First thing I must do is complement Ray Jardine & his book. Pretty great design & good directions. Also many thanks to the "Make your Own Gear" members who have helped me. Special thanks to Ayce at thru-hiker. His advice and quality supplies helped a ton.
I bought Rays Tarp book and decided to make his 2-person Tarp design. I thought better of making the net-tent and just buying the Rei Bug Hut 2
. I have shared one before while hiking & it was the perfect answer to bugs in clear weather sleeping. You can see the stars and not get bit to hell. I made the tarp to be my cover for the Bug Hut when below the treeline. The real reason for this tarp is an August Summit attempt of Mt. Rainier. I also plan to spend the night on the summit in the ice caves with this tarp. I was a tarp sleeper in Boy Scouts & when I got some dough I went to tents, and like Ray's book it took me awhile to realize what I was missing.
My intention on this tarp was to make it as strong as possible, taking every precaution and no short cuts. The flat felled seams are super strong and the material I got from Thru-Hiker was of a much higher quality of the same stuff I got from Seattle Fabric for more money. The Seattle Fabric stuff had a lot more scratches and wee holes. It was also a heavier weight then they promised but didn't have the ripstop strength. I knew Ayce's stuff was better when I went to use my roll cutter on the Thru-Hiker material and the ripstop wasn't cutting easy. I was using a brand new Fiskar 4.5mm roll cutter. It cuts through everything but those ripstop lines! The other ripstop fabric cut easily.The strength in the ripstop squares made me very happy!
I have a few things left to do.
1. Finish the the final side lifter patches.
2. Seal the seams.
3. Buy some fancy reflective tent line & pre-tie the guy lines. (suggestions?)
4. Buy some super light tent stakes. Maybe something that can be used in snow as well? (suggestions?)
5. Sleep under it in rain.
I'm proud to say that I don't have to go back & fix any holes or over sew holes. All my sewing (minus the lifter patches) goes into either a doubled seam or flat felled seam. Every place the webbing was sewn to the tarp was way overdone for strength.
The one big F-up was the lifter patches. I tried 4 different methods & rather then use those I made a variation that worked much better but looks like hell.
I basically made a flat felled seam that was 2.5 inches wide. I marked out where the four circular patches would be and the two slits .5 inches apart with in those. I sewed the seams and the fabric in between each square to make the fabric as tight as possible.
I then sewed the two button holes in each of the four squares. I then centered the 2 inch circle over the button holes & cut out the holes. I ended with a 2inch circle three layers thick. These were very strong and looked great. I liked the buttonholes taking the stress instead of making slits or pin prick holes for flat lines (like ray suggests) The only real drawback in the whole Ray Tarp design is the lifter patches. Gotta be 100 better ways then he suggests.
Anyways the circle looked great. I tried doing the two circular rows of stitching on a sample piece & it was hard as hell & looked worse. I figured that using the dbl needle would at least get 2 uniform rows even if the rows are hanky. That worked better and while attempting the sew onto the tarp it went bad fast. Sewing a circle on such a large piece of cloth is near impossible on a simple home machine. I should have made square or triangle patches. Turning the tarp while sewing was to much trouble & made too many wee pleats. They are on 1 side only right now while I re-ideate the lifter patch design to go on better. I'm sure the Pfaff I plan on buying would have had no problem with this.
I couldn't get a the tarp laid out wide or low enough to my liking on my deck but I think you can see what I made without the full pull. The winds were up to 20mph and where I'm located its pretty strong. I was able to pitch the tarp in seconds using my things on my deck. I would think being in nature would be even faster. The beaks look great & when I did spread one side lower the beaks extended made the tarp look like a tent due to its low spread. Very cool for the wind!
Final weight minus guy lines and stakes is 15.9ounces in the stuff sack. My previous two person tent was 8lbs with everything. The bug hut 2 is 2lbs 10oz. So I will split the carrying of the tarp, bug hut, and quilt. Between two people will save a ton of volume (pack space) and since we won't have two sleeping bags, a tent, tarp poles etc... we will save a ton of weight. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis & many past surgeries from a former football career. I have decided that because I'm saving so much weight I'm gonna get the most comfortable insulated pad in the world (any suggestions?). I sleep much better and my body feels 100 times better with a great pad. I have also found that sleeping in a tent (especially with someone else) that you use so much Oxygen the levels actually drop in the tent (proven in an everest study). The lower levels won't kill you but how can the body heal & repair if it's gasoline for the job is fouled. An open tarp allows new oxygen all the time giving you better experience. Being sick I can real feel this difference in my swelling and pain.
I can't tell you how happy I am to have made this! The feeling of self satisfaction is very high and I expect it to be even greater when I sleep under a Seattle downpour & stay warm & dry!
My next project will be to make my 2 person pita quilt. I already have the pre-quilted primaloft & momentum from Thru Hiker. I like the momentum so much that I'm once I get my Pfaff I'm gonna do the Maxima Jacket Kit
Peace to all!