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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Beginner question: Best tarp for the money?

    I've been browsing around for a few days now and am still reeling from all of the different brands, styles and suspension techniques for tarps. I'm looking for something that is fairly cheap (broke college student), and can take some abuse. I won't be using it very often and simply needs something that works and isn't ridiculously bulky to transport. I'm most likely getting an ENO DN, and suspending with webbing to a whoopie sling. Any suggestions for tarps, ridgeline, etc?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    This depends upon what you intend on using it for.

    If you're car camping/bike camping/paddle camping, I definitely, no reservations, recommend the huge Hennessy Hex polyurethane-coated hex tarp. It can be found here. It's huge, totally waterproof (unlike silnylon, which can "mist" through if rain is heavy enough), and not extremely heavy or bulky (it is, however, heavier than most of the tarp offerings of that size from the cottage industry guys and gals). At $70, the price is hard to beat as well. My only complaint with it is that it is a little heavy for backpacking.

    For backpacking, I don't really have a recommendation; I'm in the midst of searching for a tarp that meets my criteria. I can say that I used the hex on my Ocala trip and that it worked like a charm. It was a little heavy, but, hey...

    It's the old saying, "Pick two: cheap, light, coverage."

  3. #3
    Senior Member ShadowAlpha's Avatar
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    I have a WB superfly. works well for cold weather with its built in doors. can flap open doors for nicer weather.

    there's many avail. all depends on your budget

  4. #4
    Dblcorona's Avatar
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    You can get away with some cheap stuff like:
    http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___22217

    But I think bang for your buck and great quality:
    the warbonnet big mamajamba
    http://warbonnetoutdoors.com/tarps.php
    or the oes deluxe
    http://www.outdoorequipmentsupplier....ccat_tarps.php
    "We don't stop hiking because we grow old,
    we grow old because we stop hiking."

    -- Finis Mitchell,

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLRider View Post
    This depends upon what you intend on using it for.

    If you're car camping/bike camping/paddle camping, I definitely, no reservations, recommend the huge Hennessy Hex polyurethane-coated hex tarp. It can be found here. It's huge, totally waterproof (unlike silnylon, which can "mist" through if rain is heavy enough), and not extremely heavy or bulky (it is, however, heavier than most of the tarp offerings of that size from the cottage industry guys and gals). At $70, the price is hard to beat as well. My only complaint with it is that it is a little heavy for backpacking.
    Thanks Rider, that one looks like a great option.

    You can get away with some cheap stuff like:
    http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___22217

    But I think bang for your buck and great quality:
    the warbonnet big mamajamba
    http://warbonnetoutdoors.com/tarps.php
    or the oes deluxe
    http://www.outdoorequipmentsupplier....ccat_tarps.php
    Now I'm torn between the one FLRider suggested and the Maccat micro. I assume the Maccat being hex shaped provides more coverage?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flashbang009 View Post
    Now I'm torn between the one FLRider suggested and the Maccat micro. I assume the Maccat being hex shaped provides more coverage?
    Totally different tarps! Not even close beyond the shape.
    HH Hex: 144" ridgeline (long) and 120" hex (wide)
    OES Micro: 120" ridgeline and 60" hex.

    The coverage on the sides will be halved with the Micro and you will lose 2' of margin on the ridgeline. Talk about apples and oranges.

    That said, the Micro will keep you dry. Won't keep much of anything on the ground dry except what's directly below your hammock, but it will keep you and your hammock dry. This is an excellent tarp for a long distance hiker worried about weight and not spending much time in camp beyond sleeping. Mine stays quite busy during the summer months. For a general use tarp though, it wouldn't be my first choice; probably not even second or third. That HH Hex is a pretty good deal for what it is.
    Trust nobody!

  7. #7
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    Edit: Wall of text below, and Cannibal summarized better than I. Still, if you want side-by-side comparisons...

    The advantage of a hex shape is that it provides the same coverage over the ends of your hammock for a weight savings versus a rectangular tarp. With a standard rectangular tarp, you hang it in an A-frame configuration over the hammock most times. This leaves you with a bunch of extra material at the end corners that you don't really need.

    However, if you intend on camping in heavy thunderstorms with wind-blown rain or in very cold conditions, the extra material at the ends can be converted into "doors" to close off the ends of the tarp and provide better insulation and/or coverage from windblown rain.

