Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Quick and dirty tarp ideas. Who has them?!
Display Avatars Sort By:
Dan Johnson
(Seattle)

Locale: PNW
Quick and dirty tarp ideas. Who has them?! on 12/17/2011 22:39:17 MST Print View

So in my other thread about building a 5x10 tarp I mentioned I wanted something that was "quick and dirty" to make. And it got me thinking, "what could I use as a tarp that's quick and dirty and cheap? I currently have a blue 8x10 tarp and I hate it cause it's so big since it doesn't store very small when not in use.

So who has any ideas as to what I could make a tarp out of that would be smaller than my blue tarp (28oz) in weight and compactness and be good to use in the cascades in Washington?

I was thinking something out of a AMK emergency blanket or a large piece of polycro. Mainly cause I have those items on hand. I am cheap after all!

a b
(Ice-axe)
A shelter made from an 8X10 tarp on 12/17/2011 22:46:04 MST Print View

I made this shelter from an MEC 8' X 10' sil nylon tarp
About 8 hours sewing by hand.
.Proto type Tarp.
.iceaxe tarp aka Rayway tarp
14 ounces minus stakes and trekking poles.

Edited by Ice-axe on 12/17/2011 22:50:15 MST.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Way cheap tarp ideas. on 12/17/2011 23:05:27 MST Print View

Polyetyhlene sheeting is available at a hardware store or painting supply in 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 mil. 2 mil isn't much. 10 mil is much stronger. Very cheap if you buy a big roll and cut it to size. It doesn't come with grommets so it is helpful to use the trick of placing a round stone in a corner or edge and wrapping a cord around the tarp wrapped around the stone to acheive the function of a grommet. Lighter and more compact than a blue tarp, but not as sturdy. Lightweight coated nylon is superior to either poly sheeting or blue tarps, but is more spendy by a lot.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Plastic on 12/17/2011 23:06:52 MST Print View

I made one out of a peice of 3-4mil plastic. Instead of trying to tie cord to the corners what I did was put gorilla tape on the corners and on the tie out points. I only did it once because I needed a three man tarp for a trip. Mine weighed about 2 pounds but it was pretty big. I think for about a pound you could have a perfectly adequate tarp. This is a quick and dirty solution because it won't last forever but mine worked well. Let me know if you want more details later, I have some pics.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Plastic on 12/18/2011 07:50:01 MST Print View

Same here - 3 mil polyethylene - plenty strong enough for a number of nights - only a little heavier than silnylon - try out several configurations and sizes to see what works.

I used duct tape, run a loop of the guyline under the tape. Only problem is adhesive very slowly creeps so I added some staples, but I bet Gorilla Tape would be better.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
A different tape on 12/18/2011 11:43:41 MST Print View

There is a vapor-barrier tape used during home construction that is designed just for use on polyethylene sheeting. It's red, plastic, 2" (5 cm) wide and very sticky. But lasts for years - 10 years the last time I got into my walls. I think you'd get less creep than with duct tape and if the tarp survived one trip, the adhesive wouldn't dry out as much as duct tape adhesive does over time and maybe you could use it again next year.

Two other tapes I keep around all the time for various projects are 10-mil pipe wrap (1" wide, black, labelled "pipe wrap") and the real tape for duct work - the very sticky aluminum tape that takes much higher temps and doesn't crap out in a year.

But for poly tarps, use the vapor barrier tape.

I'd taper it because you don't need the full width for the full length. Maybe a 10" (25 cm) length tapered from 2" wide at the corner of the tarp to 0" width. Add an extra layer right at the corner and use a hole punch to make a nice clean hole.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Quick and dirty tarp ideas. Who has them?! on 12/18/2011 13:08:59 MST Print View

Buy a cheap Wenzel tent, toss the heavy stakes and poles and use it with your trekking poles and light stakes. If you want it lighter, do some surgery. It is short (6'8"), so surgery may leave you more exposed. http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___36447

In the mean time, there are lighter and smaller woven poly tarps. I paid $4 for a 6x10 that is 15oz.

Or save your pennies and do it right :)

Dan Johnson
(Seattle)

Locale: PNW
Cheap tent fly? on 12/18/2011 18:45:07 MST Print View

Has anyone had success using a cheap tent fly? I was thinking of the big Costco size 10x10 tents and just using the with my existing poles. I reckon the fly's are shaped for a dome but maybe they could be fashioned in a pyramid style or something similar?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Cheap tent fly? on 12/18/2011 23:00:25 MST Print View

They are as heavy or heavier than the 8x10 poly tarp you have. I have a Chinook Guide tarp that I got for wide coverage with my hammock. It is 9.5'x12' and weighs 28oz with the stuff sack. It is made of PU coated polyester.

If you want to explore the tent fly options, check the REI Gear Garage in the basement of the flagship store. I keep an eye on the returned tents in the hope of finding a model that works with fly, poles and footprint. You might find a footprint from a large tent that can be used as a tarp, but it won't be light.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Quick and dirty tarp ideas. Who has them?! on 01/26/2012 14:48:28 MST Print View

I see from your latest thread you made one from "plastic". You didn't specify the weight.

> I was thinking something out of a AMK emergency blanket or a large piece of polycro.

