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Tarp Size?
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Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Tarp Size? on 06/13/2010 11:42:37 MDT Print View

What size tarp do you use and why? I am looking to eventually get a Cube Fiber tarp for non-buggy areas. What size do you use for summer solo travel? Also do you use a bivy or not?

-Jace

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Tarp Size? on 06/13/2010 12:05:22 MDT Print View

Little 5x9 tarp with bivy. Larger up to 8x10 without bivy. If the tarp gives enough coverage you won't need the bivy. If you use a bivy on nice nights you don't need to pitch the tarp. Every trip demands gear choices dependent on a myriad of considerations. This in itself is a great gear enabling tool.

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
8x10 tarp on 06/13/2010 12:15:37 MDT Print View

It seems like 8x10 is a popular choice, do you know how it fits over a blackbird hammock? Im looking for a peice of kit that will do "double duty"

Thanks

-Jace

Ben Crowell
(bcrowell) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: 8x10 tarp on 06/13/2010 15:12:27 MDT Print View

8x10?? I use a 5x8, and it's plenty big enough for one person.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: 8x10 tarp on 06/13/2010 18:44:43 MDT Print View

Should be plenty big enough to cover the BB

Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"Tarp Size?" on 06/13/2010 19:24:12 MDT Print View

You might try OES's catenary-cut hexagonal tarps, the "Micro" looks like it should fit what you want.

http://www.outdoorequipmentsupplier.com/products.html

good luck!

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: "Tarp Size?" on 06/13/2010 20:04:11 MDT Print View

8x10 is big for solo use but it sure gives a lot of coverage. Personally I like a catenary cut solo tarp or a poncho-tarp, depending on the trip. I use a bivy so a smaller size works fine. Some folks that go without a bivy like a larger size.

A square tarp works for a hammock but a hammock specific tarp is ideal.

If you're getting into tarps for the first time, a 5x8 square tarp is really fun because you can set it up in a variety of ways- they're really fun to play with! Once you've mastered that tarp, you can get more specific, add a bivy or a bug tent, and move in a direction that suits you.

I wouldn't recommend starting with Cuben or spinnaker. They can both tear out much more easily and you don't want that as you play with tautness, pitching options, etc. Silnylon is a cheap entry point to the experiment and not such a big deal to replace if you go for a catenary cut, pyramid, or shaped tarp in the future.

Have fun- tarps are a blast and a very different camping experience!

Doug

Edited by djohnson on 06/13/2010 20:16:19 MDT.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
Tarp Size? on 06/13/2010 20:26:36 MDT Print View

For summer, I have a 5' x 8' tarp that I use with a bivy. But I also have a larger tarp that I use when I expect a lot of rain or snow. Both tarps will keep you dry when you're sleeping, but the big difference is that I can easily sit up under the bigger one. If it's going to rain a bunch and I'm planning to cook, read, or otherwise hang out under the tarp for a while, it's nice to have the larger tarp. If I'm mainly going to be sleeping under the tarp, I'll take the small one and save the extra several ounces.

Russell Klopfer
(fluxxball)

Locale: Pittsburgh
Re: Tarp Size? on 03/01/2012 13:18:09 MST Print View

What is the motivation for using a smaller tarp aside from saving weight?

One thing that I can imagine would be having a smaller footprint. This certainly should increase the number of camping options. I was considering investing in a smaller tarp for this reason. Any comments on how much of a help a smaller tarp is in this respect?

Anything other reasons for a smaller tarp?

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Tarp Size? on 03/01/2012 13:31:27 MST Print View

Ken said,

"Little 5x9 tarp with bivy. Larger up to 8x10 without bivy. If the tarp gives enough coverage you won't need the bivy. If you use a bivy on nice nights you don't need to pitch the tarp. Every trip demands gear choices dependent on a myriad of considerations. This in itself is a great gear enabling tool."

+1

Most poncho/tarps are around 5 X 8, so it solves the rain gear problem, and as he noted it really requires a bivy for heavy rain. However, if your tarp is also your rain gear you need to practice efficient and quick set-up/take-down in poor weather.

A cuben tarp of ~ 8 X 10 (I like cantenary cut -- but limits pitch options) is around 5 oz, no bivy needed for additional weather protection and you can have many rain gear options.

I have no experience with hammocks, no trees where I hike most of the time :)

Russell Klopfer
(fluxxball)

Locale: Pittsburgh
Re: Re: Re: Tarp Size? on 03/01/2012 13:53:35 MST Print View

Seems like Ken is saying that smaller tarps typically require a bivy, which I wouldn't cite as a benefit. I was just wondering if there are any benefits that I failed to recognize.

I can't imagine that hammock camping on the ground would be all that great... heheh then again I've never tried it.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Tarp Size? on 03/01/2012 13:59:36 MST Print View

"Seems like Ken is saying that smaller tarps typically require a bivy, which I wouldn't cite as a benefit. I was just wondering if there are any benefits that I failed to recognize."

Unless your small tarp is also your rain gear. But in most situations and large tarp and separate rain gear can be lighter. All personal preference. No right way. No Ray Way either :)

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Bivy on 03/01/2012 18:36:43 MST Print View

I never, ever camp without a bivy regardless of the size of my tarp. Here's my reasoning.
1. Bivies keep out the wind. No matter how roomy my tarp is it won't keep a cold wind off me.
2. The minimize drafts in my quilt. If I had a mummy bag or a wider quilt maybe this wouldn't be so important but I'm still dealing with #1.
3. A bivy is only slightly heavier than a groundcloth. My bivy weights about 6.5 oz. I could get a ground cloth for a bit less but a few extra ounces are worth it for all the other benefits.
4. A bivy profides some bug protection. Unlike most bivies mine has not sewn in bug net. However if I put on a headnet and cinch up the bivy around that it seals up reasonably tight.

I like my bivy but I've still used bigger tarps when the weather is nasy. I think a few extra ounces are worth it when its raining. The extra space is nice and I don't have to fiddle with getting a perfect pitch, if a bit of rain blows under the edge of a bigger tarp I just roll over.

John Gilbert
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Tarp; on 03/01/2012 21:05:45 MST Print View

I find 8x10 is a great size. It's tall (roomy), even with the sides 9" above the ground - which means the rain never comes in. I live in a rainy but warm and calm area though, so don't need a bivy for warmth or wind.

Christopher Yi
(TRAUMAhead)

Locale: Cen Cal
Re: Tarp Size? on 03/01/2012 22:00:53 MST Print View

I went with the HMG Echo I tarp (8'6"x7'x5'), my first tarp. If I didn't get it on sale, I would've gone with Sil. Set on cat-cut since I wasn't interested in other pitching options. MLD Grace Tarp would've also worked, but with the Echo I I have the option of adding their Echo I beak or inner later on if I felt the need. I'll be using a bivy for the reasons Luke mentioned.