Hi all,

I've been playing around with hammocks for some time now but am just recently getting into the idea of using it for camping - especially especially backpacking and bikepacking when it doesn't really make sense to lug a tent along and you want a good night's sleep...but then again when don't you want a good night's sleep?

I've got a DIY tarp made of Silnylon. Right now it's a 10'x10" rectangle. I've got a couple of questions:

1) I wanna make an all around decent tarp - I don't have the money to collect a bunch of tarps for special conditions. I've been reading on these forums and it looks like a hex tarp is a good all around choice? I want to keep things reasonably light but am not too concerned about saving a few ounces on cutting my tarp down to minimalist proportions. I wanna be comfy at night and not worry about it - I realize that that may mean a fairly large tarp and carrying around a bit of extra weight - though with 1.1 silnylon I guess you'd have to cut a bunch of the tarp off to save much weight. That being said I do live in a pretty wooded area (northern Wisconsin) and so generally wind-blown rain isn't going to be coming at me sideways.

2) I can usually get my tarp to be taut if I take a while and dink around with it. But it seems to take a long time. I'm kinda thinking that my tarp is just way too big and unwieldy. How long should it take (I realize that things change with conditions and tarp styles - but if you could just give a ballpark figure for setting up the tarp on a warm, not windy or rainy day with a hex tarp)?

3) Is doing a cat cut on a DIY tarp a big hassle? Is it tough getting the curves right and then is it tough hemming the curved edges? It seems like a cat cut should pitch better/tauter/faster (less dinking around to get it taut) but I don't have any experience either and I don't want to try and figure out how to reinvent that wheel if it doesn't make sense.