As someone who's done this a whole lot more than they'd like to admit, I've naturally wondered if it'd just be cheaper to buy a roll of Cuben Fiber and make one myself.
What's been stopping me (apart from the price a roll of Cuben) is that I hadn't the slightest clue about how easy it is to work with the material, and considering I'm completely incompetent with a sewing machine the odds don't exactly stack up in my favor...
When I came across the DIY Cuben stuff sack kit on the Yama Mountain Gear website (whilst drooling over their tarps!) I was intrigued, and shot an email to Gen, who runs the company.
Turned out he was happy to send me a sample to review here, and I don't even have to sew anything - Thanks Gen!
The kit includes enough of everything to let you assemble up to seven stuff sacks depending on the sizes you choose. The "DIY" section of the Yama Mountain Gear website includes three different templates to help you get the most out of the kit, along with comprehensive instructions.
The kit comes packaged inside a zip lock bag and contains:
- 21" x 54" of CT2E.08 Cuben Fiber
- 28' of 1/2" transfer tape
- 2 sheets of reinforcement stickers (one sheet of circles, one of rectangles.
- 14' of white spectra cord
- 7 tiny cord locks
- A cutting mat or surface that you don't mind damaging
- A craft knife or really sharp pair of scissors
- A ruler
- A lighter
- Either a pen or pencil which will draw on the cuben
Once you have all of this, just refer to the instructions here
|Setting up shop. (A little more light would help!)|
The build quality is all down to you, no amount of fancy laminate is gonna stop you from ballsing it up!
Seriously though, as you make more of the stuff sacks your build quality will drastically increase. My first stuff sack was a little wonky, the drawcord channel a bit tight, and the seams a bit wrinkly. However by the time I had reached my third sack I was actually really pleased with how they were coming out, though they're definitely far from professional!
|The three stuff sacks I have completed so far. Notice that the seams get wrinkled over time anyway, so if you make a wrinkly seam it won't look too bad after a bit of use!|
Stuff sacks only really have one use, to hold things, and I can't at all criticise the performance of these stuff sacks to do so. Honestly, the stuff sacks from the YMG kit will do just as good a job as any other stuff sack will, the main advantage is that they weigh next to nothing.
Since the sacks are made from Cuben and the seams are sealed the stuff sacks provide a good deal of water resistance, although the drawstring top will still let water in if you're not careful. It would be interesting to experiment with dry bag style roll tops!
The Cuben is waterproof, although the drawstring top is not.
I've had loads of use out of the two mini sizes and the small size. The medium size ones may fit a sleeping bag or underquilt, although I'm currently messing about trying to make a custom sized one for the Warbonnet Yeti underquilt.
|The template from the YMG website.|
- Fantastic way to gain experience working with Cuben
- Effective way to get a set of Cuben stuff sacks on a budget
- They weigh barely anything
- Custom sizes and designs are possible
- They take quite a long time to make and can be fiddly!
I think this kit is a perfect introduction to working with Cuben Fiber and is especially suited to those planning to make something bigger, whether it be a tarp, tent, or rucksack, or something even more adventurous.
If anything, it certainly makes you realize just how much work goes into producing Cuben products, and may even make you reevaluate your ideas on doing so yourself!
If you're not up for making them yourself, you can get the same stuff sacks pre-made on the Yama Mountain Gear website, here.
Thanks to Gen Shimizu of Yama Mountain Gear for letting me review the DIY Cuben Fiber Stuff Sack Kit.
|Disclaimer: Yama Mountain Gear provided me with the product free of charge in exchange for this review. The opinions expressed above are my own and reflect my experience with the product.|
Review by Jake McConnell (part of HighballBlog.com outdoor athletes team who test and review outdoor gear).
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