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  1. #21
    Registered User Gray Bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LogHiking View Post
    I didn't mean to start a debate between knots and line locs (those never end well). I was just mentioning that it is one of the factors worth considering for someone new to tarps. Lots of very experienced and well known hikers use them, and lots don't. Like pretty much everything in backpacking getting answers on the internet will only get you a small percentage of the way. Ultimately the only way to know for sure is to try it. I know how to tie the appropriate knots and hitches (I spent a large part of my youth on sail boats as well Gray Bear). I just find the added convenience worth the sub 1 oz weight penalty in many cases. I also have tarps without line locs so not all cases. Just another tool in the tool box.
    Agreed. Its always best to go out and try things out for yourself

  2. #22
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    Just to offer a bit of an alternative approach-
    Tarps are/can be tricky. Also a pretty serious commitment financially with no experience.

    Go to your hardware store of choice and check out-
    A cheap blue poly tarp
    A spool of mason's twine or cheap Paracord
    a dozen aluminum gutter spikes
    some duct tape

    This will run you about $20 bucks or so. You can start with an 8x8 but I would start 8x10.
    You can add a few 4' tall closet rods to simulate trekking poles or found sticks if you don't have them handy.

    You can try lots of different pitches in the backyard or car camping and get creative too.
    When you feel you got the basic flat tarp down, you can then cut down your blue monster to the shape you are considering buying to verify the coverage is still good. You can also simply fold the tarp up a bit and tape it smaller to experiment as needed. If you cut- use the duct tape to "hem" the edges and a heated gutter spike to melt a hole. If needed a scrap milk jug or pop bottle can be used to make some grommets.

    After a few nights you can start debating the finer points of line-locs and such.
    Or maybe even discover that tarps are pretty easy to play with and make your own.

  3. #23
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Bear View Post
    Agreed. Its always best to go out and try things out for yourself
    Yes, and I apologize if I sounded like an obstinate lineloc-or-die person. Whatever works, works.

  4. #24

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    Just Bill, i think that is a great suggestion.

    I have done what you said using 4 mil plastic painter's "drop cloth".

    I am experienced using a tarp, nevertheless, I like to "try out" different size tarps and a tarp of a different design. I also like to "try out" a different pitch I have seen at YouTube.

    I saw someone at YouTube use plastic: he taped on simple tie-outs he made.

    This really gives an idea, whether or not I like that size tarp and pitch.

    I also get under the set up to see if I like the useable space inside, allowing for sagging plastic. I figure silnylon will stretch but not sag. I can have tie-out line tensioners for that. I feel cuben will achieve a more taut pitch. I will find out, when my cuben tarp arrives.

    I found out: I like catenary cut. I like an asymmetrical pitch tarp. I do not like end-entry. I do like side-entry.

    I admit I have three tarps but not because I made a regrettable purchase. Each tarp serves a purpose, one car camping, one kayaking, and, one backpacking.

    Now, I want a cuben tarp for more UL backpacking.

    I didn't want to lay out the $$$ without making a full-scale model.

  5. #25

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    By all means use linelocs if you prefer. I didn't mean to start a fuss either. And + 1 on Just Bill's advice. Costs very little to learn a lot. You can use the cheap practice rig on short trips. too.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  6. #26
    Registered User Studlintsean's Avatar
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    I have found myself taking my tarp for the most part unless the weather looks bad for multiple days in a row. I tied the guy lines to the tarp with a bowline knot and left a taught line hitch knot on the staked out end. Its pretty easy to pitch and also adjust the tension as needed.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Connie View Post
    Just Bill, i think that is a great suggestion.

    I have done what you said using 4 mil plastic painter's "drop cloth".

    I am experienced using a tarp, nevertheless, I like to "try out" different size tarps and a tarp of a different design. I also like to "try out" a different pitch I have seen at YouTube.

    I saw someone at YouTube use plastic: he taped on simple tie-outs he made.

    This really gives an idea, whether or not I like that size tarp and pitch.

    I also get under the set up to see if I like the useable space inside, allowing for sagging plastic. I figure silnylon will stretch but not sag. I can have tie-out line tensioners for that. I feel cuben will achieve a more taut pitch. I will find out, when my cuben tarp arrives.

    I found out: I like catenary cut. I like an asymmetrical pitch tarp. I do not like end-entry. I do like side-entry.

    I admit I have three tarps but not because I made a regrettable purchase. Each tarp serves a purpose, one car camping, one kayaking, and, one backpacking.

    Now, I want a cuben tarp for more UL backpacking.

