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  1. #1
    Senior Member kitsapcowboy's Avatar
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    Cool The Cowboy Cat Tangle Tarp

    I am something of a traditionalist -- even old-fashioned in many ways -- yet as a creative professional I value open-mindedness, new ideas, innovation, and out-of-the-box thinking.

    It occasionally raises my hackles here on Hammock Forums when I see someone's creative thinking on a hammock set-up or DIY project uncharitably dismissed or even held to the fire and subjected to unwarranted or overly harsh criticism by those who consider themselves knowledgeable without the simple acknowledgement that each of us comes to the activity of hammock camping with a slightly (or sometimes radically) different approach.

    The gram weenie will take to task the casual camper who saves a few bucks with a practical, low-cost set-up that weighs a few ounces extra, and the bushcrafter will shame the gram weenie when his ultralight molecular-weave ubertextiles are defeated by a simple thorn out in the field. Arguments ensue over trivial divides like "knots versus hardware" or "grosgrain versus roll hems" -- some serious First World dilemmas...

    I see all of this debate and discord as a degree of failure to embrace the central ethos embodied by "Hang Your Own Hang" (HYOH). After reading, learning, sharing, and participating in hammock camping and hammock DIY, I am resolved that there is almost always more than one "right" way to accomplish a goal when it comes to hanging between two trees, and quite often "right" is a very subjective determination dependent upon individual priorities and preferences.
    ber
    After over six months of virtually the wettest weather on record here in Western Washington, of late I have been building an inordinate number of tarps for hammock camping. I have been experimenting with many different sizes, shapes, materials, and techniques, frankly with no other goal than to explore what is possible and what can work well under different conditions with different hammock set-ups.

    One of the tarp construction techniques I have come to favor recently is a reinforced standing ridge line seam on two-piece tarps, where grosgrain ribbon is folded over an external French seam and stitched into place; the ribbon's edges overlap the critical second pass of stitching on the ridge line, something like a course of shingles on a rooftop, obviating any need for seam-sealing with silicone- or polyurethane-based products, as well as providing an easier path to a waterproof ridge line than either a traditional true flat-felled seam or its common flat-felled French seam variant.

    Gram-counters seem to go apoplectic at the thought of adding 38 unnecessary grams of ribbon to the ridge line of a tarp without considering the other merits of this particular construction method, more so on the tarps where I have dared further and used a structural folded grosgrain edge binding in lieu of (or even in addition to) a more standard roll hem. I've liked the simplicity and reliability of these alternative methods so fate, and I even appreciate their aesthetic enough to weather the ridicule.

    That said, for this latest tarp I built last weekend, I went back to very traditional "standard practice" construction methods, just to see if I could still execute them in an acceptable fashion, with respect to build time, function, and finish. I employed a typical three-pass flat-felled French seam at the ridge line and rolled the perimeter hem with sewn-on reinforcement patches at all the tie-out points.

    Rather than build methods, the "experimental" aspect of this new tarp was going to be in the details of its shape. I wanted a sturdy but relatively light BIG tarp, some all-season weather protection that could cover bridge hammocks or tandem gathered-end hammocks hung side by side with aplomb and still offer versatility when used in porch mode or with internal pole modifications. I had an explicit weight goal of one pound, and I wanted the build to be affordable.

    What I came up with was a 12' x 10' catenary-cut rectangle tarp with ground-edge tie-outs placed to form aggressive cutbacks when used as a hex with the "doors" folded back; the same "doors" come together to close off the ends for full enclosure during inclement weather.

    There's an old-timey cowboy phrase, "see which way the cat jumps," which describes the act of observing something or someone intently in order to divine its mysteries. That was pretty much my intention with this build: to see for what applications a tarp of this size and shape might be a good choice. Thus, I gave this build the play-on-words name "Cat Tangle" as an oblique reference to its curved quadrilateral shape.

    Here was my result...






