Meet Our Dyneema Composite Fabric Shelter Line for Light Packs and Deep Sleep

Our Blog
Ian Atkinson | Oct 26, 2020

When we first revealed our patented “The One” shelter design back in 2008, we knew we were on to something. Minimal and ultralight, yet with great headroom and a spacious vestibule, The One was an instant fan favorite. Over the years, we have tinkered, adjusted, and revised to bring the weight down and the functionality up. Now, we’re ready to take a leap to the next level with our first-ever Dyneema® Composite Fabric (DCF) shelter line! We think you’ll quickly come to agree that this next iteration of The One is the best ultralight tent shelter on the market.

What is Dyneema® Composite Fabric (DCF)?

Originally developed as a material for sails on competitive racing boats under the name cuben fiber, DCF is a laminate fabric comprised of a thin sheet of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene, sandwiched between two sheets of polyester. We already have several DCF products available, including our storage sacks and infamous crotch pots.

How Did We Develop This New DCF Ultralight Tent Shelter?

Over the past 1.5 years, our team at Gossamer Gear has gone through six rounds of DCF sample revisions to make our new DCF shelters absolutely perfect. This included learning more about the material, the different fabric patterning and construction required, and how the fabric behaves with our design as a whole. We also explored sewing, taping, and DCF-specific tweaks to optimize functionality and weight.

We’ve always known that we wanted to work more with DCF to create something groundbreaking — it was just a matter of when. We knew that these shelters would not only be in high demand, but that they would be highly critiqued by our detail-oriented customers and the ultralight community. We started this project when we knew we were ready to take the time to create something that was on the cutting edge — shelters that would be at the tippy-top of anyone’s recommendation list for the lightest and best on the market. And now, they’re here.

How Are Our DCF Shelters Different from Our SilNylon Shelters?

Picking the right fabrics for our products is a careful balancing act. We consider weight, price, water resistance, durability, test data, production time, availability, and more. The difference between these fabrics when choosing which shelter to purchase comes down to pros and cons, which we’ve outlined below.

SilNylon Ultralight Shelters

Our SilNylon shelters are currently produced with a custom woven 10D Nylon SIL/UTS fabric that is waterproof to at least 1800mm.

Pros

  • Exceptionally strong for its weight and price
  • Resistant to abrasion and chemicals
  • Long-lasting, compressible, and easy to wash
  • UTS coating is specially formulated to increase tear strength while offering great hydrolysis performance

Cons

  • While fully waterproof, SilNylon shelters will have minor sag when saturated with water
  • Heavier than DCF

    DCF Ultralight Shelters

    Our new DCF ultralight tent shelters come with their own considerations when compared to SilNylon options.

    Pros

    • DCF is inherently 100% waterproof and does not require any coatings
    • Top of the class in strength to weight ratio
    • Easy to repair
    • Dries out quickly on trail

    Cons

    • Isn’t exceptionally puncture-resistant given its strength in other areas
    • Doesn’t compress as well as nylon
    • Comes at a premium price

    What Are the Details of Our DCF Lightweight Backpacking Shelters?

    We love nerding out about all the details, too, so let’s hop right in!

    DCF Shelter Weights

    The average weights for our DCF shelters include the shelters themselves, as well as the attached cord.

    DCF Shelter Features

    Both shelters feature a 0.51 oz/yd2 DCF canopy and a custom 7D SilNylon bathtub floor. They also feature updated #3 waterproof TPU vestibule zippers for a water-tight vestibule area, super minimal 1.8mm cording, and high quality aluminum DAC stakes.

    DCF Shelter Set-up

    Our DCF shelters can be set up with our ultralight carbon fiber LT5 trekking poles as part of an extremely lightweight and multi-functional sleep kit. When bundled together in the same purchase, you can even save an extra 10% on the trekking poles (see the product pages for more details).

    Why Did We Choose to Put a 7D SilNylon Bathtub Floor on Our DCF Shelters?

    We found this combo of fabrics to be the best blend of price, weight, and durability. A SilNylon floor is more compressible than a DCF floor would be, allowing it to fit better in your pack than other 100% DCF shelters. SilNylon also costs less, allowing us to offer a more competitive price overall.

    As for why we chose a 7D SilNylon, this came down to the test data we received from our fabric weavers. The 7D we are using tested exceptionally well when compared to our 10D and 15D options. In fact, it was just as strong in most areas as our 10D option while being a fraction of the weight — albeit more expensive. Advancements in fabric technology and production have come a long way in recent years, and we believe our 7D SilNylon fabric is the perfect choice for our bathtub floors.

    Want to Learn More — or, Ready to Snag Your New Ultralight Tent Shelter?

    Feel free to email us anytime at support@gossamergear.com to receive some of our legendary customer service.

    And you can snag your new DCF The One or DCF The Two on our website! Make sure to share photos of your adventures with these new ultralight backpacking shelters with us by tagging @gossamergear and using the hashtag #takelessdomore. Happy trails!

     

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    Ian Atkinson is the lead Customer Experience Manager and Product Specialist for Gossamer Gear. He’s an avid hiker, with experience ranging from long section hikes on the Pacific Crest Trail to climbing some of the toughest 14ers in Colorado. Ian is currently training for a 100K Ultra, as well as some potential record-breaking hikes. You can always connect with Ian via support@gossamergear.com if you’d like to chat!