Originally Posted by JaxHiker
I'm in the market, too. My MacCat Deluxe is just a smidge short. Might try the Ultra @ 12'. I believe there have been issues with the bars tearing cuben so you might want to investigate that further before dropping the coin.
Which is the lightest but with adequate protection? That is a tough one. Also depends on summer vs winter. IOW, it is a little more critical to keep both cold wind and all wind blown moisture at bay in the winter. Depending of course on where you are. For example, down here this time of year, most nights I don't care if wind gets past my tarp.
Your challenge is the spreader bars. Because you want to avoid bar/tarp contact, you are always going to need a wider pitch than you will with a non-bridge. Which makes it tougher to get adequate coverage with smaller tarps.
One thing in your favor- at least it seems to me - is the outer rings plus the inner rings. Double rings. So it has always seemed to me that length wise is not all that critical. If the outer rings get some rain on them, you still have the inner rings to block the water running down the straps, seems to me. Add a little twist or two to the straps and maybe some drip lines on the inner rings and seems to me you should be good to go. But the sides- or blocking wind on the ends - is a different story.
When I first got a JRB, I had the Maccat Deluxe and did not think it was adequate. I think it is about the same 11 ft length as the JRB 11X10 which provides plenty of coverage. But the difference is width and rectangular vs hex. The JRB provides a good bit more coverage. Of course, there is a weight penalty for sure.
But even the JRB tarp can be a challenge when the wind is blowing in the ends, or the wind is slamming the tarp into the bars. But Grip Clips or sewn/glued on panel pull outs at the spreader bar contact points solve most of this problem. This allows a much more narrow pitch - even closing one end to block wind- while still avoiding bar contact. In this picture the ends are closed like doors, and there is a Grip Clip on the right side only, pulled out to a hiking pole. As you can see, plenty of room on the Grip Clip side, lots of contact between tarp and bars on the left with no Grip Clip. This contact is much worse than normal because I have closed the ends to block the wind.
I never tried the clips on the MC Dlx, who knows it might have worked. But I doubt I could have closed the ends. That will cost you about 6 oz more weight to be able to use the JRB rather than the MC dlx, at least with the Sil-nylon models. But I do think the coverage is more than adequate.