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#128699 - 02/12/10 12:28 PM Tarp camping

I'm researching tarps and I'd just like to get some advice or suggestions on the subject. The kind/type of ground cloth is the main thing I'm concerned about. Should I have a bivy with a ground cloth? I really don't have any experience with tarps. I'll def be in areas with rain and maybe snow. Weight and compactness means a lot to me.

This is probably the best tarp I've found:

#128703 - 02/12/10 01:06 PM Re: Tarp camping [Re: ]
lori Offline

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
The best tarp in what respect? Just curious, I knew someone who has one they're thinking of shelving in favor of a tarptent.

I've looked a lot at bivies and tarps - some of the bivies are heavier than tarptents. There are a ton of options and some don't absolutely require a ground cloth. A bullet proof (heavy) bivy probably wouldn't really need one.

Gossamer Gear, while you're there, has polycro ground sheets. I've used a trash bag before. One of those cheap 2 oz plastic rain ponchos would be a dual use item - ponchos being what they are, even if it has a few holes it will still keep most of the water off you in the rain unless it's really pouring, which is when you should have real rain gear anyway... 2 mm painter's drop cloth is what I've made ground sheets for tents out of before, a couple bucks and you have a whole bunch of them for the trouble of cutting them out.

For snow you might look at mid tents instead - Oware has mids, Black Diamond too. Use with or without bugnet. Very good in snow, I hear.

I have two large tarps but I usually hang my hammock under them. I've pitched one on the ground in several occasions, however. It's caternary cut so shed the wind like a champ. If you anticipate being in a lot of precipitation you might think about where you're going to cook while it's raining or blustery and whether the shelter you choose has room for that - I've had pretty good luck under an open ended tarp with the closed end into the wind.
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

#128706 - 02/12/10 01:27 PM Re: Tarp camping [Re: ]
scottyb Offline

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 278
Loc: Texas Hill Country
I have been using a Granit Gear White Lightening for a year now. I used it for 9 nights in Grand Canyon. It is a little heavier 8 x 10 19oz because it has adjustable straps at all the tie-out points and a sewn-in stuff sack. What I like about it is the edges and ridgeline have tension tape (stretchy) and it stays tight. I also use it for one of my hammocks and slept under it in a monsoon last fall.

You can use a piece of tyvek for a ground cloth or a scrap piece of sil. I have a bug bivy if I need it or I can use my hammock and bug netting for a bivy.

There are several cottage industry guys that will build anything you want at a very reasonable (cheap) price. Jacks or Better, Backwoods Daydreamer, Warbonnet Outdoors, Speer, and OES to name a few.

These guys all do great work and have a good reputatution, not to mention the fact that you will deal 1-on-1 with them.

Edited by scottyb (02/12/10 01:28 PM)
Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.... Pericles (430 B.C)

#128711 - 02/12/10 02:47 PM Re: Tarp camping [Re: scottyb]
Cesar Offline

Registered: 11/06/07
Posts: 217
Loc: El Paso, TX
I don't know about best but I just ordered an MLD trailstar and am really looking forward to using it. From everything Ive read and seeing all the different pitching options is looks like a great tarp.
My gear is no where near lightweight


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