    Type: All-season rectangular hammock tarp (hex mode, full enclosure mode, and compatible with optional double internal pole modification)
    Materials: Ripstop by the Roll 1.1 oz Silpoly, 300D pack cloth, 1" and 5/8" poly grosgrain ribbon, Mara 70 thread, misc. hardware
    Ridge Line Length: 144" (12 feet)
    Width: 116"
    Enclosed Footprint ("doors" shut): 36 sq ft (6' x 6')
    Weight: 16 oz (469 grams) for tarp and stuff sack

    My base tarp material was an 8-yard remnant of seconds-quality 1.1 oz silpoly I got from Ripstop by the Roll for only $30! I simply cannot differentiate it from first-quality fabric in any way. This fabric demands a little attention when you are sewing it, especially when roll-hemming on curves or on the bias, but it makes for a sturdy, light tarp, and the colors it comes in afford the DIYer an eye-popping spectrum of choices.

    The basic shape upon which I decided was a rectangle with straight end cuts and a scalloped ground edge. I used a single 72" long true catenary cut 6" deep between the primary tie-outs on each side and then relieved the bottom edges of the "doors" on each end with a 36" long by 3" deep cat-cut, in order to facilitate a taut pitch when the tarp was fully spread out for maximum coverage. When the "doors" are pulled together to close off the ends of the tarp, they angle in sharply; when they are draw together, the tarp takes on a 6-foot transverse stance. The "doors" can also be folded either back or underneath for "hex mode"...



    I used looped two-way side tie-outs for maximum flexibility in how I can stake out this tarp; there's a 1/2" Beastee Dee ring and a LineLoc 3 adjuster at each of the four main tie-outs. The "door" corners use a more conventional 1/2" Beastee Dee mounted on a small grosgrain tab, and all vertices are reinforced with a sewn-on patch of 300D pack cloth with the raw edge incorporated into the tarp's perimeter roll hem. The beefy ridge line tie-outs were generous sections of strong 1" grosgrain ribbon and 1" acetal polymer triangles mounted on large rectangular reinforcement patches that reinforce the critical high-stress areas where the two panels meet the tarp suspension; I have learned the hard way on past tarp builds that shaving grams with skimpy patches at the ridge line is a risky proposition, as the tarp is under tension in multiple vectors and prone to abrasion from the hammock suspension as well as from entry and egress.

    (Construction highlights to come...)




    Total build time was a full day (between 8 and 9 hours) to cut the panels, sew the ridge line, apply the reinforcement patches, and complete the perimeter hem, plus another hour or so to tack on all of the grosgrain tie-outs. Total cost of this tarp was under $40!

    After completing primary assembly last weekend, I finished the final stitches on the Cat Tangle just in time for a torrential downpour; so far, the flat-felled ridge line seam is working well, but I will leave the tarp up overnight to test for leaks -- and I might even sleep out under it tonight to experience it first-hand...



    It may not be pretty, but it's mine, and it seems to work well so far; for now I am happy with my result. I'll be looking to see just how much I can do with this tarp during the rest of the year...

    As always, thanks for reading this project report. Please feel free to comment or inquire below regarding points that interest you.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by kitsapcowboy; 05-11-2017 at 21:03.
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  2. #2
    Intimidator's Avatar
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    Your write-ups are a wonderful addition to the forums. I don't have the patience nor the skill to compose the posts you create, but I appreciate them. Btw, nice use of apoplectic.

    Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
    -Carter

    www.RipstopbytheRoll.com| "The Best Fabrics on Earth. Guaranteed."

  3. #3
    Senior Member kitsapcowboy's Avatar
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    Exclamation DISCLAIMER

    This DIY project report was submitted to this forum for ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. Use any methods, ideas, or inspirations contained herein strictly AT YOUR OWN RISK. I accept no responsibility whatsoever for any injury or harm that befalls others owing to information presented here, and I accept no responsibility for any errors the post contains.

    I do not in any way advocate that others should do anything I have presented here; this thread is strictly DOCUMENTATION OF FACT. Readers beware.

    There is a lot of great information on Hammock Forums available from members with much more substantial experience, better ideas, and better methods than mine. SEEK IT OUT.

    Thank you for your attention.
    Smart graphic design for all your needs by BGD

  4. #4
    Senior Member kitsapcowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Intimidator View Post
    Your write-ups are a wonderful addition to the forums. I don't have the patience nor the skill to compose the posts you create, but I appreciate them. Btw, nice use of apoplectic.
    Many thanks.
    Smart graphic design for all your needs by BGD

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    As always bang up job, and great write up.