    I didn't want to lay out the $$$ without making a full-scale model.
    Connie just so you aren't in for a rude awakening when you get it, if all things are equal cuben will always be more difficult to pitch tight than silnylon. It has to do with the lack of stretch in cuben. If your stake isn't in the perfect location to meet the geometry of the tarp, that section will sag. Pulling it tighter will do nothing as it doesn't stretch like sil does. It causes the most problems on uneven ground IMO.

  8. #28
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    After spending a fortune on cuben products (shelters, packs, etc. etc.) I've been in a form of cuben fiber revolt the past couple of years. The cost/benefit ratio is just not acceptable to me.

    I'm happy with a silnylon tarp, silnylon Duomid, and silnylon Contrail and Rainbow, ULA packs, and Sea-to-Summit dry bags.

    For now.

  9. #29
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    Just to throw in a different option. The Kelty Range Tarp is a good beginners tarp camping setup that includes everything except the trekking poles. It is 2 and 3/4 lbs, so I'm sure you could piece together a lighter system. But as this comes with everything and is just under $100 it might be a good option to try out the tarp lifestyle. I'm not a real tap user (yet) but have always been interested and I wanted to get my feet wet so I got one last year. Spent a nights in it in all weather conditions, so ask any questions you want. I've enjoyed it. (It is also huge, you could fit two people under it as well, so it is a nice change of pace coming from a one man tent that weighed slightly more than this setup).

    http://www.amazon.com/Kelty-40815714...lty+range+tarp

  10. #30
    Registered User Gray Bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Tom View Post
    Just to throw in a different option. The Kelty Range Tarp is a good beginners tarp camping setup that includes everything except the trekking poles. It is 2 and 3/4 lbs, so I'm sure you could piece together a lighter system. But as this comes with everything and is just under $100 it might be a good option to try out the tarp lifestyle. I'm not a real tap user (yet) but have always been interested and I wanted to get my feet wet so I got one last year. Spent a nights in it in all weather conditions, so ask any questions you want. I've enjoyed it. (It is also huge, you could fit two people under it as well, so it is a nice change of pace coming from a one man tent that weighed slightly more than this setup).

    http://www.amazon.com/Kelty-40815714...lty+range+tarp
    2.75 lbs!!!!?? How big are the line locks on that friggin thing!!? (kidding)

    I've been looking at tarps form these folks.

    http://www.etowahoutfittersultraligh...ckinggear.com/

    the 8x10 is $75 with a repair kit and weighs 13 oz. For another $24 you can pickup the setup kit with stakes line and a ground cloth.

  11. #31

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    Learned this trick from the Brits.

    Spaced out every 4-8 inches, makes for a super easy means to attach your tarp to something.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Bear View Post
    2.75 lbs!!!!?? How big are the line locks on that friggin thing!!? (kidding)

    I've been looking at tarps form these folks.

    http://www.etowahoutfittersultraligh...ckinggear.com/

    the 8x10 is $75 with a repair kit and weighs 13 oz. For another $24 you can pickup the setup kit with stakes line and a ground cloth.
    Like I said, you could assemble your own that is lighter. But that weight includes lots of beginner-friendly features including all the cords, velcroed cord storage pockets, grommets at the peaks sized for trekking pole tips, 12 stakes, sil-ny roll-top stuff sac, weather flaps along the bottom, and zippered privacy / weather doors on both ends. Not for pro tarpers, but I still think a decent one to learn on and decide if you want to go further.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Bear View Post
    2.75 lbs!!!!?? How big are the line locks on that friggin thing!!? (kidding)

    I've been looking at tarps form these folks.

    http://www.etowahoutfittersultraligh...ckinggear.com/

    the 8x10 is $75 with a repair kit and weighs 13 oz. For another $24 you can pickup the setup kit with stakes line and a ground cloth.
    I don't know much about Etowah's products, they might be great, but I'd like to make a few suggestions.

    I'm a huge fan of the patrol shelter by MLD. It's $170 though.

    The C-twinn over at Gossamergear is pretty sweet also.

    Just remember, though tarps might be similar in size, not all tarps are created equal.

    I'd also like to throw out there Locusgear. I don't know much about their tarps but they look pretty sweet. I plan on ordering their eVent mid so as it's back in production for my winter trips later this year.

  14. #34
    Registered User Gray Bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frye View Post
    I don't know much about Etowah's products, they might be great, but I'd like to make a few suggestions.

    I'm a huge fan of the patrol shelter by MLD. It's $170 though.

    The C-twinn over at Gossamergear is pretty sweet also.

    Just remember, though tarps might be similar in size, not all tarps are created equal.

