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View Full Version : Kelty Noah tarp, should I get it? I need advice!



BenOnAdventures
08-20-2015, 00:51
Hello adventurers, I was looking into getting the Kelty Noah tarp as my first for a backpacking shelter instead of a tent, what do you all think about this? And what size do you think would be good? Thank you so much!

Tuckahoe
08-20-2015, 06:57
Why have you settled on the Kelty Noah? Sure the price is attractive, but once you look at the specifications, you'll realize that the Noah tarps are as heavy or heavier than so many lightweight tents. Also, as I understand they're intended for an asymmetric set up, which is great for someone in a hammock, but probably not so much for someone on the ground.

You will pay more, but check out the tarps from Wilderness Logics -- http://wildernesslogics.com/ -- or Warbonnet Outdoors -- http://www.warbonnetoutdoors.com/index.php -- as just a couple quality tarps suppliers.

As far as size, I personally use a 12'10' tarp.

HooKooDooKu
08-20-2015, 09:39
Kelty makes good products... but their stuff tend to be on the heavy side because they tend to make things durable by using heavier-weight materials.

As a quick comparison:
I looked at one of the websites Tuchahoe pointed to and randomly found the "Big Daddy" tarp. I also checked on the specs for the Kelty Noah at REI.
Big Daddy - 11'x9.5', 14oz., $110 = 0.13oz/sqft, $1.05/sqft
Kelty Noah - 9'x9', 23oz, $60 = 0.28oz/sqft, $0.75/sqft
Kelty Noah - 12'x12', 33oz, $70 = 0.23oz/sqft, $0.49/sqft

So you're roughly looking at twice the weight for half the price. At that sort-of defines Kelty. And IMHO, Kelty definitely has its place in camping gear. I currently own and still use a Kelty Gunnison 3 when I go camping with my boys. But it's easier to justify the 7-8lb tent for three compared to a 2lb tarp for one.

BenOnAdventures
08-20-2015, 14:38
Basically I'm looking for something that can be versatile for making shelters because I really want to transition from tent camping to tarp camping

BenOnAdventures
08-20-2015, 14:39
Also thank you both for the great information!

Mr. Bumpy
08-20-2015, 15:22
Shaped tarps are great if you only want to pitch it as it is designed to be set up. If you are wanting versatile then get a large square or rectangle. A 10 x 10 can be pitched in a number of ways to suit the weather conditions. Etowah Tarps in Georgia has a good one with plenty of sewn in tabs and a ridge line. If you do go with square or rectangle then a little bit of shock cord or a couple of small bungee cords go a long way when it is windy.

HooKooDooKu
08-20-2015, 17:43
Here's my suggestion... It is what I personally would do if I wanted to move from tent camping to tarp camping.

Go to WalMart and buy a 9'x12' blue tarp for about $10. Wait for a fair weather weekend. Go camping.
Yes the blue tarp is going to be heavy and will require stronger/bigger anchor points to make it work. But this is just while you learn.

Once you've got some practice under your belt, wait for a rainy weekend. Go camping.
You can still stay dry under a cheap tarp. I know, I've "accidentally" done it before.
(Years ago, planned a camping trip staying at my first shelter. Had never even seen a shelter before so I didn't know what to expect. Since the weather forecast called for rain, I took along a blue tarp in case I needed extra protection from an unknown shelter. Got to the woods and discovered the shelter had been torn down the year before. Not really knowing what I was doing, rigged my tarp into a basic A-Frame using a tree and a 4' stick I found in the woods. It rained... but I stayed dry.)

Once you have some real-life experience with a heavy tarp, you'll be in a better position to know what size is right for you and you'll also know how much you like/hate tarp camping without having spent $$$. You'll then be in a position to decide how much you want to spend...
Because from what I can find, it looks like you can spend about $50 to get a 2lb tarp, $150 to get a 1lb tarp, or $300 to get a 1/2 tarp. Why risk spending $300 on a tarp when you don't know what you really think about tarp camping... because if you simply start with the basic $150 middle of the road 1lb tarp, and you get to really like tarp camping, you're going to wish you had a $300 tarp, but won't want to lay out the money because you already have a perfectly good $150 tarp.

