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  1. #1
    Registered User Squirrel29's Avatar
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    Default What kind of tarp/tarp setup do you have?

    Tarp users I am interested in using a tarp on my backpacking trips but would like some advise on sizes, brands, or maybe even DIY. Explain your setup to give me some ideas please. Thanks

  2. #2
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    The rainfly from my TarpTent StratoSpire 1. Huge. Dry. 21 ounces. Pitches fast. No extra rigging required.
    https://www.tarptent.com/store/stratospire1-fly
    Wayne

  3. #3

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    I'm just learning about tarps. I bought an ENO pro fly. Heavier than I want but it didn't break the bank.I have been setting it up in the yard in different configurations and seeing how it works in the rain.

  4. #4

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    Shaped cuben
    Excellent protection
    Light wt

    High cost

    Tarp.jpg

    Use with inner net, bivy, or groundsheet only.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 03-29-2018 at 07:41.

  5. #5
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    Default What kind of tarp/tarp setup do you have?

    You could spend hours watching tarp setup videos on YouTube. That really is a good place to start.
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  6. #6
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    I made two cuben solomid style tarps. I have used others but I believe the mid style offers a lot of advantages from wind resistance to easy setup.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  7. #7

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    Since 2008, I've used MLD's Grace Solo cuben tarps which are catenary cut which makes them easier to stake out with a taunt pitch, but limits the flexibility to pitch them in anything but an A-frame pitch. Their shape is more trapezoidal but mostly based on a rectangular shape. Before that I used 10'x8' rectangular tarps for 2 years before downsizing to solo size. I did try Zpack's hexamid one year but felt I lost room and went back to the Grace Solo Tarp in a 0.5 wt cuben fiber. Total weight of tarp,titanium stakes, guylines, and stuff sack is a little under 9 oz though I did have the standard dimensions shrunk a little as part of a custom build.

    My system is based around being a cowboy camper first and foremost. Thus I use a small lightweight (~5oz) cuben fiber floor, water resistant bivy sack with the tarp, but mostly use the bivy sack and rarely use the tarp. Given I push my luck with the weather, I sometimes get caught, so my first pitch is a blanket pitch where I quickly throw the tarp over me and my stuff and then take several minutes to decide under it whether or not I'm going to have to get up and actually pitch it for real or not while hoping it will quickly stop. If the rain isn't hard, I may just stay under the blanket pitch for more than an hour though I do not recommend all night as the condensation build up under it is bad since there is no air flow. A shaped mid tarp (as recommended by others) isn't as optimal for using the blanket pitch unless it's really oversized. Did I mention how much I really hate setting up a shelter? This is an important point to why I prefer what I have.

    When pitched in an A-frame, I've sometimes gotten some rain blown in the end if I guessed the wind direction wrong. Though I have the bivy sack to help with this. As I hate having to reorient the tarp unless it's really windy, so instead I often will use my pack, hang my rain coat off the center pole and use my pack to help hold it spread out. Another pitching options for rain is pitching one end tied to a big tree so the tree blocks the rain. I have 5 tieouts along the sides (Last time I had to have MLD add the extra 2 as a custom job since they starting only using 3 a couple of years ago) and then use the tieout 1 back from the corner as the corner tieout so I can fold the real corner back some on the end to block wind coming in on an angle.

  8. #8
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Some pics of an Etowah Meadows tarp I use mostly on fall hikes when bugs aren't an issue. 1.1 oz 8' x 10' silnylon with a sewn on door segment with zipper closure when used in Teepee mode (5 ' x 9' x 54" high). 21 oz with stakes. Saves about a pound over my Copper Spur UL1 when a full tent isn't needed and packs down A LOT smaller. I don't believe it's manufactured anymore, but it or something similar would be an easy MYOG project. The teepee door is nice when wind driven rain might be an issue.

    SANY0999sm.jpg SANY1000sm.jpg SANY1002sm.jpg SANY1003sm.jpg

  9. #9
    Registered User Squirrel29's Avatar
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    Thanks yall this is great info. I have been looking at everything from tarps to hammock rain flies. Think I would like to try something that is a little on the inexpensive side at first.

  10. #10
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squirrel29 View Post
    Thanks yall this is great info. I have been looking at everything from tarps to hammock rain flies. Think I would like to try something that is a little on the inexpensive side at first.
    Get one of those 8 x 10 rip stop poly tarps with grommets and some braided line from WM or HD. They aren't much heavier than silnylon. Google videos on the many ways of rigging tarps.

  11. #11

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    Etowah 8x10 flat silnylon tarp, in a lovely coyote brown. Works for ground, hammocking, or whatever. Less than a pound with line and stakes, can shelter two, huge for one.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  12. #12
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    Thanks Miner. You saved me from writing all that. +1 to what Miner said. I do have some flat tarps though and tarps in silny, .51 and .75 DCF, and a still in good condition GG spinnaker in different sizes, and set up in different configurations. Year round they are used but aren't always chosen as the shelter. Hammocks, tents, bivouacs included in the shelter quiver.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squirrel29 View Post
    Thanks yall this is great info. I have been looking at everything from tarps to hammock rain flies. Think I would like to try something that is a little on the inexpensive side at first.
    Oware makes good entry and advanced level reasonably priced options. Dave Olsen offers some ability to customize too. https://shop.bivysack.com/aboutus.sc

  14. #14
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    From the gear I've seen in person.