    I'd also like to throw out there Locusgear. I don't know much about their tarps but they look pretty sweet. I plan on ordering their eVent mid so as it's back in production for my winter trips later this year.
    The big draw of the flat tarps for me is the simplicity and flexibility as well as cost. I like the idea of being able to choose different pitches for different weather. A tarp along with the bivy is going to give me a lot of options and open up a lot of possibilities for me that just don't exist with my tent. Most of my trips are in the Whites here in NH and finding a legal flat spot big enough for my tent often has me either stopping sooner than I want, traveling farther that I planed or tenting on a platform.
    The best journeys answer questions that in the beginning you didn't even know to ask.

  15. #35
    Registered User Grinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Connie View Post
    Just Bill, i think that is a great suggestion.

    I have done what you said using 4 mil plastic painter's "drop cloth".

    I am experienced using a tarp, nevertheless, I like to "try out" different size tarps and a tarp of a different design. I also like to "try out" a different pitch I have seen at YouTube.

    I saw someone at YouTube use plastic: he taped on simple tie-outs he made.

    This really gives an idea, whether or not I like that size tarp and pitch.

    I also get under the set up to see if I like the useable space inside, allowing for sagging plastic. I figure silnylon will stretch but not sag. I can have tie-out line tensioners for that. I feel cuben will achieve a more taut pitch. I will find out, when my cuben tarp arrives.

    I found out: I like catenary cut. I like an asymmetrical pitch tarp. I do not like end-entry. I do like side-entry.

    I admit I have three tarps but not because I made a regrettable purchase. Each tarp serves a purpose, one car camping, one kayaking, and, one backpacking.

    Now, I want a cuben tarp for more UL backpacking.

    I didn't want to lay out the $$$ without making a full-scale model.
    Hello Connie,I was lucky enough to get 16 of cuben cto.6e.08. It's .31oz/yard. A little lighter than the cottage tarp makers use but lighter and free! My mom helped me sew it together and now I have a 9x8 that weighs 6oz with the tie outs. I Set up today and it's turned out fantastic. It's been rainy and windy all day and no signs of problems. Back to discussion I also have the eno profly and housenest both of which I would recommend but with their own uses. Also have an extensive collection of silver and blue/brown rip stop tarps. It does take some time to learn your tarp craft but after doing it for while you will or should see what is needed given any hanging situation. So I concur buy cheap tarp, practice and upgrade as you deem necessary. If you are crafty I suggest you try making your own tarp. You can purchase all the different tarp fabrics by the yard and Dutch has all your diy stuff. Linelocs are ok on guy lines but definitely go with Dutch hooks for ridge ties.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  16. #36
    Registered User Grinch's Avatar
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    Oh yeah I forgot too add that I used this for my seams
    Attached Images Attached Images

  17. #37
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    Bit late to chime in here, but for future reference, instead of linelocks try using a prussik knot or midshipmans hitch etc to adjust. Otherwise truckies hitches are good, if cumbersome to adjust.

  18. #38
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    The sad thing is, I recently bought a digital scale and have been weighing everything I own in the form of gear. On a lark, I tossed my old 8x10 medium duty poly tarp on the scale.... 1.5 lbs! Kinda heavy for a tarp. But in reality, it's not bad. The price was something like $8, it's lasted through two seasons and a few storms and still has life left in it. I can fold it flat and place it against my back in my pack so that it adds support. And it's roomy to boot.
    So yeah, the cheap poly tarps are a good intro to tarping without a big commitment, and still without the weight penalty of a tent.
    But then there are the several brands of nylon that can be had for around $70 in usable sizes if you don't want the blue poly stigma!

  19. #39
    Registered User Pastor Bryon's Avatar
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    Good stuff here, and there are a host of websites and videos on tarping. I'm transitioning this year from a tent to a tarp and bug bivy. I bought this book: https://www.campmor.com/c/the-ray-wa...ok---essential and found it to be a really good and easy to read book. I know some who do fine reading blogs and watching videos, but I liked having the book to break down the best ways to use and set up the tarp. He goes a little more backcountry than I think I will, but it helps to see the possibilities.

  20. #40

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    If you just want to try it out get an 8x10 blue plastic tarp at Walmart and some 550 cord. The setup I like best when using a tarp is to tie some cord between two trees about 4ft off the ground...the "front" of your setup will be the cord. Lay your tarp over it so that only about 2 1/2 feet is over the front, creating an overhang...two guy lines go out from the front two corners at an angle. The rear of the tarp lays on the ground weighted down with stakes or rocks or a log. If you set this up so that the wind blows towards the back it should keep you out of the wind. Similar to this:


    http://s14.photobucket.com/user/farm..._4328.jpg.html

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