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MYOG Tarp and Bivy
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David Beechey
(imp) - F

Locale: UK
MYOG Tarp and Bivy on 06/16/2009 06:10:32 MDT Print View

These 2 projects are my first real MYOG besides stuff sacks !


I wanted an Ultralight Bivy and decided to try to make one myself (the VaprNANO was never in stock and the lead times and poor dollar pound exchange rate made a MLD Litesoul too pricey)

Bivy Plan

Fabrics from Z packs and Thruhiker
Cuben 0.6 oz/sqyd
Momentum Ripstop 0.9 oz/sqyd

I used an existing Bivy (heavy !!!) as my template. I decided to forego the bathtub walls and make a simple bivy – 2 pieces the same size and simply stitched together with a drawcord opening. The bivy is perhaps a little big but i wanted to ensure there was no risk of sleeping bag loft compresson and i’m 6’1” so it needed to be long enough to cover my head if necessary to guard against rain splatter under the tarp.

Flat Bivy

Below Bivy containing Arc Ghost bag

Bivy (inc Arc Ghost)


I was inspired by the pictures of Steven Evans’s MLD cuben poncho set up in Tarp mode (great pics and trip reports BTW Steven).

CUBEN 0.6 oz/sqyd

It is a simple rectangle 112” (9’4”) by 49.5”(4’1.5”) with 12 guy points. The guy points are Grosgrain (0.5” and 0.75” widths). I used 1.5 oz/sqyd Cuben Fibre for the reinforcement patches (from Z packs)
1mm dyneema Guyline from Team io in the uk with mini lineloks.

Tarp Plan

Total weight 90g inc guylines.

Tarp 1

Tarp 2

Tarp 3

I’m considering adding doors to increase the weather resistance (the UK is quite wet - a rare sunny day for these pictures !). I know this will reduce the flexibility as far as pitching options however and this makes me a little reluctant.......

Thanks for all the MYOG'ers for the inspiration and advice on these forums :o)

Edited by imp on 06/16/2009 08:57:50 MDT.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: MYOG Tarp and Bivy on 06/16/2009 06:15:59 MDT Print View

Very nice!

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: MYOG Tarp and Bivy on 06/16/2009 08:04:34 MDT Print View

Hey David,
That's some nice work, keep it up. A 112" long tarp is nice for the taller folks :)

ben wood

Locale: flatlands of MO
Re: MYOG Tarp and Bivy on 06/16/2009 08:49:40 MDT Print View


Eric Beaudry
(EricBeaudry) - F
MYOG Tarp/Bivy. on 06/16/2009 08:51:05 MDT Print View


Looks great!

Curious how you built the tarp? Are you using bonded reinforcement patches and sewing the grosgrain tieout points?

Working on my tarp/bivy setup now.

Very nice and great views!

Jared Cook
(rooinater) - F

Locale: Northwet
Re: MYOG Tarp/Bivy. on 06/16/2009 16:46:00 MDT Print View

looks great!

Patrick Caulder
(pcaulder) - MLife

Locale: SouthEast
Looking good on 06/16/2009 17:38:14 MDT Print View

That looks very nice. I'm probably going to end up breaking down and getting that 9m roll now.

Tim Marshall
(MarshLaw303) - MLife

Locale: Minnesota
Re: MYOG Tarp and Bivy on 06/16/2009 18:31:30 MDT Print View

you mention adding a door but are worried about it being less flexible in pitching.

What if you add a beak that can be separated with a zipper or velcro and each side of the beak can be rolled up and secured. That way you can use it like a flat tarp, but if you want extra protection you can just unroll and close the door.


Michael Baker

Locale: Minnesota
very nice gear on 01/11/2010 22:24:07 MST Print View

Wow. I really like both pieces of gear you made. Nice and simple and I imagine pretty light.

Michael Theiler
(MichaelST) - F

Locale: Annandale
+ beak! on 01/11/2010 23:28:06 MST Print View

Very nice indeed! If you added Tim's suggestion of an adjustable beak, it would be identical to one I plan on making. I already have 3 yards .6 cuben, just need a little more for the beak (am going to go with lighter .48 for the beak I think).
I'm using MLD's carbon pole (the long one). What pole is that I see? It looks like a doubled pole. Again, looks great!

