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tarp, bivy, ground cloth vs. UL tent weight/cost analysis
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Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: Re: tarps and tents on 03/10/2012 11:10:51 MST Print View

My moment is 26 ounces. The pole is 6.5

My style would be a mld patrol and serenity at 11.5 Plus 8.5. I would need poles at 3. I don't use hiking poles.

So yes. Way ahead of the tent except for setup time which you don't have to carry.

Oh well... Maybe time to get the sewing machine out.

Rick Horne
(Rick778) - M

Locale: NorCal - South Bay - Campbell
Re: Re: tarps and tents on 03/10/2012 11:23:22 MST Print View

+2 to Randy and Ken

gunther kirsch
(goonch92) - F

Locale: Northern California
Shaped tarp is the way to go! on 03/10/2012 11:50:57 MST Print View

i just got the Integral designs silshelter (12 ozs??) plus steaks and im loving it, if you ventilate it right there's very little condensation

then all you have to do is buy a polycro floor sheet that weights 2 ounces and put it under the tarp and your golden...
looking foreward to the next storm so i can see how it holds up, I bet it will do great!

good luck

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: tarps and tents on 03/10/2012 12:25:28 MST Print View

@ Travis The increased weight and bulk are the only downsides of the Hilleberg. That is enough to take something else for most around here. It is wet and windy here, a lot.

cowboy on 03/10/2012 12:35:13 MST Print View

Many do cowboy when the weathers nice, but dont need a bivy. Just a headnet.

Many tent "inner nets" can also be pitched without the fly on nice nights for the bug phobic.

There is really no difference.

I have woken with my sleeping bag covered with ice from dew quite a few times from cowboy camping. Didnt bother me.

Edited by livingontheroad on 03/10/2012 12:38:07 MST.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Shaped tarp is the way to go! on 03/10/2012 12:44:10 MST Print View

"i just got the Integral designs silshelter"

I purchased one of these a long time ago (2002?) and modified it a bit. I sewed a skirt of mosquito netting around the bottom. This way, on a warm night, I can raise the whole thing up 3-4 inches to allow a breeze to blow under.


shaped tarp on 03/10/2012 13:04:55 MST Print View

Bob, I agree with the shaped tarp. If you are going to tarp, then tarp. A shaped tarp can offere more protection for less weight, and will weigh less than a tarp + bivy.
Hint, the hexamid is a shaped tarp ,

A bivy could be interpretted as making a statement. It says:

1) My tarp is too small to keep me protected in bad weather
2) I dont know how to pitch my tarp to keep me protected in bad weather
3) I dont like bugs and belong in a tent, but want the pastiche of tarping it.

yeah I know the tarp + bivy is more flexible than a larger tarp and can help with condensation issues with bag or quilt. Just from a pure weight standpoint, the tarp + bivy is heavier than a larger tarp.

Edited by livingontheroad on 03/10/2012 13:11:00 MST.

gunther kirsch
(goonch92) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: shaped tarp on 03/10/2012 14:17:54 MST Print View

yeah screw the bivy unless ur gonna have a super light tarp like a cuben fiber MLD monk If your gonna tarp... TARP. ploycro ground sheet = 1.8 oz and $8 and if you dont like bugs get a sea to summit bug pyrimid for 40 bucks and its only like 8 ozs (correct me if I'm wrong) or just do what bob did and sew some no-see-um in the front and on the ground (something i'm highly considering).

BTW bob how difficult and expensive was that?

Anyway go with something like a Spinn twinn, ID silshelter of a (half)pyrimid with some polycro down low and perhaphs some bug netting. assuming you'll be using hiking poles to hold it up you'll be under 2lbs if not 1lbs.

the silshelter is on sale at right now for $108... when i saw that (after doing my research) i bought it instantly... and its the updated version with higher toe space!

Chase Norton
(Micronorton) - F
My setup on 03/10/2012 14:28:20 MST Print View

Hexamid Solo w/beak 4.2oz
8 Groundhog stakes 3.82oz
Padded Ground Sheet 3oz
Bivy 4.3 oz
Linelocs .5oz

Total 15.82oz. Lets not talk price. 15.8oz compared to 40oz is a huge difference in my opinion. I feel like the numbers you speced out were for a heavy lightweight tarp bivy setup.


Edited by Micronorton on 03/10/2012 14:29:12 MST.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: shaped tarp on 03/10/2012 14:49:29 MST Print View

"BTW bob how difficult and expensive was that?"

