Cuben Fiber Roundup 2013

I know the blog has been quiet lately… sometimes life outside of the blog (what?! gasp!) gets hectic, such as when relocating to a new home! I figured that something “good” was overdue, so let’s get this thing going! Last year’s Cuben Fiber Roundup proved to be a popular series and is still our top visited set of posts. This year we’ll be taking a look at a few more shelters made of Cuben Fiber.

For a quick recap… Cuben Fiber is a lightweight and very strong material that has emerged in many “cottage manufacturers'” gear lineups. Even the mainstream has picked up on it, albeit slowly. Just like other materials there are multiple flavors of Cuben, most of which share some common characteristics…

  • Exceptional tensile strength to weight ratio
  • Highly water resistant
  • Not breathable
  • Poor abrasion resistance
  • Expensive

There are breathable variants of Cuben and Cuben-hybrid fabrics, which are actually starting to look very impressive (watch for a review here later this year), however most shelters are constructed of the non-breathable material, which in turn offers excellent resistance to rain. Cuben is being used in everything from shelters to backpacks, including bivy sacks, stuff sacks, quilts, wallets, rain gear, and probably more crazy stuff that we’re oblivious to. If you want to know a little more about the material you may want to take a look at the 2012 Cuben Fiber Roundup article we published last year.

This year we’re going to take a look at the following shelters…

Check back over the next few weeks for updates. We hope you enjoy the series! Hike It. Like It.

Jacob D Written by:

Jacob is the head honcho, wearer of many hats, and modern day berserker here at Hike It. Like It. When he's not out hiking or running the trails you'll find him operating in full capacity as a Super Dad and chipping away at a degree in Kinesiology. This guy likes to stay busy. Follow on Strava


  1. October 19, 2013

    I so hope SMD provides and offering. I have really been looking at a lot of their stuff and the Skyscape X is on my final wish list along with two others.

    • October 20, 2013

      Hi David. I’d love to check out a Skyscape X. I’m going to give SMD another shout and see what they say… not giving up until I have a definitive answer 🙂

    • October 20, 2013

      Hey Art. I’ve been talking with Joe about the Duplex since earlier revisions. He’s actually out on the trail field testing version 4 right now. I just got back from a trip myself and hope to touch base with him in a few days to see how it went. I’ve been hoping the Duplex can make an appearance in this year’s roundup. From what I gather it’s very close to being ready for production (Joe may have already decided that on his trip). In any event, the shelters from Yama that I have are both (yes, two!) new prototypes, so hopefully that will encourage him to join in the fun!

      • Art
        November 12, 2013

        Its out on the web site now… looks huge and somewhat similar to Hyperlite echo II..

        • November 12, 2013


          Joe Valesko actually sent me the Duplex shelter that he was out on the trail with late last month after he finished up with it. I’m mostly focused on the Yama shelters right now so I hadn’t mentioned it yet. I’ll have some updates on the series very soon.

          I can confirm that the Duplex is a fairly large shelter, however I’m not so sure about the comparison to the HMG Echo II. They’re very different shelters and I think there are others out there that it would be better to compare to. In any event, the Duplex report is coming down the pipeline 🙂

  2. Monika
    September 24, 2013

    Hi Jacob,
    In case still no answer from SMD… would you be considering looking at HMG and/or Zpacks flat square tarp?
    Would love to read more about those as I am planning to buy my first tarp, and I am most interested in these two at the moment.

    • September 24, 2013

      Hi Monika. Well, I’m going to try to reach Ron or Brandon over at SMD one more time. HMG was already kind enough to send me the Ultamid to check out, so I probably won’t bug them about sending anything else for the moment. If Joe is up for sending me one of his flat tarps I’d happily include it, however I haven’t contacted any other manufacturers at this time. Feel free to put a bug in his or anyone elses’ ear if you’d like to 🙂

  3. Art
    September 23, 2013

    Awesome comparo. Looking forward to all reviews.

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