Alexander Laws
(goldenmeanie) - F

Locale: Los Angeles
bivy on 01/12/2010 09:44:24 MST Print View

Nice work! Super cool! I am also making a cuben/momentum bivy using some blue .6 from Joe. I sold my MLD Superlight bivy to make my own Lightsoul-ish bivy... dollar to dollar exchange ain't that great either ;)

Don Meredith
(donmeredith) - F

Locale: SouthEast
MYOG Tarp and Bivy on 03/23/2011 06:30:46 MDT Print View

David, I'm curious how your MYOG bivy is holding up. I'm considering making something very similar and would like to get your experience after having the bivy in the wild for several months. I'm particularly curious about how the 0.6 cuben is holding up since its lighter than recommended. My gut tells me that it will be fine with smart camp location choice but nothing beats actual experience. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Don Meredith

J Thomas Peterson
(tpeterson1959) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Very Nice on 03/23/2011 16:49:31 MDT Print View

Both look great - and what a great location for your pics!

Makes me wonder once again how I ended up in the desert...

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: MYOG Tarp and Bivy on 03/23/2011 16:55:33 MDT Print View

David, what do you figure were your total costs for making the tarp?


David Beechey
(imp) - F

Locale: UK
re queries on 03/24/2011 09:46:30 MDT Print View

Thank you for your kind comments. I thought my post had been buried long ago....

Answers to some of the queries.

ERIC - i used AQUASEAL to bond the 1.5 oz/sqyd Cuben reinforcement patches to the main tarp as i didn't want to create weak points through sewing. Though i did sew the pullouts.

Pullout detail

Tim - a perfect idea to add a beak that can be rolled away when not being used. Just need to order some more cuben....

Michael Theiler - the poles you see are my AGP's by Titanium Goat doubled up as I like to pitch shelters nice and tight. Good luck with your project :o)

Don - the bivy floor is just fine so far though I am very careful about the sites I choose and a bit anal about caring for my gear. The ground is checked and cleared and I normally use a polycro groundsheet under the bivy just in case. Hope you enjoy making your bivy - the great advice on here certainly inspired me.

Bob - Costs...tarp is 112" long = 3.11 yards. Current price of cuben at z packs =$26/yard. This is $81 for the base 0.6 oz cuben. I did use some 1.5 oz cuben for the reinforcement patches ($29/yard) plus gross grain / thread and aquseal. Possibly $105 all in.... living in the UK though I had the pesky VAT and import duties on the cuben on top.

Since the original post i have added 2 additional pullout points which are 1.5 oz patches aquasealed on to the tarp to help lift the head and foot ends away from either face / sleeping bag. These are a simple addition and as they are bonded there is no stitching to weaken the tarp. I'll add pics if anyone is interested.

Thanks again and happy MYOG'ing

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
additional pullouts on 04/20/2011 08:13:27 MDT Print View

What did you use to bond the additional pullouts? Where on the tarp did you add the pullouts? I'd like to see pictures.

David Beechey
(imp) - F

Locale: UK
Pullouts on 04/21/2011 12:07:16 MDT Print View

Hi Brian,

The pullouts were created by stitching a grosgrain loop onto a circle of 1.5oz/sqyd cuben which was then bonded with AQUASEAL to the body of the tarp.

The bond created by the Aquaseal seems very strong and there are no stitches through into the body of the tarp to act as weak points.

Tarp Pullout

Pullout Position
Tarp showing Pullout position

Hope this helps.

Philip Carr
(unsponsored) - F

Locale: UK
Nice on 07/10/2011 15:35:22 MDT Print View

Very nice setup.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: MYOG Tarp and Bivy on 07/10/2011 16:43:20 MDT Print View

Nice set up. Looks like it could be pitched very quickly.

Am I seeing correclty that you started with two poles and then switched to one?

John Garner
(Hobbins) - F
Aquaseal on 07/11/2011 05:57:56 MDT Print View

Could I ask which exact Aquaseal you used to bond the cuben. If you google aquaseal there's a million and one different products. It's a cracking looking tarp and is inspiring me to purchase some cuben and have a go myself. Thanks in advance.