Why do Alpkit tarps cost so much?

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  • Why do Alpkit tarps cost so much?
  • shermer75
    Member

    The DD tarps weigh about the same, pack up smaller and seem to have a similar amount of features. What am I missing? Durability? Waterproofness?

    trail_rat
    Member

    I have a rig 3.5 ….I didn’t pay even close to that.

    I wouldn’t have.

    shermer75
    Member

    The Rig 3.5 costs £65, I was comparing the DD 3×3 with the Rig 14

    trail_rat
    Member

    I was looking at the 3.5 when I commented.

    More meaning the whole range is spendy now

    shermer75
    Member

    Yep, most Alpkit stuff is much more spenny now

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    Some of it’s the fabric: the Alpkit stiff is siliconised Cordura nylon, the DD is PU-proofed polyester. The Cordura fabric is tougher and a fair bit more expensive. Rab uses similar siliconised Cordura, ditto Big Agnes, Nordisk etc. You’re not really comparing like with like.

    shermer75
    Member

    Why is it more expensive? What do you gain?

    shermer75
    Member

    If it’s not going to rip in a high wind then I can see the attraction

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    I fancy a Alpkit 3.5 for this season. But not in bright chilli red – kind of defeats the point of a stealthy wild camp bivvy spot. Any alternatives (that are the same weight or lighter) or best to wait and see i they will do a kelp 3.5 again?

    Premier Icon vinnyeh
    Subscriber

    Rig14 is down to £49.99 according to the email Alpkit just sent out.

    shermer75
    Member

    RAB Siltarp 1

    …which is the same price and size as the Rig 3.5 but considerably lighter. So is Alpkit now pitching itself as ‘the same price as the big brands but not as good’? Seems like a ballsy move to be fair

    Premier Icon mrwhyte
    Subscriber

    I purchased the Siltarp 1 when I found it discounted. Was amazed at how small it packed down to. Great bit of kit…still not used it in anger yet, just a few setups in the garden practicing.

    scotroutes
    Member

    I think Alpkit are just making good of the fact that they’ve become a go-to brand and that most folk assume their prices will be good without then going to check the “competition”. Lots of companies do this.

    FWIW, I have a Siltarp 1 but I’m now using a DCF tarp from Trekkertent. It’s a good bit bigger at 2.7×1.8 but only weighs 124g  🙂

    shermer75
    Member

    DCF stuff does seem to be the answer! Just looking forward to it being mass produced and therefore possibly dropping down in price a little 🙂

    Premier Icon metalheart
    Subscriber

    My siltarp1 (that I got 3 years ago for 24£) used in anger for the first time (this year that is)

    Look hard enough you can just see Scotroutes tarp peeking out behind the bridge…

    Surprisingly not so blatant as I’d first feared, esp in winter/autumn…

    I’ve also a rig7 as well (but that’s a bit overkill solo…).

    scotroutes
    Member

    DCF stuff does seem to be the answer! Just looking forward to it being mass produced and therefore possibly dropping down in price a little

    Look out for some stuff coming in spinnaker fabric…

    Premier Icon Sandwich
    Subscriber

    From memory Cordura is extremely resistant to friction wear as well as being heavy. I have some Paramo winter trousers that have Cordura knee pads, after 10 seasons use they look barely touched, save for a crampon puncture when I tripped over my feet!

    tjagain
    Member

    Scotroutes – cuban? Thats so expensive – but light and strong apparently

    malgrey
    Member

    The Hypalon attachment points on the Alpkit tarps are seriously strong compared with the ones on standard DD tarps. I’ve owned both, DD never last that long with my heavy abuse, the polypropylene webbing they use frays and pulls away from the fabric quite quickly in wind. The Alpkit Cordura fabric is also good, though I did manage to rip it eventually (as happens with all tarps I suspect, when you use them most weekends in bad weather for 3 or 4 years. DD have lasted less than half this, and on one occasion, lasted 3 minutes – that was the superlight and went back).
    Just taken advantage of that Alpkit offer, and ordered a Rig 14 at the £50 price; note this is NOT the Cordura, its a fabric that is more like the one used by DD, but I am sure that the sewing and attachments will be stronger (or I’ll return it) and at that price it is too good to be passed up.
    I have been waiting to see the Alpkit tarps reduced; they are good, but the full price had become too high (my Rig7 only cost about £70 I think but it was a fair few years ago)

    Spin
    Member

    From memory Cordura is extremely resistant to friction wear as well as being heavy. I have some Paramo winter trousers that have Cordura knee pads, after 10 seasons use they look barely touched

    The fabric on Paramo knee pads and alpkit tarps are very different! Cordura is a brand with different types of fabric and the word is sometimes used generically for heavy, robust fabrics too.

    shermer75
    Member

    @malgrey thanks, that was amazingly useful!

