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Tarp/Bivy vs Tarp/Ground sheet for rain spray protection
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Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Tarp/Bivy vs Tarp/Ground sheet for rain spray protection on 02/05/2013 20:30:07 MST Print View

I am contemplating the idea of abandoning the use of a Bivy under my Tarp during relatively bugless environments (i.e., Colorado in summer). Just wondering if anyone has used something like the ZPacks groundsheet that has loops such that you could raise the ends of the groundsheet (shock cord to attach to Tarp ridgeline) to provide protection on the exposed ends of a Tarp from windblown rain. For those surprise cases of unexpected bugs I would use a headnet.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Re: Tarp/Bivy vs Tarp/Ground sheet for rain spray protection on 02/05/2013 20:59:02 MST Print View


I have a ZPacks ground cloth that I use with my Hexamid tarp. I really like it and it does give added splash protection. It weighs a little more than polycro, but it has better wet protection.

For more warmth, I still may use a bivy.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Tarp/Bivy vs Tarp/Ground sheet for rain spray on 02/05/2013 22:22:39 MST Print View

Zpacks SOLO PLUS groung sheet with bath tub walls. It clips into the guy loops: front,center,rear

David Gardner
(GearMaker) - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: Tarp/Bivy vs Tarp/Ground sheet for rain spray protection on 02/05/2013 23:51:12 MST Print View

You could sew end flaps on your tarp, or have it done. Here is a photo of a polycryo tarp I made with end flaps, but the same design would work. They allow for a fair amount of adjustability of the pitch too.
tarp with ends

Pin the flaps back inside with bits of velcro when you don't need/want them.flaps pinned back

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
Re: Tarp/Bivy vs Tarp/Ground sheet for rain spray protection on 02/06/2013 15:29:38 MST Print View

The more I think about this and after checking out the pictures of the Zpacks groundsheet above (which doesn't really come up high enough for windblown rain protection). Perhaps the better approach is to fold the ground sheet over like a taco/burrito if the wind blown rain was significant. Either way the Zpacks cuben groundsheet seems like a real nice product. If I did the Poncho Groundsheet then you have a 3 in 1 product (Rain Gear, groundsheet and bivy).

robert van putten

Locale: Planet Bob
+1 Big groundsheet on 02/06/2013 17:18:21 MST Print View

That's what I still do, use an oversized ground sheet and simply pull it over you when needed. maybe not ideal, but it works well enough for me, especially on summer trips. I've also been known to use my rain jacket and/or propped up backpack to close up the opening in a tarp, or of course just spread my rain jacket over the sleeping bag, etc...

The trouble with using a poncho for a ground cloth is it isn't going to last long. Ground cloth duty is very hard on ponchos.
Back in the day ( Circa 1975 –onward ) all I often took with me was a G.I poncho.

It was my ground cloth, rain gear, and I often wrapped it over my bag and closed it, bivy style, with the snaps along the edge.

Trouble was, if I used it for rain gear it was soaked by the time I needed it to sleep in/on it, ( not good! ) and holes would develop in a single summers use. ( also not good. ).

Circa 1985 I picked up then-state-of-the-art second generation gore tex rain suit, and started carrying a "sportsmans blanket" ( similar to the "casualty blankets" used in the military ) for a ground cloth. Then the G.I poncho was used only as my shelter, and I got pretty adept at cobbling together a dry haven for the night using everything I had with me.

Then I realized how heavy it all was – ( G.I poncho, sportsmans blanket, rain suit, ) and how small it really is, and that it was still really only a very minimal shelter setup, so I started carry bigger poly tarps, and finally in 1993 I broke down and bought my first tent. But I still used tarps for summer trips.
Now I’m devolving again back toward tarps and ground sheets. Go figure…

But I figure rain suits are now so light and cheap that I find I always pack one even if rain isn’t expected ( my current is Dri-Ducks, 10.1 ounces for a medium sized suit ), and a downright huge polycro ground sheet is silly light. I’ve been meaning to add tape tie-outs to the corners of my polycro tarp. ( I love what David has been doing with his polycro tarps! )
Add a decent sized tarp and you should be fine, especially for summer trips.

Edited by Bawana on 02/06/2013 17:19:56 MST.

John G
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic via Upstate NY
pitch on 02/06/2013 18:26:12 MST Print View

Pitch your tarp as a pyramid in wind blown rain. Ie: long side into the wind, stake down the rear corners, put 1 trekking pole in the center of the other long side and guy it out, then stake down the 2 front corners to make a triangular ”door”. Sleep parallel to the door. (about 2-2.5 feet from the opening).

The wind can shift 270 degrees before rain comes in the door. Even works on swirling snow, although light spindrift does come in about 1.5 feet from the opening if the tarp is pitched high.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Tarp/Bivy vs Tarp/Ground sheet for rain spray protection on 02/06/2013 19:08:20 MST Print View

I'm trying something very new for me, a slight transition from my TT, floorless Squall. Rechecking weights, prices for the umteenth time. Pretty much set now on a ZPacks Hexamid, no beak, no netting, only needs one tent pole. Slightly cheaper than a cuben tarp and lighter by 2 oz. than their 7X9 tarp, I'll have a cuben bivy. The new setup if I go for it, with the cuben bivy, will be half the weight of my Squall. My thoughts also were after I saw some of the photos on ZPacks' website, get a wider piece of polycryo and like previous posters have described, pull it up the side or use as a taco. Isn't that what BPL is about, finding lighter gear, setups?