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  1. #1
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    Light-Colored Tarps for Sun?

    I'm quite happy with my WB SUperfly 11" multicam tarp and Blackbird hammock, but it sure gets hot in the sun! Does anyone sell a silnylon tarp in white or light colors for use in the summer sun?

    BRET

  2. #2
    Herder of Cats OutandBack's Avatar
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    Have you tried using the tarp high higher on the trees. The only reason the tarp should be on the RL is in a storm. I would try putting the tarp high enough you can easly walk under it without bending over.
    Also if shade is all you want try the half pitch.

  3. #3
    OneClick's Avatar
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    A light tarp will make it even warmer underneath. This past weekend even my evergreen warbonnet thunderfly let enough sun thru to cook me. Total greenhouse with anything lighter.

  4. #4
    TxAggie's Avatar
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    I pretty much agree with all of the above. Lighter tarps let more light in which means more heat to you and your hammock.

    If itís that bright, thereís no concern for rain, so putsch your tarp as high as possible so if it heats up it doesnít radiate down on you. Take extra lengths of cordage with you so you can tie out the sides to nearby trees making the tarp as flat as possible. This is one of the greatest advantages of a hammock/tarp setup vs a tent. You can create a large patch of shade with excellent ventilation.


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  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    If my tarp is deployed when the sun is shining, which is rare, it is because I need shade. A darker tarp will serve that purpose best. A dark colored tarp might feel warmed to the touch but, the temperature beneath the tarp will be cooler.

    A dark tarp will also allow me to sleep a bit longer in June and July when the sky starts getting light at 5:00 AM.

    I am trying to counter with advantages of a light colored tarp but, I can't think of any.
    Questioning authority, Rocking the boat & Stirring the pot - Since 1965

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by OCDave View Post
    If my tarp is deployed when the sun is shining, which is rare, it is because I need shade. A darker tarp will serve that purpose best. A dark colored tarp might feel warmed to the touch but, the temperature beneath the tarp will be cooler.

    A dark tarp will also allow me to sleep a bit longer in June and July when the sky starts getting light at 5:00 AM.

    I am trying to counter with advantages of a light colored tarp but, I can't think of any.
    Situations where it's both sunny and cold would be the obvious one, for essentially exactly the reason that you mention.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluesam3 View Post
    Situations where it's both sunny and cold would be the obvious one, for essentially exactly the reason that you mention.
    Theoretical advantage but, realistically not. If cold, the sun shining directly on me would be warmer than filtered through a light colored tarp.
    Questioning authority, Rocking the boat & Stirring the pot - Since 1965

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by OCDave View Post
    Theoretical advantage but, realistically not. If cold, the sun shining directly on me would be warmer than filtered through a light colored tarp.
    True, but you might want the shelter for other reasons.

  9. #9
    GeneH's Avatar
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    Following this one. I planned for a gray tarp thinking it would be cooler than a brown or camo, but if I understand that would let more heat through than the darker colors? Odd. Maybe a tarp tight to the ground acts differently than a suspended tarp where there is plenty of air flow. Our dark fabric ice fishing houses get very warm in the sun and cool immediately with cloud cover or sunset. I’ve only been in one white canvas, and that might have not been as warm... but certainly was not warmer.

    To keep apples to apples comparison does the tarp deployment come into play?
    I need a new profile picture: I carry less, I'm older, and keep my shirt buttoned up now.

  10. #10
    TxAggie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneH View Post
    Following this one. I planned for a gray tarp thinking it would be cooler than a brown or camo, but if I understand that would let more heat through than the darker colors? Odd. Maybe a tarp tight to the ground acts differently than a suspended tarp where there is plenty of air flow. Our dark fabric ice fishing houses get very warm in the sun and cool immediately with cloud cover or sunset. Iíve only been in one white canvas, and that might have not been as warm... but certainly was not warmer.

    To keep apples to apples comparison does the tarp deployment come into play?
    A little bit of clarification here:
    Yes, a darker tarp itself will get warmer in the sun and radiate more heat than a light colored tarp. And yes, tarp deployment plays a huge role.

    Take your ice hit: the dark hut warmed due to the sun, and Iím guessing you had sides on the hut to keep wind from robbing that heat away. You likely keep the space relatively small too in order to conserve the heat.

    It would be ideal to have a light colored tarp when backpacking, but the problem is with the density of the fabrics we typically use for backpacking, those light colored fabrics donít block much sunlight. In order to have a light colored tarp that blocks enough light to cast a significant shadow it would need to be think and likely coated, which means heavy.

    So if weíre talking about lightweight tarps that can block significant solar radiation, darker fabrics work better. Youíre trying to cast a shadow, while still allowing for uninterrupted airflow, hence a tarp deployed relatively flat, or angled against the sun, at a greater height to avoid feeling the heat absorbed by the tarp.

    Sorry for the long winded post.


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