I have now abandoned snake skins for our tarps and returned to using the JRB stuff sack that came with the 11'x10' tarps.
I remembered something I watched a long time ago - sailors reefing the sails.
I asked myself - how different is putting a sail away than putting a tarp away? On a windy day, the tarp is a sail !!!!!
Well to begin with I don't use a spar with the tarp. Yes, but I do use the ridge line above the tarp - that could be a substitute spar.
So down to the hammock lab.
Strung the ridge line and the JRB 11'x10' tarp.
Then took some 2 mm Zing-It (any guy line cord will do) and cut 7 lengths - sorry didn't measure the length, just use what you think appropriate:
- one for each end - 2
- one for the mid-point - 1
- two in the middle of each side - between the end and mid-point of the tarp - 4
Call these "reefing cords":
Tie a bowline on one end of each reefing cord and around the ridge line cord - so that the reefing cords are hanging from the ridge line cord.
Starting in the middle, gather the tarp up to the ridge line and hold the gathered tarp in one hand along with the ridge line. Now use the mid-point reefing cord to tie the gathered tarp. After some experimenting I found that it is easiest for me to wrap one way around the tarp and ridge line cord, around the reefing cord, reverse direction and wrap tarp again and then finish with a half hitch. I can easily do this with one hand while holding the tarp and ridge line cord with the other hand.
Then moving towards one end repeat for the middle of that section and then the end.
Repeat for the other middle and end.
The tarp is reefed to the ridge line cord.
Unfasten ridge line from one tree and stuff cord and end of tarp into original JRB stuff sack. Continue stuffing until entire tarp is back in sack. Use knee to compress and pull draw string tight. I leave a short length of the ridge line cord sticking out and use that to tie the ridge line to the first tree at the next hang.
I started with 5 reefing cords, 1 one one each side between the end and mid-point. I increased it to 2. The increase in the reefing cords makes the stuffing easier.
Reefing the tarp in this manner keeps the tarp under control while stuffing and keeps it from blowing around. With the tarp reefed, it cannot billow out and get away from you.
I find that for me, using the stuff sack makes a smaller final package than the snake skins. It takes me a little longer to reef the tarp than pulling the snake skin, but I gain in a smaller final package.
Another point: JRB puts a tie out on the mid-point of their 11'x10' tarp. I use a mini-biner through the tie out and clipped to the ridge line. This serves 2 purposes.
Originally I have used the mid-point tie out for years like this to keep the tarp seam ridge line from being pulled too far away from the cord ridge line. This keeps the top of the tarp nice and high with the sides tight.
Since the JRB tarp can be used with either an 11' or 10' fabric ridge line, the mini-biner now serves a second purpose for the JRB 11'x10' tarp: a pivot.
I can hang the tarp and ridge line from the stuff sack and if I decide to use the other tarp fabric ridge line length, I can simply pivot the tarp around the mini-biner, reattach the new tarps ends (formerly the middle of the sides) to the cord ridge line and re-guy the sides. Done. Using the ridge line cord and mini-biner keeps the tarp under control, off the ground and out of your arms while switching.
We've found that reefing the tarp works better for us. YMMV