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  1. #1
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Question Tarps and the way we hang them?

    Genuine Draft was out partying with the girls last night and it left me with time to think; ahhhhhhhhhhhh. It's been a while, so I had to knock the dust off with something I've been thinking about lately concerning tarps; particularly the small ones.

    First of all, I've tried real hard to not have any issues using a ridgeline with my tarps. I've used them before, but not for long because I just didn't like it. I don't usually carry enough stuff to justify the clothesline aspect of them and I think tying each end separately is just as easy for me. The exception would be very high wind conditions and the ridgeline there, is somewhat useful. I've got a couple of tarps, including the dreaded stock HH napkins, that just won't pitch tight without a ridgeline supplement. These tarps don't have a seam along the ridge, so you really can't ever get the ridge 'snappy' just tying both ends to trees. The result has been that these are the tarps that spend the most time in the closet instead of outside where they belong.

    So a few days ago, I'm talking to OES Brian about a Micro MacCat in Spinn and he tells me he can do them, but they will have a ridge seam due to the limited width of the Spinn rolls. My first thought was: "Yeah, and?" I prefer a tarp with a ridge seam simply because they set so nice and crisp. Obviously, this wasn't a negative to me. I actually felt like he was doing me a favor by adding the seam.

    So my question is, what reasons are there to not just fold the fabric where the ridge would be and put in a false seam? Seems to me that this would allow these types of tarps to be set tight along the ridge, without adding more than a few grams of thread weight and reducing the coverage by an inch on either side. Both of those 'drawbacks' are perfectly acceptable to me if it means I can use those tarps without a separate ridgeline and still have a clean pitch. Am I, in my ignorance, overlooking a major flaw. Would the false seam not be strong enough to hold the tension strain?

    Anybody have a reason I shouldn't try this with one of my old stock HH tarps? I'm going out again today in search of a new thread injector and I'm thinking this may be my first experiment when I get back to sewing again. Save me some time if you can think of a reason I shouldn't.
    Trust nobody!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Pipsissewa's Avatar
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    The only drawback that comes to mind, Cannibal, is that a "pocket seam" would limit the versatility of the tarp. Although, I guess, if you really were in a pinch and needed to set it differently (offsetting the ridgeline) you could pull the line through and not use the pocket seam. Plus, you'll have to seal the seam after you sew. I say give it a try. Take pictures and let us know what you think of it.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member bdpalace's Avatar
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    As long as it's good thread and sealed appropriately (which adds to the thread weight) there shouldn't be an issue. I would be interested to hear your results in achieving a "snappy" pitch of the HH napkin. Gopher it!
    Strangers stopping strangers just to shake their hand - Robert Hunter

  4. #4
    gargoyle's Avatar
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    With a tarp made on the bias (going diagonally across the ripstops 90* grid pattern) they like to stretch. If you do a seam along the bias, you basically just chase the floppiness, at least in my experience.
    I thought the same thing and tried to do exactly what you described...fail.
    The grid helps with the tautness.
    Ambulo tua ambulo.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    gargolye, your thoughts are shared by at least one other of the Tarp Geniuses on this site. Got an email saying as much in response to this thread.
    Course, a person of authority telling me to not do something only serves to up my motivation to do it. Gotta be me, ya know?

    Maybe it won't be my first project back in the injector seat, but I might save it for a rainy day. They say nothing is impossible, so......
    Trust nobody!

  6. #6
    MAD777's Avatar
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    I just made a small tarp without a ridge line seam and was worried about the possibility of not having a tight pitch. But I went ahead and made the tarp, telling myself that I could always go back and sew in a seam by pinching up the fabric, following a cat curve. Well, I was happy the way the tarp came out, so didn't do that. But, I think it would have worked.

    My fabric was not cut on the bias. And, I would fold the pinched seam over after the first pass, and sew it again to make a psuedo felled seam for extra strength.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ExPXGUY's Avatar
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    maybe if you put in a strip of not-bias binding like on Warbonnet's it would stiffen it up enough.
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  8. #8
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    Talking A Hammocking Ignoramus ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cannibal View Post
    Am I, in my ignorance, overlooking a major flaw?
    In your "ignorance"? Asks he of the plethora of tarps (& hammocks & TQs & UQs & [insert hammock related gear here]) ... and he of the most posts on Hammock Forums... and he of a hanging AT thru-hike.

    That's a lot of ignorance there, you hammocking ignoramus! Seriously, it's refreshing to see someone with more "hammock sense" in the fingernail of his little finger than most of us have in our whole body ask for input. Or is it just the dust in the old thinker being let loose by GD's reprieve for the evening?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayS View Post
    In your "ignorance"? Asks he of the plethora of tarps (& hammocks & TQs & UQs & [insert hammock related gear here]) ... and he of the most posts on Hammock Forums... and he of a hanging AT thru-hike.
    Ahhh, but using gear built by others is far removed from understanding the magic they put into their work.

    Oh yeah, I'm an "almost thru-hiker". I came off the Trail in Vermont...almost within sight of Big K.
    Just means I have to start over and do it again.
    Trust nobody!

  10. #10
    gargoyle's Avatar
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    If you got any scraps of sil or PU fabric, give it a pull in the bias and against the bias. Helps to lay it flat on a table, then pull, you'll see what I mean. It should stretch noticeably more in diagonal.

    I am by no means an expert, just relaying my experiences in botched tarp idears.

    Bad tarp = lots of stuff sacks
    Ambulo tua ambulo.

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