GEAR REVIEW: Hammock Gear Cuben Fiber Tarp

jacinto
Tarping in high winds in the San Jacinto Wilderness

Technical Specs

Sleeping in the tarp
Sleeping in the tarp

Weight: 8.1oz (including guylines)

Material: .52oz/sqyd cuben fiber

Dimensions: 11′ ridge line, 8′ 6” wide

Store: www.hammockgear.com

Mileage before Review: 1000+ miles

Longest Test: 700 miles

**Cottage Shop Quality***
**Thru-Hike Approved**

Pros

  • Light and nimble, this tarp adds almost nothing to your pack weight, but offers a huge amount of rain protection.
  • Fantastic for hammock camping, but can be used for ground sleeping as well. Can be pitched between trees, or with trekking poles.
  • 1000+ miles tested, still looks like new.Cuben fibre is very durable for its weight.

    Relaxing under the tarp in 'porch' mode. Little Yosemite Valley
    Relaxing under the tarp in ‘porch’ mode. Little Yosemite Valley
  • ‘Doors’ add a lot of protection from wind, rain, and bugs compared to tarps without doors.
  • Very large and versatile. It can be pitched in many configurations. 6’6” tester found it very roomy when hammocking, and a house when ground camping.
  • Catenary cut allows for an easy, tight pitch

Cons

  • Mosquitos and ground based attacks (bugs, snakes, mice, scorpions, etc) are always a possibility
  • Sometimes while pitching with trekking poles, the doors cannot be pulled out fully because of the ground. This tarp is best for hammocking where it can be suspended high off the ground.
  • Hard to set up with trekking poles in a high wind.
  • Expensive

Best Used For: Hammock camping, Ultralight Backpacking, Thru Hiking/Long Distance Backpacking. 

Tester’s Comments

When I first bought this tarp, I used it exclusively for hammock camping. As a hammock tarp, I believe there is no better design. I have used this tarp with a Warbonnet Traveler for a very lightweight combo. (23oz combined) That is lighter than most tents.

Napping under the Tarp
Napping under the Tarp

Due to it’s lightweight, I took this tarp on my Pacific Crest Trail thru hike and used it for the first 700 miles as my primary shelter. I slept on the ground and had no problems with rain or wind. However, when pitching low to the ground, the doors get obstructed by the ground, as the tarp is meant to be suspended over a hammock. I only stopped using it when I started hiking with my girlfriend, who wanted to sleep in a tent. Then it got lost in the mail until I finished. It’s construction is excellent, and it has survived torrential rainstorms, and some fierce winds. After over 1000 miles, it is still working like new.

Finally, it’s price point is high at $295, but that is very standard for comparable cuben fibre tarps. So far, the investment has been worth it.

Tester’s Tarp Rating

Weight 10/10
Versatility 8/10
Durability 9/10
Wind Protection 6/10
Rain Protection 9/10
Bug Protection 3/10
Comfort 7/10
Ease of Use 7/10

Published by Darwin Karch

Devin (trail name Darwin) is 26 years old, the founder of Travel and Trail, and is devoted to adventure and pushing his limits, both mentally and physically. Devin attended New York University, studying Media, Marketing, and Communications, and played as the starting center on the Men's Basketball team. After graduating in 2013, Devin used his new found freedom to hike, climb, paddle, and travel around the world. So far he has traveled to 35 countries on five continents, spent three consecutive months in the Patagonian wild, Thru Hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada, and Thru Hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.

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