Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Evaluate my tarp idea?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Jane McMichen
(jmcmichen) - F

Locale: Maine, DownEast Coast
Evaluate my tarp idea? on 04/02/2008 10:59:03 MDT Print View

Hi everyone! I'm a newbie at MYOG so I've been reading everything I can find on these threads and trying to use the Forum Search for specific questions. I can't answer this one on my own, though.

I have an idea for a more versitile flat tarp basically by adding tie out loops on the body. It would look something like this, with the "X" marking tie outs.
tarp idea

I know it can't be a new idea, but I don't see anybody making them. My thought was to use a 7' x 7'piece of silnylon or goretex with grosgrain ribbon edging. I can put grosgrain loops built into the ribbon on the edges, but would that be good enough on the body? I know there must be a support piece sewn under each body tie out and everything must be seam sealed.

This idea seems to give me loads of flexability in setup - an A frame for solo, lean to with porch for friends in good weather, pyramid for two with one corner as vestibule in rain, etc. ad nauseum. Besides the weight difference of the extra tie outs, are there other reasons that you seasoned hikers don't use a tarp like this?

Are there ways to do these things with a tarp and not have the extra tie outs? I don't like having a pole in the tarp with me, but maybe I don't know enough about pitching tarps to see the possibilities.

Kyle Purcell
(dufus934) - F

Locale: North Texas
Funny how things work on 04/02/2008 11:17:09 MDT Print View

This is actually one idea that I have been considering making. Due to laziness, fear (of there being something better), and some procrastination, I have not started my tarp yet. However, to answer your question, this tarp will work great and be very versitle. Just make sure you have all the details worked out and the measurments right.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
tarp idea on 04/02/2008 11:26:03 MDT Print View

PhotoOutward Bound Instructor Tarp Setup

Edited by oware on 04/02/2008 11:27:30 MDT.

Jane McMichen
(jmcmichen) - F

Locale: Maine, DownEast Coast
Tarp stuff on 04/02/2008 11:29:04 MDT Print View

Thanks Kyle! That's encouraging. Good pic, David. You made that? What dimensions did you go with?

I've also been Googling, etc. to find tips on how to pitch tarps in different configurations but haven't found much. Anyone know of a good article?

I guess I could get a piece of plastic and play around but I'll have to get better at making knots and loops that will hold the plastic body :)

Edited by jmcmichen on 04/02/2008 11:30:45 MDT.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Evaluate my tarp idea? on 04/02/2008 11:31:42 MDT Print View

Being this is BPL, I'll talk about what to do with silnylon ... I've not yet sewn gortex.

If your ridgeline seam is horizontal in your diagram, just bury a short piece of grosgrain in the seam to reinforce the center tie out.

For the other four, sew the tie out loops to a 4 inch circle of silnylon and glue that circle to the tarp with GE Silicon Sealler II. That works quite well ... I've had a tarp pretty well collapse under heavy wet snow without pulling glued tie outs loose.

Jane McMichen
(jmcmichen) - F

Locale: Maine, DownEast Coast
silnylon on 04/02/2008 11:36:02 MDT Print View

Thanks Jim! I like the idea of using the silnylon circles glued to the tarp - less to seal when I'm done. And the grosgrain ribbon on the ridgeline would work well, too. Gave me a 'duh!' moment when I read that :)

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Size matters on 04/03/2008 07:06:55 MDT Print View

7'x7' is small for a versatile tarp.

Unless you're a midget. ;-)

Inaki Diaz de Etura
(inaki) - MLife

Locale: Iberia highlands
mid-tarp tie-outs on silnylon on 04/03/2008 07:24:59 MDT Print View

I've added tie-out loops on the body of a silnylon tarp meant for main support so they should be able to take a big load. I used a small square (like 3x3") of heavy fabric sewn under the silnylon with the nylon webbing loop sewn over it all. The heavy fabric does not suffer under stress. I've put lots of tension on these tie-out loops and they held perfectly. The weight penalty is not big as the patches are small. Double row of stitches all around the patch perimeter so the load on the silnylon side of the seams is shared.
scroll down to the bottom for some pics and comments.

If you want flexibility, I'd make it bigger. The 7x7 size will limit your pitching options to basically none.

Edited by inaki on 04/03/2008 08:40:55 MDT.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Tarp stuff-link to tarp set up options on 04/03/2008 15:51:31 MDT Print View

Jane McMichen
(jmcmichen) - F

Locale: Maine, DownEast Coast
Cool on 04/04/2008 07:15:05 MDT Print View

Thanks guys! Rog, I'm not a midget but not that tall either (5'4"). My husband is the same height. After looking over Inaki's project and the link David sent (both very cool and JUST the info I was looking for)I'm thinking I need at least a 10' x 10' minimum size. I'm going to be occupied with trying a lot of those pitching options for a while! Now the idea of playing with that sheet of plastic seems exciting! It should be very entertaining for the neighbors, too :)

What tarp dimensions do you folks recommend for pitch versitility, spacious for 1, and comfortable squeeze for 2?

Thanks again!

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

tarp size on 04/04/2008 15:39:09 MDT Print View

10x10 sounds about right, but play with the plastic to test it. Tip for making position-test tie-out points in light plastic: push a ping pong ball into the plastic and tie it off with a rubber band to attach guylines to. remember that in fair weather you can increase headroom and ventilation by extending the edge tie-outs with cordage to raise the tarp off the ground.

Have fun, you may want to use opaque plastic to keep the neighbours guessing. ;-)

FWIW I use a 14oz Integral Designs sil shelter tarptent. Not the most versatile, but bomproof shelter with tie-outs every 2 feet along the edges plus 5 on top. Lots of light thin Ti pegs and tie-out points gives more options on tough terrain, and spreads load better in heavy wind. It's big enough for two midgets or one tallbloke :-)

I made a 2oz A-frame poleset out of two telescopic fishing rods from the dollar store which work well and give more room at the entrance. It's worth taking a look at the design of this tarptent for the location of seams and having a think about where the major stress lines are in high winds; we get a lot of those in the UK. All the top tie-outs are at seam junctions, and there are two reinforced pole caps underneath at the apex and rear seam junction.

silshelter plan

Shamelessly copied from

Edited by tallbloke on 04/04/2008 16:16:29 MDT.