View Full Version : Tarps question...

01-06-2008, 12:26
Been looking at the Sierra Designs Origami 2 UltraLight tarp what kind of ground pad / floor mat should i get to lay on.... Also is a bug net a sound investment or uneeded weight.

01-06-2008, 12:55
You can't beat Tyvek for a cheap/durable ground cloth.

Depending on where/when you can't, i can't even imagine going out without my bugnet.

Hope it helps,


01-06-2008, 13:10
I recommend the Polycryo ground sheet from Gossamer Gear. 1.5 oz. each. They come in two-packs (40X96" each) for $6. I bought mine a couple of years ago and I'm still on the first one, no tears or punctures with light use, about 30 nights on it. It is light, so laying it out in a breeze can be a little challenging, but you can't beat the weight. Amazingly tough.


As far as a mat, anything from the cheap blue pads to the expensive and heavy inflateables are appropriate. Totally a personal choice. If you are new to this, I would start out with the cheap blue pad and see if you tolerate it well. Just keep in mind that there are more comfortable options out there if you wanna pay for them.

Also, consider a hammock, very comfortable, most come with integrated bug net, don't need a ground cloth (will still need bottom insulation of some kind). I'm not familiar with the tarp you mentioned, but would need to check size vs the hammock. Plenty of choices for tarps out there.

I don't always carry a bug net, but when needed, they are a true blessing.

01-06-2008, 16:51
If you are going to take your tarp out in California, particularly in the Sierra, I would definitely bring a sleep net. For something like the AT, it depends on where and when you'll be. For example, you'd probably want one if your are going to be in the Northeast in late spring. But if you're hiking from Springer in May, I wouldn't bother.

01-06-2008, 18:13
If you are going to take your tarp out in California, particularly in the Sierra, I would definitely bring a sleep net. For something like the AT, it depends on where and when you'll be. For example, you'd probably want one if your are going to be in the Northeast in late spring. But if you're hiking from Springer in May, I wouldn't bother.

Hiking from Springer in May, I WOULD bring bug protection. Check out the ul model at www.gossamergear.com (http://www.gossamergear.com)
I, personally, would forego the ground cloth in favor of an ultralight bivy. It will keep your bag clean (you can't roll out of one;) ). Campmor sells one for around $60.00 made by Equinox.
In weather too warm for a sleeping bag, you can sleep in the bivy. It's not waterproof, only water repellant. I have one made by Mountain Laurel Designs (more $$).

01-06-2008, 20:34
I really wouldn't recommend that tarp--it's much heavier than a tarp needs to be.

I would recommend a simple flat tarp for the AT, but I would take a full coverage tarp for the PCT. When it does storm on the PCT, it doesn't mess around--a full coverage tarp would be nice (since the PCT is very arid, condensation from the inside of your tarp is rarely a problem. However, condensation on the outside of your tarp from maritime fog is frequent.) A full coverage tarp also retains a lot of heat, and you can go with a lighter sleeping bag.

The PCT is a great place to carry some variety of a poncho-tarp if that's your thing--I carried the 6 moons gatwood cape. It's the best poncho-tarp out there (that being said, there are lighter ones, also ponch-tarps are second rate as ponchos and as tarps). South of Washington, I had 2 days of rain. That's 2,200 miles, and two days of rain.

If you are on a NOBO thru-hiker schedule, you will hit the bugs somewhere north of Kennedy Meadows, and depending on the snowfall and your pacing, they will probably taper off somewhere in Oregon and only be spotty in Washington. If you hate insects try to be on the tail end of the season if you're headed NOBO, or go SOBO. Just don't push your finish back too late. The first few days of October brought several feet of snow to the WA mountains, and lots of hikers weren't able to finish on the PCT. Even August in WA can be very cold (high 30's), windy, and rainy up high.

The Gossamer Gear bugnet is designed to be used in thier spinnshelter. It really don't work well outside of it (trust me on this one), although it is better than nothing. You could carry the Equinox Mantis--it's basically a stand-alone version of the GG net.

If I were to hike the PCT again I'd carry a poncho-tarp through KM, then switch out to an OR zealot Rainjacket and a 6 moons Wild Oasis tarptent. The zealot+6 moons wild oasis is about the same weight as a poncho tarp, bugnet, and windshirt (which you need to carry if you are using a poncho tarp). There are lighter, cheaper options for raingear (o2 being the most notable--the cheapest, lightest variation of frogg toggs), but lots of WA is overgrown and very cold--a real raincoat is worth the extra 1 ounce to me.

As far as grounclothes go, Tyvek is really a very heavy option. The spinncloth seconds sold as groundcloths from GG work great--I use one for 3,600 miles last year and it doesn't have a single tear in it--and it weighs about 1/3 of what a tyvek sheet that size would weigh.

You could also think about getting a 1/8" thick sleeping pad from GG as a substitute to a groundcloth--they are actually not much hevier than the GG groundcloths, and you also gain the added benifit of a softer and warmer sleeping surface. You could easily get by with carrying just a torso-sized ridgerest, GG nightlite, or even a 1/4" foam pad for your torso if you had the 1/8" pad instead of a groundcloth.

A bivy is another piece of gear that is for very special situations--winter camping, rock climbing, etc. I really don't see how it is the best choice or a normal thru-hike, even as a supplement. Everyone has thier preferences though.

Enjoy the PCT--it's amazing.

01-08-2008, 10:09
Speaking of bug netting, Mount Laurel Designs has a really nice Bug Bivy (http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=22&products_id=55&osCsid=a17f5dc46b72efbf88ea1a6729f5c7ad). I will be using this with an Oware (http://www.owareusa.com) FlatTarp 2 for most of my solo trips this year in the black-fly and mosquito laden NorthEast. The Bivy is 5.3 oz. and the Tarp is 13.5, total of 19.0 oz. for a nice shelter during bug season. Tyvek ground cloth under the bug bivy if I arrive to a damp campsite or inclimate weather is expected. I have a 30x84 GG SpinSheet ground cloth and the same size in Tyvek. The GG weighs in at 2.1 oz., just as spec'd on GG's website and my Tyvek (homewrap version) cloth weighs 4.2 oz. so we have only a 2.1 oz. difference. Not really much, either material would work and, unless you're a super ultralight freak, I doubt you'd notice the difference in weight.

Edit: The Mantis is nice and I would likely use one instead of the MLD Bug Bivy but I use a quilt and it wouldn't work welll as it'd be tough to get a good seal I would think.