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Perfered Tarp Colors
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Ron Bell
(mountainlaureldesigns) - F - M

Locale: USA
Perfered Tarp Colors on 10/05/2007 11:43:21 MDT Print View

I wanted to ask folks what color tarp / shelters / bivy bottoms they prefer.

Background: I have always offered a med/ light gray as the standard tarp color- as do many other small makers. One reason is that color is widely avialble to a small cottage builders like me from various mfgrs in smaller rolls/lots. Looking ahead to a possible large dye lot custom color, I wonder if there is another most prefered color. It would be a great investment/risk so I wanted some feedback from users.

It would be a steathly type color- gray is pretty good already with out looking military- but perhaps folks would prefer tarps in the most stealthy single color possible useful over a wide range of enviornments?? A med brown/green blend???

1: Would a more stealthy color like a brown or a brown/green or green/gray or a brown green/gray green mix be preffered over a gray?

2: Is a med gray stealthy enough and is that prefered over a more military type color because it does not look military?

3: If the choice was a military color ONLY, would you definately not buy that because of the color?

(Camo is off the table due to no mfgrs make that in SIlnylon. It would have to be a solid color.)



Thomas Knighton
(Tomcat1066) - F

Locale: Southwest GA
Re: Perfered Tarp Colors on 10/05/2007 11:55:18 MDT Print View


I like the idea of the brown/green blend, or even a gray/green, for some of your stuff.

As for if they were in military colors only, it wouldn't keep me from buying anything just because it was military. In fact, I'm the kind who would be more likely to buy it.

Hope this helps.


Edited by Tomcat1066 on 10/05/2007 17:16:26 MDT.

Jason Shaffer
(PA_Jay) - F

Locale: on the move....
Re: Perfered Tarp Colors on 10/05/2007 13:21:08 MDT Print View

Hi Ron,
I think gray is a solid choice if there has to be only one. It's reasonably subdued, but still lets some light pass into the shelter. The main down-side is that standard med gray can sometimes look surprisingly bright at night, not very stealthy at all.

Brown tarps look WAY too much like big game animals, seriously. This would be a deterrent for me. I bought a brown tarp once before realizing this, and it wasn't even hunting season... let's just say, never again!

A gray/green blend would be great, just a bit darker than med gray.

(beenay25) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
re: colors on 10/05/2007 13:29:14 MDT Print View

Hi Ron,
I think if you started using a different color, particularly one of the ones you mentioned, people would buy it if only because it's different from the standard grey. Grey is kind of boring, especially when it's the standard color that many other tarp manufacturers widely use. A custom grey/green would be pretty interesting to see, I think.

I have no aversion to gear with army connotations, unless it's actually army surplus gear, in which case I'd have to inspect the quality of the gear before buying it. However I think you've made enough of a name for Mountain Laurel Designs that you can use whatever color you want and you won't be in danger of anybody thinking it's army surplus gear.

My own preference for tarp color would be black. I don't know how to explain why, exactly. Black is just sexier than any other color.

Mike Barney
(eaglemb) - F

Locale: AZ, the Great Southwest!
Re: Perfered Tarp Colors on 10/05/2007 15:44:14 MDT Print View

Wow, a manufacturer asking my opinion! I like this guy!
When is the last time someone else asked???

Considering the diversity in just "the shades of green" occuring naturally in the US, stealthy in one place may be 'outstanding' in another.

Med (or even light)Gray is nice because it doesn't show dirt as well as white tarps, and lets some light through (if you like star/moon light at night).

Mil / non-mil is not really a criteria for me in colors.

If the product appears to come from a quality vendor / and or has good reviews from someone / forum I trust, price is an order of magnitude more important to me than color.

Thanks for asking,

Phil Barton
(flyfast) - MLife

Locale: Oklahoma
Re: Perfered Tarp Colors on 10/05/2007 17:31:04 MDT Print View

Ron, thanks indeed for asking.

I have a MLD Pro Poncho in blue. Not my favorite color. But I sure like the poncho.

I have been really pleased with medium gray tarps and shelters. That color is subtle across a wide range of terrain.

Natural tones of green and brown are fine too. The bright green silnylon used Campmor/Equinox isn't so great.

Mil/non-mil makes no difference to me.

Bivy bottoms would be the same for me. More neutral and even darker ranges of color are good. I have one bivy that's purple. Good function but not such a great color.

Edited by flyfast on 10/05/2007 17:32:14 MDT.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Perfered Tarp Colors on 10/05/2007 19:32:33 MDT Print View

2 givens:

1) clear Cuben is of course, the first choice.
2) if it's made by Mountain Laurel Designs, it's not going to matter the color, at least to me.

