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nsherry61
09-06-2016, 11:11
Last night I pitched my $10 poly tarp in my backyard using about $3 worth of paracord, a few rubber bands and $5 worth of aluminum gutter spikes along with my trekking poles. I slept on a ground sheet that was $6 worth of window shrink-and-seal plastic sheet. I was covered by a 100% polyester, $20, Ikea twin comforter. I slept like a baby enjoying the blustery winds and driving rain brought on by hurricane Hermine.

Being north of Cape Cod, we didnít experience true hurricane winds and rain. We were on the edge of the storm and my back yard is sheltered by trees, so I probably didnít experience winds stronger than 20-30 mph last night.

36123

I did this for a number of reasons:


I love sleeping under a tarp watching and feeling a good storm blow through. To me, it is a wonderful and surprisingly soothing drama.

I hate hearing people suggest that they canít go backpacking or camping and/or canít go lightweight backpacking because gear is too expensive.


Things I discovered:


The Ikea comforter was surprisingly warm and comfortable, to warm for last night. It also has face fabric that is much more comfortable against my skin than my other sleeping bags or quilts that use nylon.


Things I verified that I already thought I knew:


Gutter spikes make great stakes that go into the ground much more easily than most other stakes and hold better than either aluminum or titanium shepherd's hook type stakes.

Even cheap poly tarps, with a good pitch with shock absorbers (rubber bands in this case), can manage high winds and heavy rain with ease and grace. No duh, Iíve used this system for years, even on extended backpacking trips, in all kinds of weather in all seasons.

For about $20 you can have a spacious, durable, safe, comfortable, sub two-pound, backpacking and/or camping shelter.

For less than $50 you can have a great, sub three pound, 3-season shelter and sleep system without even walking into an outdoor store.


Notes: I didnít include the cost of my trekking poles or sleeping pad in this discussion. For my pad, I used my Therm-a-rest NeoAir X-lite pad worth more than twice the cost of everything else I slept with last night. Good $15 foam camping pads are available, but sadly are not soft enough for me to get a good nightís sleep as a side sleeper.

Dogwood
09-06-2016, 11:29
I like your config and pitch. Looks like a nice nest you had. Did your storm include wind driven rain?

Tipi Walter
09-06-2016, 11:37
I agree with your title Tarps, Bliss and Dirt-Bagging but can't agree with your setup providing protection from Storms in its pictured configuration. I had a buddy once who set up in a similar fashion---see below fotog---

It only works in ideal conditions. In fact, cowboy camping w/o a tarp would also work. In a real storm with horizontal rain your setup would fail miserably.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpacking2007/Camping-with-Sgt-Rock-on/i-xJbQd7h/0/L/TRIP%2068%20081-L.jpg

Runsalone
09-06-2016, 12:03
In a real storm with horizontal rain your setup would fail miserably.

I disagree to a point. If you turn that diamond pitch into the wind and use natural cover on the open side its a very weather worthy pitch. For me thats one of the attractions of tarps, being able to use different setups based on conditions. Definitely requires a skillset to be able to enjoy to its fullest.

Tipi Walter
09-06-2016, 13:02
Usually in a bad storm the winds swirl and whip from many different directions.

Dogwood
09-06-2016, 13:33
I disagree to a point. If you turn that diamond pitch into the wind and use natural cover on the open side its a very weather worthy pitch. For me thats one of the attractions of tarps, being able to use different setups based on conditions. Definitely requires a skillset to be able to enjoy to its fullest.

+1 :cool:

Sherry's config protects him on 3 sides as well compared to the lean-to config which is basically a one sided protection config in itself.

Two Speed
09-06-2016, 14:50
I agree with your title Tarps, Bliss and Dirt-Bagging but can't agree with your setup providing protection from Storms in its pictured configuration. I had a buddy once who set up in a similar fashion---see below fotog---

It only works in ideal conditions. In fact, cowboy camping w/o a tarp would also work. In a real storm with horizontal rain your setup would fail miserably.

