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Learning how to pitch a tarp
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Justin Nelson
(jnelson871) - MLife

Locale: CA Bay Area
Learning how to pitch a tarp on 04/09/2011 03:30:15 MDT Print View

Hi everyone! I Just picked up a 8' x 10' flat tarp and am wondering where I can get information on the various ways to pitch it? So far all I can find is various diagrams that tell me nothing. Ay good books, DVD's, websites?
Thanks everyone!

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Learning how to pitch a tarp on 04/09/2011 03:42:53 MDT Print View

Here are a few of the pitches I use. (A typical pup tent is not included, you can easily figure that one out.) Not exactly to scale for an 8x10. Symetry is not really necessary. Just a quick sketch, I see that one of the pics is not quite drawn correctly...you will get the idea.
See Tarp-Shelters for more.

5 Tarps

Edited by jamesdmarco on 04/09/2011 04:07:36 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Learning how to pitch a tarp on 04/09/2011 06:02:47 MDT Print View

Youtube also.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Learning to Tarp Camp on 04/09/2011 11:11:17 MDT Print View

I did my first tarp trip using BPL's "Lightweight Backpacking and Camping" (currently out of stock but a good read if you can get one). I wasn't sure how I'd like tarping so I did a diamond pitch with my 8x10' tarp. I staked the middle of the 11' side to the ground at my feet and attached the two middle grommets to my trekking poles. The corners at the foot were folded in and were under me and then I staked out the front corner grommets.

The tarp tapered to a sharp point at my feet and the front was really the only opening. I've since evolved to using a Gatewood Cape for tarping but that trip helped me make the transitition.

Some photos might help...

Here's a side view:
8x10 Tarp - Side View

And here's the view from the open end:
8x10 Tarp - Open End

One note - There was a big storm approaching from the west - the direction of my feet. It weathered it quite nicely.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Learning to Tarp Camp on 04/09/2011 11:19:57 MDT Print View

Here is the link to my challenges with tarp camping. It took me a few weeks of practicing and I nailed it. Here is the link to my post. Many on here offered suggestions and such

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=42467

Justin Nelson
(jnelson871) - MLife

Locale: CA Bay Area
! on 04/09/2011 13:36:25 MDT Print View

Good idea Kevin! I have a copy of that book (my bible for backpacking :)).
I completely forgot there is a chapter on tarps.

Justin Nelson
(jnelson871) - MLife

Locale: CA Bay Area
Re: Re: Learning to Tarp Camp on 04/09/2011 13:38:16 MDT Print View

Good Idea. I plan to spend at least 2-3 weeks working out the bugs before I head out with my tarp. I was using a Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis but like many here had problems with my head and feet hitting the shelter since I am 6'1." Great shelter for the normal sized folks though :)

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Learning how to pitch a tarp on 04/09/2011 20:26:56 MDT Print View

I spent some time doing google image searches. In the process, I found this site:
http://halbertri.tripod.com/tarps.htm

He links to a lot of pictures of various tarps and pitches.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Re: Learning to Tarp Camp on 04/09/2011 20:34:39 MDT Print View

Justin, the key is tensioning your lines, re-staking and making sure your two poles are lined up.

Stake out your two rear corners but kind of loosely. Next attach your hiking pole and stake, and again somewhat loosely. Then go to the front and do the same but a little tighter than the rear. After the tarp is up, then go back and re-adjust everything. Once you get it down, it gets real easy.

Rakesh Malik
(Tamerlin)

Locale: Cascadia
Re: Re: Re: Re: Learning to Tarp Camp on 04/09/2011 21:10:39 MDT Print View

Here's a link from Joe Valesko's site, where one of his customers is showing pitches using a ZPacks 6x9 tarp:
http://s50.photobucket.com/albums/f316/dmccoy805/Cuben%20Tarp/?start=0

I've only tried two types of pitch with my 5x8 tarp so far. Fortunately, after I finish moving I'll have a yard, which will make practicing with a tarp a lot easier. My indoor attachment points are a little awkward to move. :)

Justin Nelson
(jnelson871) - MLife

Locale: CA Bay Area
Thanks! on 04/09/2011 22:09:39 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone! That is a ton of info. I'll start digging through it now so I am ready to practice when my tarp arrives next week! Anyone have a suggestion on how many stakes and how much line? The tarp comes with 50' of guy line is that enough?

Edited by jnelson871 on 04/09/2011 22:10:49 MDT.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Thanks! on 04/10/2011 04:18:33 MDT Print View

I bring 7 ti stakes.
One for each corner, one for each pole, 1 in case I loose one. This seems to happen about every 5th trip (about 10 nights of camping out.)

