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5 X 8 tarp
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John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
5 X 8 tarp on 02/28/2011 12:23:58 MST Print View

Before I tackle any larger MYOG projects, I wanted to make a simple flat tarp to test my sewing skills (none). Since the silnylon I bought is 64" wide (5.3'), can't I just sew the edges to make a seam, and not make a ridge line since the nylons already 5' wide?

Also, since Im pretty tall, I was thinking of making a 5x9 instead of a 5x8, does this cause any problems with pitching? I've never tarp camped before with a real UL tarp (just blue hardware store kind so far), and I am anxious to try it. Its the last step in my UL conversion. My pack weight right now is 9lbs with a 2.5lb tent, so this will bring it down significantly.

Thanks

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: 5 X 8 tarp on 02/28/2011 13:27:19 MST Print View

I just fold the edges over 1/4" twice, to hide the raw edge, and sew through it, also known as a hem.

How are you going to pitch it? Center ridge going 2.5 feet on each side?

John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
5x8 tarp on 02/28/2011 13:32:35 MST Print View

I was just thinking the basic A-frame for most pitches. I know that doesnt give me much room, but I plan on using a bivy when tarping. In case of storm, I'll pitch one end of the A frame to the ground. I also like the looks of the half pyramid pitch, but Ive never actually used that one.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: 5 X 8 tarp on 02/28/2011 13:35:26 MST Print View

John,

If you're using a 3/4" hem all around you would ideally only use up 3" of material on the width of your 5' x 8' tarp.

Be careful with your hem stitching to keep your hem even and taut as you sew it. This is going to sound like rubbing your tummy and patting your head while balancing on a large rubber ball but here goes.

Mark your hem's fold points and turn in the raw edge first and then roll over the two layers of material once again to the last mark. The edge of the two layers of material should line up with your last visible mark. Use pins if necessary to keep it all straight.

Start your hem by advancing the sewing machine by hand. Slowly make enough stitches to allow yourself to grasp the material behind the presser foot. Now comes the tricky part. Hold the material taut on both sides of the presser foot while guiding the material under the sewing machine's presser foot and letting the feed dogs of the machine advance the material.

You will probably wind up sewing about six to eight inches of material at a time in short bursts. Doing it this way will help you avoid gathers and bunching of the hem.

As far as the pitches go with a 5' x 8' I'm picturing an A frame or a lean to style of pitch. You could maybe go with a fairly open flying diamond pitch which would give you a ridgeline of 9' 5" and a very "open" entrance. The foot end would likely be very "tight" as far as space goes. Headroom would be limited by dimensions but could still be fairly "open" if you were to use your trekking poles in an A frame/open triangle mode to create an unrestricted opening at your entrance.

Silnylon has a good amount of stretch to it. You can probably get away with using six tieouts and still get a fairly tight pitch using the stretch to your advantage. A cat cut ridgeline really helps in getting a tight pitch but if you don't sew in a ridgeline seam you can't gain its advantages. On the other hand you do get the pitch options. Ahhh the tradeoffs and compromises of life. ;-)

Check out Jamie Shortt's 5 x 8 LytW8 1P Flat Tarp on his website. He also shows what I call a 1/2 pyramid or monk style pitch for this size tarp. He seems to get a very taut and neat pitch out of his 5 x 8 tarp.

Party On,

Newton

Edited by Newton on 02/28/2011 13:38:52 MST.

John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
5 x 8 tarp on 02/28/2011 13:55:55 MST Print View

Thanks for the awesome reply Newton, I'll take your advice on sewing the hem. If I read it enough it will start to make sense :) I know a few friends who are better at sewing than i am, and I will have them help out a little.

Another thing I forgot to mention is that I dont use hiking poles. I have two easton aluminum poles though, one 36" and one 18". Hopefully I can get these to work somehow. I can always order different poles if I need too.