I might know that guy. I understand he still uses a 8' x 10' Oware tarp when appropriate, and a Six Moons Lunar when he doesn't think the tarp will cut the mustard.

Oddly enough he seems to be more influenced by insects than cold or bad weather. IIRC I've heard him say things about not pitching camp in exposed areas if bad weather is expected. :cool:

gracebowen
09-06-2016, 17:46
My planned shelter is a blue poly tarp.

Cheyou
09-06-2016, 18:18
[QUOTE=gracebowen;2090707]My planned shelter is a blue poly tarp.[/QUOTE

bad storm will fix that

nsherry61
09-06-2016, 20:47
I agree with your title Tarps, Bliss and Dirt-Bagging but can't agree with your setup providing protection from Storms in its pictured configuration. . . It only works in ideal conditions. . .
I was not trying to promote a particular pitch. I am trying to promote the incredible effectiveness of a really inexpensive tarp as a backpacking shelter. It's not a simple diamond pitch, and set up the way it was it provided perfect protection from the storm, relatively mild as it was, winds and rain gusting to 20 or 30 mph at the ground (yes, I have an animometer), significantly more across the treetops. I was fully protected on two sides, mostly protected on the third side and on occasion got a gust of wet mist in the open side, but not enough to be anything more than refreshing.

Dogwood, Yes, the storm included driven rain and high winds, but the rain was driven into the protected sides of the tarp. I pitched the tarp for the storm I expected, winds were being relatively consistent, the tarp is in a relatively protected area, and I wanted as much open side as I could get to enjoy the storm while not being too exposed. I would consider the pitch I used to be a moderate storm pitch, not really a serious storm pitch, even if some people would consider wind and rain gusting to 20-30 mph a serious storm.

Cheyou, Regarding your concern about a bad storm making a cheap blue tarp fail, that is the whole reason I started this thread. Pitched correctly with shock absorbers (rubber bands in my case) on the guylines, cheap poly tarps are surprisingly durable, even in heavy gusty battering winds. Without shock absorbers, cheap poly tarps are complete junk. With shock absorbers they hold up extremely well. The tarp pitched in my photo probably has two dozen backpacking nights on it including mountaintop storms significantly windier than last night, and yes, pitched tighter and more closely to the ground.

As for the hassle of using shock absorbing guy lines, rubber bands are cheap, and I use them anyway on all my tarps and tents in potentially windy conditions.

By chance, I happened by Ikea this evening and noticed they have a blue version of the tarp I used (8x10 poly) for $4.99 and they have the twin sized comforter I used (Tilkort) on sale for $12.74.

Dogwood
09-07-2016, 00:31
I was not trying to promote a particular pitch. I am trying to promote the incredible effectiveness of a really inexpensive tarp as a backpacking shelter. It's not a simple diamond pitch, and set up the way it was it provided perfect protection from the storm, relatively mild as it was, winds and rain gusting to 20 or 30 mph at the ground (yes, I have an animometer), significantly more across the treetops. I was fully protected on two sides, mostly protected on the third side and on occasion got a gust of wet mist in the open side, but not enough to be anything more than refreshing.

Dogwood, Yes, the storm included driven rain and high winds, but the rain was driven into the protected sides of the tarp. I pitched the tarp for the storm I expected, winds were being relatively consistent, the tarp is in a relatively protected area, and I wanted as much open side as I could get to enjoy the storm while not being too exposed. I would consider the pitch I used to be a moderate storm pitch, not really a serious storm pitch, even if some people would consider wind and rain gusting to 20-30 mph a serious storm.

Cheyou, Regarding your concern about a bad storm making a cheap blue tarp fail, that is the whole reason I started this thread. Pitched correctly with shock absorbers (rubber bands in my case) on the guylines, cheap poly tarps are surprisingly durable, even in heavy gusty battering winds. Without shock absorbers, cheap poly tarps are complete junk. With shock absorbers they hold up extremely well. The tarp pitched in my photo probably has two dozen backpacking nights on it including mountaintop storms significantly windier than last night, and yes, pitched tighter and more closely to the ground.

