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Yet another tarp choice...MLD Monk or Oware 2.0
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Brandt Zook
(BassDude) - F - M

Locale: Texas
Yet another tarp choice...MLD Monk or Oware 2.0 on 02/06/2011 15:19:09 MST Print View

Hey everyone. In my continued research on tarps as shelters, I have come across the MLD Monk tarps. These look to be nice in a half pyramid setup as they show on the website here. (

The dimensions are 5.2x9. But, I wonder if this will be enough room for me, being 6 foot tall and all. I need good weather protection since I wasn't planning on using a bivy, just the tarp. Also, I was thinking of getting a carbon fiber tarp pole to use with it. But I'm not sure if it's compatible. The pole says it has a tip for inserting into grommets, but I don't think the tarp has grommets in it? Could anybody with experience on this tarp help me out? I may email Ron Bell about it to see if it is compatible. Total weight of the sil-nylon version and a long carbon fiber pole is 10.5 oz.

The other option is the good ole Oware 8x10 flat tarp. This has been my main option for awhile now. But, it is awfully big for one person. On the other hand, I know I would have good weather protection in it and plenty of room. The weight of this tarp is 13.5 oz.

Anybody have any advice to give? I definitely want to hear it. I personally like the idea of the MLD Monk with that carbon fiber pole, but I need to have enough room in it to protect me from the elements in bad weather. So if I can't get enough room, guess it's back to the oware. The only problem I have with that is that I won't have anything to use as a pole. I don't use trekking poles at the moment and I don't really see a need to now. So anyhow, any help you can give is appreciated.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
size on 02/07/2011 08:14:48 MST Print View

I'm 6' and use a 8x5 poncho/tarp- a bivy isn't a luxury item, I need it. The extra foot would be helpful, but I'd want more in width as well if I was to go sans bivy

look at the grace solo in sil, 8.5 oz w/ 9' ridge, 8.5' sides, 7' head, 5' foot

Jon Hancock

Locale: Northwest England
Mock Up on 02/07/2011 10:16:53 MST Print View

After looking through the MLD range of smaller tarps a while ago I was having similar difficulties deciding whether such a shelter would be adequate, so I took an old sheet and pinned it to match the tarp sizing. Much easier to gauge the coverage that way rather than attempting to visualise it from the written dimensions.

And in my case I decided I'd prefer something larger.

Samuel Kau
(Skau) - M

Locale: Southern California
Tarp choice on 02/07/2011 21:07:14 MST Print View

I use a poncho/tarp with dimensions 8.5' by 4.5' and you definitely need a water resistant bivy. I am only 5'9" and in a storm I am glad that I have a bivy and it also really helps with wind. As for trekking poles, A pole would seem to work fine or even a long stick!


Brandt Zook
(BassDude) - F - M

Locale: Texas
Oware 8x10 tieout questions, Question about Grace Solo on 02/08/2011 22:46:30 MST Print View

Thanks for all the input guys. Seeing as I would like to steer clear of a bivy if possible, I will get the Oware 8x10. I had a question about the tieouts for anyone with experience with these tarps. On the 8x10, where are the tie outs located? What I'm hoping for is 4 corner tieouts, then an additional 3 on each long side and an additional 1 on the short side with the 4 panels in the middle. Can anyone confirm this? I have emailed David, the owner of Oware, but I haven't gotten a response yet. Thanks to anyone who can help.

Also, do you think I would need a bivy if I were to get the Grace Tarp 1.35 silnylon solo version? It looks like it might offer enough protection. Or would I just be safer with the flat tarp? All directions are pointing to the Oware flat at the moment, but that grace solo does look really nice, and its lighter than the Oware.

Edited by BassDude on 02/08/2011 22:55:22 MST.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Yet another tarp choice...MLD Monk or Oware 2.0" on 02/09/2011 07:37:33 MST Print View


For what it's worth, I own the MLD Monk Tarp (spinnaker model) and my 6' frame fits underneath it with some wiggle room to spare at the head and feet end. I've used it with a bivy and without in mild weather conditions, mostly to cut wind on late spring/summer trips. I pitch it fairly low to the ground, staked all the way to the ground or raised up 3-6" inches to increase room and ventilation underneath the tarp. I pack the Monk when weather conditions are fair, knowing the limitations of the coverage it provides.

I think you'll find the MLD Grace Solo pitches faster, easier, and more taut, aided by the fact that it has a catenary curve along the ridgeline which gives it a nice strong pitch. However, the Grace is sort of a one-trick pony, there's only a few different configurations you can pitch, mostly adjusting the height of the pitch or raising one side up, whereas a 6x9 or 8x10 flat tarp gives you a wide variety of pitches to play around with and adapt to different conditions and needs.

Your necessity for a bivy is going to depend on your weather conditions, only you can really judge beforehand whether a bivy is necessary or not. A bivy is a pretty standard supplement to a lightweight tarp.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
MLD Monk on 02/09/2011 10:26:53 MST Print View

I agree with others, it is hard to get full coverage with a 9x5 tarp. It is perfectly fine with an ultralight bivy, but blowing rain can be an issue without.

If you don't expect rain or snow, then you'd be fine.

The problem with even an 8x10 tarp without a bivy is that if the wind changes direction in a storm, you can get spray from the open end. You can pitch an 8x10 very close to the ground, but you may not sleep very well with the tarp flapping against you all night.

An ultralight bivy would allow a lot roomier pitch and less concern about the elements at only appox. 7oz additional weight. It is basically just a sleeping bag cover and some have bug nets at the head that you may appreciate on some nights.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
"Bombshelter" 8'X10' tarp configuration on 02/09/2011 13:08:12 MST Print View

In Don Ladigin's great little paperback backpacking book "Lighten Up", Mike Clelland drew Don's "Bombshelter" 8'X10' tarp setup that looks as though it would be good even in very bad storms. ("Shelters" section, p. 12) The tarp requires several tie-out points across the main body and several around the edges.

Interestingly Mike's illustration shows the setup using just one long rope across the multi-angled ridge. Neat and fast - if you have 2 convienantly spaced trees. With only one tree available you'd need a trekking pole at the rear anchored W/ 2 cords and stakes.

Brad Walker

Locale: SoCal
Oware 8x10 tieout questions on 02/09/2011 14:34:59 MST Print View

I'm 85% confident you described the tie-outs correctly, but my not-so-visual memory might be failing me.