Bingo! See this thread if you haven't already. You could get one easily under 10 oz. I'll be doing one in polycro also.

Not sure why you said your's would shred in wind though. I haven't had mine in more than 35 mph so far but should do OK. Use shockcord on the main tieouts.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Quick and dirty tarp ideas. Who has them?! on 01/26/2012 14:58:46 MST Print View

You may want to log into your library account and get Trail Life by Ray Jardine. He worked at a wilderness training site years ago where everyone used cheap plastic tarps. When he developed a loathing for his tent because of condensation he reverted back to a tarp and from there to using Sil-nylon. His book explains basic plastic tarp construction and pitching.

Dan Johnson
(Seattle)

Locale: PNW
Polycryo tarp on 01/26/2012 18:09:33 MST Print View

@ Michael
Yes, I did recently make a 9x7 tarp from plastic and I used a window insulation kit from Home Depot. For the tie outs I used Gorilla Tape. Which may be over kill but I figured I wouldn't want my tieouts to peel off. I'll be posting a thread to my tarp once I get it out in the field. I have yet to pitch it and would hate to get people excited only to fail :)

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: A different tape on 01/26/2012 18:30:43 MST Print View

An accidental discovery that has proven useful. Regular clear package tape sold everywhere. It seems by my nose to have a formaldehyde glue . I had a dishwasher which vented through the door and was beginning to fog up a finish on some new black walnut cabinetry I'd done. I put the tape over the vent inside the dishwasher. 14 years later it is still in there and works. And the dishwasher has a heating element and produces steamy conditions. Amazing stuff right under your nose.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Plastic on 01/26/2012 19:02:39 MST Print View

A long time ago I used plastic tarps a lot. Here is an elegant solution for tie-outs using a device called a VisClamp, although I haven't seen them for sale in decades. Basically it is a rubber ball that goes inside a wire frame, similar to shower curtain hook, so it would be easy to make some. They are surprisingly strong.

VisClamp
VisClamp

IMG_0088
This is how it works. I was experimenting with some reflective Tyvek for summer in the desert, but the tarp was too heavy.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Plastic on 01/26/2012 19:37:57 MST Print View

I leiu of a Visclamp, you can use a local, round rock (or pine cone with a sturdy tarp) and wrap cord around it.

As long as you didn't step on them, ping pong balls are surprisingly tough (consider how hard they get whacked in play) and are as light, spherical, and smooth as you can possibly get. Wrap a cord around the base or you could make the oblong peanut-shaped thing out of coathanger wire. I'd suggest making a jig with 3/4" and 1-1/2" dowels to give that nice smooth curvature.

Dang, that's a good idea - I might have to get back in the garage, clean up the bandsaw blade project and knock some out.

Dan Johnson
(Seattle)

Locale: PNW
Packing tape on 01/26/2012 20:35:44 MST Print View

@ John
I was thinking about clear packing tape myself since I can get it from work but I didn't like that it had little to no tear resistance. Thus, Gorilla Glue Tape. I did some tests on it in my kitchen and was blown away by how strong it's hold is. I folded over a 6" section onto an instustrial ziplock bag and left 1" of overhang. I then punctured a hole in the end with a hole punch and put some string thru. I pulled HARD until finally the string cut thru the tape. I was pretty impressed with the results.

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Packing tape on 01/28/2012 19:58:08 MST Print View

I'll be impressed if the GG tape holds up over time in the elements though it does seem better than normal duct tape. I used 3M's transparent duct tape which has 6X the UV resistance to normal duct tape. Strapping tape will disintegrate. I'd also recommend using a loop of tape to attach your tieouts as Al & I did versus poking a hole in it. Even at < 1/2" wide they hold up very well. Combine with shockcord loops to absorb some shock and I'm sure they'll hold in at least 50 mph gusts.

Dan Johnson
(Seattle)

Locale: PNW
Tie-outs on 01/29/2012 12:44:48 MST Print View

I wanted to try something different on these tie-outs for this tarp. What I did (I'll post pics later) is sandwiched a 2" long T pin at the end of the folded tape. They weigh very little and I figured if I put a hole in front of it the T pin would distribute the force over the full width of the tape tie-out. But, it may just be wishful thinking and could end up sucking... we'll have to wait and see :)

I didn't even think to use tape that had higher UV resistance! I guess I'll be pitching it in the trees then!

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Tie-outs on 01/29/2012 15:27:39 MST Print View

The GG tape will fare much better than strapping or normal duct tape would have. I've used it to hold up a car window and it's still on after months so it must be UV resistant. It's very heavy though. Even though I used half width (~15/16"), the 3M 2120 tape at least doubled the weight of my tarp body and it's definitely lighter than GG.

Dan Johnson
(Seattle)

Locale: PNW
Weight on 01/29/2012 16:57:46 MST Print View

Michael-
Yeah the GG tape is heavy stuff alright. I figured this is my first go at a light tarp so I'm ok with it. Maybe I'll try different testing with half widths of it and see what I come up with. It was mentioned to use shock cord to reduce stress on the tarp in winds. Is there a certain type of shock cord I should use or will any do. I have a bunch of old jackets with shock cord inside them, if I cut them out will that due? Also, how much in length should I use?

Thanks for all the info it's greatly appreciated.