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Thread: Silnylon vs. Nylon Ripstop Fabric

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    Default Silnylon vs. Nylon Ripstop Fabric

    Ok, so the Bushcraft outfitters sell a nylon ripstop tarp, however I am seeing in a variety of forum a 'silnylon', (silicon impregnated nylon).

    So which would I want and why?

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    I assume your question is "What's the difference between ripstop nylon and silnylon?"

    If so, it's mostly waterproofness (secondarily breathability). The BCUSA tarp is a Urethane coated ripstop nylon, which ends up being about the same waterproofness as silnylon, but is based on a high-quality 1.9oz ripstop. A lost of silnylon is 1.1oz or lighter, which is very "glidey," kind of like parachute pants.

    In most instances, even a non-waterproof tarp would be OK, similar to a canvas tarp that isn't wax-treated, but note that if it's wet or has condensation on it, and you touch it from the under-side, you'll end up getting wet.

    Just a thought.

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    You need to handle both, two completely different animals. I like silnylon as it doesn't absorb water so you don't soak whatever is next to it in your pack or add a line of weight. I hate silnylon because it is so slick it is really hard to get good tiedowns.

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    I guess a better question is what is the difference from a performance perspective. I am assuming that ripstop nylon is tougher, where as silnylon is more waterproof?

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    Silnylon is a product developed for the making of lightweight sails. As mentioned before it doesn't soak up water like coated nylons. Silnylon is by far stronger than the coated nylons. One of the reasons you can go to a lighter weight material in sil. and still have better strength than a coated nylon. Silnylon is lighter, stronger, better waterproofing(IMO), but more expensive. Both my tarps are coated nylon, but 2 of my 3 tents are silny.
    Last edited by Pabloturtle; 11-18-2011 at 05:57 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by R_W View Post
    You need to handle both, two completely different animals. I like silnylon as it doesn't absorb water so you don't soak whatever is next to it in your pack or add a line of weight. I hate silnylon because it is so slick it is really hard to get good tiedowns.
    i'm confused, but probably missing something important... my silnylon tarps (one commercial, one homemade) both have loops sewn into the edge to tie off to... are you maybe trying to use the old stone in the corner trick and your tie-off line keeps sliding off? is that what you mean?
    "Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you." John Muir

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    The most obvious difference is weight and money. If you want to go lighter you pay more. Both should keep you dry and I doubt that one will really outlast the other for typical hiker use. Most likely whichever you choose will be replaced by some newer more interesting shelter long before it gets "worn out" from careful use. I've had several of both types, but use silnylon for backpacking and a 4.00 Walmart blue tarp for when a fire is used for heating the shelter.

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    Thanks hooty. Exactly what I was needing.

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    Sil nylon is much lighter than rip stop, but ripstop is more durable. Most ultralight tarps are made from sil nylon and they can be pricey.

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