A little over a year ago I scored some silver silnylon at Wally World. I've been waiting for a while trying to decide exactly what type of winter tarp I wanted to make. I finally decided on a Speer Winter Tarp style with some minor mods.
Here are the features I built into the tarp.
1. Same shape as the SWT.
2. Side tie outs similar to the WBG winter tarp with small squares of the same material for reinforcement, 1/2 inch nylon webbing and 1/2 inch D-Rings. I put 2 tie outs on each side although they are a little too high and too close to the middle. If I do it again, or maybe just add some new ones to the side, I'll put them lower and wider on the sides. They do work well still.
3. My side tie outs are 2 feet apart. I took a 4 foot piece of cord and tied a loop in each end. I attached it to one of the side D-rings with a larks head and used a small biner to attach it to the other D-Ring. That way it is easily removable if I want to use the tarp in awning mode. I tied about a 16" length of very small bungee cord to side tie out cord and then a few feet of cord to the other end of the bungee to stake it out.
4. All other tie out corners had a 3/4" D-Ring and nylon webbing.
5. The four corners that get tied out have about 12' of bungee on them. Youngblood recommended doubling the bungee through the tie out loop or ring and connecting the cord to it with a clove hitch. I use that on my other tarp but on this one I decided to use a single length of bungee. I tied the bungee and the cord to the D-Ring, stretched the bungee to see it's length and tied an overhand knot in the cord, ran the bungee through the knot before tightening and then tied an overhand knot in the bungee around the cord. It seems to hold quite well and performs as planned to keep the tarp taught.
6. I used "bungee cords only" on the 4 door flaps. At the ends of the bungee cord I put the smallest "S" hooks I could find so I could open and close the ends very quickly. In winter mode with the sides all the way to the ground I just have to stretch the bungees on the door flaps and hook them into the D-Ring on the other side. This works very well even to the point that you don't have to unhook one side to step out because the bungee will stretch enough. It also works well to hook one "S" hook into the other and pull them both toward the tree the hammock is tied to and use one stake to hold them out. That provides a nice opening.
Maiden Voyage: I went to Pine Mountain, GA (FDR State Park) the weekend after New Year's and was able to put my new tarp to the test. Though the temperatures did not get near as cold as I hoped or was expected the week before I was still not let down. It rained throughout the night for both of the nights we were on the mountain. On the second night we were camped on top of a ridge, about 9 PM a storm came in and we were right in the middle of a severe lightning storm, and I do mean in the middle. The lightning was popping red-orange blasts right at tree top. It rained very hard and was blowing 30-40 mph estimated. I lowered the sides to ground level and closed off the end facing the blowing rain and stayed quite dry and comfortable, well except for a few drip coming though the seams of the tarp ridge line. I guess I didn't put enough sealer on it so I'll have to reseal the ridge.
All in all I think I'm really going to like this new winter tarp.
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