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View Full Version : What kind of tarp/tarp setup do you have?



Squirrel29
03-28-2018, 19:58
Tarp users I am interested in using a tarp on my backpacking trips but would like some advise on sizes, brands, or maybe even DIY. Explain your setup to give me some ideas please. Thanks

Venchka
03-28-2018, 20:08
The rainfly from my TarpTent StratoSpire 1. Huge. Dry. 21 ounces. Pitches fast. No extra rigging required.
https://www.tarptent.com/store/stratospire1-fly
Wayne

Burrhead
03-28-2018, 20:16
I'm just learning about tarps. I bought an ENO pro fly. Heavier than I want but it didn't break the bank.I have been setting it up in the yard in different configurations and seeing how it works in the rain.

MuddyWaters
03-28-2018, 20:31
Shaped cuben
Excellent protection
Light wt

High cost

42394

Use with inner net, bivy, or groundsheet only.

devoidapop
03-28-2018, 20:46
You could spend hours watching tarp setup videos on YouTube. That really is a good place to start.

Malto
03-28-2018, 20:48
I made two cuben solomid style tarps. I have used others but I believe the mid style offers a lot of advantages from wind resistance to easy setup.

Miner
03-28-2018, 21:40
Since 2008, I've used MLD's Grace Solo cuben tarps which are catenary cut which makes them easier to stake out with a taunt pitch, but limits the flexibility to pitch them in anything but an A-frame pitch. Their shape is more trapezoidal but mostly based on a rectangular shape. Before that I used 10'x8' rectangular tarps for 2 years before downsizing to solo size. I did try Zpack's hexamid one year but felt I lost room and went back to the Grace Solo Tarp in a 0.5 wt cuben fiber. Total weight of tarp,titanium stakes, guylines, and stuff sack is a little under 9 oz though I did have the standard dimensions shrunk a little as part of a custom build.

My system is based around being a cowboy camper first and foremost. Thus I use a small lightweight (~5oz) cuben fiber floor, water resistant bivy sack with the tarp, but mostly use the bivy sack and rarely use the tarp. Given I push my luck with the weather, I sometimes get caught, so my first pitch is a blanket pitch where I quickly throw the tarp over me and my stuff and then take several minutes to decide under it whether or not I'm going to have to get up and actually pitch it for real or not while hoping it will quickly stop. If the rain isn't hard, I may just stay under the blanket pitch for more than an hour though I do not recommend all night as the condensation build up under it is bad since there is no air flow. A shaped mid tarp (as recommended by others) isn't as optimal for using the blanket pitch unless it's really oversized. Did I mention how much I really hate setting up a shelter? This is an important point to why I prefer what I have.

When pitched in an A-frame, I've sometimes gotten some rain blown in the end if I guessed the wind direction wrong. Though I have the bivy sack to help with this. As I hate having to reorient the tarp unless it's really windy, so instead I often will use my pack, hang my rain coat off the center pole and use my pack to help hold it spread out. Another pitching options for rain is pitching one end tied to a big tree so the tree blocks the rain. I have 5 tieouts along the sides (Last time I had to have MLD add the extra 2 as a custom job since they starting only using 3 a couple of years ago) and then use the tieout 1 back from the corner as the corner tieout so I can fold the real corner back some on the end to block wind coming in on an angle.

4eyedbuzzard
03-28-2018, 22:05
Some pics of an Etowah Meadows tarp I use mostly on fall hikes when bugs aren't an issue. 1.1 oz 8' x 10' silnylon with a sewn on door segment with zipper closure when used in Teepee mode (5 ' x 9' x 54" high). 21 oz with stakes. Saves about a pound over my Copper Spur UL1 when a full tent isn't needed and packs down A LOT smaller. I don't believe it's manufactured anymore, but it or something similar would be an easy MYOG project. The teepee door is nice when wind driven rain might be an issue.

42389 42390 42391 42392

Squirrel29
03-28-2018, 22:37
Thanks yall this is great info. I have been looking at everything from tarps to hammock rain flies. Think I would like to try something that is a little on the inexpensive side at first.

