I understand the looks. A couple years ago I was "caught" doing the same thing. There's no way to explain it to the wife and we've been married 35 years today!
After we started camping with hammocks back in 2001 we decided right then and there that in a down pour it was no better than a tent for protection and maybe a separate tarp to supplement the minimal HH tarp a the time would be a good idea. That lead to a lot of different set ups and trying things others on HF were doing back in the day.
Now I have no desire to use a minimal tarp. Some of the things I've learned to do that work for me when deploying in a downpour are:
1) If I'm hiking normally the tarp (Superfly) is in skins and in an outside pocket.
2) If I'm hiking and it's raining I put that tarp more to a side pocket or even in the large pocket of my Packa (perfect for my liking).
3) I get ready to set up camp, just reach back or in the pocket and get the tarp out. Tie off one end to a tree (continuous ridge line set up) and stretch it out to the other tree. Still at this point pack and myself are dry in the Packa.
4) Deploy the tarp from the skins, adjust spacing if needed, stake out the four corners.
5) Depending on the conditions ... it could be in the porch mode or more in the down position but which ever one ... I'm in out of the rain in a nice large space.
6) Now I reach back in my packa to get and put down my little floor mat (small piece of water proof material about 3'x5", in the side pocket of my pack).
7) I take off my packa and pack. Packa hangs at the end of my tarp and pack goes on the mat.
8) Now I am still dry and can take my time to rig the rest of my kit. If I need to go back outside I can always slip my Packa back on.
When it's time to pack up it's basically the reverse. If it's still raining that is. When I get all but my tarp packed up, on my back and under the Packa ... I then pull the tie outs and let the tarp hang. I'll roll the corners toward the middle and that let's a lot of water funnel out toward the middle. Sliding the skin over will actually force more water out that rolled section. Then I do the reverse side and I have the tarp still attached to the trees and in skins. I take one end loose and fold the skinned tarp in two foot lengths. Then take the other end loose and now I have a wet bundle. I carry a stuff sack or have actually used a plastic grocery bag ... to stuff the wet tarp in. This bagged bundle I reach up under my Packa and put in the side pocket of my pack in the Packa. I once missed the pocket and it went into the bottom of the Packa pack cover and rode really well right there.
That's how I do it and like I've said before ... where I hated backpacking in the rain ... because of hammocks, larger tarps and the Packa ... I really don't mind it nearly as bad.
Oh and I most definitely use straps more these days with Dutch Clips. Reduces the fiddle factor of whoopees in the rain like the OP mentioned.
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Last edited by Hawk-eye; 06-10-2013 at 07:30..