Thursday, January 23, 2014

Nano net vs. regular net

Sorry for the delay since our last post, but today I am going to try to do a decent job of explaining the difference between our regular Buginator and our Nano Buginator, as we've received a few questions of late and, despite this week's cold weather throughout most of the U.S., we know spring -- and bug season -- are closing in on us.

They are made using the same exact specifications based on the same exact design. Both are full coverage, bottom entry nets without zippers. The only added equipment you need to make them work on most any whipped or cinched channel hammock is a ridgeline.

Let's start with the stats of the fabrics.

Regular Buginator:
Made from polyester
Approximate weight is 1 oz. per square yard
625+ holes per square inch to achieve noseeum rating

Nano Buginator:
Made from nylon
Approximate weight is .7 oz. per square yard
625+ holes per square inch to achieve noseeum rating

In reviewing this limited information, which is about all we get from our suppliers, it's hard to know much, but to us, two things stand out: weight and material.

First thing's first: weight. Self explanatory here, but for the gram counters, the exact weight of three different Nano Buginators in bags with cordlocks (fully ready) averaged 6.7 ounces with a variance of .1 ounces between the three. I got 6.6 on one and 6.7 on the other two. Occasionally we will make our bags from different material, and occasionally the hand-crafted nature of what we do leads to some tiny fluctuations. And, despite the manufacturing process used for fabrics, some batches do vary from others ever-so-slightly.

Weights on the regular Buginator reflect heavier weights on the material. Generally speaking, .7 ounces isn't a great deal different from 1 ounce. But that's per square yard and that is 30 percent. This equates to an 8.7 ounce net, but we also use a slightly heavier bag material and our nets vary (based on material fluctuations and our manufacturing) from about 8.6-8.8 ounces.

Now let's go talk materials. Polyester is a hardier fabric than nylon. It has a higher melting point (academic, but noteworthy), better UV resistance, and it's stronger that a similarly piece of nylon would be by weight. It's also known to be more abrasion resistant than nylon, though both are known to be susceptible to abrasions. So we can deduce (in this case, accurately) that the Buginator would have better abrasion resistance, stronger material (remember, polyester is stronger as it is and in this case, the polyester is thicker, too, based on the weight), and better UV resistance than the Nano Buginator.

But does all of this hold true? In a word, yes. Everything we deduced based on materials has shown itself over time to be pretty accurate, but before you order the Buginator over the seemingly flimsy alternative, I have to add one significant caveat. STRETCH.

The Buginator has none and in that regard, our assessment of polyester versus nylon holds up, while the Nano Buginator has some stretch. And that does, in some cases, can come into play.

Imagine a stick with a dull end pressing into your netting for whatever reason. At some point, enough pressure would cause any material to rip (or the stick to break) but in this case, the Nano Buginator would give in to the stick and allow it to press in without tearing -- at least for the first bit of pressure. Inversely, the Buginator would not give very little if any at all and would either tear or cause the stick to break. This is also comes into play when dealing with the closure cord on the net. Overtightening the seal on Buginator would be more apt to damage the net than the Nano Buginator which would offer some "give" in the case of overtightening the seal. So stretch, in this case, is a good thing.

So, in short, we'd conclude that under most conditions the nylon Nano Buginator is less robust than its polyester companion, the Buginator, most of the time, but under a small set of conditions, it could be advantageous.

Shane works hard making the nets and I haven't been able to convince him to allow me to torture test two of his creations, but real world use has taught us that these assessments are accurate. That said, do not get the impression that the Nano Buginator is flimsy or lacks durability. It is a very robust net system that, if handled properly, should last for years of use. That said, by comparison, it is less robust than the Buginator. Is it worth the tradeoff? Only you can decide.

The issue with the Nano Buginator -- which is what I carry in my personal pack -- is its vulnerability to abrasion. While I have had very good luck with my net, some early testing where we made the net was made using Velcro (TM), the bristly side of the Velcro material snagged up the netting quite a bit. I'm very cautions in what I set against my Nano Buginator. I keep it in its bag, even when packed into a larger bag with my hammock. I don't want carabiners or zippers or Velcro or other potential snags rubbing against the netting material.

Still, I find that I like it better than the Buginator. I like the feel of the material. I like the modest stretch that gives me some comfort that if I overtighten the seal under my seat that it will not rip or tear before giving some. And I LOVE the weight savings. But to each his own...

The breakdown:

Buginator Pro's
Very hardy, substantial feel.
Abrasion resistant (by comparison).
Better UV resistance.

Buginator Cons
Heavier by comparison.
Has no stretch.

Nano Buginator Pro's
Super light weight.
Offers modest stretch which allows fabric to "give" under pressure

Nano Buginator Cons
Less UV resistance.
Less abrasion resistance.
Thinner, slightly less durable material.

-- Brian, January 2014