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4 Season Tarp?
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Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
4 Season Tarp? on 12/03/2008 11:03:32 MST Print View

Has anyone used the Granite Gear Northern Light tarp with the Dodger system? Pros, cons, etc.


Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Pros and Cons of Northern Light w/ Dodgers on 12/03/2008 12:15:11 MST Print View

I’ve used the Northern Light tarp with Dodgers.

The tarp provides a taught, bomber pitch.
Adjustable guy-out loops make the tarp easy to adjust without having to retie knots or move stakes.
The perimeter snow flaps do block wind and snow very well.

The tarp can only set up using an A-frame configuration.
The Dodgers can be difficult to pitch.
The Dodger / Tarp combination requires 16 stakes for a taught pitch (12 for the tarp, 4 for the Dodgers).
Weight: 34.5 ounces (20 for the tarp, 13.4 for the Dodgers)

Personally I like the various pyramid tarps available. They weigh less, use less stakes, and provide much more room during a snowbound evening.

Edited by chadnsc on 12/03/2008 12:16:22 MST.

Joshua Gilbert
(joshcgil2) - F

Locale: Seattle
RE:4 Season Tarp on 12/03/2008 12:26:42 MST Print View

It seems like you could buy an MSR twin sisters for less weight and less money. It also has snow flaps and is probably more wind resisitant with a lower fiddle factor.

Just a thought.

Edited by joshcgil2 on 12/03/2008 12:27:30 MST.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
4 Season Tarp? on 12/03/2008 13:05:01 MST Print View

Thanks Guys.

The MSR strikes me as a one trick pony with limited ventilation. The GG looks to be a bit more modular than the MSR and all season with the opportunity to pitch in nicer months off the ground. Good option though - thanks.

The Golite pyramids are nice but the 1 person is too short between poles for me, the two person forces each to the side of the poles which only provides 28 inches of width and considerable sag (in the face if you know what I mean). The 3 person is an option but too much shelter for one, I believe....

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
4 Season Tent on 12/03/2008 13:54:52 MST Print View


The GoLite 3 person mid is my favorite tent for crappy weather. Although your definition of winter weather is probably more severe than mine, the Hex3 is great for damp, muddy weather allowing room to enter, tramp around with your boots on with your other gear protected and out of the way. The steep roofline is perfect for unavoidable snow loads. If this is too much tent for you, the duo-mid from MlD looks like it would provide the same features at less weight.

Joshua Gilbert
(joshcgil2) - F

Locale: Seattle
RE:4 Season Tarp on 12/03/2008 13:56:09 MST Print View

I agree that the MSR is a dedicated winter shelter, and probably wouldn't be appropriate for summer, due to the ventilation.

Now David, I get the impression that you are notorious around here for your gear-lust (and with this group, myself included, that's saying something), so why not go with the dedicated winter shelter, and then buy yet another tarp to play with in the summer

Or the scarp1?
or another shires product?
or the refuge X?
or all of them?

You know you want it. Christmas is coming.

Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Pyramid Tarps on 12/03/2008 14:28:30 MST Print View

If you are unhappy with the pyramid tarps from GoLight you may want to check out the tarps from Oware.

Many people here (myself included) have used their tarps with very good results. All of their pyramid tarps are 6’ tall and come in a variety of sizes.

10’ x 10’ tarp, 26 ounces
10' x 10' tarp

5’ x 10’ half tarp, 19 ounces
half tarphalf pyramid

Edited by chadnsc on 12/03/2008 14:29:24 MST.

Craig Burton

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: 4 Season Tarp? on 12/03/2008 14:35:30 MST Print View

I'm in the process of ordering a MLD DuoMid for 4-season use. My theory is that I can use it as a fully-enclosed shelter for severe nights, or I can give it a high-pitch with the doors rolled open for clearer, warmer nights. I'm not sure how well this will work in a bivy on warm nights; but I'm a cold sleeper and I still have a few months to figure that out.

I do suppose that the Oware mid has the same benefits, though with a higher weight penalty.

Edited by MissingUtah on 12/03/2008 14:36:36 MST.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
4 Season Tarp? on 12/03/2008 16:57:29 MST Print View

Uh oh. The Oware and MLD look very, very viable. Ah, more confusion and gear angst.

And yes, Johnathan you are correct. Am I THAT transparent.

