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Tarp: Finger on the trigger
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Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
Tarp: Finger on the trigger on 05/24/2011 15:11:04 MDT Print View

Hi all,

I was hoping you could give me the wisdom of your experiences concerning tarps. I'm tall at 6'3", and 210lb. I'm about to buy a Etowah 6x10 tarp at 9oz for $70 (cheap, adequate(?), don't think $100 more for a 7oz tarp is worth it for me). I will be using it with a bivy that I'm also going to buy soon.

I notice a lot of people seem to post about using tarp shelters that close on one end. I know some people use 2 person tarps by themselves.

I read reviews of people liking their setups, but haven't heard much of what PROBLEM they address that they used to have. I don't read "man that 6x10 wasn't enough for me, the wind blew the rain in way too much, even with a bivy!", or "I'm your size and I wish I'd have gotten the 8x10"!

So, before I commit to paying for a new piece of kit.... does anyone have any words of wisdom for me?

Edited by Trout on 05/24/2011 15:12:02 MDT.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Tarp: Finger on the trigger on 05/25/2011 10:46:48 MDT Print View

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
tarp on 05/25/2011 11:17:52 MDT Print View

I just use an 8x10 with no bivy. With the extra coverage, I don't feel like I need the extra protection, inconvenience, or weight. Seems like I know more people going your route though. I am 6'4" btw.

Edited by alexdrewreed on 05/25/2011 11:18:49 MDT.

kevin timm
(ktimm) - MLife

Locale: Colorado (SeekOutside)
I've camped both ways on 05/25/2011 11:48:48 MDT Print View

We have a tarp that I've used both ways (end sealed and not sealed). I think it's a matter of functionality and weather really. Fair weather, I'll use it up and not pitched to the ground, but in the rockies the weather can and will change quickly. For those cases, give it a 3 sided pitch to the ground, with low end to the wind. As for size and ounces, I would rather have comfortable coverage and pack a few ounces more. I also , use this sometimes for day treks when the weather is spotty and I expect to be above tree line for hours. Often times I'm with someone so having it sized for two works when you need to hunker down for awhile.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Closed end on 05/25/2011 12:02:31 MDT Print View

A 6x10 tarp can be pitched with a closed end if needed.

I've pitched my MLD Monk(5x9) with 3 sides to the ground. Both ways, with the 9' side open and the 5' side open. The short end to the ground is good if it is cold out and you want to reduce breeze as much as possible, but it is a little difficult to get in and out of when pitched that way.

There are a lot of pitch options. A-frame and flying diamond are easy to pitch and are probably the most common and I find they work fine with the 5x9 and an ultralight bivy.

The reason 8x10 tarps are so popular is the roominess. You can pitch a larger tarp higher in the rain and have more headroom.

Michael Levine
(Trout) - F

Locale: Long Beach
reply on 05/25/2011 12:25:30 MDT Print View

I'm very thankful for the videos and articles and will look when I get home.

The big tarp for 2p or more room thing was super helpful to hear. I'm starting to process it. Thanks!

The shelter question feels like a bit of a rabbit hole! Thanks for making it a bit less shallow

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Tarp: Finger on the trigger on 05/25/2011 13:01:45 MDT Print View

The whole shelter question seems like is will always be a big rabbit hole. I think that more shelters get bought and sold on these forums than just about anything else.

I know a lot of people like the flexibility of flat tarps, and I do have an ID 5x8 siltarp that I take in the summer with a bivy, but take a look at shaped tarps, like the MLD Trailstar or a pyramid. It is true that you lose the multiple set-up options but I seem to only set up the flat tarp with a flying diamond or A-frame anyway. A shaped tarp just seems easier or quicker to set up, especially when the pole(s) go under the tarp. Maybe that's just me but it would be worth looking into some shaped tarps.

Of course, a flat tarp will be (probably) be cheaper.

Good luck choosing!

Noel Tavan
(akatsuki_the_devil) - MLife
siltarp 2 on 05/25/2011 13:38:56 MDT Print View

I use the silshelter with silshelter bug liner. I like being able to close the tarp so I feel more "secure" and less in the open when I sleep. I also like being able to add the bug liner in case they are mosquitoes in the area or I am going with my girfriend.

I use to have a 5x8 ID and it was just too small and it had no closure. At the end, you still want to slip comfortably.

Hope that helps.

Edited by akatsuki_the_devil on 05/25/2011 13:40:56 MDT.