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  1. #1
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    Question Which tarp style to choose?

    In a way this could go in one of several sub-forums but it's DIY related so ...

    I've got a long length of silpoly and associated accessories from RSBTR to make a tarp but am a bit indecisive as to what style to make. I'm currently waiting for my mum's old (and very good) sewing machine to be mended so have a bit of time to decide. I didn't buy enough material to make two (plus we've shipping and import duties to consider when ordering from the USA) so it's one to "rule them all". I have a summer tarp in the form of a 2.7m x 2.4m Silnylon model that I pitch in diamond mode but it's not likely to be that weather resistant in that configuration. I don't envisage doing full on winter hammocking but probably (UK) three season. Most likely will be used bikepacking so weight/bulk are also important considerations.

    Wants:

    To cover a 3.3m gathered end hammock
    Be as light as possible
    To be able to go to ground if necessary
    Internal pole mods

    I've got a pole made from flexible carbon fibre rod (3mm diameter) that I think will work for the pole mod, just have to cut it up to the appropriate length to test. I'm prepared to add more tie-out points both around the perimeter and mid-panel to accommodate both uses. Reinforcing panels will have guyline pockets and where necessary pockets for pole mods. Not sure on how to retain the internal pole mods, one possibility is to have a lineloc at the ridge ends and a simple line of cord from there to the pole, the other is to fix some tape at the appropriate points in the ridgeline when sewing that.

    Options in increasing coverage/weight.

    1. Hex: lightweight but might not work too well on the ground.
    2. 3.5m x 3m rectangular tarp: Adds about 20% to the weight of the Hex but is probably the most versatile. With tie-outs along the edges at the points where a Hex tarp would have a corner then I'd be able to have partial doors, possibly full depending on the pitch angle of the tarp.
    3. Winter tarp: heaviest of the lot, adding nearly 40% to the weight of the Hex, most coverage but might be a bit big for ground usage. Might also be a bit OTT for summer.

    All with a straight ridge but for the hex or winter I might go towards catenary edges.

    I'm leaning towards option 2 as the most versatile. But another possibility is going with the Hex and having additional add-on doors should I need them which keeps weight/bulk down for the majority of usage. Or maybe something like the Thunderfly?

    Any comments or things I might have overlooked?
    Better weight than wisdom, a traveller cannot carry - Viking proverb

  2. #2
    FLTurtle's Avatar
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    Never gone to ground with my Thunderfly. I guess if you pitch it to make sure the ends are not directly into the wind, it would be ok? Based on some of the photos on the WB site, it appears that it's a viable option:

    Thunderfly-Green-01-510x340.jpg

  3. #3
    Phantom Grappler's Avatar
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    Iíve gone from wrecktangular 13x12 cuben fiber,
    to (on order yet to arrive) square xenon silpoly.
    One is 14x14 for car camping or extremely short miles trek.
    The other is 12x12, for backpacking. Hopefully it will give rain protection for my 12 foot and eleven and a half foot hammocks.
    While there are no doors on these tarps, doors can be made by folding ends inward, held by guylines.

    In the past, I tie tarp ridgeline spang tight. Tarp ridgeline is somewhat higher than hammock ridgeline. This causes less rain coverage in storms.
    As someone here on the Forums posted, to get tarp ridgeline closer to hammock ridgeline, they have tarp ridgeline in a curve, hanging down similar to shape of hammock curvature.
    Then they pull side guylines down when staking tarp. This, hopefully, will pull tarp ridgeline down closer to hammock ridgeline.

    One problem that might happen, could be tarp has some unwanted wrinkles, causing rainwater to pool on tarp, instead of running off.

    Wish me luck, and ok to laugh with me about my efforts to get total pack weight from 32 pounds to 15 pounds....hahahahaLOL

    I might be forced to cheat a bit, and trek with a Dutch standard 12 foot DCF cuben fiber tarp, recalibrate my scales or engage in mass hypnosis!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bubba's Avatar
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    Just my opinion but weather protection is not where I like to worry about weight/bulk. I would go for the best coverage possible because being wet and cold and/or having wet gear sucks. Having doors on a tarp is worth the extra weight to me. Good luck with your project. Post pics when you're done.
    Don't let life get in the way of living.

  5. #5
    Member packman9000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    Just my opinion but weather protection is not where I like to worry about weight/bulk. I would go for the best coverage possible because being wet and cold and/or having wet gear sucks. Having doors on a tarp is worth the extra weight to me.
    My thoughts as well....I went from a diamond 10x10 to a Superfly and fully anticipated I'd still be using my diamond in the summer, but as it happens the weight difference over (or under?) my Superfly it's just not worth sacrificing the lower coverage, and I've had use for the full length doors even in the summer. The diamond tarp only comes out for car camping now. I might have gone for a Thunderfly out of the box had it been available, but at this point it's not worth the price/weight to get it. The Superfly is not prohibitively heavy considering it lets me hang basically at any angle to the wind I like with no risk of getting rained on even a little.

    As far as kits go, tarps are an easy project to do, it's mostly straight edges. If you grab the kit, post pics when you're done.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    Just my opinion but weather protection is not where I like to worry about weight/bulk. I would go for the best coverage possible because being wet and cold and/or having wet gear sucks. Having doors on a tarp is worth the extra weight to me. Good luck with your project. Post pics when you're done.
    Yeah, I sort of phrased that bit incorrectly. A better way (assuming I get it right this time) is: I've a 2.7m x2.4m tarp that I currently use but only in summer. I've used it in a diamond pitch but also as an A-frame sleeping out in the garden.