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Subscriber

    Yep – there was a time when Alpkit prices were no-brainers. Definitely not now. I don’t really like the always discounted prices either (is this because they have full price in the retail shops?).
    I still tend to look at Alpkit first, but now shop around a bit – especially as some of their products are just rebrands of generic items often cheaper elsewhere.

    Their products and customer service are still top notch though.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    DCF stuff does seem to be the answer! Just looking forward to it being mass produced and therefore possibly dropping down in price a little 🙂

    DCF’s been around since about 1990 (it’s called cuben because it was developed for the Americas Cup boat America3). It’s expensive because it’s expensive to make not necessarily the quantities. Even dyneema as a rope is expensive, the price is never likely to drop.

    It’s strong and light, but not all that tough, even compared to similar weights of ripstop polyester. I.e. you can comfortably make a sail out of it that will take the weight of a car, but keep it away from sharp corners.

    Cordura is a form of nylon which is tough, but also stretches when wet, which makes it great for a tarp you want to wrap around yourself as a basic tent and groundsheet, but will get flappy over night if it’s wet and windy (why else would you have a tarp though). A bit of stretch is no bad thing though if you want to form your tarp into a shape rather than a simple sheet/ridge.

    Polyester is what spinnakers tend to be made from as it won’t stretch when wet (why pay £1000’s for a sail designed in 3D modeling software that looses it’s shape as soon as it’s launched).

    Summary:
    Nylon – tough, sight stretch, good if you want to make a ‘tent’ from your tarp.
    Polyester – tough, no stretch, good if you just want a ridge tarp.
    DCF – good if you want a 90g tarp rather than a 100g tarp and potentially prepared to replace it more frequently.

    So it’s not a clear cut “alpkit aren’t as good because it’s heavier an Nylon”. The flipside is DCF wouldn’t be as good if you want a tarp you can fold in 3 and make a basic triangle tent when the grounds wet. Or conversely a ridge of DCF + bivi bag is heavier than a heavy weight nylon tarp and no bag. Really any company could make a lighter, cheaper tarp, you’d just be picking a different or bigger set of compromises.

    Premier Icon sandwicheater
    Subscriber

    Booked marked, been meaning to get a tarp for some summer trips with the boy.

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    Random aside – what diameter para cord are people using with their tarps (esp for small tarps for ultralight bike packing)?

    Premier Icon metalheart
    Subscriber

    Para cord?
    I use a mixture of these:
    https://www.msrgear.com/ie/tents/tent-accessories/tent-guy-lines/tent-guy-lines.html

    And these:

    Helping you travel lighter

    Ultralight guy line sets is what I tried to link it to…

    Attached either directly (bowline) or alpkit mini crabs (for versatility, who wants to be untying/tying in the cold, dark and wet?). I prefer the msr personally, but it would have probably helped if I’d sealed the ends properly after cutting the bearbones ones…

    I’d highly recommend the bearbones pole-a-bear carbon poles (not that you asked mind). I got one for my Lunar Solo and it folds down small to fit in the frame bag with ease and they’re pretty rigid. I’ve a couple more smaller ones but the 48 or 49” I find the most useful.

    Premier Icon metalheart
    Subscriber

    Am I wrong in thinking that cuben is susceptible to wear due to rubbing ‘in transit’
    ?

    joshvegas
    Member

    Random aside – what diameter para cord are people using with their tarps (esp for small tarps for ultralight bike packing)?

    Paracord is a stretch rope thing to take shock from a canopy opening. Its not much use in camping unless you’re making sweet everyday carry woven belts for instructable content to lash your artisan made $500 hunters knife to a stick to form an impromptu spear for defence during the collapse of society.

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