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  1. #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Columbia, SC
    Off-brand cheapo
    Mummy bag
    Becket Hitch

    Thumbs up ALPS Mountaineering Ultra-Light Tarp Shelter Initial Impressions

    After a recent trip on the Pine Mountain Trail in Georgia, my wife and I realized we needed better tarps. (It was raining and windy the first night and the tarps that came with our hammocks were struggling to keep us dry. Hers had a leaking seem, mine was just too small to really do the job.)

    So, after a bunch of research online and an Excel spreadsheet comparing size, cost, weight, and several ratios thereof, the ALPS seemed to be just the ticket. Currently on closeout at REI for about $90 (Where we ordered two of them, also had a coupon which sweetened the deal a bit.).

    Set it up in the backyard this past Saturday which was sunny, but also quite windy. The ALPS is 150" (381 cm) along the ridgeline and 116" (294 cm) wide. It is a hex-shaped tarp with a tie-out at east corner. It comes with guy lines with tensioners and 6 6" (15cm) aluminum stakes.

    Setup took a minute because the tensioners do not come properly rigged. Not a huge deal, but a good reason to shakedown in the yard on a sunny Saturday and not in fading light in the rain on the trail somewhere.

    I hung it in my hammock spot in the yard and staked it out, then went a ahead and put my hammock under it.

    The guy lines are plenty long. I didn't measure but I would estimate 10-12'. The provided stakes, while being lightweight and stiff, just didn't have enough bite to hold in the gusts I was experiencing. (25mph with gusts to 35, though my yard is somewhat sheltered.) This being a big tarp, it can generate a good amount of tug with the right wind. I replaced the stakes with some 9" Coughlin aluminum stakes I had and that seemed to hold better in my lawn. (Not sure what I'm going to do with a dozen red anodized red stakes now....they're cute...)

    The tarp seems plenty big for my 10' hammock to survive windy rain high and dry and double as a hangout space for my wife and I out of sun or rain. I had is staked pretty wide, and laying there looking, I felt even like that, it would have kept me dry with the wind I had going.

    Weight, once re-folded with guy lines, 4 9" stakes and stuff sack came in about 550g (19.4 oz). I feel that's reasonable for the size of the tarp. It packs up small, roughly the size of a 1 liter water bottle.

    The tarp is a very dark grey with 2 red corners which highlight the ALPS logo. It let some light pass through, but I think will be reasonable UV protection. I prefer subdued colors in my gear, so I was happy with the overall setup. It is made from 20-denier 380T ripstop nylon.

    Planning on another short trip in a couple of weeks, so we'll see how they do in the field.
    Grace & peace,
    No one sits around talking about that trip where it was 76 and sunny the whole time.

  2. #2
    Mescript's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    WBRR & Banyan
    Bonded Xenon Wide
    UGQ & Loco Libre
    Becket Hitch
    Thanks for the review! I know quite a few people, mainly in scouts, that use their products since they take a beating. Their customer service is also fantastic.

  3. #3
    Senior Member dakotaross's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Chamblee, GA
    SuperiorGear or Dutch netless
    custom pentagon
    down hammock or UQ
    Dutch Mantis
    I just picked up one of these for less than what the OP did. The actual weight is 16.4oz which is not bad for a 12.5' long tarp that is also 58" wide on each side, pushing the limits of regular width material. Was published at 15oz which was of course, very intriguing, but it would appear that Alps used to have a 98" wide tarp as the product card that came with this one stated that smaller size. Amazon appears to have the smaller, lighter version if the description is to be believed there. (got the bigger one for less) It is very comparable to what you might find from the cottage makers.

    I would normally wait for a Dutch sale, etc., but it was stupid cheap for the size and weight, and it comes with mini groundhogs and reflective line (red) and those triangle line locs I hate. Comes with 6 of each, so clearly meant for staking out for ground use as well as for a hammock. The RL is fully taped which you don't often see. Appears to be silnylon vs the silpoly you typically see now. Being that, could probably use some panel pulls (has none) for the big sides, but can buy clipons for that. Does only have grossgrain loops for tie outs, no d-rings, so a little harder to get into porch mode. I use Zpacks pole cups since I'm always in porch mode, very simple stupid.

    For me, its a cheap way to replace my aging big hex tarp that I don't use as much anymore, but would still rather use when there is a known risk of stormy weather. Its gone from REI now but available at other sites online.
    "I wonder if anyone else has an ear so tuned and sharpened as I have, to detect the music, not of the spheres, but of earth, subtleties of major and minor chord that the wind strikes upon the tree branches. Have you ever heard the earth breathe... ?"
    - Kate Chopin

  4. #4
    New Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2022
    Washington, MO
    Any further updates on how this has performed since the first post. I need to get a replacement and have heard good things about the company but wanted to hear more about the performance.

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