The tent floor is a sheet layer sitting on the ground to shield your shelter from the ground debris. Dyneema and silnylon are two of the most common materials for making tent floors. So, Dyneema vs. Silnylon tent floors, which are better?
Dyneema is well-known for its durability. This material can resist external elements well. On the other hand, silnylon appears to be a strong and cost-effective fabric.
Both materials have benefits and drawbacks. This article will give you a side-by-side comparison to choose the better one.
Let’s give it a read!
What Is Dyneema Composite Fabric – Cuben Fiber?
Dyneema Composite Fabric is ripstop, non-woven hybrid laminates with exceptional performance. Some other names for Dynemaa are DCF and Cuben Fiber (CF).
In a high-pressure steamer, Dyneema fiber is spread out in opposing grid alignments, sandwiched between outer layers of the polyester film, and combined.
Dyneema fibers are solid but lightweight, allowing them to float in water. The particle’s distinctive qualities will enable it to flex continuously at stress areas while maintaining strength and structural stability.
Before sewing, Dyneema is fully water resistant and has excellent UV and chemical resistance.
Although Dyneema isn’t as frequently common in outdoor equipment as some other tough textiles, the material’s apparent qualities continue to gain respect.
Climbing-rope producers and cottage-industry builders of customized outdoor items were among the first to use the technology.
Dyneema fibers have a tarp-like look and come in space-age white and subdued black.
Dyneema isn’t glossy like ripstop nylons, PU-coated nylon, or TPU-coated textiles. There aren’t many options when it comes to color.
These days, Dyneema has gained popularity thanks to its durability. Manufacturers employ this material to make camping gear, such as a tent, tarp, or tent footprint.
What Is Silnylon?
Silnylon is a hand-made fabric manufactured by coating both faces of nylon fabric with a single layer of silicone.
The sheet then becomes waterproof and considerably more tear-resistant after it has dried out.
Yet, the material isn’t breathable, making it unsuitable for garment production.
Mostly, people use this silnylon to produce a light yet durable backpacking gear that is popular all over the world. Extreme sports, army, and construction are just a few of its applications.
In wet, damp, and downright rainy situations, silnylon can actually be useful.
A silnylon floor will keep you as well as your belongings dry. Moreover, it won’t add much weight to your pack.
Silnylon is also favorable in the camping industry. Manufacturers use its lightweight and waterproofing to produce tarps, tents, tent floors, and sleeping bags.
Dyneema v.s. Silnylon Tent Floors
Dyneema and silnylon are suitable for making tent floors. But which is a better option? We need to compare the two materials in different aspects before deciding which is better.
You lay the tent footprint on the ground where we pitch the tent. Hence, this layer should be durable, especially when you rest and sleep in a tent.
In the first round, Dyneema wins a point. Its durability is famous even for those who do not know much about construction. On a weight-for-weight ratio, Dyneema fiber is about 15 times sturdier than steel.
Dyneema comes in different types, and many of them feature a PU coating. This extra layer adds to the sturdiness of the material on the next level.
Silnylon is also a durable fabric. Producers create silnylon by producing a woven nylon textile on both surfaces. The material comes with a layer of silicone. Because the silicone significantly enhances tear strength, it is sturdy for its weight.
The weight affects the way you pack and set up your tent footprint. In general, the more lightweight the sheet is, the better.
Both materials are light, making them ideal weight savings.
DSM, the official manufacturer and inventor of DCF, focuses on weight. The company also uses ultralightweight to advertise the products.
Dyneema weighs from 0.55 oz to 3.0 oz, depending on the type. DSM wants to provide customers with more selections for their requirements.
On the other hand, silnylon weighs around 1.35 oz per square yard on average. To be more precise, the weight comes from 1.1 oz of the ripstop with 0.35 oz of the coating.
In the battle, Dyneema, with its outstanding ultralightweight, continues its triumph.
Dyneema is the most durable fabric available in the market, but its price stays among the highest.
DCF is a high-end new space-age fabric with a high price tag.
For high-quality nylon, $5 per yard is relatively costly at wholesale. DCF, on the other hand, seldom costs less than $20 to $30 a yard.
On average, a Cuben Fiber tent floor may cost somewhere from $80 to $100.
You may find DCF in less labor-intensive items from direct-to-consumer businesses that don’t need to include wholesale profits in their price.
It’s uncertain that the price would drop until someone produces an item that can perform well as the Dyneema.
If price is your top concern, you can choose a silnylon sheet. Its average cost is about $20 to $30. You can save up to $50 but still have a lightweight and durable material to cover your campground.
You need stretchy material to shape your tent easily. However, some campers don’t like their tent footprint and tarp to stretch. It may cause some saggings then.
If you may need to adjust the tent footprint, choose silnylon. This material offers a high stretch. However, it may sag when the temperature drops.
On the other hand, Dyneema has a low stretch, which helps it dissipate wind more effectively.
Low stretch, though, implies the shelter has a smaller sweet spot where the tent will pitch effectively, limiting your ability to adjust the form of your pitch.
