Not the first, but one of the first items I ever bought in cuben fiber was one of the mini-size stuff sacks from ZPacks, about 2 & 1/2 years ago. Since then, it has likely been the single, most-used piece of cuben fiber that I have owned. It became my ditty bag, and has been with me on every trip since picking it up. Granted, this has not been a heavy-use item like something such as a backpack would experience, but none-the-less, it has been in constant use over the years, and it is still holding up just great.
Considering this, when I get emails asking me my opinion about cuben fiber (which can be often), I sometimes use my ditty bag as a point of reference. As well, for those on the fence about cuben fiber, I also typically recommend them to pick up a small cuben fiber stuff sack to give a try first, and then go from there. They’re inexpensive, and is a great way for some folks to get their hands on some cuben fiber before making up their own mind about taking the leap to larger (more expensive) items made from cuben fiber.
Then, a while back, I noticed that Yama Mountain Gear actually sells a DIY kit in which you can make your own cuben fiber stuff sacks, and relatively easy at that. The kits include everything one would need to make as many as 7 stuff sacks, ranging in sizes from mini, small, medium & large. But the best part in my opinion, is the cost. One of Gen’s kit’s only cost $30 (+ a couple of dollars extra for shipping). Considering what is included with the kit, and how many stuff sacks one can make using the kit, I find that this is actually a great price.
Here is what is included:
- 21″ x 54″ sheet of CT2E.08 Cuben Fiber
- 28′ of 1/2″ Transfer Tape
- 20″ of 1″ Cuben Fiber Tape
- 14′ of Spectra Cord
- 7 Cordlocks
Gen has a great tutorial page that shows each step of the entire procedure for making one of his stuff sacks. (Also, for those that are like me and would prefer to watch the instructions rather than read it, HERE is a video he made which shows the entire process.) To make it even easier, he has also provided 3 templates to choose from in which to get the most of the cuben fiber that is provided, however, the great thing about this kit is that the user can also decide to make their own custom sized stuff sack as well.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, Gen emailed me and asked me if I would be interested in trying one of these kits out, and I immediately said “Sure!” The kit really intrigued me for the simple fact that I could make my own stuff sacks. I have been curious about the whole bonding/taping method for cuben fiber, and this was a great chance to actually try my own hand at it, and of course, DIY is just fun! So, Gen dropped me one of his kits in the mail, and a few days later, it was in my mail box…
So, as I mentioned before, for those that are unsure about cuben fiber to begin with, I will still continue to recommend them to get a small stuff sack to try out first, or if they are willing to put just a few extra bucks in, and don’t mind a little DIY project, I will definitely suggest to pick up one of these kits. As I said, one can get as many as 7 cuben fiber stuff sacks of various sizes out of this kit, which is well worth $30. Try buying these stuff sacks already made, and you will see that the cost will be much more than $30.
Since this post, I have now made 2 of the mini’s, 1 of the small’s, 1 of the medium’s & 1 of the large stuff sacks. The first one took me about 35 minutes as I was trying to make sure I cut the tape correctly, and then applied it to the correct side. After doing a couple though, I did get a little faster at the process. Don’t get me wrong though, making the stuff sacks is not difficult, it is actually easy, but until I had done a few, it was a little time consuming.
The stuff sacks in the above photos are one of each size that I made from this kit. Here are the specs on these specific stuff sacks:
- Mini: 5″ x 6″
- Small: 5-7/8″ x 8″
- Medium: 8″ x 10-1/4″
- Large: 10-1/4″ x 14-1/8″
- Mini: 0.1 oz (2.83 g)
- Small: 0.131 oz (3.73 g)
- Medium: 0.188 oz (5.33 g)
- Large: 0.283 oz (8.07 g)
So, now that I have a few of the completed stuff sacks, I have got to say that I am even happier with this kit. They all turned out pretty well, despite the fact that I have never done this before. Definitely a great kit, and I highly recommend it…
Disclaimer: Gen from Yama Mountain Gear provided this DIY Kit to me free of charge for the purpose of this review. However, the statements within this write-up/video are of my own opinion.