As always, it depends.

Back then, I had no sewing machine, so I had to sew it all by hand. That takes a lot of time, although it is easy. I think I was able to find some thin mosquito netting that was cheap. You probably want to make it at least 4" high to do any good, but more than 6" might be overkill. Mine was 5", I believe. It is better to have it an inch or two more than you think you need. Otherwise, the bugs will find gaps underneath and make themselves welcome. In fact, if the bugs are really bad some night, pitch it so that an inch or two of the netting is on the ground, and then pile up a few dozen pebbles on it to keep it down.

Later, I had a similar modification on a similar shelter, and I did it by machine.


John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: shaped tarp on 03/10/2012 14:52:12 MST Print View

Martin, a bivy can also say that we value our sleeping bag and want to take care of it.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
tarp, bivy, ground cloth vs. UL tent weight/cost analysis on 03/10/2012 15:20:35 MST Print View

In the end it all depends on what we value.
To me being able to set up a shelter quickly and get inside on a dry floor and bug free environment is important because about the first thing I do at camp is take off my clothes , have a sponge bath and put my camp clothes on.
That refreshes me and keeps me warm for the evening and is a good start for the night.
I also don't like the confined feeling of a bivy (I wake up a few times during the night, often sit up ,look around, have a drink, go for a pee)
I happen to dislike long guylines. Sometime a couple are needed but to have six or eight of them all or most of the time is not my thing..
(I tend to trip over them and at times there is no space for them where I want to set the shelter up)
I also like to set up my shelter taut before I go to sleep but don't want to re-do that or move it during the night because the wind has changed and wind or rain is hitting me from an opened side.
And definitely don't like crawling in under a fly.
So I gladly carry a 25-30 oz shelter that gives me what I like , the 10 or so extra ounces are more than worth in ease of use and peaceful rest.
As one of my mates recently commented about me, yes I prefer "design" (function) over weight.

Rob E

Locale: Canada
What about very, very, very wet conditions? on 03/10/2012 16:07:46 MST Print View

This has been a good thread, lots of interesting discussion about tarp/bivy/ground sheet setups.

Does anyone have insight or tips for when one expects very wet conditions? The North Coast of British Columbia has some of the highest rainfall numbers in North America.

If you were planning a 1-2 week trip where it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect heavy rains and wind every day, how would you change your setup? 100% off-trail trekking, lots of bogs, swamps and marshes, potential to have to camp at less than ideal locations. Just wondering what shelter choices people would make. How about solo vs. two people in these conditions?

Cheers, interested to see what peoples thoughts/experiences are with these kinds of conditions.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: What about very, very, very wet conditions? on 03/10/2012 16:27:26 MST Print View


In conditions that swampy I'd use a hammock so the ground isn't an issue.


Steven Hanlon
(asciibaron) - F

Locale: Mid Atlantic
tarp, tent, bivy, now hammock? on 03/12/2012 05:54:18 MDT Print View

i love this forum - great discussion and then in comes hammock the curve ball just to keep things interesting. :)

to sum it all up, personal preference, bugs, level of comfort, bugs and weather and bugs are all factors that come into play beyond the simple cost analysis. i have always considered the weather and bugs and that is why i have a tent, here in the Mid Atlantic region, the bugs are just unruly guests that can't take a hint. in colder weather a tarp or cowboy camping is fine, but once the bloodsuckers are out, i wall of protection is a must.

i'm doing a simple out and back overnighter this weekend and since the weather is going to be incredible for this time of year (75F daytime high, 51F overnight low, no rain) i'll be just bringing the bivy for some cowboy camping. i don't think i'll have an issue with the bloodsuckers since it is still early and the overnight lows are expected to be in the 40's this week. if the weather gets iffy, there is a shelter i can hold up in. if i wasn't staying at the shelter, i would have a tarp just in case.

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Tarp, BIvy, ground cloth on 03/12/2012 10:48:47 MDT Print View

This is pretty much our communities equivalent of the A.T. vs. Telemark debate.

We have one group of people saying that tarping is silly.

The other group says that they like tarping because they feel so "free".

Then we have the hammock thrown in, thats the split board group.

This place is awesome.

todd h
(funnymoney) - MLife

Locale: SE
Re: Tarp, BIvy, ground cloth on 03/12/2012 14:08:08 MDT Print View