tarp shelters on the beach?
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Roger Heward
(green1) - F

Locale: Alberta, Canada
tarp shelters on the beach? on 06/30/2012 20:20:17 MDT Print View

I'm considering going back to the West Coast Trail, when I did it last time I carried close to 80lbs. When I did the juan-de-fuca trail I was down to 30lbs, and last weekend I was down to 17lbs (this all includes food and water)
I've replaced my "heavy" hubba-hubba with an integral designs silshelter.

Now here's my question for people, I remember having trouble pegging in my tent last time as almost all the camping was on the sand of the beach. How do people handle tarp shelters in such conditions? Is there a trick to making this work? Usually I tie up to a tree branch at one end, and peg out the sides... I'm foreseeing issues...

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: tarp shelters on the beach? on 06/30/2012 20:37:42 MDT Print View

Nate Olive and Sarah Janes(Tha Wookie and Island Mama) were the first to hike it and did it ul.They used a Ray Way style tarp.Here is his trail journal account


and lots of interviews(you can google more)



He has a website on hiking it(you must be patient it is sometimes down,but it will eventually come up)


He lives in the Virgin Islands now but you might be able to contact him



or read this






you need to be a member to read these



added a few more

Edited by annapurna on 07/01/2012 00:07:16 MDT.

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
tarp on WCT on 07/01/2012 07:10:25 MDT Print View

We did the WCT last summer and used a SMD Haven. The sand is slightly problematic but there are usually plenty of rocks and logs available. We saw some people using tarps. There are some small bugs which bite so I would recommend something to keep them off. I hope you have as much fun as we did. Here is a link to our trip pictures.
We saw only about 4 people whose weight approached UL besides us. We were at about 22# including food and water.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: tarp shelters on the beach? on 07/01/2012 09:20:31 MDT Print View

I have only used non freestanding shelters on the WCT and never had a problem with pegging in the sand. If it really worries you, use 8" Easton pegs and put drift wood over the pegs.

3 weeks ago I was out there again and had no issue with blowing sand as one has to come to terms with it early. However, the sand flies and noseeums were really bad at night. Use some form of bug protection.

Edit: you can tie off your tarp to the copious levels of massive driftwood on the beach. You truly won't have a problem.

Edited by FamilyGuy on 07/01/2012 09:24:01 MDT.

Duane Hall
(PKH) - M

Locale: Nova Scotia
Tarp shelters on the beach. on 07/01/2012 10:47:47 MDT Print View

Did the WCT a couple of years ago with a tarp tent and had no problems with pitching in sand. There are generally rocks and logs laying around that you can use to add some weight on your stakes. You'll be fine.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: tarp shelters on the beach? on 07/01/2012 10:49:36 MDT Print View

You just don't, unless you have unmovable objects all around you to tie off on.
Once during a storm on the lost coast, my 2 friends didn't want to sleep inland because it was covered in poison oak or something.
One friend did an interesting job of rigging a shelter, but our tarp turned into a kite several times during the night and we got soaked. There is really no such thing as anchoring in the sand during high winds unless you can't physically carry that anchor. Sand provides very little resistance and even very heavy objects can get slowly tugged along my the wind and ropes, leaving you with a sheler that gets more and more slack during the night.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Deadmen tell no tales. But they do secure your tarp really well. on 07/03/2012 12:53:53 MDT Print View

As other posters have mentioned, yes, large stumps, rocks and huge driftwood work as anchors. But, of course, those things are rarely positioned for all four corners of your shelter. So here's what you do: deadman anchors.

As you approach your camping site, start gathering sturdy sticks. 1"+ in diameter. one to two feet long. As many as you need tie-down points.

Dig a trench perpendicular to the direction of pull. Bury the stick with your tent guyline around it. Better yet, bury it with a small loop of cord so that the loop projects above grade. You want the cord attached in the center of the stick.

You can create a more substanial anchor in this way than ANY tent peg. To secure raft on the Colorado river, I've buried an 8-foot log. The log can't move without moving the 1000 pounds of sand in front / above it.

If truly devoid of modest-sized sticks, get creative. A series of small sticks works. A long stretch of rope works, although big knots in it will help. (not suggesting you BRING the long rope, but on my beach, I find commercial fishing gear all the time). You could even rig up monofilament to buried pop bottles and beer cans to create an anchor. A pot or stuff sack fill of sand and buried is going NOWHERE.

