Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Start-up Tarp Business
Display Avatars Sort By:
Tyler Hughes
(catsnack) - F

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Start-up Tarp Business on 06/15/2010 15:00:22 MDT Print View

ok- I am strongly considering making and selling a variety of tarps from my home. I have a good selection of your typical tarp shapes and sizes, and a few designs you might not have seen anywhere else. So, I am trying to figure out which direction to take this, and I need your input.

Should I mainly concentrate on:

traditional silnylon tarps?
custom tarp designs?
ultralight fabrics?

Let me know what floats your boat!

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
customs and UL on 06/15/2010 15:04:20 MDT Print View

i think the market already has a bunch of excellent providers of tarps (oes, warbonnet, jacksrbetter, backwoodsdaydreamer), so i'd recommend trying to find your nitch someone on the realm of custom tarps and UL materials.

Josh Greninger
(thinkpol) - F
Re: on 06/15/2010 15:32:43 MDT Print View

many of the tarp makers have long wait-lists/back orders though.

OES: out of the country not filling orders
Zpacks: not accepting orders because he's already so backlogged
Warbonnet: doesn't make cuben, also a bit of a wait on these
MLD: 6-8 week wait time

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Start-up Tarp Business on 06/15/2010 15:56:04 MDT Print View

Tyler, you might want to post this on the Gear Deals forum, that is where those with some sort of commercial endeavor are to post.
You might get some flack for posting here.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Re: on 06/15/2010 15:58:32 MDT Print View

But there's also...

Bear Paw Tents

There's a few more that primarily make shaped tarps. At least one of those has moved most production to China. That's pretty hard to compete with. I think premium custom tarps may be the only way to compete, or rapidly come out with new home run ideas. I'd like to see a tarp with something like snakeskins to allow it to be put up and down quickly in inclement weather with less concern about gusts.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Tarp with bug netting on 06/16/2010 01:31:26 MDT Print View

Something I've always been interested in was a tarp with an integrated bug netting/floor. I know they have net tents that work with tarps, but I was wondering how feasible an integrated solution would be.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Tarp with bug netting on 06/16/2010 03:57:46 MDT Print View

You're pretty much talking about tarp tents aren't you? TarpTents and Six Moon Designs already do that very well. Zpacks and Lightheart also do very nice variations of that.

A new manufacturer has to have something new to offer. Lower cost, less weight, greater wind capacity, more usable interior space, more ventilation, easier setup, smaller footprint, better quality, faster delivery times, etc.

Lucas Boyer
(jhawkwx) - MLife

Locale: 38.97˚N, 95.26˚W
re: eugene on 06/16/2010 08:31:57 MDT Print View

I'd agree w/ Eugene that copycat production isn't a very strong business model. However, I'd say if there is a wait on production and you can fill buyer's needs sooner(assuming quality and price is competitive) then you'll pick up some business. Long term is where you might face some difficulty when the demand flattens and buyers go with the more well known names, etc. Perhaps by then, you will have a healthy base of buyers to keep you afloat. 6 to 8 weeks is a long time to wait on a piece of gear, considering you might only have 8 weeks of good summer weather in the mountains to use the gear.

John Brady
(jtbradyl) - F
Start-up Tarp Business on 06/16/2010 15:45:27 MDT Print View

My feelings here would be to enter the business using ebay as a marketing tool. I don't know if anyone in the tarp business does this but by designing around such a possibly large, diverse and curious clientele a market might emerge.

tim hower
(jeepcachr) - F

Locale: Great Lakes
try it on 06/16/2010 16:33:37 MDT Print View

Try it and see what sells. If it sells make more. Many here are loyal to established gear makers. Anyone can crank out a couple tarps. You need to find a niche and fill it. Your not likely going to get much support from this crowd until you prove yourself.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
another thought on 06/16/2010 20:11:35 MDT Print View

the people there are all tarp users and probably are a more specific target group than the scene here

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Tarp with bug netting on 06/17/2010 00:55:22 MDT Print View

You're pretty much talking about tarp tents aren't you? TarpTents and Six Moon Designs already do that very well. Zpacks and Lightheart also do very nice variations of that.

I failed to adequately describe what I am looking for in a tarp/net design. I have several TarpTents and a Six Moon Designs tent, so I am familiar with their offerings. What I am trying to say is more of a traditional tarp (such as an MLD Duo Cuben Tarp) with integrated netting. I like the tarp setup, I would just like a model with netting and a floor. I suppose this could be problematic depending how you setup your tarp, but for those nice days, it would provide better visibility and airflow than a traditional tent.

I generally bring my Six Moon Designs when there is going to be a lot of bugs for this reason. But a Tarp with greater bug protection would be nice, especially for a two-person tarp.

I feel that I cannot adequately describe this, and my drawing skills are terrible. If they were better, I'd design this thing myself.


Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: Re: Tarp with bug netting on 06/17/2010 01:15:22 MDT Print View

Dirk, you're talking about the original tarptent. Take a look here:

Henry and the market moved towards more tent like tarp tents and I don't think any one besides myogers make the original anymore.

I prefer the flexibility of the separate nettent. Nice to sleep under the stars and still have bug protection.

Edited by nschmald on 06/17/2010 01:17:14 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Start-up Tarp Business on 06/17/2010 01:27:02 MDT Print View

Simple rule. Find a need and fill that need.

Seems like the tarp business has a lot of competition already. Next big segment will probably cuben fiber, and a lot of the well known folks are already there.

Joe at zPacks recently started making cuben shelters at the request of some of his customers, and sounds like he is really busy with that and his packs. Tim Marshall's cuben quilt business is brisk too. Both of these guys have been at it for a while.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Start-up Tarp Business on 06/17/2010 01:35:36 MDT Print View

Simple rule #2. If you are not sure of the size of the need, then creative marketing may create some need.


Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Nia, thanks on 06/17/2010 01:40:30 MDT Print View

That's similar to what I am talking about....Give me a good start on something. I guess I should have looked harder. Learn something new every day. Thanks!

Lawson Kline
(Mountainfitter) - M

Build Custom Tarps! on 06/17/2010 12:40:44 MDT Print View

If you want to build tarps make sure and build custom ones. No one is doing this exclusively. Offer silnylon and cuben in lots of colors and weights and do good quality work. If you have fast turn around times you will be backlogged like the rest of us in no time.

Jake Engel
(jakeismoney) - F
TarpGlider on 06/18/2010 09:08:33 MDT Print View

I'd have interest in a UL Tarp/Hang glider combo that can be build from a pair of trekking poles.