Review: Hammock Gear Standard Dyneema Fiber Tarp With Doors
- Model: Standard Dyneema (Cuben) Fiber Tarp with doors
- Brand: Hammock Gear
- Weight: 7.28 oz (11′ Ridgeline Green)
- MSRP: $295
Testing happened over 5.5 months on the entire Appalachian Trail. I actually had to replace it (for free) once, and will discuss below. The tarp was used all the way from Georgia to the mountains in central Maine. Weather conditions were various, including bright sunshiny days, miserable rain, and even some hail and snow. It kept me dry in storms that produced so much volume per hour I could literally fill up my water bottles from the corners of my tarp. Many a day I woke up dry to find angry tenters who slept in puddles all night. When pitched correctly, the tarp was also an excellent wind break to cut down on heat loss that can be caused by heat loss due to convection if wind sneaks around or under a tarp. This is my go to tarp for all hammock camping trips currently.
For the coverage, this tarp’s weight is excellent. It comes in at a little over 7 ounces with no rigging. With rigging and four stakes, my setup weighed around 12 ounces. This weight could be further reduced by not having doors, however to this thru-hiker, keeping rain off the end of my hammock was worth the extra weight. I heard more than a few tales of rain soaking hammock ends due to lack of doors. Weight alone puts this tarps material choice above the competition.
Note: For suggestions and tips for tarp rigging, check out this article.
2. Material Water Retention
Unlike other tarp materials (silnylon), cuben fiber doesn’t retain water and dries out fairly quickly. This is helpful so a thru hiker doesn’t have to carry the trap weight plus any water weight obtained the night before. Most hammocker’s usually put the tarp in the outside pocket of their pack so water can roll off during the day while hiking.
3. Customer Service
During my hike at around 700 miles the tarp started to sprinkle water from the inner ridgeline seam and get my sleeping equipment damp. In retrospect I suspect this was due to some of the issues I caution against in the con section. I emailed Hammock Gear customer service(Harry) and they mailed me out a new tarp as soon as they could have it made. Adam, Jenny and Harry supported me on my thru hike 100% and handled every issue(even the ones that were probably my mistake) like professionals.
Due to the cost of the raw material, Cuben Fiber—or Dyneema—is expensive. When more manufacturers start to use the material, better deals will likely follow. Two companies that offer hammock tarps out of this material are Hammock Gear ($295) and Zpacks ($315).
Price is paid for weight savings. You may be able to pay $100 to save 6 ounces, but to get that next ounce may cost you $400. Cost verses weight savings are anything but linear… save accordingly.
2. Opaqueness of Tarp
Due to the lightweight material, this tarp lets in a considerable amount of light. I found this could keep me awake on long summer days, when the moon was super bright, or when some hiker rolled into camp at 10 pm with their 10,ooo-lumen headlamp. This slight downside is easily remedied by pulling a Buff over your eyes, or going all out and bringing a sleeping mask. (I did this for a large portion of the AT, no regrets)
3.) Tarp Material Setup
When setting up the tarp, make sure to keep any metal suspension components away from the material. This may seem like obvious information, but when a user gets in the hammock, metal implements like buckles can get close enough to fret the material over night. While the material holds up well, it is no match for a titanium buckle rubbing it all night.
4. Ridgeline Seam
The ridgeline seam on the tarp is not sewn. It is bonded. It is important to take care of the tarp and not set it up in precarious positions—like a wind block for a shelter—where the wind attempts to rip it apart. It is also important to not over-tighten the ridgeline. This was a tip I discussed with Hammock Gear and I assume that over time over tightening will degrade the seam and cause it to peel and let water ruin your hammock parade.
5. Tarp Width
The tarp is a little narrow (8’6″) and takes a few setups to dial in enough to keep blowing rain off of the sleeping system. Before heading out on a trip, make sure to set up a hammock under the tarp in the rain. This will give an idea of how much space on each side (and height) that best protects the hammock. For extra foul weather, the tarp can be placed almost on the ground to keep heavy blowing rain off sleeping gear (pictured below).
I would recommend the Standard Dyneema (Cuben) Fiber Tarp with Doors. This ultralight tarp will keep you warm and dry in just about any condition. It can even be used to go to ground if someone steals all the tress from your campsite. To me, the higher price is worth the weight to save every ounce.
Deals on cuben fiber items are rare, but Hammock Gear works with customers to find the a setup at the best price. Be on the lookout for deals through Hammock Gear, they’ve been known to work with thru-hikers in the past.
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.