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Thread: tarps suck!!!!

  1. #121


    If you actually take the time to learn how to set it up properly and select good campsites, tarps are a great way to cut pack weight and gain a great deal of flexibility in fitting into small campsites and being able to pitch it in a variety of ways. If you don't like bugs, get a bug bivy. It's okay to not like things but I don't get why "hate" has to come into the equation.

  2. #122
    Registered User
    Join Date
    mckinney, tx


    I hate when I have a use for one and forgot to bring it..... Thats when I hate them

  3. #123
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Spring Lake, MI


    I love them when it is clear - hate them when it pours because I wish I had my tent!

  4. #124
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Windham, Maine


    It happened to me. Speck Pond Shelter tent area. Brand spanking new Warmlite 2RD. Mouse creeped up all the way where the mesh vent holes are, chewed a hole through and made a mess inside.

    that was at least 15 years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by bulldog49 View Post
    I have never, ever had this happen, or even know of anyone who has that happen.
    Let me go

  5. #125


    Quote Originally Posted by Helios View Post
    Any "critter" that comes in my tarp area will be breakfast!
    I hope you enjoy grilled ants and a small stew of midges.

    Quote Originally Posted by jombo22 View Post
    It's not like the tent is a big deterrent to a mouse that wants in. At least in a tarp, they won't chew a hole in the wall to get through
    If you leave the food outside the tent you won't get mice. Ergo no chew holes.

    Quote Originally Posted by jesse View Post
    I prefer my tarp to a tent. Less condensation. Critters have never been a problem. I bring my net tent and pitch it under the tarp during bug season. Another aspect, and Ray Jardine points this out in his tarp book, is you can enjoy the natural setting of the woods if your not in an enclosed tent.
    This is the usual mantra spewed by tarpists---a better connection to the outdoors when not confined to a tent. I welcome you to join me in a 7 day blizzard and you can have a fuller connection to nature as I sit in my 4 season tent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pony View Post
    April 2008, Gooch Mtn Shelter. Second night on the trail, about 50 yds behind the shelter. I forgot about a bag of peanuts in my pack, and woke up in the middle of the night to a mouse sitting on my pack and feasting. Sucker chewed a hole the size of a golf ball in the side of my tent.

    Lesson learned. every night there after I have checked every pocket in my pack before going to bed.
    Just don't be a motard and leave food in your tent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Smoky in TN View Post
    Camped at Wilson creek in Maine, near the end of my hike. I had a critter chew a hole through my tent. I was also guilty of overlooked food.
    See above.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cakon View Post
    Tarps suck for camping but they are great for hiking.
    Amen, brother. Pass the beans and rice.

    Quote Originally Posted by trailangelbronco View Post
    I tried a tarp 4different trips, multiple nights per trip. 1st trip, the mosquitoes ate me up. 2nd trip, the tarp was great for the first few hot nights, I enjoyed the breeze coming in.
    Last two nights, I got absolutely soaked. The wind was blowing the rain up under the tarp and into me, all freaking day and night. It was the most miserable sleeping experience EVER.

    Last trip, I shared a DoubleRainbow with a friend, they brought it. again, fine until a storm hit, and then we got soaked. Got soaked with the wind blowing rain up under and on us, and also got more drenched by constantly running out to try to adjust the damn tarp, with no possible way to correct the problem.

    I will never tarp tent or tarp again. Screw the weight, I'll carry 4lbsuntilmy Lightheart dou arrives in May.
    You are my new hero and gut-check advocate for a double wall tent. One good kick-butt rainstorm on high ground with 50mph winds and the tarpist realizes the truth of your post. But hey, your in-tarp misery got you a much closer connection to Nature.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Old Fhart View Post
    That's because the features of a tarp vs. a tent are so one sided.

    Most people who choose tents (or hammocks) over tarps don't have phobias but have made a logical decision based on the well understood limitations of a tarp.

    Anyone who chooses a tarp solely because of the weight is a UL cultist.
    And most shelter decisions are based solely on weight. i.e. cultist.

    Quote Originally Posted by trovar View Post
    If you actually take the time to learn how to set it up properly and select good campsites, tarps are a great way to cut pack weight and gain a great deal of flexibility in fitting into small campsites and being able to pitch it in a variety of ways. If you don't like bugs, get a bug bivy. It's okay to not like things but I don't get why "hate" has to come into the equation.
    Most tarpists chant the "select good campsite" mantra all the time, and here's proof of it on a recent BPL.com thread---


  6. #126


    I was out in October 2012 and wrote a long screed on the above BPL link in my trip report---

    There's a thread on BPL.com by Jared Hendren titled "First Night Camping with a Tarp: What Did I Do Wrong?" (8/23/12). There's a pic showing his minimal tarp in an A-frame configuration on a rocky ridge spine at 11,000 feet on Charleston Peak. He used 8 pegs for security and has this to say:

    "I awoke at around midnight to the sound of something hitting the tarp, and then felt something cold in my down sleeping bag. It was grape sized hail, it was bouncing off of the ground and ending up all over the ground under the tarp. Shortly after that the wind picked up. Big time and my tarp was snapping in the wind. Next it started to rain, really hard, like inches per hour hard. Water started coming under the tarp everywhere, pretty soon all of the ground under the tarp was saturated and puddles started forming."

