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Hammock Fabric Testing - 1.6 oz poly box ripstop

25 October, 2016 2 comments Leave a comment

Testing is BORING. Yeah, I said it. But couple testing with hammocks and I'M IN.

Hammocks and hammock camping have grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. This is undeniable. What started as a music festival fad has now morphed into a full fledged sector of the outdoor industry. From the college quad to backpacking the Appalachian Trail, everyone is getting off the ground. 

Whether you're buying or DIYing, you have a lot of options. One of these will be hammock fabric. Which brings us to today's testing...

For some time now, we've been working with a few like-minded companies and individuals to try and come up with a standardized way of testing the fabrics that keep our butts off the ground. Why? For a couple reasons:

1. To get hard data for comparing different hammock fabrics apples-to-apples.

2. To lay the foundation for industry accepted practices on testing and certification of hammock gear.

The idea here is that if we want to keep hammocking headed in the right direction, we'd better point it that way. Having standardized procedures for testing not just hammock fabrics but things like webbing, suspension, and hardware just makes good sense. The vendor gets concrete numbers they can point to for their gear. The DIYer has a clear way to compare materials and weigh options for their projects. The community has something to turn to for making decisions. 

What we've done here is conduct a controlled static load test on our 1.6 oz polyester box ripstop. This is the same hammock fabric we're offering through OutdoorINK and the hammock used in testing was a printed hammock.

In a nutshell, we loaded an 11ft hammock with 1200 lbs of concrete bags and tracked some key metrics like stretch and apex sag over a two week period. See below for a pic of the setup and full details:

1.6 oz polyester box ripstop hammock testing

-> Check out the full PDF HERE - 1.6 oz poly box ripstop static load testing

Now we aren't saying this test is necessarily perfect, but compared to guessing, it's a good start. What we're working on next will be testing all of our main hammock fabrics (HyperD, ROBIC, etc). We'll be reporting the test data here on the blog along with other places for everyone to take a look and discuss.

We don't have a ton of comparison data just yet, but what I can say is that some fabrics we've tested did fail (by fail I mean completely snapped) after only a couple days. Others had massive amounts of stretch to the point of being unusable. If you're looking to buy or build a hammock, this might be information you'd want at hand.

We're certainly open to feedback and want to start a discourse here, so please feel free to chime in with any and all thoughts. 

Until next time. Thanks!

Kyle Baker
Owner, Ripstop by the Roll LLC

Reinforcing MEMBRANE silpoly for ultralight tarps and shelters

24 May, 2016 10 comments Leave a comment

As we continue to push limits on weight and waterproofness with tarp/shelter materials, it's inevitable that some design tweaks will need to be made to keep designs reliable in the field.

About a month ago, I was contacted by a customer seeing some stitch elongation in a rectangular tarp he made with our Membrane Silpoly. We worked through the problem and now have what I think is a good path forward for reliable design, so I wanted to share some of that here.

To give a bit of background, here's a pic of the original problem. This was occurring at both ridgeline tie-outs, but not the ground tie-outs:

stitch elongation

Essentially what's happening here is that the reinforcement patch is too thick with not enough stretch to be compatible with the ultralight Membrane silpoly. In other words, under tension the tarp stretches and the reinforcement patch doesn't. With something this thin, that's not good. You need a different approach. 

Enter the radial reinforcement. After some back and forth and discussion with others, radial reinforcements using the same material emerged as a potential solution. This does two things:

1. Matches the stretch as much as possible between the reinforcement and the tarp material.

2. Spreads the force out radially from the concentrated stress of the tie-out area. This gives a more even distribution than the standard triangular patch.

This turned out to work very well as a retrofit to the rectangular tarp in question. Radial reinforcements were simply bonded with silnet over top of the original triangular reinforcement patches made from HyperD 300. I've kept in contact with the customer over the past month and the report has been excellent. This method of reinforcement appears to have fixed the problem.

Based on this success, I went off and did some testing of my own. For the reinforcement, I used a 4″ radial patch of Membrane Silpoly (same material used for tarp) bonded with sil-net and unsewn around the perimeter. Here are some pics:

Ultralight radial tarp template

Membrane ultralight tarp reinforcement

Ultralight tarp reinforcement panel tracing

Ultralight tarp reinforcement panels curing

I drew up a little template in lieu of using the coffee can, which makes it simple to cut out patches regardless of the tie-out shape. Applied a thin layer of sil-net to the patch, put down, then let cure overnight with some weight on top. Should be noted that I also cut the reinforcement patches in the approximate same direction as the intended force on the base tarp material to match the stretch (pic 3 above).

For testing, I vertically stitched on the 1/2″ grosgrain tie-out and then tested with 50 lbs. For extra stress, I lifted and dropped the whole thing ~2 ft. Inspected everything after and saw no evidence of stitch elongation at the grosgrain stitching or around the tie-out. Repeated a couple more times with the same result.

