Long-distance hikers are identified to converse in a language of their very own, tossing round nonsensical gear jargon like DCF, Robic, Cuben Fiber, and X-Pac. However amidst these acquainted names, there’s a brand new contender trying to shake up the mountaineering world. Say whats up to UltraTNT, a revolutionary material from Problem Sailcloth pitching to develop into the subsequent sensation in backpacking tarps and tents.

Under, we’ll uncover the options and advantages of UltraTNT, evaluate it to ubiquitous UL materials like DCF and silnylon, and listen to some real-world suggestions from the manufacturers who’ve been concerned in testing this material of their tents. In the end, let’s see if Problem Sailcloth has superior the hunt for the right steadiness between weight, price, and sturdiness.

The Innovation Behind UltraTNT

An up-close take a look at UltraTNT. Discover the big gaps between yarns. Extra on that later. Picture through Problem Sailcloth

UltraTNT, the place TNT stands for Tent and Tarp, is the brainchild of Problem Sailcloth’s year-long analysis and improvement efforts. The material’s development consists of two layers of .25mm polyester movie with Extremely (non-branded Dyneema) yarn inserted between them, to enhance stretch resistance and supply distinctive tear energy.

This mix of supplies is identical as that utilized in DCF, however the association is totally different in UltraTNT, which alters the fabric properties and makes it cheaper to supply. The result’s a sturdy and light-weight answer that’s fully waterproof and with distinctive multilateral energy.

UltraTNT vs. Silnylon

Extremely Tents at residence within the snow. Photograph through Tarptent.

As we evaluate UltraTNT to different common materials like silnylon, it turns into evident why it’s quickly gaining curiosity amongst long-distance hikers. Silnylon has lengthy been favored for its first rate waterproofing and relative affordability. Nevertheless, UltraTNT’s weight benefit makes it a superior alternative for these in search of to reduce pack weight with out compromising on efficiency. UltraTNT weighs .94 oz/sqyd whereas the lightest silnylon normally is available in over 1.0 oz/sqyd and isn’t almost as robust.

UltraTNT’s enhanced tear and tensile energy, mixed with the actual fact it doesn’t retain water means the tent ought to weigh considerably lower than silnylon of comparable energy, particularly in moist situations. Moreover, one of many greatest perks in comparison with silnylon is that it received’t ‘zipper’ tear. The Extremely yarns type the last word ‘ripstop’, so if the material develops a gap, it would stay remoted and will be simply repaired within the area with a little bit of tape.

When it comes to price, you’ll be able to count on the material to price about double that of silnylon.

UltraTNT vs. DCF

The Scarp 1 Extremely. Photograph through Tarptent

One of many causes UltraTNT exists within the first place is due to DCF’s basic lack of availability and the ensuing skyrocketing value (You will have seen that our favourite DCF shelter price much more now than they did in 2020). DCF, or Dyneema Composite Cloth is a famend ultralight materials, common for its spectacular strength-to-weight ratio, that mixes the identical supplies as UltraTNT in a distinct format. DCF’s unfold fiber core gives it with outstanding stretch resistance and tear energy, however the course of to supply it’s pricey.

With a purpose to scale back price and tweak the fabric properties, Problem Sailcloth opted for a distinct strategy with UltraTNT. They changed the unfold, evenly distributed Dyneema fibers of DCF with small, but comparatively massive Extremely yarns within the warp, weft, and bias instructions.

This achieves comparable outcomes, although not with out penalties. The already suspect puncture resistance of DCF is diminished additional by concentrating the strength-giving Extremely into yarns, which leaves gaps of unreinforced mylar to fend for themselves.

So whereas DCF nonetheless holds the crown for its extraordinarily light-weight capabilities, UltraTNT positions itself as a mid-weight ultralight material, providing hikers one other extra reasonably priced different. Talking of affordability, while not precise, you’ll be able to count on a tent made with UltraTNT to price about half the worth as the identical made with DCF.

Is UltraTNT as gentle as DCF?

The easy reply is not any. The rationale UltraTNT is at the moment heavier than DCF lies of their differing development strategies and the burden of the Extremely yarn. DCF’s unfold fiber core expertise entails strategically spreading Dyneema fibers to supply distinctive energy whereas minimizing weight. This patented expertise has develop into synonymous with the last word in light-weight efficiency.

