View Full Version : Tarping in snow

09-14-2003, 13:09
I'm planning on doing some winter tarp camping this year with an Integral Designs 8x10 siltarp. My question is what staking out options do folks use?

I was planning on making a bunch of simple square (8x8 inch?) silnylon pouchs with aircore cinchs to fill with snow and bury for stake outs.

Are there any lighter/simpler/ more reliable options that people use?


Rich T

09-14-2003, 17:49
SMC makes stakes for snow, I would imagine your pouches would be lighter than these beefy stakes.


Its also possible to find objects in the forest that can be used as "dead man". I've used rocks or a sturdy stick. If your campsite is well packed before you set up the tarp and the hole for the "dead man" is well packed with snow it should hold firm in cold temperatures.

I was curious about where you were going tarping?

09-15-2003, 09:42
Snow stakes work well if the snow is fairly deep (i.e, you don't hit soil when you drive the stake). Snow stakes usually look like length of metal that are bent into a 90 degree angle. If you don't want to get snow stakes, regular stakes work okay. Just make sure to pack the snow around the stake and then weight it with a good sized rock. Deadmen work the best in high snow areas, assuming you can dig out a hole. I wouldn't bring a shovel, just water proof gloves. Tie lengths (1-2 feet) of utility cord to the stake out points on your tarp BEFORE you go. Tie the other end to a small log or rock or whatever (it doesn't have to be too large), put it in the hole, bury, pack, etc. You might want to consider bringing a bivy sack. It helps keep you dry in the snow and adds a lot of warmth and wind protection. Nothing fancy. ID and Oware make some that you might want to look at.

09-15-2003, 09:47
An effective "dead man" in snow can also be a couple of sticks - crossed - tie to the point where they cross and pack the snow over them.

Also - if you are tarping where the snow is deep enough, don't overlook the possibility of digging out a "cave" in the snow and covering it with your tarp. Reflector fire goes in front..... very cozy.

09-15-2003, 10:41
I once decided my hiking poles would work as GREAT snowstakes. Packed the snow real good, then shoved our hiking poles in where appropriate. Worked great for the 4 corners where the most holding power was needed.

What I didn't realize was how hard the snow can freeze overnight. It was TOUGH to get the poles out of the compacted, frozen snow.

I would think it would be similarly tough with snow stakes. I would go with the stick idea.

Gravity Man

09-15-2003, 19:10
We use a mixture of snow stakes and gear such as our ice axes, crampons and snowshoes. It works well, and when your camp is exposed above treeline as ours often are, the holding power of that cemented snow is necessary. With a tarp as your only form of shelter, you want your upwind anchors to be BOMBPROOF, so that even if the other anchors let go, the tarp won't fly away. That's another point. When stuffing your tent or tarp, make sure that the first thing that comes out of the stuff sack is a safety line or a corner guy loop of either the tarp or tent or fly. Before the rest of the tarp, tent or fly comes out of that sack, that safety line, or guy loop should be positively secured either to the ground or to you, so that if you let go of it, the wind doesn't carry it off. Believe me, it takes only a second for that thing to be totally out of reach and unrecoverable, so secure it before you unfurl it.