4eyedbuzzard
03-28-2018, 22:55
Thanks yall this is great info. I have been looking at everything from tarps to hammock rain flies. Think I would like to try something that is a little on the inexpensive side at first.Get one of those 8 x 10 rip stop poly tarps with grommets and some braided line from WM or HD. They aren't much heavier than silnylon. Google videos on the many ways of rigging tarps.

Feral Bill
03-29-2018, 00:40
Etowah 8x10 flat silnylon tarp, in a lovely coyote brown. Works for ground, hammocking, or whatever. Less than a pound with line and stakes, can shelter two, huge for one.

Dogwood
03-29-2018, 01:35
Thanks Miner. You saved me from writing all that. :D +1 to what Miner said. I do have some flat tarps though and tarps in silny, .51 and .75 DCF, and a still in good condition GG spinnaker in different sizes, and set up in different configurations. Year round they are used but aren't always chosen as the shelter. Hammocks, tents, bivouacs included in the shelter quiver.

Dogwood
03-29-2018, 01:40
Thanks yall this is great info. I have been looking at everything from tarps to hammock rain flies. Think I would like to try something that is a little on the inexpensive side at first.

Oware makes good entry and advanced level reasonably priced options. Dave Olsen offers some ability to customize too. https://shop.bivysack.com/aboutus.sc

fastfoxengineering
03-29-2018, 04:46
From the gear I've seen in person.

Yama Mtn Gear, MLD, and Hyperlight Mtn Gear have some of the highest quality tarps made of DCF. Everyone I've seen in person shows great attention to detail and craftsmanship. All really good in no particular order.

I have used three shelters from Zpacks. All function flawlessly, but the craftsmanship isn't as good as the others I mentioned.

I also have and use some stuff from Jared at Simply Light Designs. A flat silnylon tarp that is very well sewn up. High quality.

I have used hammock gear and wilderness logics hammock tarps for years. They are both of high quality.

There are many options for solid tarps.

I have to be honest though.

My next tarp whether shaped or flat will be ordered from Mountain Laurel Designs. Silnylon or DCF I can't find many people who have anything negative to say about Ron and his products.

I'm repping a Zpacks duplex on the AT this year. I'm not really a tent kind of person but I feel it's one of the best shelters for a thru hike of the AT. That's just me.

I'm already planning for a CDT hike as well. Granted, it's just a dream at the moment. But I'll have one of Ron's tarps for sure.

There is no best tarp. Different environments at different times of the year will dictate what tarp would be best for that given hike.

I've never used one but enough research would say that the one bomber tarp that can do it all is a MLD duomid in .74 DCF but it might not be ideal in certain situations.

If you want to learn tarps. Get an 8x10 silnylon flat tarp with tieouts everywhere and play with different pitches. After a while, you'll know what you want. When your ready for another backpacking tarp, it always good to have a nice flat tarp you can leave it a day pack.






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Malto
03-29-2018, 07:01
Since 2008, I've used MLD's Grace Solo cuben tarps which are catenary cut which makes them easier to stake out with a taunt pitch, but limits the flexibility to pitch them in anything but an A-frame pitch. Their shape is more trapezoidal but mostly based on a rectangular shape. Before that I used 10'x8' rectangular tarps for 2 years before downsizing to solo size. I did try Zpack's hexamid one year but felt I lost room and went back to the Grace Solo Tarp in a 0.5 wt cuben fiber. Total weight of tarp,titanium stakes, guylines, and stuff sack is a little under 9 oz though I did have the standard dimensions shrunk a little as part of a custom build.

My system is based around being a cowboy camper first and foremost. Thus I use a small lightweight (~5oz) cuben fiber floor, water resistant bivy sack with the tarp, but mostly use the bivy sack and rarely use the tarp. Given I push my luck with the weather, I sometimes get caught, so my first pitch is a blanket pitch where I quickly throw the tarp over me and my stuff and then take several minutes to decide under it whether or not I'm going to have to get up and actually pitch it for real or not while hoping it will quickly stop. If the rain isn't hard, I may just stay under the blanket pitch for more than an hour though I do not recommend all night as the condensation build up under it is bad since there is no air flow. A shaped mid tarp (as recommended by others) isn't as optimal for using the blanket pitch unless it's really oversized. Did I mention how much I really hate setting up a shelter? This is an important point to why I prefer what I have.

