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Thread: Tarp Questions

  1. #1
    Senior Member SteelToe's Avatar
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    Tarp Questions

    I once made a couple 1.9oz Hex-Cat tarps per the DIY Gear Supply plans, which I've been more than happy with. The hammock I have just completed has a 137" ridgeline, which is sadly too long for my trusty 123" tarps. I'd previously chosen that tarp layout since it was the most foolproof for my needs, but now I want to see if I can improve upon some things besides merely scaling it longer. The main thing I'd like to improve upon, is reducing bulk. I am using a smaller pack to hike with now, and size is at a premium. Not looking for a winter-rated tarp that hermetically seals against the ground, but something that can handle southern downpours & non-snowy cold weather with some wind.

    -Previous tarp was 1.9oz ripstop slathered with silicone; is Xenon .9 thin to the point of being fragile, or is a 1.1oz Xenon sil-poly less of a compromise?
    -Is there any particular benefit to ripstop vs. taffeta in a properly-designed tarp?
    -Previous tarp had about 1ft of overhang at each end on the Hennessey I use it with; is that excessive, or should I shoot for the same again?
    -Does that overhang need to start from the hitch tying the tree straps to the continuous loops?
    -Previous tarp had a simple straight ridgeline; would a catenary ridgeline be more beneficial for the greater length?
    -Previous tarp simple had a flat-felled seam at the ridgeline; should I add grosgrain or similar reinforcement now?
    --It looks like the water-proofing benefits justify the ridgeline grosgrain, not that my flat-felled seam has ever leaked; will take this one under advisement
    -Previous tarp had grosgrain edging; is this worth doing again, or just needless weight that looks pretty?
    -Previous width was just under 10ft wide; would I really lose coverage trimming a foot or so from each side, so long as the end cuts remain at the same angle?
    --If I'm going to the trouble of bothering with end doors/beaks/etc, it's probably best to make sure the tarp can get nearly to ground level if needed
    -Green/gray is the obvious color choice...but I noticed I'm doing that on practically everything. Being red-green colorblind it seems even more drab to me than to 'normies,' so I am considering something more interesting. Seeing as I can still see blues well, has anyone been happy with a blue tarp? I've read of people having issues with certain colors making it harder to sleep or more claustrophobic, but I'm not convinced that's a real issue.
    Blue looks awesome to me (like a false sky, lol)
    https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/...ight=tarp+beak


    My restless brain also has some design questions as well;
    -I do not use a separate suspension for my tarp, so it always rests on the hammock ridgeline. Rather than a cat-cut ridgeline, has anyone tried darting the ends of the ridgeline seam, so it follows the transition from the ridgeline to the tree-straps?
    -Do storm doors (even partial ones) allow for the tarp to shrink closer to the ridgeline length without compromising coverage?
    --Sounds like they do; https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/...=1#post1209280
    -Has anyone tried an assymetrical hex tarp, which splits the difference between the asym & hex profiles (basically two of the hex 'corners' would be shorter)?
    --Of course someone has, lol; sounds like the chief benefit would be a way to avoid a ridgeline seam and some measure of the hex-cat bulk, but I think you may lose the ability to add doors/beaks https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/...7&d=1520912316
    -Has anyone tried a hex tarp where the width is greater on one side, for directional wind protection (or porch) in a smaller package?
    --This build has a 45deg slope on one side, 60deg on the other; sure looked promising https://www.hammockforums.net/galler.../9/tapr3ve.jpg
    -Similarly, has anyone done storm doors only at one end, for directional wind protection?
    Last edited by SteelToe; 03-17-2019 at 22:33.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member SteelToe's Avatar
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    So far, I've found some really good stuff here & elsewhere;

