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Tarp Configuration
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Ryan S.

Locale: New England
Tarp Configuration on 01/14/2013 00:36:28 MST Print View

Stumbled across this brief blog post the other day. I'm relatively new to UL Backpacking and this website but I was wondering what experience people might have sleeping in a tarp setup pitched in a similar Lean-to style. Thoughts?

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Tarp Configuration on 01/14/2013 04:21:16 MST Print View

R S,

IMHO Brawny's set-up is a better configuration. There is less exposure to rain getting into your "living space".

She uses a 10 x 12 silnylon tarp with tie outs spaced at 2 foot intervals. Her set-up resembles a "monk" tarp but has the added benefit of a 4 foot floor inside.

I also like the simple way that she deals with the issue of flying bugs. ;-)

As with any tarp set-up you must avoid low spots, pay attention to wind direction and use natural wind breaks as much as possible.

Reducing the "area" that faces into the wind will help keep your tarp from turning into a runaway kite. That is a concern that I have in regards to the tarp configuration in the provided link to the American Bushman site in your OP.

Party On,


James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Tarp Configuration on 01/14/2013 05:22:49 MST Print View

One of the problems with any "fold under" type flooring is it will get wet and collect water. Keep any floor away from the edges. A lot like Brawny's set up, you realy don't want any edge exposed to water. While I have done these setups, I am not too sure about the fold under flooring. My pad (NightLite or NeoAir) works pretty well as a ground cloth. But, I do use them on occasion (when the ground is already wet.) Again, you need extreme care to avoid any additional water from entering, potentially collecting.

I really like a plain lean-to set up, if the weather is decent. But, one of the big advantages of a tarp is the possible configurations you can use. Not so much any particular "one" set-up. Base rectangle(lean-to,) A-frame (pup tent) or Diamond (diagonal) are the three possible configurations. All have their advantages.

Lean-to's have a airy lay out, nice for hot weather or for hot camps with a fire. A pup tent can be made lower and very weather resistant. A diamond is nice for smaller areas and is quite weather resistant.

Theory says that the least amount of door space will generally be the most weather and wind resistant. Low enough to slide under without touching. I spent a pretty windy night (tornado about 10mi away/50mph winds) without having any rain blowing in on me under a low pup tent. Several trees were down, many were mostly stript of leaves. Like Brawny's set up, it is possible to play orgami with doors.

A low pup-tent pitch, with one end down and tight, will be the most weather resistant. You end up in a situation where strong winds will actually lift the tarp (aerodynamic lift) even if you place the tarp away from the wind. I do not recommend this. Rather try to set the tarp at a diagonal to the wind direction. This can get a little complicated near any larger water bodies, since they will influance local winds.