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  1. #1
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    Seeking tarp advice

    Two weekends ago I was out for my second trip out with my new toy (I just switched to hammocks with the purchase of a WBBB XLC). Trying to be cheap on the bits that were not the hammock itself I got a Wise Owl tarp (hex). Got dumped on the first trip and it did marvelously. But, I have realized after this last outing that I have gotten lazy in my backpacking. I know of a few spots that are pretty short bushwhacks (~1mi) that are on rivers in the wilderness. I always go to those and weight is not a big deal as it is short. But I want to start going further and on this last trip I was with my kids so in full scout master mode and the hike was longer (about five miles in the high cascades with a fair amount of elevation). About half way in I decided the weight of my pack needs to go down. When I got back I weighed everything in all the packs. The pack is going for sure and pretty much made up my mind on the Hyperlite 3400 which will save me multiple pounds (I like the Mariposa but worried that with bushwhacking it will not be durable enough). And pitched a few heavy things that are never used (backup tarp/reflector and the battery for the solar panel), learned to tie proper knots (ditch the daisy chain) and there are a few really cheap things to tune for weight (like changing to a Ti shovel)

    But that tarp is a little over 1.5lbs and is the second heaviest thing in the pack. At the same time I have been reading the Ultimate Hang (which is awesome and technically have now read it twice as it is sort of required as it sometimes references sections 100 pages ahead). And I am intrigued by the 'tarp origami' with the square tarp. A quick search did not turn up any square tarps that have enough tie outs on the ends to enable some of the more complicated options that make the square tarp potentially desirable.

    So with that overly long lead in, do people have advice on square tarps that are relatively light that have a lot of tie outs? All the ones I saw have tie outs on the sides but not on the 'mid ends' which enables some of the other setup options. I may have to learn to sew. I am a hack at sewing and can stitch on a ribbon of fabric to hold a tie for an underquilt (or replace a button) but it is not quality workmanship.

    My budget is probably reasonable but I would like to keep it under $150. So probably silpoly or silnylon. Don't think I can justify >$300 for a Dyneema tarp. Really the WO works fine. But if I could half the weight for around $100 that would be nice.

    I may also just punt on the origami concept and just stick with WB and get the thunderfly. Also intrigued by Hummingbird. I do not camp in the winter so a full winter tarp is probably unnecessary. Though storms do occur so having the ability to get some end protection would be nice.

    Advice is appreciated. Is the 'tarp origami' a bad idea (not sure how it will work with a 11' hammock unless one uses a 13' tarp and still it might not make good sense)? If it is a bad idea, is there a tarp for around $100-$150 that would weigh in at about 12oz that people would recommend?


    Ah, the hammock learning curve...

    FWIW, I now have four separate lists of weights (not including clothes or consumables): Current (28lbs), simple optimized - ~$25 (20lbs), moderate optimized - ~$500 (16lbs) and deluxe - ~$1150 (14lbs). The deluxe includes the Wooki and the Diamondback but for 2lbs it is hard to justify $650. Simple optimized only works if I do not have my kids with me as it means using one of their packs. So 'moderate' is really the target.
    Last edited by Sean McC; 07-26-2021 at 10:51.

  2. #2
    FLTurtle's Avatar
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    If you're looking at the Superfly, on the custom tarp builder you can add middle tieouts. I think you can also add them to the Thunderfly (end beaks vs. full doors).

    I don't have the middle tie outs on my tarps, but I don't feel like I'm missing them. With the specific features and shape of each tarp, I don't find that I need to do any origami...I just hang the tarp, stake out the four corners and then tie back/deploy the doors/beaks depending on the the weather.

    Now, if you have a separate 'camp tarp' for everyone to hang out under, I can see having a large square/rectangular tarp with multiple tie outs.
    Last edited by FLTurtle; 07-26-2021 at 10:58.

  3. #3
    New Member
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    The origami makes for two other options. The most likely is a asymmetric setup that makes for small door flaps (uses the first tie out in on each side as the ridgeline making for a maybe 30° angle compared to 'normal'). This can be done with the tie outs on the side and most have those. The other one is what he calls the 'short diamond' which uses tie outs on the ends.