Of course my weights and dollar amounts are not exact... but the concept is sound... it's what happens in lots of hobbies. When your hobby is fish aquariums, you always want a bigger/more expensive tank. If you like to go fishing, you always want a bigger/more expensive boat. When you go camping, you always want lighter/more expensive gear.

So do what you can to spend the $$$ once rather than twice.

Mr. Bumpy
08-20-2015, 19:30
This is good philosophy!


Here's my suggestion... It is what I personally would do if I wanted to move from tent camping to tarp camping.

Go to WalMart and buy a 9'x12' blue tarp for about $10. Wait for a fair weather weekend. Go camping.
Yes the blue tarp is going to be heavy and will require stronger/bigger anchor points to make it work. But this is just while you learn.

Once you've got some practice under your belt, wait for a rainy weekend. Go camping.
You can still stay dry under a cheap tarp. I know, I've "accidentally" done it before.
(Years ago, planned a camping trip staying at my first shelter. Had never even seen a shelter before so I didn't know what to expect. Since the weather forecast called for rain, I took along a blue tarp in case I needed extra protection from an unknown shelter. Got to the woods and discovered the shelter had been torn down the year before. Not really knowing what I was doing, rigged my tarp into a basic A-Frame using a tree and a 4' stick I found in the woods. It rained... but I stayed dry.)

Once you have some real-life experience with a heavy tarp, you'll be in a better position to know what size is right for you and you'll also know how much you like/hate tarp camping without having spent $$$. You'll then be in a position to decide how much you want to spend...
Because from what I can find, it looks like you can spend about $50 to get a 2lb tarp, $150 to get a 1lb tarp, or $300 to get a 1/2 tarp. Why risk spending $300 on a tarp when you don't know what you really think about tarp camping... because if you simply start with the basic $150 middle of the road 1lb tarp, and you get to really like tarp camping, you're going to wish you had a $300 tarp, but won't want to lay out the money because you already have a perfectly good $150 tarp.

Of course my weights and dollar amounts are not exact... but the concept is sound... it's what happens in lots of hobbies. When your hobby is fish aquariums, you always want a bigger/more expensive tank. If you like to go fishing, you always want a bigger/more expensive boat. When you go camping, you always want lighter/more expensive gear.

So do what you can to spend the $$$ once rather than twice.

BenOnAdventures
08-21-2015, 12:54
Here's my suggestion... It is what I personally would do if I wanted to move from tent camping to tarp camping.

Go to WalMart and buy a 9'x12' blue tarp for about $10. Wait for a fair weather weekend. Go camping.
Yes the blue tarp is going to be heavy and will require stronger/bigger anchor points to make it work. But this is just while you learn.

Once you've got some practice under your belt, wait for a rainy weekend. Go camping.
You can still stay dry under a cheap tarp. I know, I've "accidentally" done it before.
(Years ago, planned a camping trip staying at my first shelter. Had never even seen a shelter before so I didn't know what to expect. Since the weather forecast called for rain, I took along a blue tarp in case I needed extra protection from an unknown shelter. Got to the woods and discovered the shelter had been torn down the year before. Not really knowing what I was doing, rigged my tarp into a basic A-Frame using a tree and a 4' stick I found in the woods. It rained... but I stayed dry.)

Once you have some real-life experience with a heavy tarp, you'll be in a better position to know what size is right for you and you'll also know how much you like/hate tarp camping without having spent $$$. You'll then be in a position to decide how much you want to spend...
Because from what I can find, it looks like you can spend about $50 to get a 2lb tarp, $150 to get a 1lb tarp, or $300 to get a 1/2 tarp. Why risk spending $300 on a tarp when you don't know what you really think about tarp camping... because if you simply start with the basic $150 middle of the road 1lb tarp, and you get to really like tarp camping, you're going to wish you had a $300 tarp, but won't want to lay out the money because you already have a perfectly good $150 tarp.

