Backcountry Forum
Backpacking & Hiking Gear

Backcountry Forum
Our long-time Sponsor - the leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear
Backpacking Forums
---- Our Gear Store ----
The Lightweight Gear Store

Bivy Bags
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Snow Sports
Winter Kitchen


Avalanche Gear
Hats, Gloves, & Gaiters


Ultralight Backpacks
Ultralight Bivy Sacks
Ultralight Shelters
Ultralight Tarps
Ultralight Tents
Ultralight Raingear
Ultralight Stoves & Cookware
Ultralight Down Sleeping Bags
Ultralight Synthetic Sleep Bags
Ultralight Apparel

the Titanium Page
WM Extremelite Sleeping Bags


Sleeping Bags


Ropes & Cordage
Protection & Hardware
Carabiners & Quickdraws
Climbing Packs & Bags
Big Wall
Rescue & Industrial






Men's Footwear
Women's Footwear


Mens Apparel
Womens Apparel


Black Diamond
Granite Gear
La Sportiva


Top Brands
All Brands

 Backpacking Equipment 

Sleeping Bags
Water Treatment

 Backcountry Gear Clearance

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#169047 - 09/05/12 11:09 AM Best 8 x 10 tarp design
Gershon Offline

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
I'm going to need a solo tent for just a couple weekends this year. Renting is not possible as the nearest place is too far away.

I have an 8 x 10 Campmor tarp and a footprint I can use for a ground cloth.

I'd like to use trekking poles for support. Trees might be an option, but the trees have a way of being near the lumpy spots here.

It's likely it will rain because it always seems to, but I don't expect a driving rain.

What's the best design? A picture or a link to a picture would help.


#169065 - 09/05/12 05:41 PM Re: Best 8 x 10 tarp design [Re: Gershon]
JPete Offline

Registered: 05/28/09
Posts: 304
Loc: Eastern Ontario

I use a slightly larger than normal poncho (about 5.75 X 8.5 feet) as both rain gear and shelter. Depending on the site and the weather I expect, I use one of three pitches (using my hiking poles).

My preferred use is as a lean-to or "Baker-pitch": just a line from the centre of the short side of the poncho on each end, over my poles and to a stake. Then a line from the front edge at each end down to the ground. Then short lines from the two back corners to the ground. Usually I leave a couple of inches from poncho to ground in back. I have the lines made up and packed so I can do this in a couple of minutes. Just be careful with the direction you pitch, and don't trip over the front lines.

In really nasty weather, I do it pup tent style, over my poles and pinned tight to the ground. I generally have to pull one of the front stakes to get in, and it's a nuisance, but it's warm and dry, and won't blow away or collapse. I do use a line at each end from peak to ground. Condensation can be as bad as the rain. I use a very light bivy.

For sorta ordinary rain (especially if I'm wearing the poncho) I like to set it up in a pyramid against one pole. This is very easy and quick, it gives you a bit of headroom, it's pretty much fully enclosed, and, with some practice, it can be done from inside the poncho, so you don't get wet while you're doing it.

Just peg ties about a third in from each end of the long side (I use short lines that gives me a couple of inches of space between the ground and the fabric). Run a line from the centre of the opposite long side to your pole and then to a stake (gotta go outside to do this). Then bring the two ends around to the front and peg them. It's one of those things that's easier (and faster) to do than to describe. Problem with this one is that if it chills before morning you'll usually get some condensation. I've had a couple times I was glad my sleeping bag was in a bivy.

Sorry, no pix at this time (even thou that was my business).

Hope that gives you a couple of ideas. Best, jcp

#169068 - 09/05/12 07:06 PM Re: Best 8 x 10 tarp design [Re: JPete]
Gershon Offline

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado

I'll have to get out and practice.

#169118 - 09/07/12 04:08 PM Re: Best 8 x 10 tarp design [Re: Gershon]
lori Offline

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Sgt Rock has the answers you seek...
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

#169120 - 09/07/12 05:34 PM Re: Best 8 x 10 tarp design [Re: lori]
Gershon Offline

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Thanks Lori. I'll give those a try this weekend in the backyard.


#170121 - 10/05/12 09:46 AM Re: Best 8 x 10 tarp design [Re: lori]
finallyME Offline

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
I generally just use an A frame. The 8X 10 is great and provides plenty of rain protection in that setup, especially if you are solo. However, that trapezoid under a tree looks pretty good. I have sat in a lot of rain storms in the rockies under a big pine and have been dry the whole time. The tree itself keeps a lot of water from hitting you. Putting the tarp up against the tree with make it even better, and still maintain good condensation control. I need to try it out.
I've taken a vow of poverty. To annoy me, send money.


Shout Box

Highest Quality Lightweight Down Sleeping Bags
Western Mountaineering Sleeping Bags
Lite Gear Talk - Featured Topics
Our gear favorites and failures in 2020
by walkingnatur
03/21/20 10:12 AM
Montbell baffles, with baffleless sleeping bags
by Rick_D
03/14/20 01:43 PM
Air Mattress and CC Foam Pad
by Jim M
03/10/20 10:21 PM
Backcountry Discussion - Featured Topics
Fly fishing interview with yours truly...
by balzaccom
Today at 02:13 PM
Sleeping pad for bad back
by NickinVA
03/21/20 02:01 PM
Changing backpacking plans/practices for COVID-19?
by Glenn Roberts
03/17/20 05:27 PM
Make Your Own Gear - Featured Topics
Featured Photos
Breakneck Ridge, New York
May 2012 Eclipse, Lassen Park
New Years Eve 2011
Trip Report with Photos
Seven Devils, Idaho
Oat Hill Mine Trail 2012
Dark Canyon - Utah
Who's Online
0 registered (), 43 Guests and 0 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Newest Members
braveheart32, Kapol, OffTrailMad, nopeda, MichHiker
12836 Registered Users
Forum Links
Site Links
Lightweight Gear Store
Backpacking Book Store
Lightweight Zone
Hiking Essentials

Our long-time Sponsor, - The leading source for ultralite/lightweight outdoor gear:

Backcountry Forum

Since 1996 - the Original Backcountry Forum
Copyright © The Lightweight Backpacker & BackcountryForum