New to Tarping- Advice needed!
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Craig Roberts
(Homer) - F

Locale: Midwest
New to Tarping- Advice needed! on 02/28/2010 14:56:24 MST Print View

New to BPL, I've enjoyed reading everyone's posts. Very knowledgeable and helpful. Thanks.
With my tarp purchase, I want to try going directly to where I'll end up; that is I don't want 4 tarps laying around with my 4 packs and 5 stoves, etc.It's been an expensive evolution getting to ultralite. As background, I mostly hike alone, but sometimes take my son. I'm careful with my gear, live in the midwest, and pack year round most recently using Henry's Moment. So far I'm leaning towards an MLD Grace. I'd like your suggestions regarding mfr,tarp material, and size including any custom dimensions you have found works best for you. All advice welcome.
Thank you.

Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F - M

Locale: SoCAL
MLD Grace Solo is a good one on 02/28/2010 23:50:28 MST Print View

I started off with a Granite Gear silnylon 8'x10' tarp back in 2006. It was a good tarp and I learned alot using it. I still keep it for use when going out with friends.

In early 2008, I had moved to my 2nd and current tarp. It's the smaller and much lighter MLD Grace Solo in cuben fiber. I am quite happy with the size of this tarp and used it to hike the Pacific Crest Trail last year. I've been in strong wind, rain and snow (sometimes all 3 in one night) in it and was happy with the coverage. I have no plans to replace it anytime soon. I do use a MLD Superlite bivy sack with it and there have been a few times I was glad for the additional protection. But for the most part, the tarp does a good job by itself.

Edited by Miner on 02/28/2010 23:55:14 MST.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
HUH?? on 03/01/2010 00:07:39 MST Print View

Wait, you own a TT Moment and you want to use a TARP instead???
AAaaarrrggghhh!

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
Silnylon and cheap for the start on 03/01/2010 01:40:29 MST Print View

If you're new to using a tarp, you should get yourself first a cheap silnylon one - why not make one yourself and learn something on the way? That way you can see if a tarp (and a bivy) would be something you enjoy and are comfortable with, because if you're not then that's only a few $ out the window instead of over 300$ for a MLD Grace Duo or similar.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Silnylon and cheap for the start on 03/01/2010 05:56:12 MST Print View

+1 make your own. It will cost you ~6 yards of silnylon, some cheap webbing, guylines you probably have sitting around, and some patience. Rectangular flat tarps are easy to make, just make sure you use a wide flat-felled seam for the ridgeline and a rolled hem for the edges. Good luck.

Craig Roberts
(Homer) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: HUH?? on 03/01/2010 06:08:14 MST Print View

I know...pretty spoiled with Henry's stuff, it's great! I love the Moment. But I found I wanted some variety this winter when pitching with just my MLD Superlight. 15 degree night, full moon, and quiet. I loved the open views. Now that Spring is around the corner in Ohio, I'll need to put the top up occasionally.

Craig Roberts
(Homer) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Silnylon and cheap for the start on 03/01/2010 06:27:15 MST Print View

Guys, thanks for the ideas. I'll ponder making one myself. My birthday's coming up in May. My wife already thinks I'm nuts for sleeping in the winter woods. Maybe I can ask her for a sewing machine! Where's a good place to get the material and and other items needed?
Sean, I'd love to see the Cuben Grace. May be where I end up once I get some experience. Heard nothing but good things about MLD and like the Superlight Bivy.
Probably have more questions later, especially if I begin to sew.
I'll continue to follow the posts. This is a great place to learn and get ideas. The great thing is, this forum has no international boundaries. Thanks again all.

Sanad Toukhly
(Red_Fox) - MLife

Locale: South Florida
MLD Grace on 03/01/2010 06:52:48 MST Print View

While I recommend that you try a MYOG tarp first as well, I will say that my first tarp was an MLD Grace Solo. I absolutely love this tarp. However, just because tarps worked for me does NOT mean they will work for you. If you end up liking tarping, then you will probably love the Grace.

-Sid

Marco A. Sánchez
(marcoasn) - M

Locale: The fabulous Pyrenees
Re: Silnylon and cheap for the start on 03/01/2010 08:11:24 MST Print View

Although cuben or spinnaker tarps are lighter, silnylon tarps are more tolerant of the typical mistakes made during the learning process (excessive tension applied on some guylines). Thus, +1 for a silnylon tarp (MYOG or not)

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: New to Tarping- Advice needed! on 03/01/2010 08:13:27 MST Print View

If you decide to go the MYOG route,Quest Outfitters has a great Cat Cut Tarp Pattern. You get the pattern and all needed materials for $56. This tarp is equivalent to the $140 Gossamer Gear SilTwinn or the $150 MLD Silnylon Grace Duo.

If you prefer to buy, you need to decide if you want a Cat-Cut Tarp or a Flat Tarp. Cat Cut tarps do better when pitched in a A-Frame configuration. They tend to pitch tighter and with less "wrinkles" and flapping than flat tarps, but flat tarps offer more pitching options.

For Cat Cut Tarps I would look at

Gossamer Gear
Mountain Laurel Designs
Alpinlite
Oware

Flat Tarps:

Alpinlite
Oware
Z-packs
Etawah Outfitters

Craig Roberts
(Homer) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: New to Tarping- Advice needed! on 03/01/2010 10:08:48 MST Print View

Matt, I checked out a you tube video on the flat felled seam. Then I went to Quest's site that Brad suggested. I'm intrigued about making my own tarp. May just give it a go. Now I need to get a sewing diploma! Thanks all!

