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Old 06-09-2011, 06:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
Dr. PhunkyPants
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Join Date: Apr 2008

Orpackrat 550 Para-Cord 13ci Tank Covers

Earlier this month, I agreed to provide an unbiased review of ORPACKRAT’s (a.k.a. Steven Campbell’s) new 13ci/3000psi tank covers, which he hand-knits using heavy duty 550 parachute cord. This thread presents my unvarnished thoughts and impressions—including choosing and ordering the cover, as well as design, fit to purpose, and durability. I should say up front that Steven sold me this cover at a reduced price (materials and shipping) in exchange for doing a written review. Since I had already contacted him earlier and would have paid full price, I accepted. He hasn't seen this review—all views expressed are my own. Onward to the review!

Seller Background:

Steven has been playing paintball for over a decade. He’s always been a tinkerer—designing launchers and modding hard goods in his spare time. About two years ago, he mastered basic knitting during free time on a job.

In no time, he began experimenting with para cord covers for small paintball tanks. Early attempts were alright, but standard knitting techniques produced a seam that was an eyesore. So Steven tabled his other projects and experimented with a variety of advanced techniques to finish the seam. The present design reflects the unique finishing approach Steven developed.

Fast forward to the present, Steven has made quite a few of these small covers and distributed them among friends locally for comment and as gifts. In offering these for sale on MCB, he’s hoping to share his product with the wider community of players and—if possible—help fund his love of the sport.

Communications with Steven were timely and to the point. I appreciated his direct responses with no BS whatsoever. I had a tracking number within 24 hours of making payment via paypal.

About 550 Parachute Cord:

I was initially unfamiliar with para cord…and other MCB’ers may be, as well. It’s not a common choice for tank covers, which are more often constructed of neoprene, silicone, and/or rubber. Can para cord hold up to woodsball-style use and abuse? I decided to read up on the stuff.

My research uncovered a variety of interesting and impressive facts about the material. For example, para cord was used by astronauts during STS-82—the second Space Shuttle mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. 550 para cord has between 7 and 9 core nylon yarns woven inside a braided nylon sheath. The purposes to which para cord can be applied in both civilian and military applications are pretty much limitless—provided the slight elasticity in the cord is acceptable for the given application.

Nylon para cord does not rot, dries quickly, and is highly resistant to mildew. The outer sheath resists fraying and the multiple individual strands in the core section ensure that any superficial damage or wear to the sheath does not compromise integrity. As a result, I am optimistic the material comprising this cover has an inherent capacity to wear as durably and last as long (or perhaps longer) than my other “standard” tank covers.

About the Cover:

For those who (dare to) use a 13ci tank and enjoy the combination of light weight and added challenge it offers, cover choices are limited. To date, I used a tennis ball half and some “protective” digi camo duct tape. Along comes this knit cover…which (along with the hand-made chain mail and/or scale covers available elsewhere in the MCB dealer forums) is about all one will find specifically designed to cover this tank.

Originally, Steven PM’ed me a list of possible colors. But he had a black one all ready to ship and since I’m all about instant gratification, that became my choice. Several appealing color choices are available, however—something for everyone on that menu, I’d think. Here is the color chart he sent me:

Last edited by Dr. PhunkyPants; 06-10-2011 at 11:54 AM.
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