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Tarp for survival
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wiiawiwb wiiawiwb
(wiiawiwb) - F
Tarp for survival on 11/16/2010 17:58:55 MST Print View

My days of backpacking are over. Now I do day hikes but do so alone most of the time. I'm looking at getting a really lightweight tarp setup in the event I break a leg, twist an ankle or otherwise have a problem and must stay overnight. I would pack it solely for survival and would not use it for any other purpose.

I want to be protected from the elements which, in my part of the country (the Northeast), means lots of rain and bugs. It would be used for 3 seasons, not four and, hopefully, I'll never have to use it.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Tarp for survival on 11/16/2010 18:02:25 MST Print View

I would think that the best lightweight item to take is a bivouac sack. I mean, that is exactly what they were intended for. Some are as light as about six ounces. I sewed one that went about 8 ounces.


Here There
(cowexnihilo) - MLife
Re: Tarp for survival on 11/16/2010 18:09:04 MST Print View

The AMK Heatsheets Emergency Bivy might be a good choice:

If you're set on a tarp, you could try a poncho tarp that could double as rain gear, otherwise it really depends on factors like how much coverage you want, how compact you want it to be, and how much you want to spend.

will sawyer
(wjsawyer) - F

Locale: Connecticut
Tarp for survival on 11/16/2010 18:10:21 MST Print View

I'd also look into getting a light bivy bag. Most tarps that are light enough to add to your daypack without second thought will also be very expensive (cuben). I'd recommend taking a look at AMK emergency bivy bags, this one weights only 3.8 oz

A bothy bag might also be suitable and you could use it while hiking as well.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Tarp for survival on 11/16/2010 18:19:16 MST Print View

Here is a thread on another site with a couple of good

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
amk bivy bag on 11/16/2010 18:26:24 MST Print View

watch the cute survival chick review the amk bivy ... i use this in case cute chicks wanna bivy with me in the summer

and the bivy 2.0

i use a blizzard bag in winter or at altitude

Edited by bearbreeder on 11/16/2010 18:27:41 MST.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Tarp for Survival on 11/16/2010 18:27:38 MST Print View

Get this:

7 oz and in colors that someone can actually find you in a survival situation.

For bugs, carry a 1.5oz headnet.

wiiawiwb wiiawiwb
(wiiawiwb) - F
Bivy sack on 11/16/2010 18:45:23 MST Print View

Ironically, I do have a goretex bivy sack but am claustrophic and absolutely hate being in it. It's a great concept but just doesn't work in my case. In a crisis, I'd use it but would prefer to get a tarp of some type.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Tarp for Survival on 11/16/2010 18:50:01 MST Print View

On day trips I always carry an MLD cuben poncho (4oz) or an 2-person AMK heat sheet (3 oz), plus a bit of guyline. I haven't had to use it yet...hope I never do! The heatsheet is a real bargain at $5.50!

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
"tarp" on 11/16/2010 18:50:59 MST Print View

I carry a 2 person heatsheet that I can use as a tarp (doesn't have grommets, but simply putting in a small rock or a little duff and making a little "bundle" works well)

w/ that I carry the AMK Thermolite bivy- heavier than their heatsheet bivy, but more insulating as well

I also carry a GG thinlight pad- weighs all of 2 oz and comes in handy as a sit pad (but would also be useful in a forced overnighter)

I agree- headnet would be sufficient for the bugs- exposure is the real risk

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
yuuuum on 11/16/2010 18:52:24 MST Print View

in a survival situation bugs are just extra protein ... lol

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Tarp for Survival on 11/16/2010 19:43:49 MST Print View

Look at the Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis.

13 oz
Full perimeter bug netting
Actually big enough to lie down, sit up, and move around in, unlike a bivy. That's something to consider if you're injured or waiting out a storm.

Silnylon single wall shelter uses one trekking pole or an optional collapsible tent pole.

