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Caternary or Flat Tarp?
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Brandt Zook
(BassDude) - F - M

Locale: Texas
Caternary or Flat Tarp? on 01/31/2011 21:49:24 MST Print View

I am looking to buy a tarp as my primary shelter. I don't plan to use a bivy. So, with that in mind I was looking at either the Oware Flat Tarp 1.5 (8x10) or the Cat Tarp 1.5 which is 9 feet long and tapers from 7 to 5.6 feet long in width. Which do you guys think is the better choice? I don't plan to use trekking poles for now, there are plenty of trees to tie off to where I am in Texas.

I have heard flat tarps are very versatile, and that of course makes sense. You can do so many things with them. However, cat tarps don't flap and set up into a really stable A-Frame. The cat tarp is 4.5 ounces lighter than the flat one. (9 oz. vs 13.5 oz) Prices are about equal. So, that doesn't matter much in the decision.

I am just looking for input on which tarp you guys think would be better for a first time tarper. Thanks for the help!

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Caternary or Flat Tarp? on 01/31/2011 21:58:24 MST Print View


Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Big Flat Tarp on 02/01/2011 02:46:54 MST Print View

With a large flat tarp like what you're talking about if you pitch it in a half pyramid you can have little doors. The half pyramid pitch should create small enough panels that you won't have to worry about it flapping around much either. There are plenty of examples of how this is done on Youtube.

Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Disregard on 02/01/2011 02:46:55 MST Print View

I goofed.

Edited by veriest1 on 02/01/2011 02:48:27 MST.

Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Disregard on 02/01/2011 02:46:55 MST Print View

I goofed.

Edited by veriest1 on 02/01/2011 02:49:31 MST.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Caternary or Flat Tarp on 02/01/2011 03:47:37 MST Print View

That kind'a depends.
Weather: If you regularly camp in areas with gusty winds a smaller tarp with a cat cut is nice. If you plan on minimal rain, than a smaller tarp is fine. If you plan on a lot of rain (some every night,) a larger tarp is nice to provide some sort of buffer. (Water will seep around the edges a bit...I usually figure 3" from an edge and extending back about 45 degrees-varies with the wind.)

There are several configurations for a flat tarp that will not flap. So, don't get too carried away with cat cuts. The 5 basics are:
- 1 Pole at a corner, stakes at the other three.

Half Pyramid:
- 1 pole at the center of the longest side, stake at each corner.

- 2 poles on the same side, stakes on the oposite side.

ADK Lean-to:
- 2 poles at first growmet, staked/guy lined. Opposite side staked out. Flap is guylined and staked out.

Winged Lean-to
- One side staked out, front is lifted and poles are place in first growmet, Corners staked out.
5 Tarps

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
re on 02/01/2011 07:11:03 MST Print View

Pup tent

Pole in middle of opposite sides. 4 corners guyed down to the ground.

Theron Rohr
(theronr) - F

Locale: Los Angeles, California
Re: Caternary or Flat Tarp? on 02/01/2011 18:54:37 MST Print View

I think your first tarp should be flat because you can do more/learn more with it.

Mina Loomis
(elmvine) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
We have one of each--cat and flat on 02/02/2011 13:41:17 MST Print View

We have an ID Silwing and an ID 8 x 10. Got the Silwing first, big enough for 2, sets up easily, nice and taut. Later got the 8 x 10. Why? The Silwing doesn't snug all the way to the ground; there's always a gap between the curved edge and the ground, even staked all the way down. If it's chilly, I am kept awake by the slightest wind. The 8 x 10 can be staked all the way down to block the breezes. Since then we've learned how to close off an end and do other creative things, for heavier weather. So most often we choose the 8 x 10 for a trip. In warm weather or if wind doesn't bother you, though, the cat is sure easy to set up.

John G
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
Flat Tarp on 02/02/2011 16:30:50 MST Print View

I almost always pitch my flat tarp as a A-frame. But, re-staking the corner lines takes the wrinkles out of the pitch, and prevents flapping. Using 2 stakes on the long side prevents flapping even in very heavy wind (at least enough that it doesn't keep me awake, etc).

I agree with the benefit of being able to stake the side right to the ground if it's windy.

I also like that the foot end is full width. Having my feet wander out from under the tarp was the biggest thing I had to get used to when learning to use a tarp. It's also nice with 2 people, since you can sleep head-to-toe and then there's room to put your gear into the "foot area" on the other side. Even for a single person, the extra room is nice, since if the wind shifts, I can block 1 end with my rain gear, and put the head of my sleeping bag at the other end without having to re-pitch the tarp.