Cheap Tarp Shelters
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Andrew Wilson
(andreww) - MLife

Locale: Vosges
Cheap Tarp Shelters on 12/27/2009 01:41:27 MST Print View

Now that I have a growing family, I'm more interested in flexible, expandable, and cheap shelters to fit ever changing needs. Having a commercial tent to meet car and wilderness camping for 1, 2, or 3 people is an expensive proposal. We had a successful two weeks of bike-camping in Belgium/Luxembourg this summer using a 3mil Plastic sheet (3mx4m) for 3.

The following link is well known, but I found it very helpful, to say the least.

http://www.equipped.org/tarp-shelters.htm

Another I just found, which though not original, is inspirational:

http://www.randonner-leger.org/02_materiel/bricolage.php

BTW, the randonner-leger site is quite nice, and gives a window into the movement in France (as our other French members will attest).

James D Buch
(rocketman) - F

Locale: Midwest
Historical Love of Tarps on 12/27/2009 05:47:56 MST Print View

Don't forget the youthful recollections of Ray Jardine on tarps and their great low cost and high performance in "Beyond Backpacking" -- evidently his life in the 1970's had him using tarps extensively. Including the cheap plastic versions.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
The Good Old Days:-) on 12/27/2009 06:32:10 MST Print View

It reminds me of my youth. The definitions of a tarp and a tent were different then. A tarp was a flat sheet of plastic or canvas. A tent was what you called the shelter that you make from a tarp.

Lately the definition has changed so that a single wall floor-less shelter is called a tarp. Some people even go as far as to call a tarptent a tarp.

george carr
(hammer-one) - F

Locale: Walking With The Son
Re:Cheap Tarp Shelters on 12/27/2009 06:37:13 MST Print View

My first recollections about tarp camping were in Colin Fletcher's Complete Walker. He went into considerable detail about a rainy night spent under a plastic sheet and patching it with tape as it developed pinholes :). I enjoyed reading that story over and over, and longed to "be out there" under a tarp.

My first experiences camping were with the Scouts, camping under canvas Baker tents, which aren't much more than shaped tarps. I'm always happier under a tarp than confined in a tent.

I commend you for giving the 3ml plastic a try. It's definitely the cheapest way to get into tarp camping.

Edited by hammer-one on 12/27/2009 06:39:48 MST.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Re:Cheap Tarp Shelters on 12/27/2009 07:28:42 MST Print View

That reminds me, another advantage with cheap taps is that the material isn't usually as highly flammable as the high tech tarps.
We used to pitch our tarp so that the front opening faced the fire. We could use the heat from the fire to help keep us warm in our wool blankets.
The first person to wake from the cold would just have to through some more wood on the fire and go back to sleep.

You would get some burn holes in our blankets and the tarp from sparks, but nothing was flammable back then.