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Thread: Flat tarp size

  1. #1

    Default Flat tarp size

    What size flat tarp do you recommend to give adequate protection in rain? I'm 6' tall, backpack with a medium size dog, 32lbs. I will, at times use a inner net/bug net.

  2. #2

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    8x10 is plenty, and at less than a pound (in silnylon) with lines and pegs, light. I've used this successfully in awful weather. Lots of room for Fido.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

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    Another vote for 8' x 10' here, should be perfect for 1 + dog + gear.

  4. #4

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    Thanks guys. Im waiting for Paria Outdoors to get that exact size back in stock. Is a rectangular tarp as versatile as a square tarp for different configurations?

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    Quote Originally Posted by needlefish View Post
    Thanks guys. Im waiting for Paria Outdoors to get that exact size back in stock. Is a rectangular tarp as versatile as a square tarp for different configurations?
    Dont open that can of worms. Get a rectangular tarp.

    Whats your budget?

    For 1 person with a dog, I would recommend an 8x10.

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    I highly recommend tarps from Simply Light Designs, Yama Mountain Gear, Mountain Laurel Designs, and Hyperlight Mtn Gear. Theres plenty of quality flat tarp makers out there.

    I also recommend Kelty Triptease or Lawson 2mm Glowire for guylines.

    For stakes I recommend a Mixture of MSR Groundhogs and titanium shepherds.


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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by fastfoxengineering View Post
    Dont open that can of worms. Get a rectangular tarp.
    But of course, a square is a kind of rectangle.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  8. #8

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    Cut some cheap light wt sheet plastic similar to different commonly available sizes that tarp sellers stock. 8x10, 7x9, 9x9, 10x10 Experiment. I strongly suggest you consider thinking outside of flat tarps limiting yourself to 90* corners geometry. I've seen a few with dogs of different breed sizes using inner nets under a MLD Trailstar in heavy precipitation windy weather perfectly dry with great coverage and adapting to wind directions on the fly with room to spread their gear out. Go on line and look up how these tarps are used very effectively in experienced hands. Of course you have to find out what's right for you.

    Get too little coverage as a novice tarper and you can swear against their use. BTW, backpacking in rain means wet dog and wet you which I equate with desiring more shelter coverage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Cut some cheap light wt sheet plastic similar to different commonly available sizes that tarp sellers stock. 8x10, 7x9, 9x9, 10x10 Experiment.
    Great idea. Bottle cap or button tie outs would be very easy to do on sheet plastic, giving you lots more configurations to play with. If you find out you don't like tarps, you haven't sunk a bottle hundred bucks into a setup you're not going to use. If you love it, contact someone and have a custom tarp made to your exact specs.

    Good luck!
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

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    8x10 with a dog. I had a 6x10 tarp for a while for solo hiking -- it was soooo much better than the more common 5x8 at the time. But the 8x10 is perfect for two people or one plus dog - easy to pitch, great coverage.

    Square offers a couple of interesting pitching options, but really less coverage. I have a 9x9 flat tarp made of urethane coated nylon that I took a couple of times, but I repurposed it as a ground sheet for my car camping tent. Still use it that way, 20 years later.
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  11. #11

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    I think 8x10 is still a bit too small. If you pitch it so you have headroom, you have little coverage front and back - only a foot. If you pitch it so you have good coverage front and back, you have to crawl in on your belly to keep it low enough so not to have too much splash come up from under the sides. Dogwoods suggestion of trying different sizes with plastic sheet is a good idea.

    In addition to the tarp, you really need a bivy sack to help deal with the aforementioned splash problem and if you want bug protection. You need someway to support the tarp, stringing it between two trees is rarely a good option. By the time your done with all that, you haven't saved much over a tent. I've been down this road a few times. Every time I give it another try, I kick myself for not just bringing my tent.

    Maybe you can make it work, but I'd try it in the backyard during a heavy rain storm before committing to it.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  12. #12

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    Ok a lot of good input, thank-you all. Fastfoxengineering you asked about budget, if I was sure that this was going to my shelter of choice I wouldn't be opposed to spending the money for a dyneema tarp. So at this point its going to be silnylonI don't believe Yama or MLD has a silnylon in 8x10. Hyperlite does but it dyneema………..Dogwood it might do that, go to Lowes buy a roll of poly and make up a couple of different sizes. I like the trailstar a lot but its a large footprint. I'm also looking at shaped tarps. High on the list is Six Moon Deschutes & MLD Cricket. I can get the Paria Sancuary Tarp for $80 IIRC and don't mind spending that because I can always use it when i'm RV camping if it doesn't workout as a backpack shelter

  13. #13

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    With a trekking pole or other stick holding up one corner, and the other three well staked, there is lots of room and little or no splashing. A separate bug screen weighs a few ounces, but only in bug season. I do suggest setting up on porous soil, lest a little stream slowly creep along the ground toward you. A cheap plastic tarp to practice with is a good idea, and will do nicely for a short trip, if you choose.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

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    I've been using a 5x9 tarp for solo use for a couple of years and it's been very adequate. 8x10 with a dog should be near perfect IMO.

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    I've used a tarp quite a bit, and have never used a bivy sack, for what it's worth. All the sleeping bags I've used have had some sort of splash-resistant shell, which has worked fine for any minor splashing, spindrift, etc. That said, I've never had any serious splashing to speak of with an 8 x 10 tarp used solo, and I've always had plenty of extra dry space for gear (or a dog). I do use a ground sheet under the tarp.

    I agree that an 8x10 tarp will be slightly tight if pitched semi-freestanding using only a single pole. Add a second pole, or one natural anchor point such as a tree or tall rock, and it's palatial in my experience.

    As far as square vs rectangular goes: I've always used a rectangle. I'm longer than I am wide too, so it seems to work out well. I've read plenty of commentary about how square tarps are theoretically more "versatile", but from the standpoint of experience and physics I just don't get it. A rectangular tarp pitch won't always by symmetrical -- if you just can't wrap your eye/brain around asymmetric geometry, then a square tarp may be easier. Otherwise, I don't see that it matters much other than for total square area. (Also, a rectangular tarp can always be folded into a square first, and then pitched, if you absolutely can't find a ways to use that extra 2'.)
    Last edited by Zalman; 03-11-2019 at 11:12.

  16. #16

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    Good points Zalman.

  17. #17

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    Cricket could be the ticket. Less fiddling things to consider. The beak may not provide the desired rain protection to even a 32 lb dog. Dog also is now in your egress. It's raining heavy. Now the dog is where you may want to cook or store your own wet gear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by devoidapop View Post
    Great idea. Bottle cap or button tie outs would be very easy to do on sheet plastic, giving you lots more configurations to play with. If you find out you don't like tarps, you haven't sunk a bottle hundred bucks into a setup you're not going to use. If you love it, contact someone and have a custom tarp made to your exact specs.

    Good luck!
    Or even just pebble tie-outs, for the supremely lazy!

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    If you carry a poncho already, you can easily add a gear or pooch vestibule with a couple more stakes and one extra guy line20190219_124831.jpg20190219_140238.jpg
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Cricket could be the ticket. Less fiddling things to consider. The beak may not provide the desired rain protection to even a 32 lb dog. Dog also is now in your egress. It's raining heavy. Now the dog is where you may want to cook or store your own wet gear.
    I'd like too see the Cricket. I'm going to Trail Days but unfortunately MLD has no plans to attend (Rons words). If what you're saying turned out to be true I would ask Ron about a clip in beak extension. Also BearPaw Wilderness Designs could make one. Thanks for input

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