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  1. #1
    New Member
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    Oct 2019
    Brighton, England

    Two concepts for hybrid ground tarps

    I’m travelling without a computer at the moment, so i haven’t done the drawings but I think the concepts are there.

    I know going to ground isn’t a popular idea here! But for me, the difficulty in doing so keeps holding me back from investing in a hammock set up.

    I travel by bike or hitchhiking where I’m usually wildcamping. Discrete spots are often hard to find and often I see potential hammocking spots that I couldn’t put a tent (and vice versa).
    I also do most of my backpacking above the treeline (UK and the Pyrenees, though currently in Corsica) which means for at least 1/3 of a trip I sleep above it too. I wouldn’t want to change my trip objectives too much to accomodate camp sites. The latter means a simple flat tarp is not a great choice for a tarp, I need something designed better for high winds.

    So a hybrid set up appeals. I want to get them out of my head to stop obsessing and get some more hammock experienced feedback.

    idea 1
    8’ ridgeline, set up in an a-frame with oversized doors on one end, regular superfly type doors on the other. The oversized doors would overlap so that they extend the ridgeline to the required coverage length when “opened up wide” - so they overlap along the ridgeline. On the ground, they would need one stake each, as the overlap would possibly be quite significant. But it would allow for a good ground pitch without the excess ridgeline length of a Superfly type tarp for ground purposes, saving weight, and giving a better angle into the day for the ground.

    The width could also be tapered toward from the oversized end. The small “regular” door end would have the extra coverage from the “regular door” to make up for the smaller width (let’s aay it tapers from 10ft to 8ft). A taper would save weight, and make a better shape for ground.

    Obviously a lot of trigonometry to workout here! Perhaps the size needed of the oversized doors would be cumbersome, heavy and awkward. For hammockong The end result is a kind of diamond-ended hex tarp, with hammock doors on the foot end.

    Idea 2
    A regular a-frame type tarp (see Trekkertent stealth for reference). 8’ish ridgeline. Both ends open up and close down with overlapping doors for ground mode.
    Opened up, there would obviously be a “v shaped” hole 3ft into the ridgeline! So, taking advantage of the fact we need a groundsheet if using a hammock as a bivvy, we could use a specially made ground sheet that attaches along the ridgeline (assymetrical rectangle? Pentagon? Optimal shape needs experimenting) to cover the hole. Attached grizbeak or detatchable door style.
    This is more faff when setting up the hammock, but provides better end coverage, and less compromises on the ground, means one doesn’t *need* a groundsheet, and means that on ground you have no real compromises for a reliable storm worthy design of a classic a-frame.

    Like the former, it could be tapered.

    Hopefully this makes sense without drawings. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Phantom Grappler's Avatar
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    Mar 2014
    Denton NC
    WildernessLogics 12x6
    HG cuben 13ridge12
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    Drawings or photos will help me understand.
    If you are above treeline and there is not a whole lot to hang a hammock, then maybe a tarp or tent is your best bet.

  3. #3
    TxAggie's Avatar
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    Jun 2016
    Pasadena, MD
    Half-wit (3 season), Chameleon (win
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    EE Revelation 20*,
    Warbonnet has a ground tarp that might help give you guidance for idea #1. It’s an A-Frame with doors, basically a Superfly with a 9’ridgeline.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    WalksIn2Trees's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Albany, NY
    Dutch Chameleon
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    since you're cycling, maybe mimick the tent design from one of those tents that uses the bike as it's frame. my only issue with that design is, if you want to go anywhere after you've setup for the night, you have to break down your sleep system to ride your bike there

    Sent from my SM-T827V using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    cougarmeat's Avatar
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    Aug 2012
    Bend, OR
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    I've seen this "bike as part of shelter" product and as WalksIn2Trees said, you have to take down your camp just to use the bike. I am a advocate of redundancy, not so much multipurpose. Because if that one multipurpose thing breaks, you loose a lot of functionality. Another fail was when a paddling partner showed me how he could use is towline as a clothesline - no need to bring extra cord. Except when it was time for the day paddle, he didn't have a towline (safety issue) because it was deployed as a clothesline.