    Both of these come at the cost of making the ridgeline shorter. Perhaps a bad idea in a storm for other reasons. Though I sort of want to play with it. Maybe I should just get a cheapo tarp to play with in the yard and then buy a tarp after that. I can always use the 'test' tarp to cover the wood pile.

  4. #4
    FLTurtle's Avatar
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    Maybe check out SLDs big backpacker tarp: https://simplylightdesigns.com/colle...ckpacking-tarp

    That thing looks like it has tie outs everywhere:


    102_3089_1024x1024.JPG

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean McC View Post
    The origami makes for two other options. The most likely is a asymmetric setup that makes for small door flaps (uses the first tie out in on each side as the ridgeline making for a maybe 30° angle compared to 'normal'). This can be done with the tie outs on the side and most have those. The other one is what he calls the 'short diamond' which uses tie outs on the ends.

    Both of these come at the cost of making the ridgeline shorter. Perhaps a bad idea in a storm for other reasons. Though I sort of want to play with it. Maybe I should just get a cheapo tarp to play with in the yard and then buy a tarp after that. I can always use the 'test' tarp to cover the wood pile.
    hey Sean, welcome to the forum. i heard some say at least half of the fun with this hammock thing is the endless learning and tinkering it allows.

    i reply to this message because it contains my answer to the original one: yes, do this, buy any cheap square tarp of sufficient size, don't care about what tieouts it comes with, buy it to play with the origami idea and decide if the setups you'd be missing if you stayed with a hex or other "shaped" tarp (like the superfly and the likes) are really things you care about having.

    i say don't care about the tieouts for this cheap tarp, as, especially for experimenting, you can easily add tieouts where you want, temporarily, without sewing. i will write a detailed post about how to do this during this week, as it's long overdue (but meanwhile, you can basically just use the "pebble captured in the fabric" method -- it might not look pretty, but it works brilliantly, it's very versatile, and as a full on scoutmaster you want to be experienced using that method anyway, as you'll be saving the day countless times (it's not only versatility when experimenting with origami and the ability to quickly replace ripped tieouts, btw, but this method is also stronger than most commercial reinforced tieouts, and let's not even start regarding grommets)

    my method is based on the same concept, but a bit more "refined" maybe, in other words you're not missing much if you just play with the classic "pebble in the handkerchief" method in the meantime

    if you really hate this method for some reason, i'd still say the advice stands (get a cheap square tarp, don't pay for extra tieouts), as you can try another option, especially on a cheap test tarp: you can just glue some tieouts on where you want them, and i dare say you might even get good enough results compared to sewing that you won't need to apologise, just make sure you use glue which is flexible enough (i'm planning to try this with silicone glue that's readily available, i think strong enough, bonds well to silnylon (it's what's used for waterproofing it anyway), nice and flexible too -- but i have not yet tested this, so keep that in mind (it's more of a braindump and "tell me if you get to try it before me" sort of thing, rather than "qualified advice")

    ah, nearly forgot: the two you're considering, if i understand you correctly, actually extend the ridgeline, compared to the "straight across" ridgeline of the a-frame, it's only the full diagonal of the diamond which obviously cannot be matched (longest ridgeline possible)
    Last edited by nanok; 07-26-2021 at 15:59.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean McC View Post
    But that tarp is a little over 1.5lbs and is the second heaviest thing in the pack.
    I can't tell from the "tech specs" here whether the 26oz for the large version is *just* for the tarp, or for the whole kit (tarp + guylines + stakes + bag). Can you clarify? If it's 26oz for just the tarp, I may have some good alternatives for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean McC View Post
    So with that overly long lead in, do people have advice on square tarps that are relatively light that have a lot of tie outs? All the ones I saw have tie outs on the sides but not on the 'mid ends' which enables some of the other setup options.
    I have a Paria Outdoors Sanctuary Siltarp in the 10'x8' rectangular size for $85 (free shipping), including all guylines and stakes. It has a fair number of tie-outs on the sides. Mine didn't come in at the specified weight, but they gave me a partial refund as a result. Their current stock should be the spec weight. The 10'x8' size tarp by itself is 15.5oz (so that'd save you 10oz if your tarp alone is 26oz). The full kit with guylines and stakes is spec'd at 20.5oz.

