Originally Posted by gmcttr
Get one and be the guinea pig for everyone.:D
As you may know the "famous GG tarp
" went to crap last year. Many of them leaked and the advertised size went from being measured along the edges to measuring the diagonals. We all got much smaller tarps than expected. I, for one, have quit doing business with SG due to their refusal to change the deceptive ad copy.
I bought two of the famous GG 12x12 tarps last year. I wouldn't buy a pair of socks from Sportsman's Guide after my experience - the quality was god-awful and they leaked like a sieve.
Like the OP, as a noob I was hot and heavy in pursuit of a sub-$30 tarp suitable for hammock camping. I lucked out and got a couple of Grand Trunk Funky Forest tarps for $29.95 each, but the coverage and configuration options were not what I wanted. Still, those Funky Forest tarps have served me well.
I wish I had taken the advice of many folks and ponied up the cash for a $79.95 Hennessy Hex or something similar in quality and coverage. Instead, I blew cash on Wally World blue tarps, attempts to convert tarp rain flys, and the "infamous" GG tarps.
After so much wasted time and money, I just gave up on an "affordable" tarp and went straight to the HG 4-Season cuben fiber tarp for $300, and I have subsequently upgraded to the $400 HG cuben fiber Winter Palace. Hands-down, my favorite piece of gear because staying dry is the most important thing to me. And the 8.5 oz weight is pretty nifty too.
My advice is to buy a quality tarp, and go cheap on other stuff. You can enjoy hammock camping with an el cheapo tablecloth factory hammock, a sleeping bag and a pad, but if you aren't dry, you're screwed.
Like I said, I lucked out with the GT Funky Forest Tarp and got a serviceable tarp for under $30, but if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't waste my time and money.