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  1. #1
    Senior Member timabababaluka's Avatar
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    Practice makes perfect... right?

    Thunder, lightning, and hail on the way home from work today. I run into the house, shout "Hi!" to the Missus and little ones, grab the tarp from the garage and disappear into the back yard. It's dumping now, the occasional hailstone pops me right on the bridge of my nose, and the glasses are starting to fog up (curse them). The wind is coming in gusty, and the tarp keeps trying to (a) fly away, or (b) knock me down (depending on which side of it I stand). It takes almost five minutes to get the ridge-line up (it's not continuous), and while I have some dubious form of shelter now, the tie-outs are not set up, and much to my dismay, I notice that my fingers are getting cold and difficult to manage. The mason's line I'm using offers absolutely NO resistance to work with (wonderful if you're leisurely setting up on a sunny day, but MADDENING now that the fingers are rebelling), and, ironically, the ground is repelling and bending my stakes. Fifteen to twenty minutes later, I'm finally huddled in a completely set up tarp.

    I learned something today--I suck at setting up tarps. The no-pressure-everything-is-roses outdoors guy that was able to do this somewhere around 5-8 minutes fooled me into thinking that it was all good--it wasn't. Turns out I'm a fair-weather tarper only. It gets better doesn't it? My kids, who by definition have no sense at all, are all looking at me like I'm a complete nutcase for spending all that time outside getting pounded just to put up a tarp that I'm not using. They don't get it; I want to move from tarp poseur to tarp pro (I've got a LONG way to go ).

    Now I have to go dry off
    You're gonna need a bigger hammock

  2. #2
    Senior Member backpackingZombie's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
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    HAHA. Good times.

    I've yet to be able to setup my tarp, my yard has no trees
    When it seems like the night will last forever
    And there's nothing left to do but count the years
    When the strings of my heart start to sever
    And stones fall from my eyes instead of tears
    I will walk alone by the black muddy river
    And dream me a dream of my own
    -Jerry

  3. #3
    BrianWillan's Avatar
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    Two words immediately come to mind.

    Snake Skins.

    Cheers

    Brian

  4. #4
    Senior Member timabababaluka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by backpackingZombie View Post
    I've yet to be able to setup my tarp, my yard has no trees
    After my experience this afternoon, I'd have to say it's a mixed blessing . I'm hoping all this stuff gets easier--I'd prefer it to do so exponentially, but I'll settle for only-slightly-so for the time being.
    You're gonna need a bigger hammock

  5. #5
    Senior Member timabababaluka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianWillan View Post
    Two words immediately come to mind.

    Snake Skins.

    Cheers

    Brian
    I know, I know, but it's a $7 poly tarp, so the snakeskins would have to be anaconda sized. No upgrade in the forseeable future--the baluka's make do, or do without. When the time finally comes, however, a decent tarp set up will be the first upgrade (even before suspension upgrade or an underquilt).
    You're gonna need a bigger hammock

  6. #6
    Senior Member JohnSawyer's Avatar
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    We need to find you that tyvek upgrade tarp..

    Heck, my kids used an old shower curtain in the rain once... Any tarp in a rainstorm is better than being stuck inside!

    John
    "Do or do not, there is no try." -- Yoda


  7. #7
    Senior Member NCPatrick's Avatar
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    Great idea to practice in the backyard. Now you are keenly aware of what issues you may want to solve before you hit the wilds of Whereverland. You'll be way ahead of the game when the next storm hits.


    "Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities."
    - Mark Twain
    I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
    - John Burroughs

  8. #8
    Syb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NCPatrick View Post
    Great idea to practice in the backyard. Now you are keenly aware of what issues you may want to solve before you hit the wilds of Whereverland. You'll be way ahead of the game when the next storm hits.
    +1 on this. I did several practice runs before my first group hang. I got there and someone said, "You look like you know what you're doing." At least I fooled someone!
    Since that group hang, I've done even more practice runs at the setup and the tear down. Depending on the weather, you might want to break camp as quickly as you try to set it up.
    Keep at it, you're doing great. Also, those snake skins come in very handy.
    Syb
    Enjoy the elevation

  9. #9
    Senior Member timabababaluka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnSawyer View Post
    We need to find you that tyvek upgrade tarp..

    Heck, my kids used an old shower curtain in the rain once... Any tarp in a rainstorm is better than being stuck inside!
    Too true! I can always count on John for a pithy remark. I've been looking into the tyvek, by the way. I'm all over that--just have to figure out from where .


    Quote Originally Posted by Syb View Post
    At least I fooled someone!
    I'm hoping to one day fool someone. Yesterday I couldn't even fool my kids, and they think I can make pennies come out their ears.

    As NCPatrick said, you DO become keenly aware of set up deficiencies on those little practice forays. And yes, I was sold on the snake skins only minutes into that dry (wet?) run.
    You're gonna need a bigger hammock

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