Richard Fischel
bothy bag on 11/16/2010 19:55:55 MST Print View

wild thing bivy shelter sounds like it would suit your needs. there are two versions, one that's expensive and one that's really expensive. big enough to invite in others who might be in your same predicament.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: amk bivy bag on 11/16/2010 20:11:10 MST Print View

So, has anyone actually used an AMK Thermolite bivy? (either the original or the newer 2.0 version)

I've used mine once in summer weather as an ultralight sleeping bag (worked great) but never in colder weather.

If anyone has any experience with an AMK Thermolite bivy in colder weather, please by all means share your experience.


Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Tarp for survival on 11/16/2010 23:01:30 MST Print View

I depend on a poncho and an AMK Heat Sheet bivy bag for summer day hikes backup. If I have it together enough, the poncho can be rigged as a lean-to tarp shelter with the bivy bag under on a bed of debris or conifer boughs and a fire if needed. If I'm not ambulatory, I could just use the bivy or wrapped up in the poncho. I don't carry other rain gear for fair summer weather day hikes.

I have weathered a nasty rainstorm holed up under a tree with my poncho completely covering me. With a basic sit pad and my pack in front of me, I was warm, dry and comfortable. I could open the pack for snacks without getting a drop inside. Add radio and kick back for a break in the weather. It wouldn't be fun, but I could spend a night that way and live to complain about it :)

I think that is the way to think about any non-insulated system--- keep yourself reasonably dry and cut the wind and you can get through a long nasty night. You won't be cozy, but you'll survive. Anyone with the essentials-- some extra clothing, food, lighting, fire making tools and some basic shelter could go for days if need be.

I own one of the AMK Thermolite bivys but I have never used it. The Heat Sheet bivy is so much smaller and lighter, it has been the first choice to throw in my day hiking kit. Someday (in August) I want to try a uber-minimal summer kit with the Thermolite bivy, poncho tarp, a light pad and a no-cook menu.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
heatsheet on 11/16/2010 23:43:06 MST Print View

i use the heatsheet bivy as a VBL occasionally ... havent had to use it as a survival tool yet

there are tons of reviews on youtube of the amk thermolite bivy ... just give it a search

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: heatsheet on 11/17/2010 00:18:37 MST Print View

I've yet to see any of the Thermolite bivvy reviews with practical experience. Maybe I need to look harder.

How does the Heatsheets bivvy work as a VBL? I assume you can never get it back into it's little stuff sack ever again, yes?


eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
vbl on 11/17/2010 00:51:36 MST Print View

jim ..

it works for me ...

you just need to be careful getting in and out of the bag ... it isnt very delicate, but like any thing material you can tear and ... you can repair it with tape

the sack for it is larger than needed lengthwise ... the trick is to fold it along the lenght till its 1/8 ... the roll it up like a sleeping bag

if im just using it as a vbl though ... i just fold it and stuff it in a zip lock for convenience

if i were to use a vbl regularly id probably get the ID VBL ... but i cant justify $85 right now for an emergency VBL

if you want a cold weather emergency bag id go blizzard ...

watch the cute survival chicks review and actually use a blizzard bag ... 2 chicks and a survival bag ... itll be one warm night ... lol

Edited by bearbreeder on 11/17/2010 01:25:49 MST.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
AMK Thermolite Bivvy on 11/17/2010 17:12:27 MST Print View

I've watch those Peak Survival videos. Nothing specifically wrong with them, but they're not testing them or anything. They're just looking at something straight out of the box and sharing their observations. Not really what I'm looking for.

I saw some user reviews on Summitpost that were based on field experience. Those are more what I'm looking for.

I haven't experimented much with mine. I've got one of the old ones, so maybe I'll experiment with it. No big loss if I tear it or something, right.

Let me know if you are aware of any experience based YouTube or other reviews.



Chris Lucas
(ChemE) - F

Locale: SC
Suluk 46 Gear on 11/17/2010 20:00:03 MST Print View

Gives you full protection at 4.7 ounces. The N2 isn't for sale but I just bet Steve could be coaxed into making one...