by the Product Review Staff | 2003-09-29 03:00:00-06
See how this shelter rates with others in our Comparison Review of Tarps and Other Floorless Shelters
Configurations Reviewed: 6' x 8', 8' x 10'
Photo Caption: Campmor/Equinox's Ultralight Backpacking Tarp: In addition to a number of perimeter tie-out grommets, the tarp has three center-tarp tie-out points (white nylon straps). One of these tie-outs is shown in use to decrease side deflection and increase interior room. Campmor's "Ultralight Backpacking Tarp" and Equinox's "Tarp Ultra Light" are one in the same. Order a tarp from Campmor and you'll get an Equinox tarp with a small Campmor barcode stuck to the Equinox label.
Campmor/Equinox tarps offer good performance and an excellent value. They use 1.3 oz/sq yd (36.9 g/sq m) silnylon ripstop fabric [most likely the same 1.4 oz/sq yd (47.5 g/ sq m) that other manufacturers use]. Edge seams are rolled and sewn. Center seams are rolled and sewn with a double top stitch (similar to a flat felled seam). Perimeter tie-out are brass grommets inserted into the reinforced edge seams. Both tarps use 5/8 in (1.6 cm) white webbing for and additional 3 tie-outs in the center of the tarp.
The Campmor/Equinox tarps have a good number of tie-outs - more than enough to make a variety of pitches, including a stable storm pitch. The 6x8 tarp has 15 tie-outs (12 grommets along the perimeter, and 3 webbing tie-outs in the center of the tarp parallel to the short dimension.). The 8x10 tarp has 21 tie-outs (18 grommets along the perimeter, and 3 webbing tie-outs in the center of the tarp parallel to the short dimension.).
Campmor/Equinox tarps offer a great value but to do so they cut a few corners. Their construction/design is not at the same level as higher priced tarps like Oware's or Integral Design's. While they may be less expensive, we're not so keen on grommets for tie-out points. Grosgrain webbing bar tacked to a nylon reinforcement patch is stronger, will last longer, and more evenly distributes stresses in the tarp making for a better pitch than plain grommits. Webbing loops are also easier to use. For instance, webbing tie-outs make it a breeze to pitch a tarp edge to the ground. And yes, you can tie small loops of cord to the grommets and have essentially the same thing.
Also, we'd like to see a few more center tie-outs on the 8x10 tarp. Four center tie-outs, two on each side would add more stability to the larger tarp in strong winds. These tie-outs would also allow for a particularly useful storm pitch. In this pitch, three sides of the tarp are staked to the ground and the two center tie-outs on the rear of the tarp are lifted to raise the foot section. (You end up with the flat-tarp equivalent of something like a GoLite Lair shelter - e.g., see photos in the Oware Flat Tarp Review). Finally, we're not fans of the two un-looped webbing tie-outs on the tarp. We'd much rather see a single webbing loop sewn to a nylon reinforced patch.
We've used the Equinox/Campmor tarps in many types of weather-steady spring rains, strong summer thunderstorms, and dewy meadow campsites. In the hands of a skilled tarper, these light and simple shelters are excellent performers. Their few flaws are minor and they are one of the best ultralight shelter values out there. If you want to see if tarping might be your thing, a Campmor/Equinox tarp is a great and inexpensive way to get started.
"Campmor (Equinox) Silnylon Tarps," by the Product Review Staff. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/00166.html, 2003-09-29 03:00:00-06.