I also bring 2-9' pieces and 2-3' pieces of 35# flyline backing. The flyline backing can be purchased in a lot of places and is usually sold as 35# test. I put a loop in each end and use loop-to-loop connections between the tarp and stakes or other line. I also use a heavy duty hair tie in between to help with wind hammer and to maintain a tight pitch in rain storms.

Justin Nelson
(jnelson871) - MLife

Locale: CA Bay Area
Re: Re: Thanks! on 04/10/2011 11:01:47 MDT Print View

Thanks James! I will give that a try. I have some backing around from fishing sp I will pick up stakes today.

Dave Myers
(PatientWolf) - F - M

Locale: South Western Oklahoma
Re: Learning how to pitch a tarp on 04/11/2011 13:21:26 MDT Print View

Here is a great video on a few tarp pitches done by Steve Evans.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXrapf_8WFM&feature=player_embedded

Justin Nelson
(jnelson871) - MLife

Locale: CA Bay Area
guylines on 04/11/2011 21:32:52 MDT Print View

I was just checking out the advanced tarp article and found this technique

"Guylines can be pre-tied with overhand, figure-eight, or bowline loops in each end. They should be about two or three feet in length (which minimizes tangling during storage). Longer guylines can be made by girth hitching multiple short pieces together. This gives you a very flexible system for pitching in a variety of configurations. Once your guyline length is set, simply girth hitch one end loop to the tarp’s guyline tie-outs, insert the stake in the other end loop, tension the guyline, and set the stake. Tension is adjusted by resetting the stake, rather than fiddling around with a tautline hitch, that artistic adjustable knot so prominently showcased by the Boy Scouts as an essential skill. This is where the benefit of titanium skewer stakes really shines – since they are so easy to place and remove relative to other types of stakes, this guyline-and-stake system used for tarp adjustment is simple, fast, and effective."

This sounds like a great system and is similar to how I handle leaders when fly fishing except I use what is called a perfection loop (same thing?). Does anyone have any experience with how well this works? What are the pros/cons of this system vs having different length guylines on hand? It sounds really good but w all know how that can go.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Learning how to pitch a tarp on 04/12/2011 01:26:56 MDT Print View

The key is tension. As stated earlier, the guy lines need to be taunt. Most tarps I have seen pitched poorly have the poles too high, ridge line guys too short, and corners too long. Also keep in mind that smaller tarps usually need longer side guy lines, because you cannot get the sides as low to the ground as a larger tarp.

I almost always use an a-frame set up. I also leave the guy lines attached to the tarp, and use tensioners. I have never spent the time to really learn knots. If the weather is good, I am not going to use the tarp, it stays in my pack. When I need to use a tarp, it is often windy or raining, and I do not have time to fool around connecting guy lines (although micro-biners can be used) or tying knots.

Also practice before taking a trip. I suggest you stick with one or two configurations at first, so you become competent at them.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Learning how to pitch a tarp on 04/12/2011 01:38:51 MDT Print View

"I also leave the guy lines attached to the tarp, and use tensioners."

What kind of tensioners?

Years ago we had little metal figure-8 pieces. They worked, but you can hardly find them in the stores anymore. There is a modern plastic cam, but they can be found at only one online store that I am aware of. There are the new figure 9 tighteners, but they weigh 0.13 oz each, and for a whole collection that would add up to a significant fraction of my tarp weight.

I've simply tied my guylines with bowlines, trucker's hitches, slip knots, prusik knots, and other knots. Are real tensioners that important?

--B.G.--

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Learning how to pitch a tarp on 04/12/2011 02:52:21 MDT Print View

"Are real tensioners that important?"

I wouldn't know the difference between a half-hitch, trucker hitch, or a 4-leaf clover :)

Usually when I am putting up a shelter it is windy, cold, or wet, tensioners make it really quick. With Trip-ease I used the yellow ones, about an ounce for 8 of them.

You can buy 50' of light cord and 12 of the white tensioners from BPL, and all of it is under 1 ounce, which is what I am using now.

tensioners

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Learning how to pitch a tarp on 04/12/2011 02:52:21 MDT Print View

Opps... double post.

Edited by ngatel on 04/12/2011 10:43:43 MDT.

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Learning how to pitch a tarp on 04/12/2011 06:48:49 MDT Print View

I also use the same tensioners as Nick. I do almost all of my backpacking in the rocky mountains (they'd be minor foothills to those of you out west) of Pennsylvania. My first attempt to stake a guyline is always to use my last adjustment but I often find a large rock in that location. I need the ability to move my stake to where the ground will let me put it in and the tensioner makes that easy.

I actually have the tensioner loop attached to my tarp rather than to the stake. It keeps the tensioner higher and makes it easier to adjust (sometimes even from within my hammock) if any adjustments are required.

Another item to note is that I'm primarily a hammock user now so I don't need a nice level spot with soft duff underneath. I pick my trees, make sure I won't twist an ankle getting out of the hammock and put up my tarp.