When pitched in an A-frame, I've sometimes gotten some rain blown in the end if I guessed the wind direction wrong. Though I have the bivy sack to help with this. As I hate having to reorient the tarp unless it's really windy, so instead I often will use my pack, hang my rain coat off the center pole and use my pack to help hold it spread out. Another pitching options for rain is pitching one end tied to a big tree so the tree blocks the rain. I have 5 tieouts along the sides (Last time I had to have MLD add the extra 2 as a custom job since they starting only using 3 a couple of years ago) and then use the tieout 1 back from the corner as the corner tieout so I can fold the real corner back some on the end to block wind coming in on an angle.
This is me other than the shape of the tarp. I used to have a nearly identical tarp as Miner until I had shifting winds blow rain into the end one too many times. (This can often be solved by site selection but not always.) I have also had the joy of either late night tarp setups or a quick throw over of the tarp. I also HATE setting up a shelter and only did it three times on the PCT.

cmoulder
03-29-2018, 07:51
I've been smitten with hammock-love these past few months, although last year I used this setup in a fashion very similar to that described by Miner and for the same reasons offered by Miner and Malto. Superior flexibility for almost any situation... cowboy, bugs/no bugs, rain/no rain, and no problem if the wind shifts during a rainy night.

42395

CalebJ
03-29-2018, 08:45
I've been using a MLD Monk tarp with a Ti Goat water resistant bivy. From memory, the whole setup is less than $200 new. Packed weight including a carbon fiber pole, stakes, guy line, and polycro ground sheet is less than a pound and a half. Been a while since I weighed it, but it's very light. Lots of flexibility to deploy individual pieces as desired like Miner, Malto, and Dogwood suggested.

Venchka
03-29-2018, 10:16
I have owned, or still own, 4 true double wall tents. 2 from The North Face and 1 each from MSR and TarpTent. All four tents allowed either the body or rain fly to be used independently of the other component. Flexible and versatile.
Wayne

TX Aggie
03-29-2018, 11:36
Iím primarily a hammocker, but interested in tarps for specific trips. Following this just for info purposes.


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Feral Bill
03-29-2018, 12:13
Iím primarily a hammocker, but interested in tarps for specific trips. Following this just for info purposes.


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Its easy to set up a plain tarp with opposite corners toward each tree and the other two corners to stakes. Takes a couple of minutes. An 8x10 tarp needs >14 feet between trees this way, and works well with an 11 ft. hammock. This has kept me dry in hideous downpours. I suppose a 9x9 might be better, if you can find one.

Recalc
03-29-2018, 13:23
Used my HG 11' Hammock Tarp to go to the ground. Worked out well, but felt the 40 x96 inch Polycro groundsheet wasn't wide enough.
42403

blw2
03-29-2018, 15:12
I have a kelty noah tarp, but have never used it as primary backpacking shelter...only as a porch when car camping with scouts, and once for security over an old tent as a second fly. HEavy I suppose for a lightweight shelter type tarp. I am intrigued though by the idea of tarp camping..... too many bugs and snakes here in FL for me though.

I've really enjoyed watching evan's backpacking videos on youtube. He tarps with a bivy under it, usually shows his set-ups each day.

TX Aggie
03-29-2018, 16:58
Its easy to set up a plain tarp with opposite corners toward each tree and the other two corners to stakes. Takes a couple of minutes. An 8x10 tarp needs >14 feet between trees this way, and works well with an 11 ft. hammock. This has kept me dry in hideous downpours. I suppose a 9x9 might be better, if you can find one.

Ive set up my full tarp on the ground a couple of times just to get a feel for it, and itís really no different than sleeping in a shelter half. Iíve been eyeing some of the pyramid tarp tents like those from MLD.


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QuietStorm
03-29-2018, 17:49
Hammock Gear Camo tarp with doors. Dutch bling.


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