    One may not always agree on everything, however everyone should agree HYOH.

    P.S. I had to look up apoplectic. From context though my idea was close. big words hurt trolls little melon.

    Thanks for sharing
    Where the trail ends the adventure begins!

  6. #6
    Phantom Grappler's Avatar
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    The Cowboy Cat Tangle Tarp

    kitsapcowboy, cool cuts on your custom tarp, and your new phrase (new to me) " see which way the cat jumps," is a good way to describe your tarp's design path. And I'm in total agreement with you about HYOH, civility to others and their gear. Maybe sometimes I do tout my ideas about gear--sometimes to show off my ideas and sometimes to share them with anyone that would like to test them for themselves. I try not to denigrate anyone's gear--hey that's what I started with too. Lots of times typed words don't come off very well. While the spoken word and give and take of conversation are not as easily misunderstood.
    kitsapcowboy I enjoy following your projects. I myself, can barely make a ham sandwich--I might eat the ham before it saw bread.
    I love knots--and sometimes I stay up till wee hours to duplicate,with a knot,what is being done easily with hardware--but I try to never be mean to those who have hardware--hey I ❤️ love Dutch too! All my rigging came from Dutch!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    jellyfish's Avatar
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    Wowza. Do you think this is a good size for side-by-side hanging?
    I sew things on youtube.
    I donít sew on commission, so please donít ask. Thanks.

  8. #8
    Senior Member kitsapcowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Troll View Post
    As always bang up job, and great write up. One may not always agree on everything, however everyone should agree HYOH. P.S. I had to look up apoplectic. From context though my idea was close. big words hurt trolls little melon. Thanks for sharing
    LOL thank you, Trail Troll.
    Smart graphic design for all your needs by BGD

  9. #9
    Senior Member kitsapcowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phantom Grappler View Post
    kitsapcowboy, cool cuts on your custom tarp, and your new phrase (new to me) " see which way the cat jumps," is a good way to describe your tarp's design path. And I'm in total agreement with you about HYOH, civility to others and their gear. Maybe sometimes I do tout my ideas about gear--sometimes to show off my ideas and sometimes to share them with anyone that would like to test them for themselves. I try not to denigrate anyone's gear--hey that's what I started with too. Lots of times typed words don't come off very well. While the spoken word and give and take of conversation are not as easily misunderstood. kitsapcowboy I enjoy following your projects. I myself, can barely make a ham sandwich--I might eat the ham before it saw bread.
    I love knots--and sometimes I stay up till wee hours to duplicate,with a knot,what is being done easily with hardware--but I try to never be mean to those who have hardware--hey I ❤️ love Dutch too! All my rigging came from Dutch!
    Thank you for reading and for your comments, PG. You are one of the first members I think of when I'm looking for a knowledgeable, well reasoned perspective or a creative, intelligent solution for a particular hammock-hanging situation. You have an obvious wealth of knowledge and are ready to share your perspective with forethought and courtesy. I admire your problem-solving skills for hammock applications.
    Smart graphic design for all your needs by BGD

  10. #10
    Senior Member kitsapcowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jellyfish View Post
    Wowza. Do you think this is a good size for side-by-side hanging?
    Pitched wide, IMHO a 12' x 10' rectangle ought to provide pretty decent coverage for two average-sized hammock occupants using a spreader bar of 36" or shorter -- especially if they are hanging with the same lay direction, as Dutch recommends. The rectangle shape gives you much better coverage for tandem hammocks at the gathered ends than a hex tarp does. However, for true luxury or serious wet weather, I would make a 12-foot rectangle tarp with this same cat-cut ground edge out of either Dutch's Xenon Wide (75" width) or RBTR's new Silpoly XL (72" width, as used in my recent Batwing tarp, which has winter-style doors that extend a bit past rectangular bounds); such a tarp would have the same 6-foot stance when pitched for full enclosure (standing a few inches taller at the ridge line), but it would give each occupant almost a full foot of extra lateral overhang for weather protection. I made this tarp out of standard-width fabric to keep both weight and cost down.
    Smart graphic design for all your needs by BGD

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