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Homemade Tarp - Ridgeline Question
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Brett Warren
(warren98) - F - MLife
Homemade Tarp - Ridgeline Question on 04/12/2008 14:06:07 MDT Print View

I'm planning to make a homemade tarp out of 1.1oz silnylon. I've made a tarp before and just realized that I might be setting up mine somewhat differently that others might be after reading the setup instructions for the Gossamer Gear SpinnTwinn. The way I been pitching my tarp (#2 in the picture) is by stringing a piece of rope between two trekking poles, and essentially draping my tarp over that rope. I then tie the tarp to the trekking poles and stake out the tarp. The instructions for the spinntwin (#1 in the picture) indicate that the ridgeline rope is tied to the tarp itself at both ends, and that the rope is not continuous.
Tarp Diagram
I was hoping someone could provide some input as the their method for pitching their tarps. Is it a mixed bag? Do homemade tarp owners prefer one method, and commercial tarps use another? Is one method better than the other? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

David Passey
(davidpassey) - F

Locale: New York City
Re: Homemade Tarp - Ridgeline Question on 04/12/2008 15:13:13 MDT Print View

I use method #1 for both homemade and GG tarps. I don't see how method #2 would work with a catenary tarp.

Joe Kuster
(slacklinejoe) - MLife

Locale: Flatirons
Homemade Tarp - Ridgeline Question on 04/12/2008 15:53:18 MDT Print View

#1 by far is the most common for commercial tarps. I've seen #2 recommended when the tarp has no pull outs but it invites problems. I do however remember seeing a commercial tarp that had a rope going through as in #2 but I think it was only using that as a laundry line and had the ridgeline carrying the load.

In #2 when the wind picks up it can easily slide around on the ridgeline rope unless it is somehow attached in one place. Without it being attached I can't help but think that it invites the possibly to wreak havoc with your tarp. I can see it working fine with a heavy canvas tarp but using thin fabrics could cause other issues.

In theory it would possibly allow lighter fabrics due to reduce pull out strain on the tent if one could overcome the problems but the simple chaffing of the rope against the tarp under breeze could produce a failure with thin fabrics.

Edited by slacklinejoe on 04/12/2008 21:39:04 MDT.

Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
#2 right? on 04/12/2008 16:51:01 MDT Print View


I use #1 and it works great. Silnylon stretches some and this pitch keeps it much tighter.

What fabric could be lighter than the cuben fibers people are using pitched #1 style?

#2 is only good for tarps with grommets which aren't very strong and can pull out. Webbing tie outs are strong enough to do #1 with ease

Edited by MarshLaw303 on 04/13/2008 04:41:41 MDT.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Homemade Tarp - Ridgeline Question on 04/12/2008 18:50:03 MDT Print View

Brett, on all the tarps I've camped with I have six foot lengths of cord girth hitched to a grosgrain tie-out located on the fabric edge.

On my most current tarp, a homemade spinnaker I still use the same tie-out method but interestingly enough I have a length of cord that runs from the front pole to the back not to hold up the tarp but for use as a clothesline.

Joe Kuster
(slacklinejoe) - MLife

Locale: Flatirons
Homemade Tarp - Ridgeline Question on 04/12/2008 21:34:29 MDT Print View

Tim, yes. I have corrected my typo.

Brett Warren
(warren98) - F - MLife
future tarp design on 04/16/2008 22:55:06 MDT Print View

Well I think it's settled then. I will make my next tarp without a continuous rope ridgeline. I would like to comment on my current tarp through. The issue of the tarp sliding around on the ridgeline is not an problem after the tarp is all staked down. I do have a hard time staking the tarp down and keeping the center of the tarp over the ridgeline. I added a few small loops of Velcro that keeps the tarp centered while staking, but they are kind of a pain in the butt.

As you can see I made my current tarp with a curved ridgeline (I hesitate to call it a catenary, its more or less just "curvy") and I usually don't have to much of a problem getting a acceptable pitch.

Mike Hinsley

Locale: England, UK
Homemade Tarp Ridgeline Q on 04/17/2008 01:50:13 MDT Print View

The way that I've pitched tarps that are suspended from a rope ridgeline is to use a sliding prussik at either end.

This makes it easy to pack and pitch and allows for tensioning in wet weather.

The only difference is that I suspend the tarp from the rope using 3 ties - one at each end and one in the middle.

I move around on this but I think that using a rope to suspend a tarp is probably better than a tarp that is tied by the ends because of fabric sag during wet weather. It seems easier to restore tension when you have a rope.