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Mountain Laurel Designs Cuben Fiber Stuff Sacks

Mountain Laurel Designs Cuben Fiber Stuff Sack

The weight of stuff sacks can really add up if you go overboard with them. I've eliminated most of them from my packing system, but I still use two 8L Sea-to-Summit Ultra-Sil Waterproof Stuff Sacks to protect my down sleeping bag and my extra clothes. At 1.1 oz. each, they're lightweight and have proven to be reliable for me.

That's about to change. Mountain Laurel Designs has just come out with waterproof, roll top, cuben fiber stuff sacks. Mine arrived yesterday and they look like winners. They're made using the same 0.74 oz sq/yd cuben fiber that MLD makes tarps out of and come fully seam sealed,  for immediate use.

Mountain Laurel Designs Cuben Fiber Stuff Sack

Unfortunately, Ron Bell is not listing the volume of each size on his web site, just the dimensions. But I can tell you, that my Western Mountaineering Ultralight 20 down sleeping bag fits in a size XL, weighing only 0.39 oz / 13 grams, and costing only $27. That's slightly more than my old silnylon stuff sacks ($15 each), but about 25% cheaper than the new Granite Gear Uberlight CTF3 DrySacks, also made with cuben fiber, that were introduced this year.

I also ordered a smaller size Large waterproof stuff sack from MLD. It is perfectly sized for my extra clothes and only weighs 0.35 oz / 10 grams ($22).

It's exciting to see the beginning of mainstream adoption of cuben fiber, at least in these accessories, like stuff sacks. Hopefully, lightweight materials will become a competitive differentiator that will help drive the cost of the material down.

Water Test: Unfortunately, these stuff sacks leak when filled with water. While this exact scenario is unlikely in practice, the fact that they leak at all is a concern. Ron Bell at MLD recommends not testing these stuff sacks in this manner, saying that they are sufficient as is for keeping wetness out. If you want something that is waterproof enough for swimming or high fords, MLD has another cuben stuff sack model forthcoming that is even more waterproof than these and can take the additional abuse.

Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.

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15 comments

  1. Interesting development indeed.

    You may or may not have noiticed but apparently Terra Nova are exhibiting a partially cuben fibre tent (laser derivative?) at the European Outdoor Expo in Friedrikshaven this month. I think it's been mentioned in a post over at lighthikers world.

  2. There's a good picture of it at http://hrxxlight.com/?p=406. It's actually a double wall freestanding tent, cut like an Atko or TT Scarp, and weighs 17.6 oz.

  3. Hi Phil,

    how much weight savings does this represent? and at what point do you start chasing these types of weight savings?

    I stop using my top lid on my backpack, got a SOTO micro regulator canister stove for 3 season use in place of the SVEA, and got a JRB hammock in place of the 2 person 3 season tent.

    I think the next "bang for the buck" for me would be a summer weight UQ to replace my 15 deg F bag

    Just curious about the thought process for someone much further along the UL curve than me.

    Thanks.

  4. I don't see any stitching. Why seam seal glued seams?

  5. Lostalot – there is some stitching on the bottom. I think Ron says something about a new envelope shape on his web site that reduces the sack weight. I didn't quite follow that myself.

  6. Tom – chasing about 0.7 oz would be insane. I just bought these stuff sacks for the hell of it. :-)

    Seriously, my sea to summits let go after about 2 years of punishment. These are my new reserve stuff sacks.

  7. I cannot understand why people buy into all this high dollar gear…ok for a shelter and a bag (you HAVE to pay a premium to go light there) but…..I just use a trash bag that lasted 1000 miles on the AT and those S2S "dry bags" dont last more than a few weeks on the trail. ALL my clothes and sleep bag go in the trash bag…No stuff sacks at all! Sometimes I even question why I bought a WM UL and a GG TwinnSpinn and a Zpack Blast when I think about what Grandma Gatewood carried…..she also said "cold food is good enough for me"…so I never carry a stove anymore either. Simplfy Simplify!! But thats just me….I also tossed out all my hiking boots/sneakers and hike in sandals! Once you realize you dont need all that big box gear you will never go back! BTW I CAN afford that stuff, just do not see the need for the "latest and greatest" gear that someone dreams up! My next tarp is gonna be a 8 dollar Walmart job!! My 3 season base weight is 6 pounds btw.LOL Great site by the way! Semper Fi!!

  8. Really can't argue with that. Thanks for the visit and kind words.

  9. Have you tested these in water? It runs–not drip, more like a waterfall!–right through the stitched area at the bottom. I may be sending mine back!

  10. I just rectified that and they drip for me, but still that ain't right. These are going back.

  11. I just heard back from Ron Bell. Evidently some of the earliest batch of these dry bags missed getting taped on the bottom seam. Ron told me that some beefier cuben fiber dry bags are coming in a few weeks. I am going to apply my refund to those!

  12. Granny – thanks for this update. Folks – I'm sure Ron will do the right thing here if you have a leaky stuff sack.

  13. New trashbags don't leak, and you can buy a whole lot of them for $22. They also come is many thicknesses.

    I don't think the bang-for-the-buck for this product is very high.

  14. Ziplock bags are awesome too. The Ziplock company has a wide range of products, including vacuum bags and some quite large bags (2 feet x 2.7 feet). I find the 1 gallon bags very handy for packing clothes in.

  15. Cuben is not a problem. Working with it is.

    Because it is basically a plastic film with a few fibers laminated in, it is not the same as a traditional cloth. Sewing it is second best to glueing it, because of the needle holes leading to weakness and leakage. This is the problem with many of the more traditional tent makers transitioning to cuben, as you are seeing. A new process for laminating seams will need to be developed before any of the newer cuben products will live up to the material's promise.

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