Gray is fine but an interesting combination of subdued colors would be even better. That is, unless it adds even a fraction of an ounce to the design. :-)

Christopher Chupka

Locale: NTX
Gray on 10/05/2007 19:42:05 MDT Print View

Grey eh!

I like gray, its a muted color that blends in without being to "natural". If i wanted earth tones I would go back to the Ansel Adams days of 20 pounds of wet wool blankets. Stumbling around camp exhausted I want to be able to find my sleeping bag.

Steven Bergeron
(TheTurk) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Re: Re: Re: Perfered Tarp Colors on 10/05/2007 20:53:06 MDT Print View


I've always liked gray for a tarp (and just had a backpack made in light gray).

I'm tired of anything in blue.

I have no problem with any earth tones, especially if they're muted. (But there's no hunting where I hike so I've never had to be concerned about not looking like prey.)

But, to paraphrase Doug, any color from MLD is fine as long is it doesn't add "even a fraction of an ounce to the design."

Thanks for asking!


george carr
(hammer-one) - F - MLife

Locale: Walking With The Son
Re: Perfered Tarp Colors on 10/06/2007 07:06:56 MDT Print View

Hey, Ron. A wise man once said,"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Are you getting tired of the gray? I agree with the others who stated that if it's MLD it'll sell. I personally like the gray color. I never thought about the brown being a danger. Green, gray, whatever, just keep up the great work!! If it's to increase your sales, you do have other products you're waiting to roll out. I'm personally looking forward to the hyperlight sleeping bag you had talked about............

Greyson Howard

Locale: Sierra Nevada
A green suggestion on 10/06/2007 13:54:36 MDT Print View

While this particular company caters to military/ outdoors people who have a military bent, I think the multi-environment green as sceen here:

m.e. green

Is not widely recognised as military like olive drab green, and would be a good grey/green compromise that would lend itself to stealth camping in many areas.

Just my two cents

(beenay25) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
re: m.e. green on 10/06/2007 20:13:50 MDT Print View

"While this particular company caters to military/ outdoors people who have a military bent, I think the multi-environment green as sceen here:

m.e. green"

I've got to say, that would be a really nice color for a tarp.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Whatever it comes in... on 10/06/2007 20:27:41 MDT Print View

I personally am not too concerned with the color. If it was bright red or light grey, I would only be concerned with the weight. If you had to pick a color, I think the neutral greys and greens are most desirable...I never thought about my tarp looking like a big animal, but I guess that could be a concern if the area is regularly hunted...remember, when it's not hunting season, it's illegal hunting season!

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: A green suggestion on 10/07/2007 04:53:39 MDT Print View

The M.E. green is not too far off the gray, which I like alot.
Some yellows are nice. The MSR orange isn't too bad if you wanna be seen.

Bright green or blue I don't go for.

Jason Shaffer
(PA_Jay) - F

Locale: on the move....
Re: re: m.e. green on 10/07/2007 10:46:01 MDT Print View

Yeah, something like the ME Green would be great - it'd still let a good amount of light through too.

Thomas Knighton
(Tomcat1066) - F

Locale: Southwest GA
m.e. green on 10/07/2007 10:58:29 MDT Print View

I have to admit, I like that green a lot.


Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
green or gray on 10/08/2007 00:48:25 MDT Print View

Grays are pretty good, and still my first choice. I have recently been buying mostly grays. However, I am careful to wear or show some article of brighter clothing with it in certain places at some times of year.

Some grays, most browns, and some tans are all potentially dangerous in big game hunting seasons (or alternately poaching season which is the rest of the time). Best advice for not looking like a game animal is to be aware of color combinations. Brown pants, tan shirt, and white pack will have you looking like an elk. But no elk wear orange.

If you were to get into additional colors Ron, I would vote for medium to light greens. No problem with military colors - most UL gear looks distinctly non-military.

Jan Rezac
(zkoumal) - MLife

Locale: Prague, CZ
Grey/green on 10/08/2007 15:28:09 MDT Print View

+1 to grey/green, it is my favorite choice for such applications. The perfect tone would be something between the ME Green and slate grey.

grayish green

Edited by zkoumal on 10/08/2007 15:28:41 MDT.

Ryan Gardner
(splproductions) - F - M

Locale: Salt Lake City, UT
Colors... on 10/09/2007 10:30:52 MDT Print View

I do like gray. I did check out the M.E. Green though, and I join the group in casting a vote for a color similar to that.

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
Re: Colors... on 10/09/2007 15:03:23 MDT Print View

I would vote for a stealthy green like the ME green. I wish I could get one in realtree or something like that for stealth camping in national parks.