In distinction, UltraTNT makes use of small Extremely yarns inserted into the laminate materials offering stretch resistance and tear energy. At present, this methodology hasn’t achieved the identical weight-saving advantages as DCF’s unfold fiber core and in consequence, UltraTNT, whereas considerably lighter than conventional materials, nonetheless falls wanting DCF’s market-leading weight-to-strength ratio.

For reference, the .94 oz/sqyd UltraTNT is nearer in weight to the 1.0 oz/sqyd DCF that Zpacks makes use of for his or her burly bathtub flooring than the .55 oz/sqyd DCF that they use for his or her tent canopies. That 73% weight enhance is critical.

It’s vital to notice that UltraTNT’s design objective was by no means to immediately compete with DCF by way of weight. As a substitute, Problem Sailcloth aimed to create a mid-weight ultralight material that strikes a steadiness between affordability and efficiency. By doing so, UltraTNT opens up new potentialities for backpackers in search of a extra budget-friendly possibility with out sacrificing important options like tear resistance and waterproofing.

UltraTNT in Motion: Actual-world Suggestions

To realize additional insights into the real-world efficiency of UltraTNT, let’s check out some suggestions from mountaineering manufacturers who’ve embraced this cutting-edge material.

YAMA tents have been experimenting with an UltraTNT tarp. Photograph through YAMA

Tarptent: Pioneering with UltraTNT

Tarptent, a well known model within the long-distance mountaineering group, is among the first main gear corporations to begin incorporating UltraTNT into their product line. Their determination to make use of this modern material comes after testing the material over the course of final season.

When requested about why he selected to make use of the material, Henry Shires, proprietor of Tarptent acknowledged it was primarily, “The search for a cheaper, more durable/extra sturdy, and better high quality different to DCF. We actually prefer it provides next-level wind and rain efficiency to the Scarp 1 and Double Rainbow DW tents which have beforehand been accessible solely in silnylon and silpoly.”

Which fashions can I purchase from Tarptent At this time?

Double Rainbow, Double Wall Extremely. Photograph through Tarptent

Tarptent has primarily utilized the fabric of their 4 season tents. These embody:

Scarp 1 Extremely
MSRP: $559
Weight: 44.4 ounces (1260g)
Sleeps: 1

Double Rainbow DW Extremely
MSRP: $549
Weight: 40.5 ounces (1150g)
Sleeps: 2

Stratosphere Extremely
MSRP: $519
Weight: 39.7 ounces (1125g)
Sleeps: 2

Notice: all weights proven embody stakes, man traces, poles, and luggage. 

ETOWAH Outfitters

ETOWAH Outfitters, one of many small USA-based manufacturers concerned within the improvement of UltraTNT, deserves particular recognition for being the primary producer to supply tarps direct to customers. Their collaboration with Problem Sailcloth helped refine the material, making certain that it meets the calls for of outside fans in search of the right steadiness between sturdiness and weight. Paul Fitzner, the founding father of ETOWAH Outfitters, launched the primary tarps with UltraTNT earlier this yr, additional establishing the material’s potential within the business.


A prototype tarp developed with UltraTNT by LiteAF. Photograph through LiteAF

LiteAF, one other small USA model, performed an important function within the testing and improvement of UltraTNT. Chris Millard, the founding father of LiteAF, supplied invaluable suggestions and insights throughout the material’s R&D section stating:

“We’ve been concerned with the event of the TNT from the very starting. We examined 3 totally different variations and the ultimate model was a mixture of all three. It’s a extremely cool materials and we hope it offers the ultralight group some extra budget-friendly choices.”