    The MacCat Micro is ten feet long by five feet wide, according to the specs. The HH is thirteen feet long by ten feet wide (I've measured it in person, and it matches the specs on that). The MacCat is less than a third of the weight of the HH, as well. The weight savings that the MacCat gives is through less coverage and lighter materials.

    Also note that the MacCat includes seam-sealing and stuff sack in total weight. The HH does not. Neither of them includes tie-outs in weight, either.

    On the whole, the HH gives better coverage at a lower price and higher weight. The MacCat gives a much better weight at a higher price and lower coverage.

    According to the ENO site, the DoubleNest is 9'10" long. Note that this is not the hung length; this is the total length of the hammock body. Hung length should be somewhere around eight feet, if my memory is right concerning the average sag for a hammock (I use a structural ridgeline, so I don't have to mess with that on my hangs as much).

    Which means that the MacCat should give a little less than a foot's extra coverage on either end and the HH should give a little less than two and an half feet's coverage on either end.

    Width-wise, the ENO site says that the DN is 6'8" wide. If you use the hammock as a lounger during the rain, you might wind up making it (the hammock) four feet wide.

    With the MacCat, that means that your legs are going to be perilously close to the edge of the tarp, probably getting your feet wet. With the HH, you might get your feet wet, but probably not. However, if you're simply using the hammock to sleep in, either should do just fine as far as coverage from downward rain goes. If it's blowing hard, the extra two and an half feet of coverage per side from the HH will allow for a less claustrophobic feeling under the tarp. However, if the close feeling of the tarp doesn't bother you, then the MacCat is probably a good choice as well.

    Really, it comes down to three things: how much packweight do you want to carry, how much do you want to spend, and how much space do you want under the tarp? Once you can answer those, the choice will become a lot easier.

  8. #8
    bloomgorge's Avatar
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    everyone has listed good-great products,...all i'd like to add is if you're hm-hawing over $30-$40 between a decent tarp and a **** good tarp, get the slightly higher as in 6 months, a few hangs, seeing other peoples caddys to your escort you'll find yourself wanting/getting the what was slightly more expensive tarp.
    i would suggest listing your top 3-4, comparing the weight, cost, coating/material and use before buying. i only say this b/c when i first started i was going for the hh PU hex as well but looked around and got the HH sil as my first and like it. i've since acquired more like most.
    http://smartoutdoors.webs.com/ elephant trunks, tarp keys and crosses

  9. #9
    Senior Member G.L.P.'s Avatar
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    Spend the money and get a Good tarp.... don't go cheap cause it will cost you more in the end

    also there is no Best tarp everyone will have a different idea of what the best tarp is

    the best thing you can do is ask yourself

    do you backpack more then car camp?
    do you backpack all year round or just 3 season?
    does weight matter... are you a gram weenie?
    how much do you get out?
    what kind of hammock setup are you running(with a bridge hammock a tarp with side pullouts is nice) ?

    if you ask me here is a breakdown of some nice tarps

    JRB 11x10 19oz ... very big and good for 4 season use... but it has some weight to it also great for bridge hammocks

    JRB Spinn Hex around 10oz .... very nice tarp alittle weight savings from Sil it's one of the only Spinn tarps out there right now

    WB Mamajamba 13.5oz very popular tarp nice weight to coverage ratio
    great 3 season tarp

    OES Deluxe 13.1oz another very popular tarp and also great for 3 season

    Zpack Cuben Hex 5oz ... awesome tarp weighs next to nothing great 3 season tarp but cost $235 ...

    Kelty noah tarp 12ft 2lbs 1oz very cheap but weighs over 2lbs but will get the job done

    guide gear 12x12 tarp.. over 2lbs cost around $30 but very hard to find very nice tarp for car camping of if weight is not a factor in your setup

    there are just some options out there.... like i said spend the money and get something nice the first time... or it will just cost you more in the long run
    Cuben is really nice but if you don't backpack alot it's hard to justify the cost of one .... for around $100 and 13oz you can find a nice 3 season tarp that should fill all your needs
    It puts the Underquilt on it's hammock ... It does this whenever it gets cold

  10. #10
    New Member Hairball's Avatar
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    I'm also in need of my first tarp and money is a big factor. That Gear Guide Tarp looks great, but of course it's OOS everywhere.

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