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#206298 - 05/10/22 04:55 PM Poly tarp weights
Jim M Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 401
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
We are all familiar with those utility poly tarps.
Often they are blue.
I had a 5' x 7' I used once where it rained moderately all night. It worked, barely. I said to my self; next time an 8'x 10' would provide more than enough shelter for at least one, and perhaps two in a pinch.
My question is: How much does a 8'x 10' poly tarp weigh?

I have a nice quality tent and also a nice 9x9 REI sil nylon tarp, but I am intrigued with the simplicity of a poly tarp. Have you used one? How did it fair?
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#206300 - 05/10/22 06:19 PM Re: Poly tarp weights [Re: Jim M]
Arizona Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 238
Loc: The Southwestern Deserts
Used one for years as a tailgate shelter when car camping. It is noisy in wind, a little more than nylon tarps. It is heavy and bulky but it is very cozy and waterproof. We staked ours out well. It’s not something you want to take backpacking most likely but they do have their place. We have coated nylon tarps and several silnylon tarps of various sizes. The sun eventually starts breaking them down but the poly tarps are very inexpensive. It’s the weight and bulk that are significant.

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#206302 - 05/11/22 12:42 PM Re: Poly tarp weights [Re: Arizona]
Jim M Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 401
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
Thanks for the reply Arizona. I found on the REI site they say an 8x10 poly tarp they sell weighs 1 pound 5 ounces.
They also have an 8x6 that weighs 11 ounces. If you compare this with (for example) the Sea to Summit approx. 6x8 tarp at 9.5 ounces the difference is only 1.5 ounces.

Sea to summit Tarp: $219
Blue Poly tarp: $6 Roughly 3% of above
Savings in weight : less than 2 ounces
Savings in dollars: $213

Is pride part of the equation? Do people take pride in having expensive gear? Would you be embarrassed to be camping under a blue plastic tarp next to four or five hundred dollar tents? Is that pretentious or ostentatious?
I'm not saying there is a right or wrong here, but it is fun to do some soul searching sometimes.
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#206304 - 05/11/22 03:09 PM Re: Poly tarp weights [Re: Jim M]
Arizona Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/02
Posts: 238
Loc: The Southwestern Deserts
I’ve never seen a poly tarp that light. You made a good find.

10x10’ is the smallest I own and it is far heavier and about as bulky as half my entire backpack. That’s why people gather lighter and less bulky gear imo but it looks like you have done well and saved a chunk of change too. I haven’t purchased one in years so they must have made some excellent upgrades with this material.

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#206305 - 05/11/22 03:23 PM Re: Poly tarp weights [Re: Jim M]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3236
Loc: Portland, OR
I looked up that blue poly tarp on REI and read about half of the 80 or so comments. The people who were using it as a footprint under their car camping tent all seemed very happy with it. Those who were erecting it as a shelter, using poles, had numerous complaints about grommets ripping out under slight strain, tears, and a lack of waterproofness. At $6 this is pretty clearly designed as a throwaway and the light weight is not an indicator of 'better materials' so much as flimsy materials.

But, hey, it's your money and your trip. For $6 and 1 lb 5 oz. I can see why you'd be interested in experimenting with it.

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#206307 - 05/12/22 12:41 PM Re: Poly tarp weights [Re: aimless]
Jim M Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 401
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
Yep. That brings up a couple of things. First, when I went back and looked at an old spreadsheet I said an 8x10 poly tarp weighed 2 pounds. I think the REI weight is either wrong, or it is a very light duty tarp and that would explain the problems you mentioned in the reviews. I have tried several things after many years of using a double wall tent. My go to (in 3 seasons) is my REI 9x9 Sil Nylon catenary cut tarp. 1.5 pounds. I think it was about $80 and I do not see it on their site any longer. It may have been discontinued. It is very well reinforced and plenty of attachment places. I use it solo, but two could easily fit under it. It looks very much like the Kelty Noah's 9, but it is a little lighter. I like to pitch it up on one end like a flying diamond. High enough to stand under the tallest part. If a storm develops during the night it is easy lowered, but only necessary if the wind is from the front.


Edited by Jim M (05/12/22 04:12 PM)
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