As for the hassle of using shock absorbing guy lines, rubber bands are cheap, and I use them anyway on all my tarps and tents in potentially windy conditions.

By chance, I happened by Ikea this evening and noticed they have a blue version of the tarp I used (8x10 poly) for $4.99 and they have the twin sized comforter I used (Tilkort) on sale for $12.74.

Nice post. Good content. Pitched it nice with a good config for the conditions after rightly assessing the situation.. THX. Do you suggest the shock absorber just lengthens the useful life of the grommet holding in the tarp's poly fabric or it totally alleviates the tendency for poly tarps with grommets to eventually rip out?

Bronk
09-07-2016, 12:43
The way I usually pitch a tarp is similar to the photo Tipi Walter posted, only I run a cord between 2 trees and then drape the tarp over it about 2 feet, then two guy strings to the ground. This provides an overhang in the front with some protection. The back two corners I usually just find two rocks.

The main thing with using a tarp is site selection. You don't want to set it up over a bowl or on an incline where water will flow under it...even with a ground cloth you will get wet. Likewise, the key to avoid wind and rain blowing in from the side is to find a way to set it up so the wind won't blow under it. Finding a natural windbreak helps with that...a big rock formation or hill, a large or several evergreen trees whose branches droop all the way to the ground. The smaller your tarp the more important this is...a larger tarp will forgive if rain blows in on the side a bit, which is why I use a 10x12 tarp rather than an 8x10 one.

Tipi Walter
09-07-2016, 13:39
People who are interested in using a tarp in "extreme" conditions should study Dzjow's Adventure Log---

https://dzjow.com/2011/06/08/tarping-with-the-grace-solo-spinntex-97/

I wrote a short review of his experience on one of my trips in my trip report---

http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=478248

chknfngrs
09-07-2016, 14:14
Great links tipi.

I question the integrity of the materials the OP suggests in the context of thru hike.

BillyGr
09-07-2016, 14:34
Great links tipi.

I question the integrity of the materials the OP suggests in the context of thru hike.

Although it probably makes a difference in how a thru hiker would plan to use it:

If said thru hiker were willing to use the shelter facilities where they were available and only wanted to carry a tarp for when one was not available, then it could work fine (as they wouldn't be using it night after night for months at a time).

Also should it develop a problem, there are quite few areas along the trail where one would have to travel more than a day or two without being able to access some sort of road to get to an area where they could replace their gear, and the types of items being used are (I would think) more likely to be available in most areas than is "regular" camping gear (after all, the tarp, rope, rubber bands and window plastic, or similar items would be in just about any town with a hardware store, general merchandise store and probably in many of the $ store chains as well, which covers most towns with at least one of those).

Dogwood
09-07-2016, 14:43
People who are interested in using a tarp in "extreme" conditions should study Dzjow's Adventure Log---

https://dzjow.com/2011/06/08/tarping-with-the-grace-solo-spinntex-97/

I wrote a short review of his experience on one of my trips in my trip report---

http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=478248

MLD Grace customized Solo Spinntex .97 or MLD Solo CF .75 was what I used for 1/2 the AT, all of the PCT and CDT, two JMT's, a SHR, ? Sierra trips, ? east coast trips, SupHT, Ouachita T, BenMckaT, PinhT, LongT, some of the PacifcNorthwestT, Wonderland T, Hayduke T,ÖÖin all four seasons doing as Dzjow's pics indicate. It works in the right hands with the right hands(skills) coming after 100's of set ups. Stuffs so small which has helped reduce the pack size volume needed which snowballs in needing a lower volume lower wt pack. Dries off so much faster than a tent. Even when not needing to set it up it's a pillow, ground cloth, extra top warmth, extra top protection(the occasional burrito), draped over my neck and shoulders for the occasional extra protection and warmth, Ö..

Moosling
09-07-2016, 17:46
Last night I pitched my $10 poly tarp in my backyard using about $3 worth of paracord, a few rubber bands and $5 worth of aluminum gutter spikes along with my trekking poles. I slept on a ground sheet that was $6 worth of window shrink-and-seal plastic sheet. I was covered by a 100% polyester, $20, Ikea twin comforter. I slept like a baby enjoying the blustery winds and driving rain brought on by hurricane Hermine.

