Finally got a chance to get out and test the new HexaLite CTF3 cuben tarp from Lawson Equipment last weekend while doing some trail work in Shenandoah NP. HF member crackedup did a terrific review on the tarp here, which I really can't improve upon. Here is a shot of the tarp as it arrived in the mail:
I weighed it before packing for my weekend trip. With two 5' and two 8' guylines made from Lawson's dyneema Glowire, CRL, and Ti stakes (4 + 2 for the BB) all secured with a silicone rubber band, total package came to 12oz in the included CTF3 stuff sack. Packs SMALL!
So I took Friday off to go work solo on the blue blazed trail I oversee in the North District:
Did some weeding and cleared a blowdown off the trail then stopped for a streamside picnic, the featured star of which needs no introduction:
I met up with some fellow trail workers that evening for some campfire steaks and beers, then got my first night under the new tarp. Pitched easily and stayed taught, except for a little bit of give from using the wrong stakes in some really soft ground.
On Saturday our crew worked near the summit of Compton Peak building some rock stairs on a 70 degree pitch so dayhikers wouldn't break their necks trying to get a view of the really cool basalt formation just beneath the trail's end--columnar jointing (think Devil's Postpile in CA, Sheepeater Cliffs in Yellowstone, and Devil's Tower in WY), and one of the very few examples seen east of the Mississippi makes for a great hiking reward; I encourage anyone hiking SNP to come take a look! Alas, I forgot my camera that morning, so this old photo off the interwebs will have to suffice:
We also replaced/built about 10 new waterbars and checkdams through a section of the trail that burned back in February. That was some of the dirtiest, sootiest work we've ever done, but there's nothing like a sponge bath in a cool mountain spring followed by another cookout and snoring under the stars. All in all a great work trip and weekend of blissful hanging. Is it weird that I regretted having such gorgeous, cloudless weather and couldn't really, really test the new gear?
Bonus: In the right kind of light and pitch mode, the HexaLite cuben tarp is the stealthiest tarp you can buy! Does anyone else think of Predator when they look at this??