    Yama Mtn Gear, MLD, and Hyperlight Mtn Gear have some of the highest quality tarps made of DCF. Everyone I've seen in person shows great attention to detail and craftsmanship. All really good in no particular order.

    I have used three shelters from Zpacks. All function flawlessly, but the craftsmanship isn't as good as the others I mentioned.

    I also have and use some stuff from Jared at Simply Light Designs. A flat silnylon tarp that is very well sewn up. High quality.

    I have used hammock gear and wilderness logics hammock tarps for years. They are both of high quality.

    There are many options for solid tarps.

    I have to be honest though.

    My next tarp whether shaped or flat will be ordered from Mountain Laurel Designs. Silnylon or DCF I can't find many people who have anything negative to say about Ron and his products.

    I'm repping a Zpacks duplex on the AT this year. I'm not really a tent kind of person but I feel it's one of the best shelters for a thru hike of the AT. That's just me.

    I'm already planning for a CDT hike as well. Granted, it's just a dream at the moment. But I'll have one of Ron's tarps for sure.

    There is no best tarp. Different environments at different times of the year will dictate what tarp would be best for that given hike.

    I've never used one but enough research would say that the one bomber tarp that can do it all is a MLD duomid in .74 DCF but it might not be ideal in certain situations.

    If you want to learn tarps. Get an 8x10 silnylon flat tarp with tieouts everywhere and play with different pitches. After a while, you'll know what you want. When your ready for another backpacking tarp, it always good to have a nice flat tarp you can leave it a day pack.






    Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk

  15. #15
    Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miner View Post
    Since 2008, I've used MLD's Grace Solo cuben tarps which are catenary cut which makes them easier to stake out with a taunt pitch, but limits the flexibility to pitch them in anything but an A-frame pitch. Their shape is more trapezoidal but mostly based on a rectangular shape. Before that I used 10'x8' rectangular tarps for 2 years before downsizing to solo size. I did try Zpack's hexamid one year but felt I lost room and went back to the Grace Solo Tarp in a 0.5 wt cuben fiber. Total weight of tarp,titanium stakes, guylines, and stuff sack is a little under 9 oz though I did have the standard dimensions shrunk a little as part of a custom build.

    My system is based around being a cowboy camper first and foremost. Thus I use a small lightweight (~5oz) cuben fiber floor, water resistant bivy sack with the tarp, but mostly use the bivy sack and rarely use the tarp. Given I push my luck with the weather, I sometimes get caught, so my first pitch is a blanket pitch where I quickly throw the tarp over me and my stuff and then take several minutes to decide under it whether or not I'm going to have to get up and actually pitch it for real or not while hoping it will quickly stop. If the rain isn't hard, I may just stay under the blanket pitch for more than an hour though I do not recommend all night as the condensation build up under it is bad since there is no air flow. A shaped mid tarp (as recommended by others) isn't as optimal for using the blanket pitch unless it's really oversized. Did I mention how much I really hate setting up a shelter? This is an important point to why I prefer what I have.

    When pitched in an A-frame, I've sometimes gotten some rain blown in the end if I guessed the wind direction wrong. Though I have the bivy sack to help with this. As I hate having to reorient the tarp unless it's really windy, so instead I often will use my pack, hang my rain coat off the center pole and use my pack to help hold it spread out. Another pitching options for rain is pitching one end tied to a big tree so the tree blocks the rain. I have 5 tieouts along the sides (Last time I had to have MLD add the extra 2 as a custom job since they starting only using 3 a couple of years ago) and then use the tieout 1 back from the corner as the corner tieout so I can fold the real corner back some on the end to block wind coming in on an angle.
    This is me other than the shape of the tarp. I used to have a nearly identical tarp as Miner until I had shifting winds blow rain into the end one too many times. (This can often be solved by site selection but not always.) I have also had the joy of either late night tarp setups or a quick throw over of the tarp. I also HATE setting up a shelter and only did it three times on the PCT.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  16. #16

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    I've been smitten with hammock-love these past few months, although last year I used this setup in a fashion very similar to that described by Miner and for the same reasons offered by Miner and Malto. Superior flexibility for almost any situation... cowboy, bugs/no bugs, rain/no rain, and no problem if the wind shifts during a rainy night.

    Hexamid solo plus Bivy_SMALL.jpg
    UL, because nobody ever asks "How can I make my pack heavier?"

  17. #17

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    I've been using a MLD Monk tarp with a Ti Goat water resistant bivy. From memory, the whole setup is less than $200 new. Packed weight including a carbon fiber pole, stakes, guy line, and polycro ground sheet is less than a pound and a half. Been a while since I weighed it, but it's very light. Lots of flexibility to deploy individual pieces as desired like Miner, Malto, and Dogwood suggested.

  18. #18
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    I have owned, or still own, 4 true double wall tents. 2 from The North Face and 1 each from MSR and TarpTent. All four tents allowed either the body or rain fly to be used independently of the other component. Flexible and versatile.
    Wayne

  19. #19
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    Iím primarily a hammocker, but interested in tarps for specific trips. Following this just for info purposes.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by TX Aggie View Post
    Iím primarily a hammocker, but interested in tarps for specific trips. Following this just for info purposes.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Its easy to set up a plain tarp with opposite corners toward each tree and the other two corners to stakes. Takes a couple of minutes. An 8x10 tarp needs >14 feet between trees this way, and works well with an 11 ft. hammock. This has kept me dry in hideous downpours. I suppose a 9x9 might be better, if you can find one.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

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