I needed to get a tarp for my nephew's hammock and given that he only goes out a few times a year, I did not want to spend a lot of money on one. (Yep, I must be an idiot to even think about Sportsman's Guide after the +50 plus pages of problems with last year's tarps!
But anyway, poverty plus the scattered number of positive SG tarp reviews, made me order the Emergency Shelter (http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/s...er&eMode=)very early this year. According to SG this was supposed to be a "11 1/2 x 14' Tarp / Shelter." After shipping my total cost came to $50.97.
So yesterday I finally got around to opening the box. Turns out the Emergency Shelter has the same advertising/measurement problems as the tarps from last year. My actual side measurements were around 7' on one side and 7-2' on the other. Apparently, SG used diagonal measurements or something. ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!
Once I measured the tarp I knew it was going back. I called SG Customer Service, they looked into the issue and lo and behold, "The supplier gave us the wrong specs." Anyway, SG has a return tag ---hopefully with postage coming via e-mail--- and the tarp will be going back to them.
Tie outs: 6 Total, with 2 of them having brass looking grommets. Tie outs only intrude only about 1/2" onto the tarp itself. I suspect that the tie outs might not hold up in---possibly repeated--- high wind/rain conditions. Doesn't seem like this tarp has many easy alternative hang configurations to me.
Stitching: My gross measurement is that there is only about 6 stitches to the inch. Seems to me that more stitches to the inch would add strength and water proofing to the tarp, but I will leave it to others to comment.
Loose Thread Material: There were several areas of loose thread having off of the underside of the tarp.
Seam Tape: There is no seam taping at all.
The SG tarp cost approximately $51, seam sealing supplies (necessary due to the lack of seam sealing) would be about another 7, bucks; so let's call it as $58 total for a "cheap tarp." Tarp plus stuff sack ONLY weighed 1 pound 6 ounces.
Looking around the forum I found three sub $100 tarps in quick order: Kelty's Noah, DD Tarp, and Mosquito Hammock tarps.
I have already used a Noah, so I spent quite a bit of time trying to decided between the DD and the Mosquito offerings (each of these ended up costing $80). In the end I bit the bullet and ordered a DD XL tarp.
By spending $23 more for the DD tarp than for the SG, I got: 13 more tie out points; well reinforced tie outs; multiple possible "hang" configurations; taped seams; and a larger tarp.
By my calculations...the "cheap tarps" are really a pretty bad deal all around.
(If you want any more info on the SG Emergency Guide shelter, let me know and, if I have not already sent it back, I will answer them for you.)