Of course my weights and dollar amounts are not exact... but the concept is sound... it's what happens in lots of hobbies. When your hobby is fish aquariums, you always want a bigger/more expensive tank. If you like to go fishing, you always want a bigger/more expensive boat. When you go camping, you always want lighter/more expensive gear.

So do what you can to spend the $$$ once rather than twice. Awesome, awesome answer!! You don't know how much I appreciate this! It means a lot! Excellent information and insight, i'll definitely try this out very soon. If you'd like feel free to connect with me on my facebook at facebook.com/benonadventures to talk more, thanks again buddy!

rocketsocks
08-21-2015, 13:30
I think GOD would've laughed his loins off.

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRt_s91EmxcPT1xwtk2qd17w12lrD3TG Yas_ieULQaBfKib01kw:www.toonpool.com/user/941/files/noahs_ark_the_beginning_102925.jpg

Venchka
08-21-2015, 20:47
I think GOD would've laughed his loins off.

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRt_s91EmxcPT1xwtk2qd17w12lrD3TG Yas_ieULQaBfKib01kw:www.toonpool.com/user/941/files/noahs_ark_the_beginning_102925.jpg

You, Sir, are the Man!

Wayne


Sent from somewhere around here.

scrabbler
08-21-2015, 21:00
HooKooDooKu said it best, and pay attention to that rain comment. A night spent digging trenches to keep the water out will teach you quick about site selection, or in my buddy's case, the value of a hammock like I was using. :-)

Tuckahoe
08-21-2015, 21:55
Only because it seems somewhat fitting, here is my Big Daddy tarp over my hammock while camped at Cow Camp Gap.
31753

Whack-a-mole
08-21-2015, 23:30
I have a Noah tarp, and it's shape makes it a little odd to use sometimes. I agree with most of the stuff said above. If I had to do it all over again, I would buy something lighter, even if it costs more. One point I haven't seen, I hope you aren't out when the bugs are out, in the south, from May through about September, the bugs can drive you insane. I've seen people set up their tents inside of shelters just to keep the bugs away.

CoconutTree
08-21-2015, 23:59
A tarp weighs so little, you can carry a tarp AND a tent when you are getting started. Just leave the tent in your pack as an emergency backup.

I use a $3 plastic drop cloth, cut to 7' x 10', typically using an a-frame setup, draped over a ridge line that runs between 2 trees. The corners of the tarp are attached to cord using a sheet bend knot (very strong), using a few extra wraps since the material is a bit slippery. My setup (tarp + lines, but no stakes) is just under 1 pound, using a 2 mil sheet, which is just barely strong enough for a 1 person tarp used below the tree line. A 3 mil thickness might be more appropriate for most people and wouldn't add too much weight. This isn't a throw away solution, my $3 tarp has outlasted my expensive backpacking tent. Also, a plastic tarp will happily sit in the hot trunk of my car, ready for emergency use, but my tent must be stored in my closet at home away from intense heat that will prematurely age the delicate taped seams.

If you want something premade, a 8'x10' silnylon tarp is generously sized for a beginner. The smallest size I would use on the AT is 6.5' by 9.5' (fabric tarp) if every ounce matters. Note that a plastic tarp needs to slightly over sized relative to a fabric tarp since the plastic tarp gets wrinkled up near the edges due to how it gets setup. All sizes I have mention assume 1 person who is of average size. A fabric tarp is a bit easier to setup than a plastic tarp, but neither one is particularly difficult after you have had some practice.

I enjoy using a kelty tarp for car camping, but too heavy duty for backpacking, at least for me.

Anyway, have fun. Tarps are wonderful way to backpack.