Updated: May 17, 2021
DCF is super strong! In fact it is 15 times stronger than Steel but it is so light that it floats on water. This exceptional product is highly chemical and UV resistant. It resists deformation and it is cut and abrasion resistant. DCF is also inherently waterproof, which is helpful here in the Pacific Northwest.
DCF was formerly know as Cuben Fiber and it has it roots in sailing. It was used by the winner of the America's cup in 1992. Making DCF capable
of handling the rigours of the sea in high performance settings. Today you can still find DCF used for performance sailing applications as well as windsurfing, inflatables, airships and ever increasingly in the world of ultralight backpacking equipment. Dyneema fibers themselves are used to tether Satellites and lift wreckage off the bottom of the ocean.
My introduction to Dyneema and DSM came when I worked in the safety industry. I kept coming into contact with Kevlar as a cut resistance fabric but also Dyneema as an alternative. It is stronger and lighter than Kevlar and unlike Kevlar it performs better with repeated flexing. Tis is an important difference since outdoor gear is constantly packed and unbacked.
Now why should you care? There are several reason to consider a DCF product but for me it it comes down to redundancy. It is a little about weight but it is also about the rain. Using Dyneema products can greatly increase your ability to keep your gear dry even when it is raining constantly. It is light, it is strong and abrasion resistant. All of these factors must be considered when you are putting together your kit. Using Dyneema Pods from Hyperlight Mountain Gear is great way to keep your gear dry and ready for use. DCF products should be a serious contender whether you are looking to cut weight, weather-proof your kit or simply want a super strong durable system that will last you many seasons.
Now to address the elephant in the room. Yes Dyneema is more expensive than Silnylon and for those of us here in Canada it is hard to source a lot of these products in country. You can order it from the US but the duties and taxes increase the expense quite a bit. That being said, I believe that we will start seeing more availability in the coming years with companies like Mountain Hardware starting to use Dyneema in their Alpine Light series. There is also a small cottage company in Ontario that is making DCF accessories. As DCF gets used in more applications I believe we will see more of these amazing products available in Canada.