Gorilla Tarp - The Cubenist Manifesto
Getting ready to attach tie-outs to my 9’ x 11’ cuben tarp, I realized that I didn’t know exactly where they should go. I’ve been taking things slowly with this tarp because I didn’t want to waste the expensive raw materials (cuben, adhesive, adhesive primer). Extra research and proceeding cautiously seem to have helped with construction thus far, so I decided to follow the pattern that has served for stitched fabric projects – make a cheap prototype. In this case the mythical $1/yd WallyWorld fabric wasn’t an option, but polyethylene sheeting was. In fact, I once used a 10’ x 20’ sheet of 4 mil poly to cover three small tents with skimpy tarps, and that set-up survived an extremely heavy rainstorm , about 6 “ in one night, I think – a true frog-strangler. This time I decided to tempt fate and try 2 mil poly as a stand-in for cuben fiber. Borrowing a technique from my kite-making days, I reinforced the edges with ˝” strips cut from a roll of clear duct tape. If I were to borrow further from those days, I’d look for high-density poly that doesn’t stretch as much, but I hope not to fly this one, so aerodynamic requirements are less stringent. Besides, I want to make this a true “volks-tarp” with easy to find and inexpensive materials, so a trip to WW nets a 9x12 sheet of 2 mil poly for under $4 and a roll of clear duct tape for under $5. Not bad, so far. The Gorilla Tape will inflate the budget, but that’s yet to come.
Step One: Cut 1 ft. off the 9x12 to make it 9x11. Obviously, this step is optional. I only did it because I wanted to match the size of my cuben tarp.
Step Two: Cut an 11 ft. piece of clear duct tape into four half-inch strips. In fact this step is also optional. There was no edge reinforcement on my 4-mil frog-strangler-proof tarp, but that was 4 mil, this is 2.
Step Three: Apply said ˝” strip to edge.
Step Four: Make two tie-outs for the side just taped, each 1/3 the length (44”) from the ends. Tieouts are 6” pieces of Gorilla tape with a 2” piece of 5/16” dowel rod.
Step Five: Finish the other 11 ft. side and both ends in the same fashion, except the ends have one tie-out point in the middle instead of two. Of course there are also tie-outs at the four corners, so there are a total of ten tie-out points. (Subject to change – that’s why this is a prototype.)
Step Six: Poke a hole in the Gorilla tape at each tie-out point, and attach cord (e.g. – mason’s line).
“Finished” weight is 20.2 oz. (Note to the punctuationally challenged: putting the word finished in quotes means that I’m calling it “finished” but it’s not.)
First test –blustery back yard. The breeze is coming up from the adjacent pasture pretty briskly, and my current hammock trees are situated exactly wrong, so the wind hits the new tarp sideways. It’s difficult to hang because of the recently cleared blackberries (to the non-technologically challenged: that’s a bush with thorns) and poison ivy, but it goes up pretty well. For a while there were only two or three tie-outs holding the whole tarp while the unsecured parts flapped around, but they held okay, and the tarp looked pretty good when all ten tie-outs were fastened.
Then the wind picked up, and the tarp tore at the ridgeline.
I had doubled the ridge tie-outs back under the tarp and connected them to each other to form a true ridgeline, and the wind had pulled the tarp downwind a bit so the ridgeline wasn’t under the Gorilla tape. I’d moved it back, and it seemed to be staying there, but it’s possible that the tarp shifted over the ridgeline again, and the line cut the tarp next to the Gorilla tape.
Here’s the damaged end tie-out. I contemplated cutting 6” off the end of the tarp, but decided instead to repair with Gorilla tape.
While contemplating I also came up with a motto for the Gorilla Tarp Project (and perhaps the entire Cubenism movement): “Weight is no object.” (This is in direct contrast with the motto of the Cuben fiber adherents, or Cubenites, “Money is no object.” Do not confuse Cubenists for Cubnenites.) :D
Cubenists use cheap polyethelene for tarp material and rely heavily on Gorilla Tape for construction and repairs.
To answer the initial question about tie-out spacing and set-up options, I found a sheltered spot.
The ends close nicely for storm protection.
And the side opens up well, too.
Poly makes a good prototype, I must say, very cubenesque. (And that’s my final suffix.)
The view up is nice.
If you decide to join the cubenist movement and make a tarp like this, I'd say go ahead and use 4 mil poly, or even 6. Remember, "Weight is no object."