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Thread: Tarp Theories

  1. #21
    Senior Member Stovemandan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
    My big mamajamba tarp is probably the biggest, or one of, and for space its great. We've even camped under it cooking dinner waiting out thunderstorms. I know weight is a viable concern, but when you need the protection I don't think you can beat having a nice big tarp.
    ("food")You can stay dry with a fairly small tarp. However, I use a Spinn Big Mamajamba when hiking with a group and a Mountain Laurel Designs UL tarp (now discontinued) when solo.

    The small tarp used correctly will keep you dry, but you have no room to cook and move around.

    On the Colorado summer hang it rained everyday. I stayed dry, but the folks with the big tarps were making tea and visiting
    I agree with both of you. Go large and be comfortable. Make your stay enjoyable. I think even solo, a large one will give comfort. My preference.
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  2. #22
    Senior Member AaronAlso's Avatar
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    My tarp history

    I've been following this thread and finally decided to chime in. I'm probably the typical noob when it comes to tarps. Here's my progression, reasoning, and uses for each...

    First: Blue wal-mart 8'x10' tarp; the nicer model with reflective layer & reinforced plastic gromments. Used for car camping when I was tent bond. Provided nice cooking/eating, gathering place from light to moderate rain. Still use for this purpose today, the tarp has held up well.

    Second: Equinox (from campmor) 12'x16' PU coated ripstop. Intended use: hammock camping; I felt like I needed the biggest tarp possible for the most protection. Hard the hardest time getting it pitched in any configuration. Never could get a taught enough pitch. Was finally delegated to the title of truck cover.

    Third: A DIY I bought from a member here (scrupier, I think) IIRC, it's 10' 8"x 7' 4". I've used it several times for overnights and a 3 day trip since I got it a few months ago. While it is only heavy DWR nylon, it seems to be the perfect size. Currently in use with my WB Traveler spare rig.

    Forth: Chinook 12'x9.5' (sand) this is a recent aqusition for my WBBB. I've set it up a few times to gauge some pitch styles and modifications I'm working on completing. It seems a little oversized, but not without it's luxury. Once my mods are done will be an awesome tarp; stay tuned.

    At some point in the not to distant future I'll probably pick-up a cuben fiber tarp in the 11'x8.5' size w/ doors. Wish I could say this would be my last tarp I ever buy, but it won't be. That size is perfect for a 10' hammock, with plenty of protection and room inside; from my experience at least.

    Maybe one day I'll decide to work backwards and try the smallest tarp I can. (Already getting an HH scout tarp for the boy's B-day)
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  3. #23
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    I always prefer the most tarp space possible/feasible given weight and cost.

    It makes a three straight days of rain bearable. It keeps wood, seating and camp kitchens dry.

    Overall it increases my comfort, and I like comfort when I camp. For a one or two night stay it really doesn't matter, but when its barely above freezing and you're going to be away from civilization for a week or more, being SURE you're going to stay dry and comfortable isn't a luxury, its your life.

    Bigger is better.

    Heading out to camp this weekend, forecast is rain and 1C (34F).
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  4. #24

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    Then there is the two tarp approach. Minimal over the hammock plus a second 5x7 or 8x10 to pitch for a dining, cooking, hangout space.

  5. #25
    Senior Member harrell79cj5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rapt View Post
    I always prefer the most tarp space possible/feasible given weight and cost.

    It makes a three straight days of rain bearable. It keeps wood, seating and camp kitchens dry.

    Overall it increases my comfort, and I like comfort when I camp. For a one or two night stay it really doesn't matter, but when its barely above freezing and you're going to be away from civilization for a week or more, being SURE you're going to stay dry and comfortable isn't a luxury, its your life.

    Bigger is better.

    Heading out to camp this weekend, forecast is rain and 1C (34F).

    Man, that is winter time her in MS!

    I have a roughly(its a little less on both) 10X12 DIY sil tarp. I originally went that large because we were going to be hanging two hammocks under it (and we do), but I love having that large tarp even when I am camping without my wife! Gives me room to cook and hangout if raining! I think a smaller tarp would definitely work fine for me, but i will carry a few more ounces of tarp for that extra convienence!!

  6. #26
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    I like the 2 tarp approach as well. I've yet to use it. But on rainy days where a lot of camping is done, or for hangs, its nice to have communal area for cooking and conversing. Of course this isn't that logical for most scenarios. Might as well bring a large tarp.

  7. #27
    Senior Member Doctari's Avatar
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    I'm pretty "experienced" & My tarp is by most standards: HUGE at 13.5' X 10' I like it & even though I have 2 smaller ones, neither has been out in 5 years.
    MAYBE it's because I camp year round, or just because I like the coverage* & the room. But I'll be staying with this tarp till it wears out, & then get a similar sized one to replace it.

    How is that for muddying the waters?




    *I can close either or both ends for a tent like feel & weather protection, if need be. And still walk around in my shelter, upright.
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  8. #28
    New Member Moradiss's Avatar
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    My first tarp is going to be a superfly, but I've already started thinking about a diy for sometime in the future, to be 11'x12', maybe 13'. 11' ridge line, and the 12 or 13' for extra headroom. A seam at the ridge line, and a seam on either side, with felled seams pointing down to help avoid water seeping into the seams. Extra tieouts along the edges to give more pitching options. I've always loved winter camping, and think bigger would be more protection from snow.

    If my noob thinking is flawed, I'd appreciate hearing it, well, I don't WANT to hear that my thinking is flawed, but better to find out here than camping during a snowstorm.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Raul Perez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctari View Post

    How is that for muddying the waters?
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  10. #30
    Senior Member Catavarie's Avatar
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    My current tarp is the Guide Gear 12x12 and it is cavernous under it. Mostly I tie the corners up and pitch it as a hex in porch mode, but in nastier weather I can pitch as a rectangular A-frame with ends opened or closed depending on the direction of wind and rain. Its a great tarp and IMO the best possible size. The only thing I don't like is the nearly 2lb weight of it. Gets to feeling heavy after a few miles down the trail.

    One day will likely replace with a tarp of lighter material and same size and shape, but I'm also looking at downsizing to a smaller hex tarp to save additional weight for fairer weather seasons.
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