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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Tarp Wizards: Ways to Set Tarp High/Porch Mode Limitations

    A big advantage hammocks have over tents is that tents are very constricting. Consequently, I only put up a tarp when it's about to rain, or heavily forecast at night. And I'd rather do things to keep warm without a tarp. Obviously, very cold conditions with high wind might make me put the tarp low for protection, but it's never happened in dozens of trips. Basically, a low tarp makes the hammock experience too much like a tent.

    Additionally, when I use a tarp I greatly prefer porch mode. A few days ago during moderate daytime rain my free-as-a-bird porch-mode with a simple tarp offered a splendid view, especially compared with my buddy's hunkered-down, door-closed Cuben Fiber beetle-like behemoth. He was practically in prison. (I think he just wanted to see what it was like the rain, which he hadn't yet done.)

    At what point do you abandon porch-mode? And overall, what are the best ways to set your tarp HIGH. Guy lines to other trees?

  2. #2
    Senior Member zukiguy's Avatar
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    WIND!! Porch mode kind of goes to pot once the breeze kicks up and starts trying to yank out stakes. All of a sudden you're trying to sail the SS HammockHanger and that's no fun. A stiff wind will crush in the side of a tarp, even with pullouts, and even rigged low to the ground but you've got much more of a fighting chance in those circumstances.

    Also, depending on how much your tarp sags (bad with silnylon, not so much with cuben) you'll end up with a lake hanging above your head. Every so often the dam breaks and dumps a couple of gallons of water a foot or two from things you're trying to keep dry.

    Overall, unless I know for sure I'm in for a gentle shower (really good forecast, local knowledge, etc) then I'll drop the sides and snug everything down when there's a threat of rain or high winds. I've waited too long and got a good soaking running around in the rain trying to do it. I've also pulled the poles down into a more shallow angle from under the tarp. Unfortunately, I don't have adjusters on the tarp side of my guylines cuz I'm a knot guy (old-school adjustable guyline hitch).

  3. #3
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    Sure, high winds cause havoc on porch-mode. I should have been more precise: can porch-mode handle high rain, without wind? Does too much water splash in? Do you really need to go low just because it's raining hard? Does getting a bigger tarp help avoid going low? Do you really need doors?

    That feeling of being "trapped" is what I'm trying to minimize.

  4. #4
    Senior Member zukiguy's Avatar
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    I was fine for years without doors....just a big diamond fly. I set my tarp ridgeline up head high so I don't have to duck down much or at all. In this case even pulled "down" without the poles still leaves the ends open and a good couple of feet of space between the tarp and the ground. A lighter colored tarp also helps with the "closed in" feeling if that's a problem.

    I've waited out a couple of pretty bad storms, including hail, with my tarp out mostly flat just because it was a downpour and there was little wind. Sorry but to me the answer is "it depends". Wind just ruins everything.

  5. #5
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    You could make the tarp ends of your guy lines adjustable if you tied one end semi-permanently (e.g., bowline, larkshead?) to your stake, then used a trucker's hitch or similar on the tarp end. Check it out here: http://andrewskurka.com/2012/tarp-guyline-system/

    Have fun!
    Add life to your years!

  6. #6
    OneClick's Avatar
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    I'm in porch mode most of the time. I'll only hunker down when it's windy...really windy. I'll even keep it in porch mode through winter for ventilation.

    If you're getting water collecting on your "roof" it is not set up properly. You need a few inches of sag for it to drain. Better yet, drop one corner down a good 6" and it will all run off that corner.

  7. #7
    Senior Member MikekiM's Avatar
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    Wind would be the only time.. NOTHING is better than being under a tarp in porch mode when it's raining.


    Sent from East of Montauk
    Yes, my pack weighs 70lbs, but it's all light weight gear....
    Bob's brother-in-law

  8. #8
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    I don't use porch mode because I don't sleep or lounge in my hammock during the day. There's no view at night, so no need for porch mode.

    Even if I liked porch mode, I wouldn't go to sleep in porch mode. Nothing I hate more than blowing precipitation. Things might be different in Arizona since you don't get much rain, but here in the Northeast sideways rain is always a possibility.
    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Ralph Waldo Emerson

  9. #9
    Senior Member tstark's Avatar
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    I always go for porch mode when I can, even at night I like to be able look around me. Staring at silhouettes of the treetops swaying in the breeze helps me sleep. Sometimes I'll configure wings down to block the wind and wings up to catch the view. I'll use trees to tie-off to, but I've used oars/paddles from kayaks/canoes to put me in porch mode.
    image.jpg
    I'll only batten down if it's windy and cold, and I don't have a view like this:
    image.jpg

  10. #10
    OneClick's Avatar
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    I try to position it so I can catch the sunrise. Who doesn't want a nice view when waking up and having coffee?

    Plus, it gives you some extra space to work when packing up...very handy if it's raining.


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