Being north of Cape Cod, we didnít experience true hurricane winds and rain. We were on the edge of the storm and my back yard is sheltered by trees, so I probably didnít experience winds stronger than 20-30 mph last night.

36123

I did this for a number of reasons:

[LIST=1]
I love sleeping under a tarp watching and feeling a good storm blow through. To me, it is a wonderful and surprisingly soothing drama.



Even cheap poly tarps, with a good pitch with shock absorbers (rubber bands in this case), can manage high winds and heavy rain with ease and grace. No duh, Iíve used this system for years, even on extended backpacking trips, in all kinds of weather.[/FONT][/COLOR]



Can you post a closeup picture of your guy lines with the rubber band setup?


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nsherry61
09-07-2016, 19:17
. . . I question the integrity of the materials the OP suggests in the context of thru hike.
So do I, and I'm the OP. I'm sure there are people that have made cheap poly tarps last for an entire thru-hike, but unlikely by sleeping under it every night for 5 months.

BillyGr makes good points.

If I am taking a cheap poly tarp as my primary shelter, I do carry one of those cheap plastic tarp guy-line clamp thingies, so I can easily attache a guy line anywhere along the edge of the tarp for a custom pitch or to replace a torn grommet. I have yet to actually tear out a grommet as long as they are attached to guy-lines with shock absorbers.

Depending on the guy line tension I want, I use either 1/4 inch wide or 1/2 inch wide ones. I posted some pictures and commentary a while ago in post #8 in this other thread (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php/118041-Advanced-Tips-and-Tricks).

Back to using a cheap poly tarp on a thru-hike, I'd expect to have to replace it every month or two if I was using one as my primary shelter. It would be fun to see how long one would last in that use. Any takers?

As for Tipi, dude, you just like heavy, durable, reliable stuff. Some of us don't mind a little rainy mist, a little spindrift, a rare night of sleeping a bit cold, or the risk of a manageable gear failure in exchange for "being closer to nature" while we sleep, or carrying significantly less weight so we can walk further with less risk of injury, or spend less money on gear that works well enough so we can work fewer hours or spend our money on other aspects of our adventures. You love and swear by your Arcteryx parka, one of the most amazing jackets ever made. Being in the industry, I can buy one for something like 80% off of retail right now, and I can't bring myself to buy one because I really have no use for it. My silnylon poncho is my goto rain-gear even in the deepest clutches of winter. An Arcteryx parka would just sit on a hanger in my closet except for a few days of extreme weather climbing for which any of my many other parkas will do adequately.

I think it's fun to figure out how effective one can make the simplest and/or least expensive gear. I find it eye opening.

rocketsocks
09-07-2016, 19:44
How many shower curtains did Granny Gatewood go through on her hike?

chknfngrs
09-07-2016, 21:36
Nsherry1 FTW

Tipi Walter
09-07-2016, 21:40
I think it's fun to figure out how effective one can make the simplest and/or least expensive gear. I find it eye opening.

I think the conversation is not so much about tarps as about dirtbagging it to achieve our bag nights. I was a dirtbagger par excellence in the old days when my backpack was my old USAF duffel bag loaded with all my stuff and thrown over a shoulder---and using a combination of very cheap sleeping bags in tandem for 0F temps instead of paying $400 for a quality down bag.

Going cheap works for those in poverty who want to live outdoors---and blue poly tarps aka walmart tarps work great in many applications. My first several tipis were made from these kind of tarps.

Ultimately though I have found high quality gear (and very expensive gear) to be cheaper than repeat buying of inferior ineffectual products. I think Skurka calls it "stupid cheap" or something. Give me a high quality $700 WM sleeping bag and it will outlast a half dozen lower rated bags and still be going strong after 20 years and will take me from 50F down to -20F with no problem. I like having one piece of gear that does it all, and find it comical when guys have 4 different sleeping bags for the 4 seasons.

