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  1. #1
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    Does tarp color choice matter staying cool and blocking light under the summer sun?

    So one of my favorite things to do now is take a siesta mid day. That usually means the sun is going to be overhead and in my eyes. Does the tarp color matter? Right now, I have charcoal grey 0.9 membrane tarps and also coyote brown 2.2 oz nylon. I find that both let in quite a bit of sun. I want to build another tarp, but this time I want it to give me good shade and keep the sun out of my eyes when snoozing mid day. Any suggestions for tarp color and material? Is membrane too thin to block out the sun?

  2. #2
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    Are you concerned about weight? I can't imagine that there is a light (i.e. thin) nylon or poly fabric that is going to do a good job of blocking sunlight, regardless of the color. And there simply isn't enough mass in these fabrics to make any perceptible (or even measurable) difference with respect to absorption/radiation as far as color goes.

  3. #3
    all secure in sector 7 Shug's Avatar
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    An eye shade mask goes a long way to cure that.
    Even my darker tarps let some light through on sunny days.
    Shug o' Snooze
    Whooooo Buddy)))) All Secure in Sector Seven

  4. #4
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    but darker colors couldn't hurt - it's very bright under my DCF tarp, even in the moonlight

  5. #5
    New Member Zeusrex's Avatar
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    Hat Nap

    Quote Originally Posted by Shug View Post
    An eye shade mask goes a long way to cure that.
    Piggy-backing onto Shug's response, just 1 word: Hat

    HatNap.jpg

  6. #6
    Senior Member Karla "with a k"'s Avatar
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    I LOVE my purple haze color. This video shows the color from the outside and underneath.

    ◘ Oct 3-6: miCHILIgan @ Middleville, MI ◘ YouTube: karlawithak216 ◘ Instagram: i.am.karla.with.a.k ◘ 102 months

  7. #7
    all secure in sector 7 Shug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeusrex View Post
    Piggy-backing onto Shug's response, just 1 word: Hat

    HatNap.jpg
    Yessir!!!!
    Shug

    Whooooo Buddy)))) All Secure in Sector Seven

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TominMN View Post
    Are you concerned about weight? I can't imagine that there is a light (i.e. thin) nylon or poly fabric that is going to do a good job of blocking sunlight, regardless of the color. And there simply isn't enough mass in these fabrics to make any perceptible (or even measurable) difference with respect to absorption/radiation as far as color goes.
    I am concerned about the weight, looking at black or darker membrane fabric which is 0.9 but also considering maybe mtn 1.1, or just regular 1.1 silpoly. I see some tarps cast a pretty nice shadow, wish I knew what type of fabric it was.

    Has anyone had a black tarp? Did it cast a nice shadow? Did it make it hot underneath the tarp?

  9. #9
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    The darker the color, the more it will block light. The problem is the darker the color, the more it absorbs that energy. I would much rather it be cool and light, than dark and hot.

    My tarps are brown and tan. I didn't choose those for heat or light reasons, I just didn't want to be seen.

  10. #10
    New Member Zeusrex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattnin View Post
    Has anyone had a black tarp? Did it cast a nice shadow? Did it make it hot underneath the tarp?
    While I haven't used a black tarp myself, the color of the tarp won't make a noticeable difference in how cool you stay under it. Black absorbs more energy than white, but it emits it back out faster too. So if there's any air movement at all, the heat is stripped away from black faster than from white.

    This guy does some experiments testing this: https://youtu.be/JdDDSQAkMbQ?si=G0_t7yLcezmzN2Ga

    A quick google search for something along the lines of "why do bedouins wear black in the desert" will bring up lots of pages referencing related studies. I read one that pointed out how lots of arctic animals have white fur, not just for camouflage, but because the heat energy that is absorbed is harder to lose.

    Bottom line: The tarp color is not going to play as important a role as you would intuitively think, in terms of how hot you are under it.

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