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Thread: Tarp Questions

  1. #1

    Tarp Questions

    Hello!

    I have a few beginner questions about tarps. I just got a new hammock after selling my first hammock which came with a tarp, so now I need to buy a new tarp.

    Where I live and do most of my hammock camping it can get super windy. Can I get good UQ protection from blowing rain with a tarp without doors? I've seen the door kinds with doors, which look awesome, but most of my camping is along a multi-day backpack trail so weight and pack-ability is a concern for me. Generally, how far below the hammock does the tarp need to extend to give good protection from blowing rain (got curious after looking at this photo)?

    Do tarps and hammocks of different manufacturers mix and match well in terms of setting it up? Like, do all tarps connect to any hammock's ridgeline? Or are there some with proprietary hardware pieces?

    Lastly, any suggestions for a moderately light but not super expensive tarp? I know that ultralight generally carries a premium. Around or under $150 is idea, unless there's something amazing for a few bucks more.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    Sarasota Florida
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    Tarps and hammocks from different vendors work fine together. Just look for a tarp thatís at least a foot longer than your hammock ridge line length to make sure you have coverage for your hammock. 2í would be better. The Warbonnet tarps with the half doors are really nice. I have a thunderfly and Iím waiting till they get caught up to order the mountainfly. They provide great coverage without having all the extra fabric that full doors have. Silnylon fabric and shock cord guy-outs will help with the wind load. This is all just opinion but itís what I use on the open beaches where the wind can get pretty bad.


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  3. #3
    unionmanbirch's Avatar
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    Jun 2018
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    Tarp Questions

    I started with a Hennessey Hammock with the little asym tarp then bought a hex tarp which kept me dry but I don't recall being out in a really bad storm with it. When it is wet and windy stake it as close to the ground as possible. Now I use a tarp with doors full time and have stayed dry in thunderstorms and snowstorms, sometimes with the doors billowing in and out so I worry I'd have gotten wet without it. I just tie the doors back when not in use, but I'm generally bike camping so weight isn't a huge issue. Another option is a tarp door kit you could add on to a hex tarp on trips where weather is bad. I know Warbonnet makes one.

  4. #4
    cougarmeat's Avatar
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    Aug 2012
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    I used a tarp without doors (Hennessy Hex) for many years. If “windy” is a given, you’ll probably want to use snakeskins. A Snakeskin is a long tube made of nylon or mess material. It slides over the tarp when packing it up. Some are single - as long as the tarp. Others come in a set of two halves. Like two 6 ft tubes. At this point a YouTube video search is worth a thousand words. But the key point is, you can set the ridgeline suspension without the whole tarp blowing in the breeze, then you can pull the snakeskin back a to expose just enough tarp for one set of guy lines and continue until it is guyed out completely. So again, the snakeskin allows you to set up the tarp without exposing its whole area to the wind.

    Orientation is one of those, “What works for you” deals. In the past, I’d keep the tarp broadside to the wind. That was constantly pushing the tarp side into the hammock (even with guylines and panel pulls). For me - and especially because I use an UQP - setting up parallel to the wind is better (until I change my mind again). The trees the tarp is attached to lend some blockage and the tarp doesn’t take the brunt of the force. You could hang a jacket or something at the end of the tarp ridgeline to provide even more blockage.

    Doors ARE great in really stormy conditions with blowing rain, but not as much with just wind and the use of an UQP. They can also make a warmer environment in the winter - with the attendent condensation challenges.
    In order to see what few have seen, you must go where few have gone. And DO what few have done.

  5. #5
    StrungUpNewfoundlander's Avatar
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    My first (and only) tarp has doors and I'm very glad to have them, but I live in a windy, rainy place. Weight isn't critical for me (usually I travel by canoe rather that on foot) but even if I was humping all my gear the doors would be worth it. If I lived in a place where rain traveled vertically rather than horizontally, I might feel differently.
    Best Kind

  6. #6
    New Member
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    Sep 2020
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    I was gifted a chill gorilla 12x12 tarp that has many tie out options on it. It is about the size of a nalgene when it is all nicely rolled up. After a couple of tries, I have finally determined the best rigging. I can juusttttttttt fit an 11' hammock under it (with rain drop ties of course) but if it were to down pour, I'm not sure if there is enough clearance on either end). An ENO single nest has PLENTY of room under it and enables you to use the tie outs properly to make doors on one or both ends. The first few times I used it, I just did a basic ridgeline by hard tieng paracord to one of the middle gussets of the tarp, around a tree, back through the gusset, then either under or over (preferences here and expected rain fall are important to consider) through the other end gusset, and then attempt to create a tension line around the other tree. I find EVERY time I figure out a different secure way because I can never remember all of the knots. I make it taut, and tie it off so that the bottom rings of the tarp can stake into the ground without tie outs to wind proof it. The first few times I used, I didn't use the ends as doors (longer hammock). I did for this trip and I was amazed at how WARM it was!

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2016
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    Remember that you not only have to deal with blowing wind but also splashing up onto the under quilt. An under quilt protector from 2QZQ is a minor investment and weighs almost nothing. I prefer tarps with poles for the windy days myself such as the UGQ Hanger 12 with end pole mods. It was a great tarp for the price. They do sell a version with doors for very little additional costs.

  8. #8
    SilvrSurfr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Mouse View Post
    An under quilt protector from 2QZQ is a minor investment and weighs almost nothing.
    I haven't seen a UQ protector that weighs less than 5 ounces, and even if I did, it wouldn't matter. I'd rather have a 4-season tarp with doors. UQ protectors seem like they're addressing the issue of skimpy tarps. However, I'd personally rather have an adequate tarp.
    "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Ralph Waldo Emerson

  9. #9
    Senior Member P-Dub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by taraH View Post
    I was gifted a chill gorilla 12x12 tarp that has many tie out options on it. It is about the size of a nalgene when it is all nicely rolled up. After a couple of tries, I have finally determined the best rigging. I can juusttttttttt fit an 11' hammock under it ...
    A 12' tarp is wholly adequate for an 11' hammock! (It's the size that most folks here use for their 11' hammocks.)

    Be sure that you're hanging your hammock optimally by checking the Hammock Hang Calculator

  10. #10
    Senior Member Rolloff's Avatar
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    SS always has good tarp points.

    Its really a personal choice I think. For some the view from the hammock is one of the big perks and a winter tarp with doors is probably the worst for that. The price points and weight penalties between UQ Protector or doors to one end of a DCF Hex are almost exactly the same. I like to be able to see, so it's UQP for me.
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