The Arcteryx rain jacket is a perfect example. 10 years ago I wasted $200 on a Marmot Minima gtx rain jacket with paclite gtx which developed pinholes in the first 2 years. I just wasted $200. Had I purchased the Arcteryx Alpha SV right off I wouldn't have had to resort to substandard rain shells like the Marmot or ponchos or anoraks or all the rest. So really dirtbagging is the art of wasting small amounts of money for substandard gear when tested over the long haul and when tested in real world hellish conditions, like 80 hour horizontal 60mph rainstorms or a series of blizzards at -10F. High quality always wins out in the end.

MuddyWaters
09-07-2016, 21:40
How many shower curtains did Granny Gatewood go through on her hike?

Which hike?

plexusbritt
09-07-2016, 21:52
I So really dirtbagging is the art of wasting small amounts of money for substandard gear when tested over the long haul and when tested in real world hellish conditions, like 80 horizontal 60mph rainstorms or a series of blizzards at -10F. High quality always wins out in the end.

I realize I am more of one to read everyone else's conversations rather than join in but, I feel the need to respectfully disagree to a point. I have "dirtbagged" since I began backpacking out of necessity. I love the experiences but, seeing as how I started as a 16 year old making minimum wage... Lol while ten years has changed a lot of things, there are some pieces of DIY gear that manages to make frequent appearance. My gear has matured in some ways, or perhaps just become more fine tuned but, I'll still rescue bunson burners from a trash can and use it as a stove in a heart beat. For me, the cost cutting and DIY/trash to treasure mentally, is half the fun and looking in my gear boxes, I don't see any wasted money.



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Tipi Walter
09-07-2016, 22:15
A perfect example of Dirtbagging Vs Quality is with sleeping bags. I've been all over the map on this subject. In the old days I lived outside all year round in the NC mountains and learned quickly the price of staying warm, alive, and comfortable on long winter nights at -10F or worse. You basically have two choices---Expensive and light or cheap and heavy.

Do this test: Get a $30 feather Army sleeping bag (about 4-5 lbs) and slap it on frozen ground at -10F. See you in the morning. You'll need another layer so you buy an old boy scout rectangular bag (about 6 lbs) and use it on top of the Army bag. Hey, I'm starting to sleep warm!!! Now pack up all this crap and start hiking. Your bag is around 10+ lbs. Weight and Bulk will keep you alive for minimal money, but you have to carry it.

Now do this test: Buy a $700 Western Mountaineering bag at 3.5 lbs and sleep zipped up on a pad at -10F. You'll probably be hot. Pack up and move. You stayed warmer and just lost 7 lbs of ugly weight.

Homeless people know how to stay warm sleeping outside in the winter and they are true dirtbaggers. But they have to carry all their crap in shopping carts because they have 6 blankets and a fiberfill bag and several large pieces of cardboard for a pad. Now try rolling all this gear on a variety of trails in a wilderness area for 3 weeks.

saltysack
09-08-2016, 09:55
A perfect example of Dirtbagging Vs Quality is with sleeping bags. I've been all over the map on this subject. In the old days I lived outside all year round in the NC mountains and learned quickly the price of staying warm, alive, and comfortable on long winter nights at -10F or worse. You basically have two choices---Expensive and light or cheap and heavy.

Do this test: Get a $30 feather Army sleeping bag (about 4-5 lbs) and slap it on frozen ground at -10F. See you in the morning. You'll need another layer so you buy an old boy scout rectangular bag (about 6 lbs) and use it on top of the Army bag. Hey, I'm starting to sleep warm!!! Now pack up all this crap and start hiking. Your bag is around 10+ lbs. Weight and Bulk will keep you alive for minimal money, but you have to carry it.

Now do this test: Buy a $700 Western Mountaineering bag at 3.5 lbs and sleep zipped up on a pad at -10F. You'll probably be hot. Pack up and move. You stayed warmer and just lost 7 lbs of ugly weight.