    The diamond is very airy while the A-frame feels more enclosed but it isn't quite long enough for me to be confident in it stopping anything other than vertical rain. I've rigged it up around a shorter hammock that my wife uses and like @Phantom Grappler says folding the ends inwards turns it into a full winter tarp.

    The 9yds of material weighs 470g, I won't be using all of it but then there's the reinforcing patches, D-rings and bits of Grosgrain to be added so my working assumption is that I'll be back up around that weight when I'm done. The current tarp https://alpkit.com/products/rig-7 weighs 670g (mine's an older version) so I'm gaining anyway. A bit hard to tell but it looks like the new one will be less bulky as well.

    As I noted in my OP, the 3.5m x 3.0m rectangle is probably the sweetspot in terms of weight/bulk and most versatile. I'm used to tarp camping on the ground so configuring things to suit the particular situation isn't a concern.

    All this is very much: measure twice (or three or four or ...), cut once. I do tend to prevaricate over things like this.
    Better weight than wisdom, a traveller cannot carry - Viking proverb

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bubba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob-W View Post
    ...
    All this is very much: measure twice (or three or four or ...), cut once. I do tend to prevaricate over things like this.
    So true.
    Don't let life get in the way of living.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phantom Grappler View Post

    (...)
    In the past, I tie tarp ridgeline spang tight. Tarp ridgeline is somewhat higher than hammock ridgeline. This causes less rain coverage in storms.
    As someone here on the Forums posted, to get tarp ridgeline closer to hammock ridgeline, they have tarp ridgeline in a curve, hanging down similar to shape of hammock curvature.
    Then they pull side guylines down when staking tarp. This, hopefully, will pull tarp ridgeline down closer to hammock ridgeline.
    you mean like here: https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/...=1#post2023550

    i'd be very interested in your feedback regarding this setup, i think it works really well, but an experienced hanger could bring a lot of insight to improve it, so i'm looking forward for your thoughts on it.

    One problem that might happen, could be tarp has some unwanted wrinkles, causing rainwater to pool on tarp, instead of running off.
    that shouldn't be a problem at all, on the contrary, it tends to work better. if using a CRL, ideally keep the ridgeline above the tarp though, it works best that way.

    Wish me luck, and ok to laugh with me about my efforts to get total pack weight from 32 pounds to 15 pounds....hahahahaLOL

    I might be forced to cheat a bit, and trek with a Dutch standard 12 foot DCF cuben fiber tarp, recalibrate my scales or engage in mass hypnosis!
    no luck wishing from me, luck is random, you can do a lot better than that. go for certainty , share your findings with us. cheers

  9. #9
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    More prevarication

    Am I correct in thinking that if your hammock sags the "recommended*" 83% then a tarp equal to the flat length is the minimum required? I.e. if I start with a 3.3m (11ft) hammock and it becomes roughly 2.74m (~9ft) with sag then a 3.3m (11ft) ridgeline tarp is sufficient? If properly centred there's 300mm (12") at either end. Going to 12ft means the tarp has to be higher to avoid the hammock's suspension so I'd lose a few cm/inches of protection at the sides.

    I've 9yds of material: with a 3.3m ridgeline Hex tarp I've enough material to make two sets of Grizz Beaks. Actually, I've exactly enough material to do that.

    Pros: Lightest option for summer use. Can take one/both Beaks for bad weather.
    Cons: not really "one tarp to rule them all". More faff. Full protection is heavier than equivalent winter tarp due to overlap.

    Also, catenary cuts on silpoly - necessary, nice to have or leave straight? The hex tarp instructions from RSBTR suggest that for silpoly they aren't needed. If I did go for them what sort of depth? The diagonals would be around 66" long and the bottom of the tarp 72". I was thinking maybe 100mm/4". No real weight saving but maybe would look nicer.

    *When working out my preferred sag/lay I just so happened to end up at 83%, it wasn't planned. Maybe I'm not so special after all
    Better weight than wisdom, a traveller cannot carry - Viking proverb

  10. #10
    Phantom Grappler's Avatar
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    Which tarp style to choose?

    Maybe skip the cat cuts-catenary curve. Not sure just guessing.

    Many, but not all hammock campers that have an 11 foot hammock, choose to pair with an 11 tarp

    With perfectly balanced setup, it would give 11.22 inches coverage beyond each end of hammock.

    Usually when I set my hammock and tarp, the tarp coverage beyond each end of hammock is not exactly equal!

    Very few hammock campers pair an 11 foot hammock with a 10 foot tarp.
    With hammock ridgeline set at 83% of hammock length, you would have 5.22 inches tarp coverage beyond each end of hammock. Not much room for margin of error!
    With my Out To Lunch Capabilities, one end of hammock would probably get wet if there was any rain.

    For an 11 foot hammock, I recommend an 11 foot tarp
    For a 12 foot hammock, I recommend a 12 foot tarp

    Bravo for you DIY hammock and tarp builders.
    Through a cruel twist of fate
    I was born with 10 perfectly formed thumbs
    You have my respect, tackling DIY projects!
    Last edited by Phantom Grappler; 06-24-2021 at 08:28.

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