I'm a fan of something that will last, and last, and last. A household name means nothing but a shrunken bank account unless the product will be around for many, many years. Not to mention that a balloon that is built to fly for 700+ hours will get better fuel economy due to high-quality fabric. Ballooning is expensive enough as it is, even without a balloon that is porous and needs replacement fabric after only a handful of years in service. Want to keep people active in hot air ballooning? Quality systems that are made of the best materials available, that will save the owner money in fuel economy and repair work, is a great place to start.
I strongly believe Head Balloons is the best bang for the buck out there. The Head balloon that I fly is ten years old and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. I can't describe how happy I am with the product and I hope to get many more great years out of the system.
Yes lindstrand has really good fabric if you choose the diamond weave option which they owe a debt of gratitude to Aerostar for. I would like to have a diamond weave balloon again but I don't have a spare 40+ grand laying around to devote to a 90K sized new lindstrand. That is why I chose Head to build my current balloon. Best bang for the buck IMHO and they use 1.9 oz fabric which in most cases holds up really well.
I would put Head's fabric right up there against anything else in the industry. I believe National Balloons uses the same fabric but I'm not certain on that. Head's 1.9 oz fabric rocks, plus it has a really good coating that will also outlast anything.
i have become a believer in kubicek balloons they are rather inexpensive (you can get a new 105 envilpoe turningvents kevlar cables and everything with flytech for 21000) they have been known to get well over 1000 hours also and thats on their ride balloons
National balloons would be my "bang for the buck" 1.9 rip stop nylon that last. I have over 600 hrs on mine. Get a 65,000 envelope for under 16,000, complete system for around 23,000. Want to know more contact me.