Reader Tips: Best Way to Pitch a Tarp with Fewest Stakes or Guylines

We asked, you answered! Responses to our solicitation for the best tarp pitch using the fewest poles, stakes, or guylines.

Print Jump to Reader Comments

by the BackpackingLight.com Readership | 2010-11-09 00:00:00-07

A while back, we asked readers for their best tarp pitches using the fewest poles or guylines. Presenting our favorites:

Jhaura Wachsman

The best way to pitch a tarp is with NO poles, six stakes, and only ONE guyline!

Reader Tips: Best Way to Pitch a Tarp with Fewest Stakes or Guylines - 1
I ran the ONE guyline from the front stake up through the poncho neck hole right to the overhanging tree branch. All the other corners are staked directly to the tarp. Fast, easy and the best!

William Golden

Reader Tips: Best Way to Pitch a Tarp with Fewest Stakes or Guylines - 2
Tarp Lean-to Shelter: A 9 x 12 foot tarp or plastic gives a 4-foot wide ground cloth under the single bed, a 3-foot wall, and a 5-foot awning. The reflector behind this fireplace is an inverted V of rocks as tall as you can easily roll into place. It also serves as a chimney to help channel smoke up, no matter which way the wind blows. By keeping the awning angled upward, it sheds rain off the back and doesn’t trap smoke.

It’s important to pick a site that will remain sheltered from later strong winds. A cross-pole, fallen log or tall rock behind tarp-wall provides a back-rest. Tarp size for a double bed is 9 x 18 feet. If biting insects are not a problem, I much prefer this to a tent. With a stack of firewood within reach, a back rest, and a view, it makes for a happy camp, rain or shine!

Weigh In

Got your own trick or tip? Post it in the forums below, or send it to us for possible publication. We want to hear what you have to say!

 


Citation

"Reader Tips: Best Way to Pitch a Tarp with Fewest Stakes or Guylines," by the BackpackingLight.com Readership. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/reader_tips_pitch_tarp_fewest_stakes_guylines.html, 2010-11-09 00:00:00-07.

Print

Reader Comments

You must login to post comments.

New Visitors: Create a new account
Username:
Password:
Remember my login info.

Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » Reader Tips: Best Way to Pitch a Tarp with Fewest Stakes or Guylines


Display Avatars
Sort By:
Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Reader Tips: Best Way to Pitch a Tarp with Fewest Stakes or Guylines on 11/09/2010 16:13:32 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Reader Tips: Best Way to Pitch a Tarp with Fewest Stakes or Guylines

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Reader Tips: Best Way to Pitch a Tarp with Fewest Stakes or Guylines on 11/09/2010 22:13:34 MST Print View

Very slick idea Jhaura. I can actually see using a similar technique for a half pyramid. Stakes all the corners directly to the ground without guylines and simply tie the front center guyline to a tree.

Not the nicest pitch, but kinda like the picture below...just remove the pole and attach the guyline directly to the tree. Actually, this would be 5 stakes and one guyline ;)

Tarp Setup

James Marco
(jdm27@cornell.edu) - F
4 stakes on 11/10/2010 04:11:55 MST Print View

Try this:
1 stake in the center, rear of the tarp.
1 stake holding your hiking staff guy line.
1 stake at each front corner.
The tension on the lower triangular sections will hold them down pretty well. You can fold the corners under you as a partial ground cloth, too. Note that you can also do away with the front stake holding the hiking staff, since the angle lets the front corner stakes hold it up. But, it is not good in any wind.

george carr
(hammer-one) - F

Locale: Walking With The Son
RE:Reader Tips: Best Way to Pitch a Tarp with Fewest Stakes or Guylines on 11/10/2010 14:55:48 MST Print View

How about 3 stakes and one guy line:

flying a

Tie off to a tree and stake the opposite corner to the ground. Stake out the other 2 corners and you're good to go. Eliminate the load lifter visible in the right side of pic and replace with a trekking pole inside in the center.