This is really a case of throwing myself head first into 4 season trekking without a full blown tent. I simply can't resist anymore, certainly as you read the success of individuals using fairly minimal shelter in winter like conditions.

It's like an UL Borg.

I appreciate the responses on the Northern Light and alternatives!

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: 4 Season Tarp? on 12/03/2008 18:59:00 MST Print View

Which golite pyramid for one person, the Shangri-La 1? All you do is use both hiking poles in an inverted V at the head end and a stick at the foot end. You could sleep an 8 foot tall hiker in that bad boy probably.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Shangri-La 1 on 12/03/2008 20:44:03 MST Print View

Well, it is 78" from pole to pole only, not enough for a 'Long' bag. I tried it and was disappointed. Two poles at the front might work, angled, but I am a thrasher when I sleep and I envision banging into them throughout the night. Plus, in the winter, with snow, not always easy to find a 'stick' and I would not carry a dedicated pole.

Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
4 Season Tarps on 12/04/2008 07:00:13 MST Print View

This may help you out a bit:

Edited to show the correct tarp dimensions.

tarps 3

Edited by chadnsc on 12/04/2008 10:36:31 MST.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Shangri-La 1 on 12/04/2008 08:39:50 MST Print View

I don't think I'd like that Shangri la 1 anyway for winter since I think it would not be good for snow loading. A pyramid shape would be better. If base camping I would not want to use my trekking poles even for a Shangri La 3.

Edited by jshann on 12/04/2008 08:40:31 MST.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
4 Season Tarp? on 12/04/2008 08:41:05 MST Print View

Help? That is a massive understatement! It is tremendous help (man, I love these forums). Thanks Chad.

Huzefa Siamwala
(huzefa) - M
Re: 4 Season Tarp? on 12/04/2008 09:29:07 MST Print View

David, I think you will find this thread interesting.

Are two-pole tarp shelter better then pyramid/half pyramid??

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: 4 Season Tarp? on 12/17/2008 09:10:19 MST Print View

The Golite Utopia 1?

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
4 Season Tarp? on 12/17/2008 09:18:33 MST Print View

Chad, it's good to have an architect/CAD junkie like yourself around for times like this ; )

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: 4 Season Tarps on 12/17/2008 09:27:03 MST Print View

Show coverage when the door is open, say when cooking just
outside the door. You will find with the duo you will be
letting in a lot of snow/rain.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Tarp on 12/17/2008 11:19:22 MST Print View

Gear-lust. You say that like it's a bad thing.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: Re: 4 Season Tarps on 12/17/2008 12:11:18 MST Print View

Re Dave's comment: "Show coverage when the door is open, say when cooking just outside the door. You will find with the duo you will be letting in a lot of snow/rain."

This "exposure" when the door is open would appear to be a characteristic shortcoming of any pyramid tarp.

The alphamid likely mitigates the rain/snow exposure of an open door a bit since its doorway is a nearly vertical wall rather than sloped. But even with the alphamid, even a tiny wind brings rain/snow through its open doorway.

I've wondered at times about the feasibility of a simple and easily deployed awning that could extend just a bit of coverage over the door of pyramid-style shelters -- at least when the door is open and rain/snow is falling. An awning that affords even partial coverage (say, for the top half or so of the open door) might help to deflect a good bit of percepitation.

Perhaps an awning could be fashioned with a peice of wedge-shaped material (cuben for lighest weight?) that has one of its points attachable at (or somewhere below) the peak of the pyramid, with the other two points of the wedge pulled taut (almost on a horizontal) to extend a few feet of protection over the open doorway -- maybe by means of guylines running down to the front stakes from the end of very light weight rods (carbon fiber?) that are secured (somehow) to stick out at each side of the doorway?

Upon pondering this problem a little more, seems like the pyramid-style shelter would really benefit from a tunnel entrance, quasi-igloo-like to eliminate entirely the issue of exposure to wind-driven elements when entering or exiting the shelter. This solution was part of the design for one of North Face's old A-frame tents ("The Mountain Tent" from back in the 60's) which had a tunnel entry set into one wall for foul weather use and with a panel door set in the opposite wall for fair weather. A vent sleeve was also provided above the tunnel entrance for when the tent had both doors shut tight.

And if the roof of the tunnel entrance extended a few feet out from the pyramid -- bingo, a protected cooking porch.

Inquiring minds and wet heads would like to know.

But please, don't ask for a diagram.