Is Extremely the New Dyneema?

Get the latest from the lightweight backpacking earth in our 2 times-regular ultralight column. 

If you happen to observe the developments of the ultralight gear subject intently, you could presumably have heard of a brand new cloth recognized alternatively as EPL Extraordinarily, Extraordinarily 200, or Ecopak Extraordinarily. All through the cottage market that gives ultralight mountain climbing gear, Extremely—we’ll use that all-encompassing expression right here—is taking above. It’s the organising block of Zpack’s newest pack, the Arc Haul, and has modified Dyneema throughout Mountain Laurel Designs’ whole line of backpacks. So what is that this novel materials, notably, and precisely the place did it come from?

Like Dyneema, X-Pac, and different supplies uncovered in high quality ultralight gear, Extremely will come from the earth of sailcloth. It’s the brainchild of Hale Walcoff, an American sailor and textiles developer. Extremely is generated solely by Problem Outdoor, the enterprise that Walcoff now manages. 

Is Extremely the New Dyneema?
Zpacks Arc Haul Extraordinarily 60L Backpack (Image: courtesy)

Walcoff means that the technological properties of sailcloth translate to the earth of ultralight construction. “The stretch traits, tear energy, and firmness of sailcloth, on the lowest possible weight, is important to defending the made airfoil type of a fast sail,” he claims. “Related materials traits are very important to creating lightweight, comfortable, resilient packs.”

In 2019, Walcoff commenced doing the job on an thought that has captured the consideration of many within the out of doors business—find out how to make a fancy cloth using all recycled components. Performing with Drawback Sailcloth, he sourced every a recycled film and a recycled polyester and commenced to ascertain new materials. His first merchandise to catch on within the out of doors market was Ecopak, a 100-% recycled coated polyester that Walcoff likens to a recycled mannequin of X-Pac. Extraordinarily strike {the marketplace} in 2021 and shortly garnered reward for its energy and abrasion resistance. 

In technical phrases, Extremely shares a comparable blueprint with its closest competitor, Dyneema Composite Materials. Each are manufactured of ultra-significant-molecular-weight polyethylene (or UHMWPE), a unique plastic that’s significantly better than metallic. Dyneema, then again, works through the use of UHMWPE in a non-woven type, laminated amongst two sheets of polyester. With Extraordinarily, Walcoff chosen to construct a woven UHMWPE and polyester materials, laminated with a recycled RUV movie. In accordance to Walcoff’s check ultimate outcomes, Extremely has about a couple of instances the tear energy of Dyneema, and seven moments better abrasion resistance. It bests X-Pac by even greater margins. 

MLD EXODUS 55L
Mountain Laurel Types Exodus 55L (Image: courtesy)

Extremely’s distinctive growth does have its limits. In distinction to Impediment Out of doors’s Ecopak cloth, it isn’t totally recycled, on condition that it makes use of new UHMWPE. It’s additionally each little bit as high-priced as Dyneema: The most typical body weight for pack-building, Extremely 200, expenses about $35 for every yard. (Like X-Pac, Ecopak is considerably a lot cheaper at $13 per backyard). And when it bests Dyneema in power, it falls fast in different approaches. The lightest model of the fabric, Extraordinarily 100, clocks in at 2.9 ounces for every sq. backyard, a considerably cry from the .51- or .34-ounce for every sq. garden weights that Dyneema can obtain. In train, this often implies that Extremely is an effective resolution for backpacks, however is simply too hefty to be employed in lightweight tarps and tents. (Walcoff is buying a 1.2-ounce materials named Extraordinarily TNT, however primarily due to its larger weight, he predicts that will probably be a spending budget-pleasant choice to nylon or polyester tents, pretty than a competitor to ultralight Dyneema shelters).

Extremely’s launch previous 12 months additionally arrived as cottage producers confronted temporary supplies of Dyneema. DSM, the group that gives Dyneema, has acknowledged all these supply difficulties and defined it’s ramping up technology skills to fulfill demand from clients. However for some model names which have switched to Extremely as a final result, there aren’t any methods to return to Dyneema. 

For its most present line of packs, Mountain Laurel Layouts has totally embraced Extraordinarily, crafting on its web site that “the numerous recycled written content material and anticipated additional-extended help lifetime of Ecopak Extraordinarily 200/400 could make a wonderful state of affairs for staying an individual of probably the most superior eco-friendly extremely-gentle backpack supplies obtainable.” Nonetheless the enterprise even now options Dyneema tents and tarps, and offers a Dyneema-branded ripstop nylon as a spending funds pack product, their fine quality packs are actually all produced with Extraordinarily. 

Nashville Pack Cutaway
Nashville Pack’s The Cutaway Pack (Photograph: courtesy)

For different cottage makers, proficient customers are an extra enthusiasm to examination out new supplies.  “We serve a distinct segment of a distinct segment, which may make our shoppers fairly devoted,” states Levi Morton, co-founder of Nashville Pack. “We’ll get a dozen electronic mail messages when a material like Extremely arrives out, inquiring us, ‘When are you more likely to begin out working with this?’” This yr, Nashville is giving its flagship Cutaway pack in Extraordinarily, as correctly as two new variations of X-Pac acknowledged as LSO7 and VX07. 

For his element, Walcoff has embraced the ultralight subject as instantly because it embraced his sailcloth. “Essentially the most beloved portion of my profession is to fulfill with small makes and begin out-ups of their storage or basement, get feedback on our present-day sorts, and take note of their suggestions for brand new shades and weaves,” he says. Extremely has a lot of wind in its sails, which might presumably be an enormous purchase for fastpackers in every single place you go.