    Material; I'm leaning toward 1.1 Xenon, since the .9oz stuff looks painfully transparent (and is only available in drab colors)
    Color; 'Moroccan Blue' is the only blue option for 1.1, if I go with the heavier 1.3oz Xenon 5300 stuff --is the only difference the PU coating on the 5300?
    Shape; Most likely I will be borrowing heavily from Kisapcowboy's "badlander" tarp, which is a hex-cat with small doors
    Size; I will keep the same <10ft width the 58" standard width fabrics offer, and it's looking like the length will be 1ft longer than the 11.5ft hammock (I may pull the ridgeline length in 6" so as to avoid buying an whole extra yard of fabric)
    Features; for sure tie-outs at the corners, with pockets for storing the cordage; possibly panel tie-outs for use with external poles; I'll probably end up making beaks with some of the left over material (that, or stuff sacks)
    Last edited by SteelToe; 03-17-2019 at 19:19.
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  3. #3
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    Please post pictures of the finished product.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member SteelToe's Avatar
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    Okay, first pass at a floorplan(s);
    -Overall length is 12.5ft for all of these
    -Width is 55" from the ridgeline seam for each, except for the asym which is a single piece of 70" fabric
    -The one with doors is a shorter 11.5" ridgeline, but the door fabric sticks out 6" at each end as well
    -The doors are 24" "tall" along the vertical edge when closed/tied together --I'll need to do more modeling to figure out what angle the tarp 'folds' at to dial in their shape so that they close properly
    -The Hex-Cat-Asym designs I've seen are so similar to a diagonal rectangular planform, that I decided to just do that for simplicity

    Things I've noticed so far;
    -The doors allow the 'long edge' of the hex to be shorter...possibly much shorter. Even if you assume they are coplanar to the rest, the angle is much wider right at the end where coverage is worst
    -Fusion 360's sketch solver still blows for symmetrical shapes
    -While of course the final 3D folded profile is important, even the 2D shapes give an idea of how each configuration effects the coverage compared to the others

    Tarps1.jpg

    This last one is an attempt at a 'hybrid' that has some of the best aspects of each of these;
    -It is basically the asym with the ridgeline kicked off the corners slightly and re-jiggered to have a pair of small 1.5ft doors. The super-deep cat-cuts on the 'narrow' side of the ends make a little more sense if you can visualize them folded under as doors
    -The end coverage appears far better than the simple asym configuration. But what surprised me is that it is far better than the simple Hex as well, until you get about 2ft away from the ends (where it has about the same coverage as the simple asym)
    -It's a single sheet of 70" wide sil-poly, 4.5yds long (so a significant cost savings over the 2X4yd hex configurations needed for this length)
    -If the doors poking out beyond the 'core' rectangular profile are sewn on instead from the cat-cut scraps, the fabric length is almost exactly 4yds

    Hybrid Tarp.jpg
    So, probably not great for blocking wind or holding heat (but what asym can?) but it may be a way to "lop off" two of the hex-tarp corners without giving up much in the way of rain protection
    Attached Images Attached Images
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  5. #5
    Senior Member SteelToe's Avatar
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    I mocked up the asymmetric tarp plan with small end doors, and it looks like coverage should be respectable. One side is modeled 'normal' with the tarp pulled down at a 45deg angle, the other side has a single-pole porch mode thing I wanted to look at. Keeping in mind how the hammock is an asymmetric shape itself unlike the watermelon-rind I modeled, the coverage at the narrow spots would be even better in practice. From what I have been able to electronically approximate, it appears that the view from inside is quite open as well. Obviously not meant for seriously bad weather, since it is still an asym, but definitely better coverage than many asyms.

    Asym Tarp Views.jpg

    The little doors don't quite close all the way, and I'd have to sew on another short panel to complete the close-out. I'm kind of curious if some sort of stretch fabric or elastic panel with a catenary on the bottom could be used to pull to sides together & downward at the same time; that'd make for a very elegant solution that requires no guy-outs or extra ropes.

    I'm currently rendering views from the 'interior' perspective, which really make the concept seem attractive. It'd be 4 yards of wide 1.3oz Xenon from Dutch for 36$, plus a handful of yards of blue 1" grosgrain I suppose. Still trying to decide if it's worth binding the edges or not. The reduced area of fabric would more than seem to offset the heavier weight than going with a 1.0oz Xenon 58" width fabric. I think a hex ends up using about 6 yards altogether, this asym is right at 4. For my application, volume is the most critical factor, so being able to wad this thing up smaller than my current 1.9oz hex-cat will be very much appreciated.