    As for how the rectangular tarp coverage should be over your hammock, I thought this article was helpful:
    https://theultimatehang.com/2012/09/...for-a-hammock/
    Specifically, check the 2nd diagram for Tarp Sizing, which shows a 10'x8' tarp hung at an angle over a hammock. I think that the diagram isn't completely representative of real life, because it gives a top-down view as if the tarp were completely flat, rather than folded over the ridgeline (thereby reducing the "apparent size" as viewed from directly above). But still, it gives some sense for expected coverage.

    All that said, I bought my 10'x8' tarp for a different purpose entirely and haven't used it over my hammock. I actually bought a Thunderfly for my hammock and am waiting for it to ship. I'm hoping the Thunderfly will be just enough coverage to protect me from anything falling "from the sky" at most reasonable wind-blown angles.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sean McC View Post
    Advice is appreciated. Is the 'tarp origami' a bad idea (not sure how it will work with a 11' hammock unless one uses a 13' tarp and still it might not make good sense)? If it is a bad idea, is there a tarp for around $100-$150 that would weigh in at about 12oz that people would recommend?
    FWIW, Paria Outdoors also has a 11'x8' Hex fly for hammocks which is $75, 13.0oz by itself, and includes guylines and stakes for a total weight of 16.5oz. That may also fit your needs.

    The only thing I don't like about the Sanctuary Silterp is the micro line-lok adjusters on the guylines. That type of line-lok allows guylines to be adjusted only between full-length (line-lok all the way out, tiny loop) and roughly half-length (line-lok all the way in, huge loop). I often find that I want my guylines much shorter, and in this case the line-loks just get in the way of me tying knots.

  7. #7
    LowTech's Avatar
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    These guys seem to be all into that tarp origami.
    https://www.ddhammocks.com/us/products/all_tarps

  8. #8
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    Something I've noticed on here is that whenever a tarp is pictured in "ground mode" then it's staked right to the deck. That's not the way to do it - doing so reduces airflow and you get pretty bad condensation problems. Better to pitch it so that the edges are 150mm (6") or so off the ground. This:

    a) improves airflow and reduces condensation
    b) gives you more usable internal space.

    You might think that you'll get driven rain coming in but even "horizontal" rain doesn't penetrate that far. If conditions are that bad then you simply lower the windward edge.

    As for "origami": a search for "tarp configurations" or "tarp pitches" will show dozens of ways of folding things up, many more than illustrated in The Ultimate Hang. In practice you only need to know one or two
    Better weight than wisdom, a traveller cannot carry - Viking proverb

  9. #9
    Senior Member sidneyhornblower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean McC View Post
    So with that overly long lead in, do people have advice on square tarps that are relatively light that have a lot of tie outs?
    At 22 ounces it may not meet your weight requirements, but I'll mention the Jacks 'R Better 11x10 foot tarp. It has multiple tie-outs that might be the sort of thing you're describing. It's the tarp I bring for my wife, primarily because it covers her Ridgerunner quite well.

    https://www.jacksrbetter.com/product/jrb-11-x-10-tarp/

  10. #10
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean McC View Post
    The origami makes for two other options. The most likely is a asymmetric setup that makes for small door flaps (uses the first tie out in on each side as the ridgeline making for a maybe 30° angle compared to 'normal'). This can be done with the tie outs on the side and most have those. The other one is what he calls the 'short diamond' which uses tie outs on the ends.

    Both of these come at the cost of making the ridgeline shorter. Perhaps a bad idea in a storm for other reasons. Though I sort of want to play with it. Maybe I should just get a cheapo tarp to play with in the yard and then buy a tarp after that. I can always use the 'test' tarp to cover the wood pile.
    Pitching a square asymmetrically actually makes the ridgeline longer (see Pythagoras) but at the expense of side coverage.
    Five Basic Principles of Going Lighter (not me... the great Cam Honan of OZ) Instagram (me!)

    “To equip a pedestrian with shelter, bedding, utensils, food, and other necessities, in a pack so light and small that he can carry it without overstrain, is really a fine art.” ~ Horace Kephart, 1906

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