The seam connects pieces. After buying the tent footprint, some campers seal or season the seams to enhance the durability of the sheet. Yet, this step is optional.
If you buy a silnylon footprint, you need to seal the seams straight away.
If you skip this part, the rainwater may leak in your shelter, causing irritation and discomfort. You have to deal with the moisture as well.
When you purchase a silnylon footprint from most manufacturers, they often offer you a seam-sealing option for an additional fee. Yet, this approach will raise the weight of the tent footprint by one or two ounces.
If you buy a Cuben tent floor, the seam sealing is not necessary. You can use it immediately thanks to its durability.
In terms of seam sealing, Dyneema outweighs its competitor.
A wet tent is annoying. Hence, water resistance is an important feature that should be present in your tent footprint. Fortunately, both Cuben and silnylon are waterproof.
The hydrostatic head test can help determine how much water pressure a textile can endure before it begins to leak.
A water-filled column will drip on the sheets. The strain on the material increases as more water enters the column.
When water drops penetrate into the material, the height of columns determines the fabric’s waterproof rating.
According to the test, the rating of silnylon is about 3,000mm to 10,000mm. The range in Dyneema is from 8,000mm to 12,000mm. The gap varies depending on what coating the manufacturers apply to their products.
As you can see, Cuben offers a higher waterproof rating, making it a better choice for tent floor production.
Silnylon is also good at waterproofing. However, the rate appears to be lower than that of its competitor.
One problem you have to deal with the waterproofness of silnylon is the seam. Water can leak through the holes, decreasing its ability to keep your shelter dry.
When eco-camping has become a trend, many campers choose to use environmentally friendly camping gear for their trip.
In terms of environmental impact, Dyneema is a safer choice. This material has the smallest carbon footprint of all high-performance fabrics.
About 75% of the energy used to make Cuben Fiber originates from renewable sources. Using Cuben fibers can save the equivalent of 13,000 cars in carbon dioxide emissions.
Silnylon has a higher environmental effect than Cuben Fiber. This material is also harder to recycle.
The capacity of a material to withstand deterioration induced by UV light absorption is UV resistance.
UV radiation in the sun causes chemical connections in textiles to break down, making them wear out and degrade over time.
When it comes to UV resistance, the DCF floors outshine any synthetic fabrics.
When exposed to the sun constantly, the fiber can still work well. The sun only affects your tent footprint to a very shallow degree.
On the other hand, UV radiation is a considerable matter to silnylon. It may degrade fast under the sunlight. After a long time of exposure, the silnylon footprint may even get some damage.
Abrasion resistance implies the ability of the tent footprint to withstand an external attack.
Both of the tent fabrics are abrasion resistant. However, if we have to find a real winner, it must be the Dyneema. Due to its sturdiness, this material can handle the sharp objects and severe contact.
Silnylon is also popular for its tear resistance. It can last long and sit well on the ground because of that feature.
Campers take advantage of the foldability feature of the material to pack their luggage. In this battle, silnylon is superior.
You can compress a silnylon footprint. Your backpacking trip is, therefore, much more convenient.
On the other hand, Dyneema can’t stretch. You may find it hard to fold the tent footprint made of this material. As a result, packing them is challenging.
We have compared Dyneema vs. Silnylon tent floors in some essential aspects. Now, it’s time to summarize their outstanding features with a comparison table.
|Dyneema vs. Silnylon Tent Floors Comparison|
|Weight||0.55 oz to 3.0 iz||1.35 oz|
|Price||$80 to $100||$20 to $30|
|Stretch||Low stretch||High stretch|
|Seam sealing||No seal needed||Seal needed|
|Water resistance||8,000mm to 12,000mm||3,000mm to 10,000mm|
|Environmental impact||Eco-friendly||Hard to recycle|
Pros And Cons Of Dyneema v.s. Silnylon Tent Floors
Dyneema and silnylon have their own set of pros and cons. Considering two sides of the materials can help you make the right decision.
Dyneema has been famous for its durability and ultralight weight. Aside from that, the material also has great performance when it comes to resistance against external factors.
Some of the pros and cons of Cuben are:
- The most durable fiber in the market
- Super lightweight
- UV resistant
- No sagging
- No seam sealing needed
- Low stretch
Silnylon is a high-quality material for tent floors. Since its competitor is so powerful, the material seems to be weaker. However, it can still be a good choice for your outdoor gear.
- More affordable
- More color selection
- UV vulnerable
- Possibility of sagging when the temp drops
- Need of seam sealing
- Hard to recycle
When Do You Need A Tent Floor?
A tent floor, or a tent footprint, is a piece of cloth that lays between the tent and the campground, similar to a groundsheet. When constructing your tent, the first thing you need to do is straighten out the tent footprint.
Here are some reasons why you need a footprint for your tent.
Extend the lifespan of the tent
With 90% of camping tents now having a sewn-in sheet for the ground, purchasing a tent footprint has never been more important.
You may protect your fresh new tent from scratches and cuts caused by loose rocks and branches by using a cover.
Even with the best intentions and the utmost care, incidents may come while camping. Giving your tent as much shelter as possible from the start will benefit you in the long term.