Homeless people know how to stay warm sleeping outside in the winter and they are true dirtbaggers. But they have to carry all their crap in shopping carts because they have 6 blankets and a fiberfill bag and several large pieces of cardboard for a pad. Now try rolling all this gear on a variety of trails in a wilderness area for 3 weeks.

[emoji23]thank god shopping cars don't roll well on the trail!


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nsherry61
09-08-2016, 09:58
Wow. This is fun. We seem to have a wonderfully complex discussion going here.
Tarps vs. dirtbagging
Top of the line vs. bottom of the line.
Living outside 365 days a year vs. some variable length backpack trip(s)

Titi, I love tarps. As expressed elsewhere, I love seeing and feeling and smelling and hearing the world around me at night by limiting my exposure to the elements just enough to be comfortable. I can adjust a tarp pitch to give me what I want each night depending on the weather and location. To me, a tent is an isolation chamber that I might need in the worst conditions, but only in the very worst conditions which I don't need to prepare for unless I choose to go to those places during those times of year. AND, I don't think that choosing more exposure deserves to be ridiculed or looked down on, after all, we are going outside by choice to experience it, otherwise we could all stay in our warm houses.

Because tarps can be both cheap and light, and because many people want to get into backpacking without breaking a budget, and because I see so many people thinking they need a tent to be able to go backpacking (or at least try it out), and because a tent worth taking backpacking is generally well over $200, I think that exploring and sharing cheap tarping (and quilting?) is a wonderful and feel-good thing.

There is no doubt that heavier, more durable, and more expensive gear make sense for people that are spending more time in the outdoors and traveling fewer miles per day. Most construction workers don't wear running shoes and few runners wear construction boots. . . and those of us that do some construction around our house on the weekends, don't need the most comfortable, durable and expensive boots to get the job done.

I totally support buying the best when you can afford it, and it is what you want or what you need for extreme or frequent use. I also think there are often very effective, inexpensive and often fun alternatives that work as well as the best in less extreme conditions and/or less frequent use. Sadly, many of us only get a few weeks of playtime outside each year instead of a few months, and some of us like carrying really super light backpacks for the joy of it and are willing to replace lighter weight and/or cheaper gear occasionally as the price we pay for the joy of being outdoors without breaking either ourselves or our bank accounts.

Bronk
09-11-2016, 17:35
A $10 walmart tarp may not last you for 2200 miles, but you'll get your $10 worth out of it. Carry some duct tape with you so you can make repairs until you get to town to buy a replacement. I've found that no matter what application you use these for they are only good for one season before they start to leak.

Moosling
09-11-2016, 22:23
A $10 walmart tarp may not last you for 2200 miles, but you'll get your $10 worth out of it.


Bingo.



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Wise Old Owl
09-12-2016, 00:14
People who are interested in using a tarp in "extreme" conditions should study Dzjow's Adventure Log---

https://dzjow.com/2011/06/08/tarping-with-the-grace-solo-spinntex-97/

I wrote a short review of his experience on one of my trips in my trip report---

http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=478248

If he was going that UL would it not benifit to have a slightly larger tarp?

Hikingjim
09-12-2016, 08:43
cheap stuff will get you going in backpacking. you don't need much to get out there, especially if you're young and can carry a bit more weight
But yes, cheap tarps/synthetics, etc, will not be cost effective in the long run. But a lot of hikers who want to get out there aren't going to use or care about their gear for 50 years.

Tipi - someone carrying a -10f sleeping bag in July seems a bit more comical than people with multiple sleeping bags.

Tipi Walter
09-12-2016, 08:48
Tipi - someone carrying a -10f sleeping bag in July seems a bit more comical than people with multiple sleeping bags.

I own two sleeping bags, a winter WM bag rated to -15F and a summer Marmot down bag rated to 0F but it's so old as to be more a flat quilt than a lofted mummy bag. It works well for 3 season use.

10-K
09-12-2016, 09:19
I have several shelters and like the rest of my gear I pair my shelter with my hike. Not 1 shelter serves every hike best.

