Onions, anchovies, capers, grits, butterbeans, livermush .... Now we know why you prefer a tarp to a tent.
Love me some methane.......... Whooooo Stink Buddy
gargoyle: We are talking about a tarp.. its not ever going to be totally bomb-proof.
Shug: [W]hen tarping you sometimes have to pay for that wonderful view, breeze and kitchen.
Tarping is a definite tradeoff -- less weight, less cost, more air, better views, a better aesthetic connection to the outdoors, greater flexibility, plus the manly satisfaction one gets by rigging one's own primitive shelter; all for what may be less-than-perfect coverage during adverse weather.
The Warbonnet Superfly is an interesting concept -- gain better adverse weather coverage at the cost of adding weight and cost and losing air, views, and aesthetics. But what about alternatives?
At backpackinglight.com, the fanatic ground dwellers opt for postage stamp-sized tarps with use of bivy to block the wind and stave off the precipitation that will inevitably come under the tarp during adverse weather. The ultralight experts have found such a system to be optimal for shelter system performance and keeping weight low.
The backpackinglight.com approach applied to hammocking would, it seems to me, drive one to use a minimal tarp with a water resistance hammock sock. I haven't opted for such a system because (1) if the weather is bad for a long time, I don't want to be confined to my hammock all day (I'd like to have some relatively protected ground to sit and cook on and provide some degree of mobility), (2) not being a DIYer, I'm unaware of any commercially available hammock socks, and (3) I think I'd find a sock somewhat confining, thus defeating some of the advantage to tarping.
Another alternative is to use synthetic rather than down quilts. If the quilts get wet, they'll continue to provide some warmth and will dry more quickly. Constructing the outer shells of such quilts -- over and under -- with a breathable water resistant fabric helps. There are several manufacturers of excellent synthetic topquilts; KickAssQuilts and Mountain Laurel Designs are the only manufacturers of synthetic underquilts that I'm aware of, but I can't tell what fabric KAQ uses.
I've read some posts about socks in these fora. I appreciate the research being done, but the lack of any commercial socks seems to indicate this approach has not yet matured. Condensation seems to be a concern. Could one modify a large commercial bivy to convert it into a sock?
Mountain Laurel Designs makes what appears to be a nice quilt that can serve as either a topquilt or underquilt. A breathable water resistant fabrice, Momentum, is used, and for an extra $70 one can get the quilt shell made of waterproof eVENT, which isn't as breathable as Momentum but will stand up to direct rain. Has anyone tried this approach? If so, how has it worked?
Well, a sock adds quite a bit of weight. In order to lay diagonally and without making contact with the sock, it would need to be large. That's a bunch of extra fabric, quite a bit more than a bivy would use.
There are members here that have played with socks like kids with Lincoln Logs (did I just date myself?) and had great results. However, a minimalist tarp + sock is going to be more weight I think than a winter tarp. Add the potential for condensation problems and I'll keep my winter tarps. Views are cake with a couple of trekking poles and a little imagination.
I don't know that a sock would have to be so large as to prevent touching it. I assume the concern about touching is condensation? A good breathable fabric should minimize condensation. After all, the inside of a bivy is touched throughout the night.
I do like a large tarp, and with today's lightweight materials I can't see a good reason to not go with a large one. I've yet to have problems with rain blowing beneath my Speer Winter Tarp. I have experienced wind blowing beneath it causing a bit of a chill, but if it had been uncomfortable enough I could have easily lowered the windward side. A big tarp can interfere with the view, but, as you say, that can be overcome with some thought and simple tools.
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