I then made a horizontal stitch on the grosgrain tie-out and retested. Still looked good. Some pics of the test setup and close-ups of the tie-out after testing:

Ultralight tarp tie-out strength testing

ultralight silpoly tarp radial reinforcement

Ultralight silpoly tarp radial reinforcement close-up

I also tested without reinforcements (just 1/2″ gg) under the same conditions. No catastrophic failure, but definitely some stitch elongation near the outermost stitch line on the grosgrain. No bueno. Here’s a pic of that:

Ultralight silpoly tarp no reinforcement close-up

Overall the silnet bonded radial reinforcement approach seemed to work very well - both for the finished tarp and in my personal tests. I don’t know if there’s an accurate way to convert wind speed to ~force on a tie-out, but I would think the wind would need to be pretty strong to produce a force that would cause this tie-out to snap.

Of course there’s also the force of tension due to the pitch and that’s going to vary depending on the design or shelter type, but hopefully this gives a good point of reference.

I’m going to rig up a way to add more weight and test to failure so that we have those numbers. I'm also planning to test the strength when pulling in the weft and warp directions (ridgeline/side tie-outs) instead of the bias. I’d like to do this same thing with Membrane silpoly PU4000.

In conclusion, my recommendation is that anyone making a tarp/shelter out of Membrane Silpoly use the same method of reinforcement I've detailed here. If you've already completed your tarp/shelter, just keep an eye on the wear around the tie-outs, especially at the ridgeline. You can always retrofit if need be.

To make this process easier for new builds, we're also going to spin off separate UL tarp kits that include 1/2" hardware, the radial template I used in the testing, and full instructions on how to modify the reinforcement areas.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate. Thanks!

Your first down project - Choosing a Fabric

10 February, 2015 7 comments Leave a comment

You've made up your mind. With a few easy projects under your belt, it's time to step up to the big leagues and make your first piece of down gear. Maybe it's a quilt, or perhaps a beanie. Regardless of what it is, your first piece of down gear is DIY graduation day. You don't want to fall on your face after grabbing hold of the diploma. 

That being said, one of the key decisions in preparation for your first down project (or down-like synthetic e.g. Primaloft) is fabric selection. It makes sense that you need a "downproof" fabric, but what does downproof mean and how do you select a fabric that won't leave you covered in feathers? It just so happens that we asked ourselves these same questions when developing our first downproof fabrics. Here's what we found out. 

To start, "downproof" is a misnomer. In much the same way as "bulletproof" vests don't stop every bullet, all fabrics labeled downproof, even the best ones, will leak some amount of down over time. The trick is to find the ones that leak the least while also offering breathability and/or water-resistance. In our experience, creating a downproof fabric can be broken down into three factors: weave, density, and finishing. Let's look at those in a little more detail.

1) Weave - This is the technique in which the individual yarns are interlaced to form the fabric or cloth. There are a number of different weave types - twill, satin, ripstop, plain, etc. Each weave type results in a fabric with different properties and thus pros/cons for particular applications. In our experience, when it comes to making a downproof fabric, the PLAIN/TAFFETA weave has always resulted in the better performing fabric. This started as simply an observation from field use, but is also backed up by our testing of ripstop vs taffeta fabrics through the International Down and Feather Labs or IDFL. This doesn't mean that ripstop weaves can't make great downproof fabrics. They can and do in some cases. Specifically, we've found a plain weave to be essential for downproofing in very light/thin fabrics such as 15D or 10D. 

downproof weave

2) Density - By density we are referring to the tightness of the weave and how closely packed the individual yarns are. This is important for obvious reasons. If there are fewer "holes" in the weave, there are less places for the down fiber to escape. With all else being equal (denier, yarn, weave type, etc), a denser weave will result in a fabric with better downproofing.

3) Finishing - Lastly we have finishing. This is the last step in the fabric production process where specific steps are taken to alter the fabric in some way. One of the most important steps for the ultimate downproof properties of any given fabric is the calendering process. In a standard calendering process, the fabric is ran through heavy, heated rollers or drums that flatten the fabric and effectively "seal" the weave. Visually this results in a fabric with one shiny side and one matte side. The basic process of calendering is shown in the video below:

Although every downproof fabric is calendered, it is VERY important to point out that not every calendered fabric is downproof. This is an important point that is missed quite often by both consumers and vendors alike. Moreover, the specific techniques employed in the general calendering process can result in everything from a mediocre downproof fabric to an EXCELLENT downproof fabric. 

calendered vs downproof

So now that you know what goes into creating a great downproof fabric, how do you make your ultimate decision? Truth is, an excellent downproof fabric depends on an optimum combination of not only weave, density, and finishing techniques, but other variables such as yarn type and construction as well. How do you sift through the technical stuff and just get the best fabric for your project? At the end of the day, there are two questions we feel you should ask when selecting a downproof fabric:

1) Has it been lab tested?  In effect, this means "Has it been tested by IDFL?". This is the industry standards organization for down and feather testing and they specialize in testing materials for down leakage. If the answer is YES, you should look for a score of 4 or 5 stars on any fabric you're considering. 

