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Tarp Help, I'm begging! Sooo frustrated.
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Edward Z
(Fuzz) - MLife

Locale: Sunny San Diego
Tarp Help, I'm begging! Sooo frustrated. on 09/27/2010 17:03:00 MDT Print View

Ok all, I have a siltwinn tarp with the poles. Using the GG poles, it pitches fine. I jumped the gun and bought an MLD Grace Solo Cuben Tarp and with adjustable trekking poles (Lt4's for the purpose) I cant get the @#$ pitched right or taught. Can anyone help me? Is there standard heights? How do I get the sides straight and taught? Please! I'll pay money. Someone dumb it down for a knuckle dragging idiot like me and take me step by step through setup if they were doing it. Ok, first I would lay it out... etc etc.... I am normally pretty intuitive but this has me frustrated enough to go back to non ul shelter principles or sticking to my Contrail and no tarp. I'm flabbergasted. I shouldnt type while frustrated but jeez. Between the tarp, the lt4s, the meteor bivy etc I invested a lot into the tarp side of things....... Can u help? Santa? Anyone? Bueller?

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
Tarp Help, I'm begging! Sooo frustrated. on 09/27/2010 17:41:39 MDT Print View

Ed (Edward), Here is a snip from a previous post I did describing the process I use.

1 - lay tarp out flat and stake down rear guyline corners approximately where you think they should be when pitched tight (practice helps get them close on first attempt)

2 - Stake out front guyline corners, again judging best where they should go.

3 - Stake out the front guyline and pole. It should be able to stand on its own.

4 - Stake out rear lines and pole.

5 - Stake out the sides

6 - Make adjustments to get a tight pitch. If you are good at approximately putting out the stakes in steps 1-5 this takes little effort.

I got a number of tarps including the MLD grace solo (a favorite). This process works for all of them. I use duct take wrapped around the rear pole (guessing at 30" high) in the rear to minimize adusting the poles. The front pole is close to hike I hike with, maybe add increase it a few inches. I use ti goat poles if that matters (dont think so). I set my tarp up fairly close to the ground. Here are a few pics with me in them to get a reference.

Grace Solo 1

Grace Solo 2

Hope this helps,

Edward Z
(Fuzz) - MLife

Locale: Sunny San Diego
Thank you on 09/27/2010 18:23:59 MDT Print View

That does indeed help. I noticed in your photos you wrap around the handle rather than go tip through the grommet with the trekking pole inverted. Does this help somewhat? I though you were supposed to put the tip of the pole through the grommet. But no one seems to do that, am I mistaken? I will do that . I was not staking the corners first. Just standing up the foot end, then the corners, then opposite side etc. Always resulting in a caddiwhompus arrangement. Since the flock 'o children need food I cant try it again tonight....Alas... till the morn. Thanks again.

Edward Z
(Fuzz) - MLife

Locale: Sunny San Diego
One more question - Guyout lenghts on 09/27/2010 18:38:47 MDT Print View

Ok, per the MLD recommendations on lenghts, I attached the 4 foot lengths to the sides. How do you know how far from the tarp edge to leave . is it three inches, three feet? How much distance do you leave between the tarp tensioner and the stake?

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: One more question - Guyout lenghts on 09/27/2010 19:07:46 MDT Print View

Edward, you start with 4-foot lengths, but then you adjust those down as the situation demands. For example, if it is a hot night, you might want to "raise the flaps" to get more air circulating under. So, you will move the stakes out. If it is a rainy night, you might want to lower the flaps to keep rain out, so you may move the stakes in. If there are too many large rocks to stake into, you might need the length to move them back out to softer soil.


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: One more question - Guyout lenghts on 09/27/2010 19:18:22 MDT Print View

Keep practicing, you will get it.

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
re: Tarp Help, I'm begging! Sooo frustrated. on 09/27/2010 19:35:20 MDT Print View

In reference to pole direction...either way works. One caution about front pole has the optional camera screw in the top of the handle so I actually set the grommet on top of the screw. I'm not sure this will work for any other poles. When I use my REI UL peak poles I turn the front pole upside down putting the tip into the grommet and handle on the ground. The rare pole has duct tape at the desire height so it stays handle up, tip down. For the rear poles I just wrap the cord around once and slide it down to the duct tape, stretch it tight and stake it down.

Guylines....first realize mine are minimalist and probably shorter than most people would recommend, but they work for me.

front peak = 5 ft
rear peak = 4 ft
front corners = 2 ft
side corners = 1.5 ft
rear corners = 1.25 ft
total = 18.5 ft

After tieing a figure 8 knot in one end for stakes and a single knot in the other end so it can't slip thru the tensioner each cord is several inches shorter.

This allows for basically one set up...close to the ground, but again it works for me and it lightweight.


Edited by jshortt on 09/27/2010 19:52:52 MDT.

Edward Z
(Fuzz) - MLife

Locale: Sunny San Diego
Thanks on 09/27/2010 20:20:44 MDT Print View

I didn't even think about the fact that if you lay it out properly and pre-stake it taught, the guyout lengths wont effect the pitch tightness if uniformly extended. Thanks all and I will keep At it. Thanks as always while I fiddle. It took a long time and several trips before I got the subtleties of my contrail down and I hope thisll be no different. I have a four day ul trip coming up with some traditionalist friends and the last thing I want to do is get laughed at for my tarp follies while they recline intheir megatents. ( though I will get the last laughs on the hiking end!) Ed

Edited by Fuzz on 09/27/2010 20:57:41 MDT.

Benen Huntley
(benen) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Good luck! on 10/18/2010 04:01:36 MDT Print View

Good luck Edward! I hope it all goes well and you cruise through the trip while they are hauling their heavy packs! I'd love to go the tarp route one day. The fact that the soil is so compact and dry here might make rain impossible to deal with though, I've had tarps at camp grounds before and rain always runs under the tarp because it can't soak into the hard soil fast enough. Let us know how it goes!

Jason Malone
(redwood22) - F

Locale: Santa Cruz/Scott's Valley CA
Pics on 11/16/2010 22:25:33 MST Print View

Here are some examples with a cat cut. It's not a perfect setup, but maybe it'll help a bit. I staked out the back to the ground and propped up the opening with the hiking pole. This would be for storms. If anyone has any suggestions on improvement please let me know.StormStorm2Storm3

Actually, now that I look at the photos (these were practice), I did it a bit different in the field. I actually staked the rear "grommits" into the ground directly when I had a headwind coming off of the river. In the practice setup above I actually used the rear guylines. I also put my hiking pole at the minimum length, as opposed to the medium length in the photos above. Unfortunately, I don't have any good field pics. The tarp above is the Oware 2 man 30d sylnylon cat cut and the net is the Granite Gear "The Haven".

Edited by redwood22 on 11/16/2010 22:42:10 MST.

Edward Z
(Fuzz) - MLife

Locale: Sunny San Diego
Thanks all on 11/17/2010 08:20:30 MST Print View

This thread really did help. I Have the catenary A frame pitch down now and it did indeed work. I decided the small cuben solo tarp was a bit anemic for my newbie tastes and am sticking with my siltwinn monster. It pitches easy like a dream. But I can now say, I can tarp.