stronger and silicone coatings add strength as well. PU coatings reduce strength and stretch, and Polyester has less stretch and strength.

    It is important to note, that even within styles of fabrics there are large differences.

    In our comparison, the shelters we have built with them have been good, but I believe the ones built with our Cordura SilNylon are a bit better performance.
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  11. #7
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    Thanks for taking the time Kevin! I look forward to many, many good times in the DST!

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  12. #8
    Senior Member ChrisS's Avatar
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    I built a silpoly tarp with the stuff from Ripstop and have been unimpressed with its strength. It's very thin and I've noticed a number of pinholes and tears opening up mostly next to the ridge seam. I think the lack of stretch causes some of the microtears. It's light and packs small (I keep 8x10 with six stakes and cordage in a kifaru medium pullout), but it's starting to show its age after 25-30 overnights.

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  14. #9
    Senior Member Beendare's Avatar
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    Good stuff Kevin T...thx for taking the time...and best of luck with your company...you make some darn good stuff.

    Anyone wanting to delve further into this....there is a guy on backpacking light that tests these fabrics for a living and his posts can be searched in their archives.

    Anyone wants to see something that tears easy...... check out one of the old GoLite Shangrila's. My Aussie stepped on the side of the one i had at the time and put a 30" run in it. They were rated 15D as I recall.

    After that experience, I wouldn't touch anything below 30D for a shelter, no matter how UL I wanted it to be, YMMV. Some of the cooments I've heard from guys buying $5/yd silnylon....hey, you get what you pay for.

    i have a couple cheap cordura duffles from Wallmart. There is no way that is the same cordura fabric that is on my McHale pack as it rips easily....and my mcHale has been through hell and is impervious to rips.

    That 1.6oz hyper d from RSBTR is pretty good stuff for the price...but Kevins right...its bulky.
    Last edited by Beendare; 6 Days Ago at 05:19 PM.
    “Everyone has a plan .......until they get punched in the face” Mike Tyson

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