Another layer may come with your tent by placing a footprint beneath it. It also raises you off the ground somewhat to prevent heat loss from the ground.
When camping, people fail to take into account how much body heat may decrease in this manner. When paired with a nice sleeping bag or air mattress, this addition can provide for a really comfortable night’s rest.
You may want to preserve your new tent in the most excellent shape for a long time.
With two layers, you get double the coverage! Not only would an extra layer of waterproofing provide you comfort in mind, but it will also safeguard your property.
The majority of tent floors are custom-made to fit the shape of your tent. As a result, you’ll have a good sense of where the tent may go, where it can fit, and where you should start pinching right now.
The tent footprint will save you a lot of time and create less problems regarding erecting the tent.
Silicone Coating For The Tent Footprint
Silicone is the most effective way of making a waterproof fabric in the long run. You may come across a tent footprint coating with silicone for better performance.
Silicone-coated textiles outlast PU and PE coatings and offer various benefits.
The release characteristics of a silicone-coated fabric are usually excellent.
Simultaneously, some types of silicone can have a high friction coefficient, resulting in a substance that can provide grip.
If your tent footprint has a silicone layer, you don’t need to worry about slipping or a sticky surface.
Silicone can also endure high temperatures with excellent chemical stability.
Silicone-coated textiles are suitable as a release layer in procedures requiring adhesive materials and extreme heat because of their release ability.
Thanks to heat resistance, your silicone-coated footprint can project itself from getting heat in hostile weather.
One of the most apparent benefits of silicone coating is that it is fully waterproof to moisture destruction.
It features an impenetrable barrier that is fully resistant to ponding water and retains its waterproofing even when under compression.
Waterproofing is an essential criterion for a tent footprint. If the material of your equipment isn’t watertight, you can apply a layer of silicone to it for better resistance.
Can We Use Tent Floors As Tent Flies?
Yes. A tent footprint can work as a rain fly, or a tent tarp. Silnylon tarp is quite common in camping.
However, there are some aspects you need to consider before building the rain fly with the tent footprint.
Most tent floors are smaller or the same size as the tent. The exact size ensures that water can’t leak inside the tent.
On the other hand, the tent flies are often bigger than the tent size. It needs to cover the whole shelter in case of heavy rain.
If you intend to use a tent footprint as a tent tarp, make sure that your tent footprint is big enough to safeguard the tent roof.
Your tent footprint doesn’t have to be lightweight. It sits on the ground and won’t change its spot during your camping.
Moreover, setting the tent footprint is straightforward. You just need to find an ideal area and lay the sheet on the ground.
On the other hand, putting up a tent fly needs more effort, time, and skill. As a result, a lightweight silnylon tarp is more convenient for your setup. You can utilize your trekking pole to put up the fly.
If you find a heavy and too bulky rain fly, you may spend a lot of time securing the fly over your tent.
Other Materials For Tent Floors
Dyneema and silnylon are among the most popular materials for tent floors. Besides, you may have some other options, such as nylon, polyester, or denier.
Nylon is, without a doubt, the most widely used tent fiber. It’s a manufactured material that’s cost-effective, long-lasting, and lightweight.
Polyester is somewhat more costly than nylon and, therefore, less prevalent. In terms of tent construction, they’re nearly identical in most ways.
Polyester, on the other hand, may be lighter in some applications. This characteristic is very dependent on the manufacturing techniques used by the producer and the camper’s desired usage for their gear.
Thread thickness comes in deniers. Consider denier as a burliness element when it comes to tent footprints. The greater the denier, the more substantial the product.
Because the purpose of your tent footprint is to act as a barrier, you should choose a thicker denier fabric if one is accessible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about Dyneema, silnylon, and tent floors.
1. What is the ideal thickness of a footprint?
A heavy-duty footprint will perform better depending on how rough the terrain is. You should also consider the additional weight before opting for it.
The thickness of the material varies from 0.5mm for lightweight versions to 1.8mm for heavy-duty ones.
2. Can I use my tarp as a tent footprint?
Yes, you can. We frequently utilize tarps to shield the tent’s outside from the weather due to their endurance. As a result, a tarp will cover the tent’s floor from ground debris.
3. How long does a Dyneema tent footprint last?
Dyneema is durable and long-lasting. With proper care, it can last up to five years.
4. Silpoly vs. silnylon: which is better?
Both silnylon and silpoly have their own set of benefits and drawbacks. Because of its thickness, silnylon is both lighter and more robust.
However, to resist water and keep its form, it usually has to be thicker. In the case of water resistance, silpoly works better.
The Bottom Line
The Dyneema tent footprint is an overall winner. It offers a high degree of durability, water and UV resistance, lightweight, and environmental impact. However, with such good quality, the price is undoubtedly high.
If you shop within a limited budget, a silnylon floor appears to be a better choice. It may not perform as well as its competitor. However, a sheet of silnylon can guarantee your comfort and convenience in the tent.
Hopefully, you will find this article helpful. If you need any further information, please feel free to ask. Thank you for your interest in the article!