UltraTNT Execs

All corners of Tarptents have been strengthened to take care of 4-season climate and wind. Photograph through Tarptent

  • Spectacular Tear Power: UltraTNT’s tear resistance is phenomenal, making it a dependable alternative for harsh climate situations and rugged terrain. Tarptent is at the moment utilizing this materials for his or her 4-season tents, which ought to give it loads of alternative to withstand extreme climate. There’s additionally no likelihood of a ‘zipper’ tear slicing via a number of Extremely yarns. Due to this fact, holes ought to theoretically be minor and simply patched within the area.
  • 100% Waterproof (when new): Hikers can belief UltraTNT to maintain them dry throughout rainstorms, making certain a cushty and protected evening’s sleep. The polyester movie is impermeable when new, not like woven materials which require additional therapy to shed moisture. As well as, this materials doesn’t soak up water like its nylon counterpart and so received’t retain as a lot water weight after getting moist.
  • Improved Softness and Packability: Though stiff when new, UltraTNT turns into softer and extra packable with use, enhancing its usability over time. That mentioned, Tarptent was notably impressed with how little warping occurred in testing, stating that they noticed much less of this than of their DCF counterparts.
  • Much less Deformation: Including these Extremely yarns within the third, bias (diagonal) course provides energy that has been a marginal vulnerability of DCF, which solely orients the robust fibers in two instructions.
  • Aggressive Worth: Positioned as a mid-weight ultralight material, UltraTNT gives a extra budget-friendly different to the costly DCF, costing round half the worth.

UltraTNT Cons

Each samples are DCF and do a great job of displaying how the Dyneema fibers are evenly distributed, equaling greater energy for the burden. Photograph through Tarptent

  • Heavier than DCF: Whereas UltraTNT presents outstanding weight financial savings when in comparison with conventional materials like silnylon, it can not compete with the extraordinarily low weight of DCF. DCF’s unfold fiber core expertise achieves unparalleled weight reductions, making it the go-to alternative for these striving for absolutely the lightest gear attainable. That hasn’t modified.
  • Extra Delicate Than Silnylon: As with DCF it is best to roll, not stuff, this material and keep away from sharp issues as a lot as attainable. Laminate materials comparable to UltraTNT and DCF haven’t any approach to soak up puncture forces, which is their biggest draw back. Nevertheless, like DCF, ought to a puncture happen it’s very simple to completely patch with patch tape.
  • Restricted DIY Availability: At current, UltraTNT is primarily accessible for manufacturers and factories. DIY fans might want to supply the material immediately from Problem Sailcloth.

The Way forward for UltraTNT

Problem Sailcloth has an extended historical past of testing materials with ultralight gear producers. Picture through LiteAF

Because the out of doors business regularly evolves, material applied sciences are topic to fixed innovation and refinement. Whereas UltraTNT could not at the moment match DCF’s extraordinarily low weight, there’s nonetheless thrilling potential for future developments. Problem Sailcloth and different business gamers are constantly exploring new strategies and supplies to reinforce the efficiency and weight traits of materials like UltraTNT.

Already, UltraTNT has garnered important consideration from each main and smaller manufacturers. It’s possible that as expertise progresses, we could witness additional enhancements to its strength-to-weight ratio and extra variations. The willingness of distinguished manufacturers like Tarptent to undertake UltraTNT speaks volumes about its potential, and it’s not far-fetched to think about that future iterations could drop the burden into a spread that immediately competes with DCF.

So, whereas UltraTNT doesn’t match DCF by way of weight, its distinctive properties and aggressive value level make it a standout alternative for a broad vary of hikers who prioritize a extra equitable steadiness between weight, sturdiness, and affordability.

Last Ideas

Photograph through Tarptent

UltraTNT from Problem Sailcloth is a welcome addition to the materials accessible on the earth of light-weight mountaineering gear. With its spectacular tear energy, zero water retention, and rising curiosity from main and smaller manufacturers alike, it presents a compelling possibility for backpackers trying to scale back pack weight and acquire a number of the advantages beforehand reserved for DCF tents. Its mid-weight ultralight classification and reasonably priced value level make it a robust contender for these in search of a extra accessible introduction to cutting-edge material expertise.

So, whether or not you’re planning a thru-hike or just in search of to lighten your load, hold an eye fixed out for UltraTNT tarps and tents — they could simply be your ticket to a extra comfy and pleasing out of doors journey.

Notice: some quotes have been shortened for brevity.

Featured Picture: Photograph courtesy of Problem Sailcloth. Graphic Design by Chris Helm.



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