Slightly moist sand is much more cohesive than dry sand. Presumably at a beach, you have an infinite source of water with which to make moist sand.

This is an engineered anchor, but imagine it with a stick and light cord, recovered with soil/sand: Deadman anchor

Edited by DavidinKenai on 07/03/2012 12:56:41 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: tarp shelters on the beach? on 07/03/2012 13:14:09 MDT Print View

"There is really no such thing as anchoring in the sand during high winds ... Sand provides very little resistance and even very heavy objects can get slowly tugged along ... leaving you with a sheler that gets more and more slack during the night."

I attach LineLocks at the tarp so I can tighten after burying the deadman. If things move I can easily re-tighten. (The same is true on cobble beaches and slickrock: Thread the stake through the loop at the end of the line, stack rocks, and tighten at the tarp.)

I've had no problems pitching on dry sand in windy canyon bottoms, except for the gawd-awful noise of the tarp. (Ear plugs help a lot).

Edited by greg23 on 07/03/2012 13:18:53 MDT.

Lyan Jordan

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
tarp shelters on the beach? on 07/03/2012 13:15:08 MDT Print View

What the quickest way to dig the tench ?

Maybe pot or bear can in sand ?

Edited by redmonk on 07/03/2012 13:20:00 MDT.

Jeff J
(j.j.81) - F

Locale: Oregon
Quickest way to dig on 07/03/2012 17:08:06 MDT Print View

I'd say trade your stakes in for a lightweight trowel, like a poo trowel. If you're not going to use regular stakes anyway, take that weight and apply it to what you will use: a digging tool. If you leave six stakes at home, that gives you two to three ounces to spend on the spade.

Or you could look for a bit of driftwood that's just flat and pointed enough to make digging easy.

Or a frisbee; now that's a great multiuse item. Scoop out the sand for the trench, set up, and while dinner cooks, unwind with a few tosses on the beach.


Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
tarp shelters on the beach? on 07/03/2012 17:28:00 MDT Print View

There are also tent sites in the trees at most campsites on the WCT (and JDF), so if you want to avoid the sand fleas and the hassle of securing pegs in the sand, just head for a treed site. If I'm setting up on the beach I just put a stick through the guy line loop and drop something heavy on it. If it's windy, just find something heavier to drop on your guy line and make sure you set up behind a big log or a man made wind break (usually somebody has built one on the beach).

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: tarp shelters on the beach? on 07/03/2012 17:38:18 MDT Print View

I have backpacked many times on the beach along the Olympic Peninsula.

I never camp on the beach.

Occasionally a big wave will happen and get you wet.

Better to camp off the beach in the trees.

And yeah, if it's sandy just put your stake sideways and put something heavy on it like a log or rock.

Roger Heward
(green1) - F

Locale: Alberta, Canada
thanks on 07/03/2012 17:47:25 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the input,. I feel a little better now. When I hiked the Juan De Fuca trail I did use my sil shelter quite successfully, however we never really had to camp completely on the beach, my recollection for the WCT was that that w as less of an option. I think I will probably still risk it (weather dependant), for Juan de fuca we carried a tent all the way to the trailhead before deciding on the silshelter and leaving the tent in the car. Probably do the same for WCT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: tarp shelters on the beach? on 07/03/2012 17:59:53 MDT Print View

"Better to camp off the beach in the trees."

You can't on the WCT.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
tarp shelters on the beach? on 07/04/2012 09:07:45 MDT Print View

>> You can't on the WCT. <<


Treed campsite on WCT

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: tarp shelters on the beach? on 07/04/2012 09:54:34 MDT Print View

Okay - so just above Thrashers, two sites @ Michigan and Klawana.

Where else?

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
tarp shelters on the beach? on 07/04/2012 10:23:29 MDT Print View

I've not actually gone out of my way to look for them but I know Walbran has some treed sites and if you wander up the creek a bit at Camper there are some sites that are tucked back against the trees and may be on solid ground or gravel.

Your comment does raise an interesting point though, I'm not sure about the park regulations regarding treed sites. Parks Canada may stipulate that you have to camp on the beach (never really bothered to check the regs).

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: tarp shelters on the beach? on 07/04/2012 10:27:44 MDT Print View

I had no idea about Camper. We went to Walbran but came the beach route so stayed on it for camp.