    My point is - be careful about multi-use items. When I read the thread topic, it seemed you wanted to use a tarp as a ground cloth - really bad idea because of the pressure (and resulting holes) put in the tarp when on the ground. But the same caution goes for your hammock. It seems in design #2 that you figure on using your hammock as a bivi without a ground sheet. Again, you'll be putting a lot of pressure on the fabric (which is often designed to be light - hammocks don't expect a lot of abrasion abuse). I'd put something between the hammock and the ground.

    Your suggested tarp dimension is 8 ft long which seems to be way too short for the usual 10ft or 11ft camping/sleeping hammock. Going to a 10 or 11 ft ridge line isn't going to add that much more weight or bulk. If you are new to this, a gathered end (GE) hammock is usually hung so its end points are about 83% of it's physical length. An 11ft hammock would need more than 9ft of length coverage.

    As a kayak camper, I have to consider going to ground all the time. It would not be unusual to end up someplace where there is just a sand or shell beach for camping. But all I need to go to ground is a plastic sheet or tyvek for a ground cloth and a ¾ length Therm-a-rest. Folding the pad in half lengthwise, then rolling it, makes a small package for the bow or stern of the kayak: for a backpack, just rolling the length might make a better fit.

    You can use your hammock tarp, your top quilt, your hammock (with bug net) as a bivi bag. I carry two REI collapsible poles. They put the tarp in porch mode or I can use them to support the tarp ridge line (and attach the bug net) if I don't have trees.

    Note that this makeshift setup works if I figure the days without trees are very few compared to the days of the whole trip. Also, mild weather is expected as I don't usually plan a trip heading into a bad weather report unless I'm specifically going out to test some gear.

    Unless you have a really monster bike, you can't hold as much as I can in my kayak.


    But you have more capacity than just a hiking backpacker - so look at those REI poles.

    They provide a lot of options.
    Last edited by cougarmeat; 10-22-2019 at 13:17.
    In order to see what few have seen, you must go where few have gone. And DO what few have done.

  6. #6
    New Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Brighton, England
    I usually cycle (and hitchhike) with my hiking poles strapped to my top rack anyway, as hiking is my first love and i always for in a few multiday hikes a month when travelling (in these youthful years I try and travel 2-3months a year). So I always have vertical supports for a tarp with me. If not I’d consider using the bike frame as a support for my tarp with guys, but it takes away your freedom to park up at a campground then ride around a town to explore without your baggage.

    Yeah, I would always plan to use something under the hammock if I needed it in bivvy mode on the ground. But good point re idea one with the double tarp concept. I had been thinking the second mini tarp could double as a groundsheet, but that’s good enough reason for it not to.

    The 8ft suggested ridge is the main ridge seam of the main tarp in both ideas. In the first, the ridge is extended by the ground sheet tarp, in the second, the overlapping doors continue the ridge also.

  7. #7
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Yorkshire, UK
    I know this is an old(ish) thread but I came across it whilst looking for some info and thought of an idea or two that might work.

    Since you are UK based consider either the Alpkit Rig7 or the DDhammocks 3x3 tarp. I've the Alpkit, it's 2.7 x 2.4 metres so has a diagonal of 3.7m which is more than enough for most hammocks when pitched in the diamond configuration. It's somewhat open like that so might not be the best for wilder conditions, I've not done enough trips yet to test it in such conditions. There's a couple of shots of it in use in my trip report from last weekend -

    With it being a flat tarp it's fine for ground based camping. This shot was taken in the Yorkshire Dales.

    Plenty of room for two! It's quite a heavy tarp - 670g and for that ground configuration you need two poles, you say you would be trekking so trekking poles will do fine. In hammock mode you could use the mid-panel lifters to use your poles as external pole mods but I'm not sure if they align correctly when set up in the diamond configuration, it wasn't something I've checked.

    The DD superlight 3x3 tarp is 460g by comparison. Being square it is probably more suitable to one of the "off-centre" pitches mentioned in TUH which should give you a partial door at either end for rougher conditions.
    Better weight than wisdom, a traveller cannot carry - Viking proverb

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