Craig Roberts
(Homer) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: MLD Grace Solo is a good one on 03/01/2010 10:25:49 MST Print View

Sean (and everyone) it sounds as though the Grace Solo size is adequate in most situations. As you may have noticed, I'm considering making my own as a trial. Not sure yet, but here's my question. Solo or Duo size? And if I find I CAN actually sew, I may make a flat one, too. "Both Feet" is what my wife calls me....

Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F - M

Locale: SoCAL
Grace Solo Tarp on 03/02/2010 01:32:33 MST Print View

Here are a few photos of the Grace Solo.

Here I'm tightening the guylines up as it starts to snow. I have it pitched low due to some wind.
Setting up tarp at Rainy Pass, Wash. as it begins to snow.

And here is my tarp 2 nights latter under some trees after it snowed about 4" overnight. I have more coverage in this photo as I have it pitched higher and wider.
MLD Solo Tarp in snow on PCT

Edited by Miner on 03/02/2010 01:38:12 MST.

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
MYOG on 03/02/2010 04:08:00 MST Print View

Vraig, check Bradfords link, that would be my choice if living in the US - its dirt cheap and you can choose your own colour. For a sewing machine I'd check a second hand store or ask relatives. There's a few "Sewing Primer" articles here on BPL with instructions for beginners on how to make seams, what needles and yarn to use, etc. I made my own tarp in January and its such a great experience to make something yourself, so I really hope my enthusiasm shines through here =)

Craig Roberts
(Homer) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Grace Solo Tarp on 03/02/2010 10:08:51 MST Print View

Thanks for the great pics Sean. Where were they taken? Very beautiful country (and why my favorite time to pack is winter.) It's helpful to actually "see" and get some perspective. Since I occasionally take my son, the decision left is size. Solo or Duo, or something in between? I see that Ron (MLD) will make whatever a person wants, but of course the custom work is not returnable. I like the Solo simply because site selection would be easier, smaller footprint. I was looking at the BPL's new cuben cat and noticed it's size is a hybrid, sort of between the Solo and Duo. Any opinion on that size, 9 x 8.5 x 5.7? Thanks again.

Craig Roberts
(Homer) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: MYOG on 03/02/2010 10:49:33 MST Print View

Hendrik,your enthusiasm has spilled over onto me! I ordered the cat kit from Quest and am looking for a sewing machine. It really doesn't have a downside. Learning something new (that can save money, too)and being able to say to my buds, "Yeah, I made this." I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to read the BPL sewing articles tonight after work. In the meantime, I'm going to order a solo for my immediate use. Then I can use my MYOG Quest (9.1 x 7.17 x 9.75) for my father/son ventures.
Thanks to everyone for getting me ready to tarp. I'll let you know how my sewing goes.

Sean Nordeen
(Miner) - F - M

Locale: SoCAL
Re: Re: Grace Solo Tarp on 03/02/2010 12:16:41 MST Print View

"Thanks for the great pics Sean. Where were they taken?"

They are from the last few nights on the Pacific Crest Trail in Northern Washington before I reached Canada. The 1st one is at Rainy Pass on Sept.29. The 2nd was from Oct.1 below Holman Peak.

The Grace Solo is too small for 2 people. While you might be able to in an emergency, I wouldn't want to for any other reason. I think the Gossemer Gear SpinnTwin tarp is sized about the smallest I'd go for a 2 man tarp and its a tight fit for more then a few days. So I would defintely look at the Duo. Or buy a cheaper larger tarp to learn tarping with and to use when camping with your son and then latter pick up a more expensive smaller one for solo use after you are more comfortable with a tarp.

Pieter Kaufman
(Pieter) - F
Re: Re: Re: Grace Solo Tarp on 03/02/2010 12:41:24 MST Print View

Sean, I love your pictures. They capture a lot of what's great about not being inside a completely enclosed tent.

In your experience, would you say the Grace Solo is small and light enough to warrant keeping it packed all the time for those relatively rare, freak storm in otherwise dry regions scenarios?

That is, for someone who's not interested in having overhead shelter every night, but needs something just in case?

Craig Roberts
(Homer) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Re: Grace Solo Tarp on 03/02/2010 20:01:30 MST Print View

Thanks for the good advice Sean. That's the direction I'm heading. As you may have seen, I'm giving the MYOG a whirl. It's an inexpensive way to get started and, if my vision allows me to miss my fingers while sewing, I'm sure I'll enjoy the experience. Happy Trails!

Hendrik Morkel
(skullmonkey) - MLife

Locale: Finland
Re: Re: MYOG on 03/03/2010 03:52:50 MST Print View

Great to hear, Craig! Here are some photos of my MYOG tarp pitched in the snow, I really enjoyed the process of making it, and will sit down this week to sew a VBL liner bag for a trip this weekend. You should definitely keep us posted on your MYOG adventure!

Which Solo are you going to order? If I would have the spare cash, I'd go for the BPL Nano, but for you maybe a Alpinlite Stratiform I would be appropriate? Its Silnylon, 8,9 oz and only 90$!