    View looking toward one's toes with the porch on the left;
    View 1.png

    View looking toward one's toes with the porch on the right;
    View 2.png
    Last edited by SteelToe; 03-21-2019 at 23:44.
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  6. #6
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    If you're hanging in the ballpark of the "normal" 30 degree angle, allowing a Ridgeline about 83% of your hammock body, that puts you at a hammock of what, 13'8"? That's a big setup to then be trying to smallify!

  7. #7
    Senior Member SteelToe's Avatar
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    137"/11.4ft hammock-body length (I think I got the numbers confused earlier)
    120"/10ft structureal ridgeline
    2X 8" continuous loops each end (minus the portion wrapped into a larskhead, about an extra 6-8" OAL together)

    So the distance between where the tree-straps Becket Hitch to the continuous loops, is just about 12ft at the end of the day (not very easy to measure this directly while I'm in it)

    I don't know if it's the normal angle or not (sure seems like it, though), but I can barely reach up to the slightly-taut ridgeline while I'm in the thing and it's very comfy & flat on the diagonal. It's 11.5ft long and only 48" wide so a little on the long & skinny side, but also asymmetric & with extra fabric width at the foot end; I don't know if that messes with the 83% rule of thumb or not. Fabric is Hexon W 1.6, so I doubt it's stretching all that much. I think I may be laying on a slightly more exaggerated diagonal than usual due to the length & shape, causing the length-wise fabric lay-profile to be more triangular than rounded; effectively a shorter path for a given ridgeline length. If I lie straighter or in-line with the supports, I actually "bob up" a good 6" toward the ridge line as I bend the profile into more of an arc. I'm definitely more sideways (and flatter) than my Hennessey.

    (This photo is completely worthless due to the wide angle fish-eye, I know; but it just *looks* comfortable, lol)
    Feet.jpeg
    If my right leg is straight, the lay becomes even more diagonal

    End of the day, it's about 10ft from one gathered-end to the next, and with the loops & tree strap hitches, I think I need a 12-12.5ft tarp pitched close to the ridgeline & tree straps (like a Hennessey tarp) at a minimum.

    Though this is hardly an ultralight hammock, it's still a good 1/3 the volume of my Hennessey Asym Zip when wadded up, I think simply due to the single layer of (also thinner & more easily compacted) fabric and the lack of bug net/zipper. If I can get a decently compact TQ/UQ setup, I'll be able to fit all my gear in a light 32L pack.
    Last edited by SteelToe; 03-22-2019 at 20:02.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member SteelToe's Avatar
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    I really wish we could edit posts longer; I have answered a few more of my earlier questions;

    -Previous tarp was 1.9oz ripstop slathered with silicone; is Xenon .9 thin to the point of being fragile, or is a 1.1oz Xenon sil-poly less of a compromise?
    --The .9oz looks quite a bit more transparent, and it sounds like a little more thought is needed for panel tie-outs & reinforcement panels. It's also considerably more difficult to manage when sewing than heavier weights.
    -Is there any particular benefit to ripstop vs. taffeta in a properly-designed tarp?
    --Not really unless you get down to such light weights that tearing is a possibility (so sub 1.1 or very hard-use situations). Taffeta can be more easily ironed & creased for sewing, and at least Dutch's Xenon 5300 has no 'shiny/wrong' side and is far more waterproof. Also has no ripstop grid weave, of course.
    -Previous tarp had grosgrain edging; is this worth doing again, or just needless weight that looks pretty?
    Sounds like it's mostly aesthetic, though it does give a tougher edge, that is also easier to apply nicely than rolling a hem along a catenary curve. Grosgrain can simplify the tie-outs at the corners depending on how you do them (use a loop of grosgrain rather than a sewn-on strap or panel)
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