I actually saw Jamie's tarp, and that is what motivated me to try the 5x8. That half-pyramid pitch looks like it has a decent amount of room, and for when its not heavily raining it would be perfect. My biggest worry with tarping is wind. I've only tested my cheapo tarp a few times in the backcountry, and its never been windy so I dont know what to expect in a windstorm.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
re on 02/28/2011 14:04:50 MST Print View

Another way to do the hem is to use a straight edge to mark a line 1/2 inch from the edge. I find 1/2 is all you need. Sharpie Fine Point works. Or use a chalked string, like for doing carpentry.

Then, as you sew it, fold the edge over twice so the marked line is on the outside edge of the tarp as finished. That will keep the hem even. Don't need no stinkin pins.

Actually, silnylon is pretty forgiving because it's stretchy, anything will work.

John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
5 x 8 tarp on 02/28/2011 14:42:13 MST Print View

I called my mom (master sewer) and asked her about it, and she said she has a "rolled hem foot" which apparently is a tool that you attach to the sewing machine and it does it for you. So maybe next time I stop by my parents house I'll try making the tarp.

So I wont have any problems with not using trekking poles? How would I attach the guylines to these easton aluminum poles?
Thanks

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: 5 x 8 tarp on 02/28/2011 14:48:55 MST Print View

"How would I attach the guylines to these easton aluminum poles?"

The standard solution is a clove hitch.

--B.G.--

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
re on 02/28/2011 14:56:15 MST Print View

Easton aluminum poles are smooth, so a clove hitch wouldn't work very good

If they have a pole tip on them, maybe there's a place you get a clove hitch to work

Or you could put a grommet through maybe 3/4" or 5/8" webbing and sew the webbing to the silnylon. Use a zigzag stitch through the webbing and the hem.

John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
5 x 8 tarp on 02/28/2011 15:31:24 MST Print View

The poles do have a tip on them, so maybe that will help.

I plan on having grossgrain webbing at the pullouts, so ill rig something up.

I just need to read more on tarping, because theres a few basic principles I dont fully understand. Like say I am going from the grossgrain at the ridge line to the pole tip. Would I use a single guyline to from grossgrain, to pole, to ground with stake?

I plan on making this sometime in the next 2 weeks, I'll upload pics when I am done.
Thanks guys.

John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
Bivy on 03/02/2011 23:55:04 MST Print View

I figured I wouldnt start an entire new thread for this question, but I am also making a bivy to go with the tarp. I plan on making the SMD Meteor, and I already have 2 yards of momentum 90 at home, and just need to buy the other supplies. One thing I was wondering is that pattern calls for THREE yards of zipper, and I was just going to cut that in half and have a side-entry bivy. Half of the netting would be sewed straight to the bottom, and the other half would have a zipper. Would that work?
Also, what are those pieces of nylon lacing for??
Thanks

Edited by skyzo on 03/02/2011 23:55:36 MST.

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: Bivy on 03/03/2011 02:54:18 MST Print View

Fun, I used a MYOG Meteor and a 5x9 tarp for the AT. If you're tall, the extra foot in length is well worth the extra ounce even with a bivy. A few rainy nights it still felt short, but I didn't pitch well.
I used a bit less zipper on my MYOG Meteor, all at the top. It was never a real issue, but a minor inconvenience. To do it again, I would use the full amount. You can skip the tieouts on the bottom of the bivy.
One thing I changed was that I made the hanging string adjustable from inside the bivy with a mini cord lock. Makes entry and exit much easier. The string goes through a tiny reinforced hole at the peak and then through the cord lock. I store the spare string against the cordlock and netting with the pressure from the taught cord that's holding up the peak. Loosen before entry, tighten, loosen again for exit.
It's a shot in the dark, but you could save zipper by making a top entry design like the MLD Bug Bigy
Great piece of equipment. I'll be making something a bit roomier for the PCT though, like an MLD Serenity or HLM Gear Echo 1 Insert. Still going to use the 5x9. Best of luck.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: Bivy on 03/03/2011 07:28:07 MST Print View

David,

+1 for the Meteor Bivy.

+2 for having a little more room.

I do find however that the Meteor has ample room compared to other bivy options that give the unnerving feeling of being in a body bag.