    "Finally the wind ripped my tarp off of its moorings and into an adjacent tree. My sleeping bag and Thermarest were quickly soaked. So I quickly packed up my wet belongings and hiked off into the night. What did I do wrong? Poor campsite choice?"

    Wow, all the crap I've been saying about tarps came back and bit him on the ass. Poor campsite choice? No, poor shelter choice. Some of the posts follow and the first reply is by Jason McSpadden---

    "Jared, congratulations on using a tarp for the first time."

    I laughed hard at reading this. Yeah, congratulations on getting your anus handed to you. He goes on---
    "For me, I think ridgelines are not a very protected place for any type of camping . . . ."

    Of course tarp campers and ultralighters would say this, they use flimsy shelters. Ridge camping is what I do most of and my Hillebergs work great. Mountaineers do ridge camping and get thru it okay with stout tents. Then Luke Schmidt writes---
    "Sounds like you got hit with the "perfect storm". Water running under the tarp---theoretically site selection prevents this but occasionally it may rain so hard water goes places you would not expect. My Dad's solution to this is to hold the edge of his ground tarp up off the ground with a log or rocks. Basically it's an improvised bath tub floor. If water runs under the tent it goes under the ground tarp."

    This is peculiar. So, every time you set up you place a log or rocks all around the perimeter of your ground cloth? That's a lot of logs and rocks and greatly decreases the size of your sleeping area, plus one strong gust and the ground cloth blows off the supports, and if ya don't gather the logs and rocks before sleeping and then a big storm hits you'll have to go out in the storm with a headlamp and look for logs and rocks. This is crazy. Just get a good tent with a good floor.

    Dena Kelley harps on the site selection mantra---

    "If you had been able to find a campsite lower down . . . ."

    A prepared backpacker can camp anywhere but an ULer always says, "Find a better site because my tool won't work for that kind of shelter job." Dena Kelley ends with this outlandish quote---
    "One thing that can help keep your shelter area from flooding out is to dig a small trench around the edge (where the water will drain off the tarp) and then dig a small trench to a drainage area so it will run away from you."

    Dig! Dig! Dig! This is madness. No decent person trenches their shelters anymore. I can't believe BPL.com didn't ban Dena Kelley permanently from the site ha ha ha after such an incorrect comment. Now Kevin Timm says---
    "It could have been worse, and likely a lightweight free standing tent would have encountered some issues there as well since it was not staked down well, and water very likely would come through the floor fabric and pool."

    This is not true! My Hillebergs never leak water thru the floor. He ends with the usual UL mantra---
    "I would have searched for a more sheltered spot on different ground."

    Even expert backpacker Franco Darioli repeats this mantra for the unprepared---
    "Nothing wrong with the way you set up the tarp, but as pointed out the location was not right that night."

    No, location was great it was the shelter that was not right. Pete Staehling joins the UL bandwagon---
    "I try to avoid camping that high or exposed. If I know I would have to, I'd also take a bivy."

    How would a bivy stay dry from pooling ground water? How would a bivy keep your tarp from blowing away? Finally, Kevin Burton adds this crazy bit of advice---
    "If this was a ridge you were exposed. Try to find someplace lower and protected by the hills and trees but still with a bit of wind and preferably away from large amounts of water if at all possible."

    How the hell can you avoid large amounts of water in a rainstorm? These guys must never get out, or camp only during the best weather. I end the madness with this final post---and my own---

    "Perfect storm? To me it's just usual conditions on the high ground. Ridgelines are great places to camp in storms if you carry a decent shelter and possibly not a tarp. No shelter should dictate site selection---that is, a good shelter should be a multi-tool able to handle wind, hail, rain, Lake Effect and ground sheeting water. Lake Effect is when water pools under the tent, ground sheeting is when a half-inch or more of water moves under your shelter."
    "A decent shelter will not allow water to come thru the floor fabric, at least my Hillebergs don't. The question is, why carry something that has a built-in failure rate except in the most narrow of conditions?"

    It's so easy to attack tarpists as they do so many things wrong so often. Bring a tarp on my trips and you will get your anus handed to you.

  7. #127


    Finally, I was out for a 16 day trip this month of March and ran into a school running trips in the Citico/Slickrock---the Cranbrook school out of Michigan. All they use is tarps and I can guarantee you they were cold on the morning this pic was taken at 5,000 in Naked Ground Gap in the Slickrock.

    It was bad enough to need end tarps to keep some of the cold wind out.

  8. #128
    Registered User Lyle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Croswell, MI


    I've used double wall tents, tarps, single wall tents, and hybrid "shaped tarps". For three season, I now go with shaped tarps or single wall tents (for me SMD Wild Oasis or Gossamer Gear The One). Never had any critters crawl over me.

  9. #129
    Registered User Bencape4's Avatar
    Join Date
    huntsville, AL


    i prefer the idea of a tent, however i use a tarp...because my sleep system is a 45 degree bag and a thermal bivy in case i get cold. so, i cant really leave behind my bivy. and my tarp is a sea to summit backpack poncho that i use as my rain gear... so if i got a tent, it wouldnt just add some and lose some, id still have to keep all of that in my bag and it would raise my pack weight to like 15 pounds.

    any tips? :/

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