My default shelter is a Hyperlite Mountain Gear Echo 2 cuben tarp. It's light and is a palace for 1 person It's large enough that (so far) I've been able to survive some deluges and stay dry. As noted, site selection is paramount when using a tarp.

I have the beak for the tarp too - I take it on long hikes as additional protection from wind driven rain. https://www.hyperlitemountaingear.com/echo-ii-ultralight-system.html

Other shelters I use are MLD Duomid, Tarptent Rainbow, and LH Gear Cuben Solo.

Maydog
09-12-2016, 14:29
I've always slept in a tent, but I like the idea of just sleeping under a tarp. What do you do about bugs though? Aren't mosquitoes and other bugs bothering you at night?


As expressed elsewhere, I love seeing and feeling and smelling and hearing the world around me at night by limiting my exposure to the elements just enough to be comfortable. I can adjust a tarp pitch to give me what I want each night depending on the weather and location.

nsherry61
09-12-2016, 18:03
I've always slept in a tent, but I like the idea of just sleeping under a tarp. What do you do about bugs though? Aren't mosquitoes and other bugs bothering you at night?
Following a big biting bug hatching is one time that I do actually like having a tent.

Even when bugs are a problem during the day, especially early evening, they are often not a problem after dark.

In most places I've been over the years, bugs are pretty much a non-issue after the end of July and in most places, most times of year, bugs can be managed pretty well with a little bug repellent and/or either a head net or a flat piece of net thrown over the top of you at night. I have a bug tent that I have found I rarely use (I also rarely use a head net or bug net of any kind). But initially having the bug tent allowed me to go tarping at times I was concerned about bugs and then realize it was rarely needed or even useful because alternative techniques were effective enough, easier, and lighter.

Now is the perfect time of year to experiment with tarping.

Go for it and have fun!

Dogwood
09-12-2016, 18:19
What's being demonstrated by NSherry is AFTER conditions have been considered and with DIY and dirt bagging skills one can absolutely combine all these elements in a adequate shelter.

Maybe my definition of dirt bagging is different but I consider dirt bagging also to include getting high quality gear at highly discounted prices. IMO, dirt bagging isn't defined as being free or of ramshackle quality gear.

Dogwood
09-12-2016, 18:32
Ever see the polycro tarps and tents made by GOLD Gear, tarp,/tent poles? Ever see the Tyvek shelters people make? Ever see someone using a shower curtain for ground cloth or tarp?

Perhaps, longevity of these pieces or significant storm worthiness is not the designer's goal?

Go the other direction in price.

Do you really suppose some(much?) of the UL/SUL stratospherically priced gear offered by UL/SUL cottage gear companies is always designed to be used in the toughest situations or for many yrs/trail miles of use?

Maydog
09-13-2016, 16:10
Hmmm, maybe I'll try just a tarp sometime...probably on a car camping trip with a tent in the trunk just in case. Just need to get past the mental barrier. I have this mental image of trying to swat away bugs while I'm trying to sleep.

nsherry61
09-13-2016, 16:53
Hmmm, maybe I'll try just a tarp sometime...probably on a car camping trip . . .
Heck, try it out in your back yard if you have one. Try it out on a night with some storm expectations and when you don't need to get up early the next morning. Then, if it goes wrong, you have a warm bed to climb right into instead of a tent that needs to be pitched.

Do it tonight!

DeerPath
09-17-2016, 13:11
I like this setup. Fast and simple.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkBeZqXU4zk

nsherry61
09-17-2016, 21:53
I like this setup. Fast and simple.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkBeZqXU4zk
The fastest and simplest is what Sgt. Rock calls a flying diamond (http://hikinghq.net/images/MVA-027F.JPG). It takes about 30 seconds, really, to attach one corner to a tree, the opposite corner pulled tight to the ground, and then the remaining corners to the ground from there. About 30 seconds, three stakes and one six foot (or so) guy line.

I also appreciate the apparent simplicity of the Etowah setup, but I end up never using it because it is not particularly stable in the wind without additional guy lines and it's overly enclosed for most nights. I want a more stable setup in heavy weather and I want a more open setup whenever I can get away with it.