I like the airiness of the Meteor's bug net upper.

Yes you can keep things simpler using 1/2 of the zipper. Choose your side of entry carefully like you would your preference for the side of entry to your sleeping bag. You may still want to extend the zipper around the head end a bit to make the entrance/exit less restrictive.

FWIW I don't find the top entries easy to use under a tarp. I find that the top entry style under a tarp causes the user to go in feet first. In my current Meteor I really enjoy being able to sit down on the head end of the silnylon bottom and swing my feet around and into the foot end. Yes I still have to go feet first on the bottom half but IMO it is just easier.

Form follows function is the axiom that I follow. At my age I do not bend so well in the places where I used to bend really well. I am noticing that side entires and more headroom make my camping portion of my hikes much more comfortable and convenient. I understand now why the older drivers seem to have the biggest cars on the road. LOL ;-)

I used thin and light shockcord along with a mini-mini cordlock for the support of the Meteor's bug net. I find it doesn't tug at the ridgeline of the tarp as much as I roll around during the night.

Party On,

Newton

John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
Bivy on 03/03/2011 10:29:14 MST Print View

David,
Thats really good to hear, because some freinds of mine are doing the AT in 2012, and I will hopefully be joining them. I am 6'0, so I think I will appreciate the extra foot I will be adding onto the tarp. Im excited

Newton,

I think I am going to try the 1/2 zipper. Mainly because I have ~60" of coil zipper at my house already, and I wouldnt have to order anything :)

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: Re: Re: Bivy on 03/03/2011 22:56:22 MST Print View

Yeah, there's no way I could get used to the coffin like bivys most people use.
I agree that with a tarp front or side entry would be better.
Top entry would be best for AT shelters which may be crowded. It would have made for much easier entry and exit for midnight potty breaks with a person on either side of you. Front entry was a little more difficult.
Anyone with a Meteor will be the envy of your fellow AT thru-hikers whose bug protection requires tent set up. Also very handy to keep mice off your face.
When do we get to see pictures?

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Meteor Bivy Pictures on 03/04/2011 07:30:40 MST Print View

This picture is horribly dark but I promise you that my Meteor Bivy is under my tarp.

Camp setup at Cherry Gap 2010

As you can see it was getting dark and beginning a light rain. The Meteor has my pad, pillow and top quilt inside.

If you are interested in pictures of my MYOG Meteor Bivy just follow the link to my living room floor. ;-)

"...no way I could get used to the coffin like bivys..."

I used my bivy in a crowded AT shelter in 2010 and one of the other hikers remarked that he thought there was a "body in there". ;-)

+1 for "...handy to keep mice off your face..."

Party On,

Newton

John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
Bivy on 03/04/2011 09:36:40 MST Print View

Newton, when I was looking for MYOG bivys to make, I actually stumbled upon yours and immediately liked that design, saw that it was a Meteor, and found the pattern online. It looks like an awesome bivy, and I can only hope that mine turns out that good.

David, I'm borrowing a sewing machine next week, so I will hopefully have pictures up within the next 2 weeks of both the tarp and bivy.

Thanks guys

John West
(skyzo) - M

Locale: Borah Gear
Finished bivy and tarp on 03/19/2011 18:25:12 MDT Print View

Well over the course of the last couple days I've been sewing like crazy. I am happy with the results though.

The tarp's finished size is 8.5' by 5', and weight is 6.7oz. I was very happy with that weight, because I was expecting a little bit higher.

The Meteor bivy I was even more happy with. Finished weight of 6.5oz. Everything came together nicely. Used momentum 90 for the top, 1.1 for the bottom, noseeum for mesh. I only used half of the reccommended zipper length.

I also made a few stuff sacks and a large bear bag as well with the leftovers. The tarp took about 5 hours to sew everything, but I had never ever touched a sewing machine in my life, so I was new at it. The bivy took about 3-4 hours.

Here are some pics. Sorry for the bad quality photos, taken on my cell. Will get some out in the field sometime this week. Thanks for all the help guys!
tarpbivy1bivy2