I have been hanging for almost two years now, and though I have racked up nearly 100 nights, I consider myself a relative novice compared to many others here. But I wanted to share some observations of how hammock tarps have changed during this time.
When I first came around here, it seemed to me that many people were regularly hanging under smaller diamond or asym tarps. I even recall a frequent reference to "postage stamps." Bucking what I was reading at the time, as a genuine rookie, I opted for a larger tarp. But others seemed to keep talking about smaller tarps. There were others who had 10'x11' tarps, but they seemed to be in the real minority. Silnylon was in, and spinU was expensive.
I kept my focus on a larger tarp, and sought the balance of weight and cost with above average coverage. I spent little time following the discussions of smaller tarps, but I was gaining confidence in my own hammocking skills, and the need for me to have a larger tarp dwindled. At about that time, cuben fiber began emerging, making the pricy spinU tarps resemble brick from the dollar store. And to save weight, some were being made "postage stamp" sized, but that trend did not seem to last very long, and most of today's cuben tarps are of a "mid" size, larger than the minimalist, but slightly smaller than the larger tarps on the market.
I imagine there are several things happening here. Obviously, technology is improving, and the availability of lighter materials has improved. Also, skill and experience in the community (both consumers and suppliers) has improved as well. Prehaps most important to this is my perspective of what was happening, as I moved from rookie to moderately knowledgable hanger.
Because my place in the middle of this may have skewed my perception, I would really like to hear from both new and veteran hangers. What were tarps like before two years ago, and has size, shape and weight really changed over time. For those of you newer to this, how do you feel about tarps; are they too small, too large or just right?
Thanks in advance for your input.