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  1. #1
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    Rainflies and the wind

    Last trip I was on was really windy. I was at a lake about 30 feet from the water's edge. Wind was a constant 15-17 mph. My superfly wasn't taking the wind head on. With the doors "open" and tied to the other open door, the wind would catch the upwind doors and try to blow them like a sail. With the doors closed it faired better. It never seemed like it was going to break, but I was getting ancy with my nice tarp blowing in the wind. It was going to be a clear night, no rain, so I opted to put the fly in the snake skins and hang unprotected. less than Ideal, but more ideal than risking my tarp.

    My questions are these:

    1.For trips where weight isn't as much an issue, like kayak camping, is there a tarp that'll cover an 11' hammock that might be more durable than a 1.1 silnylon tarp? I've thought about a chinook 12x9.6, but don't like the metal grommets and don't have a sewing machine to sew on proper tie outs. I'm just not sure what's out there or where to look really, so if anyone has any suggestions I'm all ears

    2. Have you ever had your tarp damaged or destroyed by wind/strong storms?

    3. Do certain tarp designs fare better in the wind, meaning hex vs diamond?

    4. I've heard pitching the fly really low to the ground helps with stability in the wind. can anyone comment on this? I generally pitch 1.5'-2' off the ground.

    5. when camping by water, do you have luck going inland a bit, and is it a noticable decrease in wind?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjaw14 View Post
    Last trip I was on was really windy. I was at a lake about 30 feet from the water's edge. Wind was a constant 15-17 mph. My superfly wasn't taking the wind head on. With the doors "open" and tied to the other open door, the wind would catch the upwind doors and try to blow them like a sail. With the doors closed it faired better. It never seemed like it was going to break, but I was getting ancy with my nice tarp blowing in the wind. It was going to be a clear night, no rain, so I opted to put the fly in the snake skins and hang unprotected. less than Ideal, but more ideal than risking my tarp.

    My questions are these:

    1.For trips where weight isn't as much an issue, like kayak camping, is there a tarp that'll cover an 11' hammock that might be more durable than a 1.1 silnylon tarp? I've thought about a chinook 12x9.6, but don't like the metal grommets and don't have a sewing machine to sew on proper tie outs. I'm just not sure what's out there or where to look really, so if anyone has any suggestions I'm all ears

    Unless you don't have to portage anything at all, deliberately taking something heavier seems counterproductive to me. Also, every tarp I've ever had that has had grommets has lost their grommets within short order...didn't matter what I was using it for.

    2. Have you ever had your tarp damaged or destroyed by wind/strong storms?

    No, but then I have shock cord inserts on all my guy lines to prevent damage.

    3. Do certain tarp designs fare better in the wind, meaning hex vs diamond?

    Sorry this one I can't help you on, I do know that cat cut tarps are great for getting a tighter pitch.

    4. I've heard pitching the fly really low to the ground helps with stability in the wind. can anyone comment on this? I generally pitch 1.5'-2' off the ground.

    I like pitching my tarp so that the sides are that far off the ground too. It gives me headroom instead of feeling like I'm crawling into my bed. But yes, aerodynamics are involved here, pitching it low to the ground will keep a strong cross wind from lifting the tarp.

    5. when camping by water, do you have luck going inland a bit, and is it a noticable decrease in wind?

    That will depend on what your surrounding are, if you go inland in a meadow, it's not going to help a bit. If you get either off the point or into the woods, either the terrain or the trees are going to shelter you. Myself, I like being able to watch the stormy lake so I go prepared. The only times I've had to take an inland spot to hang where when the rest of the crew beat me to the campsite and I had to take what was left...sigh


    Shock cord is your friend in a wind.

  3. #3
    potneck's Avatar
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    Thanks for taking the time to answer the OP's questions Old Boot. Good questions and the answers are very helpful for me as well.

  4. #4
    Boothill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjaw14 View Post
    2. Have you ever had your tarp damaged or destroyed by wind/strong storms?
    i have a warbonnet bmj, so the same tarp without the attached doors, i have shockcord tensioners on all 4 corners of mine and have been through some pretty serious wind 30-35mph and a few pretty good thunder storms with it and have never had any damage

    the first few times i had it deployed in bad weather i was a bit worried, now i don't even think about it, but i do think the tensioners on each corner to help quite a bit in taking the abuse instead of the fabric

    boot
    The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us. ~Bill Watterson

    4th Annual Black Hills Hang Aug 20-23

  5. #5

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    Do a search here (Advanced search, top right of page) on Topics with 'tarp & 'wind'.

    You'll find discussion threads like:
    https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/...mock-Wind-wins

    IMO, you have found the 'Achilles heel' of tarps that don't touch the ground: when the wind blows, the tarp gets lifted.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    I actually did do a search. Forums are notoriously bad for searches, so I thought I'd post my questions in one place so maybe we'd get some fresh conversation going on it that might be more focused on the issue and the variables like tarp cut, rigging height, maybe different tarps for car camping or kayak camping vs backpacking. Finally it'd be interesting to hear failure stories and how they failed to try to learn from what someone else went through. While I'm glad I can spend hours searching like a squirrel hunting an acorn, I also appreciate that we can converse about our experience because something new might come out of it. After all, most of what we discuss isn't new, and if we all used the search exclusively there'd never be anything new said.

    So go ahead guys, let's hear your stories and recommendations.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Rolloff's Avatar
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    I've been using Tato's Adjustable tarp tie-outs, from Dutch's site. Seem to make a world of difference.

    You can use one on each side of the tarp to open up the inside nicely or pitch broadside into a wind and place both of them on the wind side and let them double down against the gale. No flap, no pulled stakes.
    Signature suspended

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjaw14 View Post
    I actually did do a search.
    I'm all for conversations!

    This topic does come up fairly often; I didn't realize you had done a search already.

    You won't find many people (they would need to be brave) here at HF saying that hammock tarps are useless in high winds.....
    OTOH, on tent-oriented or canoe camping sites, you won't find anybody saying that a dining shelter tarp pitched above ground will be stable in a windstorm.

    I've been in windy conditions in a sailboat with not much more sail area than some hammock tarps, and it's been enough force to heel a 12000 lb keelboat over 20-30.......

    It depends on the definition of 'windy', perhaps...

    YMMV, HYOH, etc etc

  9. #9
    TallPaul's Avatar
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    I can usually find a less windy spot if it is real bad, so I personally think site selection is the biggest key.

    I've hung literally overhanging the edge of the river and been buffeted around by the wind. Perhaps a tarp other than the one I used would have performed better, but it's my own fault for picking the site.

    I've also been blown around on ridges, and was happy to have snakeskins to help deploy the tarp. But in the end (during a particularly windy time), I packed up and moved to another location that had more natural protection from the wind.

    If you can't avoid the wind, then I'd go with a large tarp with doors that you can pull down close to the ground. And as I said, the snakeskins help when deploying.

  10. #10
    Oms's Avatar
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    I actually would go with a smaller hex or diamond tarp. It catches less wind, but site selection is the key. I once rode out a windstorm with a Hennessey stock diamond tarp. Those cords are so small I thought they would surely break. The tarp was being pushed onto the hammock. Come morning all was well. I was impressed by the performance of the tarp, but was sure glad it didn't rain. They don't have much coverage.

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