Daniel Goldenberg
(dag4643) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: Re: Reader Tips: Best Way to Pitch a Tarp with Fewest Stakes or Guylines on 11/10/2010 15:07:58 MST Print View

Steve,

You can do that half pyramid pitch also with no guyline if you carefully angle in the trekking pole. So same setup minus one guyline and minus 1 stake!

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Reader Tips: Best Way to Pitch a Tarp with Fewest Stakes or Guylines on 11/10/2010 16:03:54 MST Print View

Any tips on how to efficiently pitch something like the MLD cuben poncho?

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Reader Tips: Best Way to Pitch a Tarp with Fewest Stakes or Guylines on 11/11/2010 16:00:43 MST Print View

A line stretched between two trees and two stakes works.

tarp 1


tarp 2


tarp 3


Or line between trees, low on one end with two stakes and a couple more lines on front.


tarp 4


tarp 5


Gear
Tarp: MLD sil poncho
Bivy: new BPL Vapr
Quilt: new BPL 240

William Murphy
(33972) - MLife
3 stakes one guy line on 11/14/2010 15:33:02 MST Print View

I came here to say exactly what George Carr already said, but I don't even have a supporting picture. That setup sheds snow well, and if the wind shifts, a golite umbrella across the front (as a door) seals things up quite weather proof.

Frank Deland
(rambler) - M

Locale: On the AT in VA
guyline over the top on 11/15/2010 06:34:41 MST Print View

One could also run a long guyline betweeen two trees, have it run over the the top and tie out the hood to it in the middle. This is a way to get various heights for your tarp. The lower it is hung, the wider it gets. It gives a bit more support to the middle by keeping it up.

Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Uh, HELLO?! on 11/16/2010 10:58:09 MST Print View

Where were you guys when I posted the solicitation?!

You could have been PAID for those pics of nice set-ups. I'm trying to tap the collective wealth of knowledge in our community, but it's awfully hard when you're so shy.

What's it like to be shy? :)
Addie

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: 3 stakes one guy line on 11/16/2010 11:52:21 MST Print View

I'm guessing I would just replace the trees with trekking poles above bushline, but I'm also guessing I would not choose to do this unless it was a) and emergency, or b) it was a lovely evening with little chance of bad weather. These ponchos are pretty minimal looking for excluding windblown rain and mist IMHO, but I always carry a poncho "just in case" on days trips, so good to know what the minimum I need is.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Uh, HELLO?! on 11/16/2010 12:10:16 MST Print View

Addie, does that count as one of those "smackdowns" you alluded to a couple months ago?

Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Smackdown on 11/16/2010 12:26:09 MST Print View

It's as close as I can get in polite company. :)

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Smackdown on 11/16/2010 12:28:11 MST Print View

What polite company!? ;-)

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: pro bono is a many splendored thing on 11/19/2010 17:36:44 MST Print View

>>> could have been PAID for those pics of nice set-ups

I'll buy you a diamond ring my friend if it makes you feel alright
I'll get you anything my friend if it makes you feel alright
'Cause I don't care too much for money, money can't buy me love


Addie,

Just knowing you love us is all we need.

Daniel Fluri
(dani) - F
No Guylines, No Stakes, No Poles on 11/20/2010 05:34:52 MST Print View

By omiting the guyline altogether and substituting the stakes with twigs and the poles with two rather heavy branches (leaning them outwards so that they keep the tarp under tension) you can build a very low, rather wobbly A-frame.

Which is what I had to resort to on one trip, when I found out late at night that I packed only my poncho tarp but forgot stakes and guylines. As it was an easy two-day trip in the woods I neither carried any trekking poles either.

I must admit, it wasn't a very comfortable night though, but it kept off the rain.

Unfortunately I wasn't in the mood then of taking any pictures of this construction.

J W
(jhaura) - F

Locale: www.Trailability.com
Re: Reader Tips: Best Way to Pitch a Tarp with Fewest Stakes or Guylines on 11/21/2010 10:59:27 MST Print View

Very cool ideas, that's what I love about SUL backpacking - so much creativity and cooperation with nature to succeed! The talented BPL crew has really added value with this thread. Thanks all for the inspiration. And thanks Addie for being so "persistent" and committed to getting us to step up and share our experience.