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  1. #1
    Senior Member Rabid Deer's Avatar
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    20' x 20' Catenary Tarp

    I have the privilege of going to the Quetico (Canadian side of the BWCA) this year with a group of friends. Last year in the Boundary Waters, we put up a 16' x 18' cheapo tarp that was rather frustrating to hang. Two of the guys in the group designed a rope frame around the perimeter of the tarp, which we tried to get square, then the tarp was suspended inside of the frame with bungees. If it sounds complicated, then it sounds about right.

    We try to do things on the cheap, especially because it's more expensive to go to Quetico this year. I've tried searching the internet and HF for help on this, but no luck. I've checked out the Kelty 16' Noah tarp and so far I like it, but that's a little small. We all tend to smell bad... more room is better. So, here are a few questions:
    1. Could I retrofit a cheapo straight-edged tarp and install my own catenary edges?
    2. Does anyone make a CHEAP cat-cut large tarp, 20' x 20' or larger?
    3. Is there another way to get a tight pitch on a cheap rectangular tarp?


    I'd like to keep the project around $50 so we don't feel bad if it gets ripped or eaten by a one of us for a midnight snack. Ease of setup is the main point. I figure that the Noah design or the Wilderness Logics Tadpole design would be best. Thanks in advance for any help.

  2. #2
    in it for the naps oldgringo's Avatar
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    Tight pitches look really nice, but the rain is unimpressed.

    A perfectly suitable shelter can be fashioned froma "blue tarp", especially if you work the bugs out on a Saturday afternoon weeks before your departure.

    Use it for your trip, and if it gets damaged, chuck it.
    Dave

    http://www.uark.edu/misc/xtimber/rna/pattonsbluff.html

    It has always been my private conviction that any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming.
    John Steinbeck

  3. #3
    Senior Member nuttysquirrel's Avatar
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    you could make a cat cut tarp from tyvek. it's cheap and does not fray so you woudn't have to hem it. (hemming cat cut fabric can be really tricky)

  4. #4
    gargoyle's Avatar
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    20x20 is a big sail. I would think two (or three or four) 10x10's would offer more flexibilty?

    A cat-cut 20x20 would need need HUGE anchors to keep it in place in high winds (when you need a tarp most). And you need a big clear space to hang a tarp this size.
    Keeping your cost at $50 may prove tough, unless you go with the blue tarp. Cat cuts are good, but they arent the only way to string a tarp. A little practice and some creative thinking will get you a tight tarp. Use some trail sticks to prop up a corner, etc.

    Set up your ridgeline first. Bring lots of rope/line for staking or tying out to trees.

    Smell bad???? ha, who doesn't? Your camping.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rabid Deer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldgringo View Post
    Tight pitches look really nice, but the rain is unimpressed.
    Tight pitches can be quite practical in the wind, though. The rain might not care about flapping edges, but a tight pitch could mean the difference between a whole tarp and a ripped tarp. I will certainly make sure to set this up ahead of time, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by nuttysquirrel View Post
    you could make a cat cut tarp from tyvek. it's cheap and does not fray so you woudn't have to hem it. (hemming cat cut fabric can be really tricky)
    This is a good idea, and I'll do some more research on it. I know that Tyvek is usually 10' wide, and I'm looking for a monster-huge 20' x 20' so that could prove to be difficult. I never knew the edges didn't rip though. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by gargoyle View Post
    20x20 is a big sail. I would think two (or three or four) 10x10's would offer more flexibilty?

    A cat-cut 20x20 would need need HUGE anchors to keep it in place in high winds (when you need a tarp most). And you need a big clear space to hang a tarp this size.
    We brought a tarp this size last year and there were plenty of open spaces to set it up in the BWCA. As far as anchors go, we usually anchor to trees and didn't have too many problems.

    Thanks everyone for your input!

  6. #6
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    When I was a ground sleeper I used a massive 18x24 tarp over my tent as a living area. Obviously car camping, and for one or two months at a time. But I used a centre pole with a cut tennis ball on top to keep the centre taught, and tied the corners out to trees or guyed out extendable poles. Weve spent hundreds of days (collectively!) with that set up pretty comfortably. Not bad for twenty one year olds. I'll throw up a picture if your interested. Might be a bit heavy for you guys, but hey. It's a twenty by twenty tarp.

  7. #7
    Senior Member d-p's Avatar
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    swingKING

    SK,

    Pix? I for one would enjoy ...
    Because,
    That's a REALLY big tarp ...
    And, I hope your pix shows some people under it?

    dp Dave
    www.dplightweightbackpackinggear.com
    dplightweightbackpackinggear.com

  8. #8
    New Member
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    The circus tent

    Haven't thrown up a pic before. Hopefully this works

    There you go D-P, I couldn't find any with people under it but I could have trickily parked my sedan in front of the tent under the tarp, and it happily held the four of us without crowding when it started raining for a couple of days. With tarps any bigger than this we always used a centre bar, which is like a steel ridgeline between the two big poles, just to stop a bit of that sag. This pictures supported all by poles.

    Hey sweet! It worked
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Swingking; 03-19-2013 at 19:45. Reason: Realised

  9. #9
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    Here is one way you can pitch a 20'x20' tarp tight. Each side raises equally for summer ventilation. Can be nailed down on the sides with one side loose for entrance. I pitched this in a blizzard by myself
    Last edited by chimpac; 03-20-2013 at 05:28. Reason: spelling

  10. #10
    Member Tinkr's Avatar
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    I think if a 20' Cat tarp is made it calls for a 25' hammock
    "When somebody moves something in your house, you notice it. When somebody moves something in the woods, I notice it."
    -Tom Brown, Jr.

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