2) Has it been field tested? This is where the rubber meets the road. If you're making a down quilt, are there other down quilts being used out in the field with this fabric? How has the fabric held up for down leakage with normal use over time? Lab performance is often a great indicator of ultimate field performance, but the bottom line is determined by how well the item holds up for down leakage in the field. 

So that's it. Our two cents. When it comes to your first DIY down project, is it worth risking such a large amount of time, effort, and money on a fabric that can't stand tall and answer these two questions? At Ripstop by the Roll, we've made it a priority to test ALL of our listed downproof fabrics through IDFL labs. You can find the IDFL test results/status listed on any given product page. In addition to requiring a 4 or 5 star rating for lab testing, we also collaborate with some of the best down gear makers in the business such as UGQ Outdoor Equipment for field testing and end use of our fabrics in their products. We do these things not because we have to, but because we WANT to. Gaining your business is a privilege that we don't take lightly. We want nothing more than to supply you with the best possible fabric at the best prices now and in the future. So in a word...

THANKS!

Kyle Baker
Owner, Ripstop by the Roll LLC 

Introducing HyperD 300

10 January, 2015 4 comments Leave a comment

Check out the announcement video for our latest material in the HyperD™ line of diamond ripstop fabrics - HyperD 300™

This material is a 300 denier double-diamond grid ripstop fabric designed for applications such as high-end packs, reinforcement areas on tarps/tents, heavy-duty tarps, waterproof/high durability gear sacks, and probably some others we're not thinking of.

Check it out here -> http://ripstopbytheroll.com/collections/hyperd-300

Looking forward to seeing the things that people cook up with this new material. If you have a design you'd like to share, please tell us about it! Thanks everyone!

Kyle Baker
Owner, Ripstop by the Roll LLC

IDFL test results for new DOWNPROOF fabrics

09 July, 2014 3 comments Leave a comment

Although I've had new 1.1 oz downproof ripstop nylon fabrics up on the site for a couple weeks now, I've been hesitant to announce or make any claims without hard evidence of their performance. Admittedly, I haven't worked with down gear all that much outside of making a few pillows and such (see pic below). I put these fabrics through home tests using 850 FP goose down with good results, but I still felt like I needed more than that to label them "downproof".  

Home Downproof Testing 101: The PILLOW....

Instead of basing the downproof claims off of home testing alone or making generalized statements, I decided to invest the money to have these new fabrics independently lab tested for downproofness at the International Down and Feather Laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah. I'm very happy to report that our 1.1 oz calendered ripstop fabric received the highest possible rating of 5 on a scale of 1-5. I haven't had time to put this on the site as of yet, but I've also been working on a new, lighter 1.0 oz Nylon Taffeta with a specially designed downproof weave. I'm happy to report that this fabric received the same exceptional rating of 5 on a scale of 1-5

Honestly, even though I've been working through different samples to get these right over the past couple months, I didn't really know what to expect out of this testing. This was my first shot at creating a downproof fabric, but I'm glad it worked out and that it's available to the community. If you're investing the time and money it takes to make DIY down gear, I think you have the right to know exactly what to expect out of your material. Hopefully this helps! 

1.1 oz calendered ripstop nylon

1.0 oz Nylon Taffeta  

As always, if you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate.

Thanks,

 - Kyle Baker, owner, RipstopbytheRoll.com 

We're UP AND RUNNING!

01 December, 2013 3 comments Leave a comment

Hey everyone, I wanted to take a quick sec to introduce myself and tell you how excited I am to have ripstopbytheroll.com up and running! As the owner of Ripstop by the Roll, I want you to know that I've started this site as a solution to a problem I've faced in both DIY projects and starting my own small business making camping hammocks. Specifically I've found that when buying small quantities of ripstop (i.e. < 100 yds) you will inevitably experience some combination of having to overpay, accept 2nds quality fabric, buy more than you really need, or end up settling for something that you don't really want. I've personally experienced these problems and I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I'm not the only one. 

Ripstop by the Roll is a better way to buy specialty fabrics like ripstop nylon/polyester for a couple reasons. First and foremost, you get access to great prices without the constraint of order minimums. If you take stock of what's out there, our prices can be as much as 20-40% off of what you'll pay at a large online fabric store or somewhere like JoAnn's. These places sell TONS of fabric and you will inevitably be forced to pay extra when ordering small amounts. It's sad to say, but some of these places can even be a little rude when they find out you're "wasting up their time" with an order that isn't 500+ yds of fabric (yeah true story...). Secondly, we've personally held and in many cases sewn all of the fabric that we offer. We started as DIY guys to begin with, so when you buy from us, you know that you're buying from someone who won't stick you with crap.  

We're looking to build real relationships with our customers. Regardless of whether your project is today, tomorrow, or both, we'd love to be your trusted fabric/materials supplier. If you have a question about ANYTHING, head over to the Contact Us page and . Seriously, if you need guidance on fabric selection, want to request a new fabric that we don't carry, or just have a comment/suggestion, we'd love to hear from you. 

Sincerely, 

- Kyle Baker, owner, RipstopbytheRoll.com