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  1. #1
    JDA's Avatar
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    tarp designs and pitching time

    Hi all,

    I've been playing around with hammocks for some time now but am just recently getting into the idea of using it for camping - especially especially backpacking and bikepacking when it doesn't really make sense to lug a tent along and you want a good night's sleep...but then again when don't you want a good night's sleep?

    I've got a DIY tarp made of Silnylon. Right now it's a 10'x10" rectangle. I've got a couple of questions:

    1) I wanna make an all around decent tarp - I don't have the money to collect a bunch of tarps for special conditions. I've been reading on these forums and it looks like a hex tarp is a good all around choice? I want to keep things reasonably light but am not too concerned about saving a few ounces on cutting my tarp down to minimalist proportions. I wanna be comfy at night and not worry about it - I realize that that may mean a fairly large tarp and carrying around a bit of extra weight - though with 1.1 silnylon I guess you'd have to cut a bunch of the tarp off to save much weight. That being said I do live in a pretty wooded area (northern Wisconsin) and so generally wind-blown rain isn't going to be coming at me sideways.

    2) I can usually get my tarp to be taut if I take a while and dink around with it. But it seems to take a long time. I'm kinda thinking that my tarp is just way too big and unwieldy. How long should it take (I realize that things change with conditions and tarp styles - but if you could just give a ballpark figure for setting up the tarp on a warm, not windy or rainy day with a hex tarp)?

    3) Is doing a cat cut on a DIY tarp a big hassle? Is it tough getting the curves right and then is it tough hemming the curved edges? It seems like a cat cut should pitch better/tauter/faster (less dinking around to get it taut) but I don't have any experience either and I don't want to try and figure out how to reinvent that wheel if it doesn't make sense.

  2. #2
    dejoha's Avatar
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    I'd leave the tarp rectangular. Not that cutting cat cuts is difficult, but I think you'll find more pitching options with the square sides. Add a few more tie outs and then you can more easily pull in the sides to make doors, pitch it on the diagonal during calmer weather, and have more of an awning for "porch mode." I think jacks r better have some good photos showing off their rectangle tarps in such configs.

    The cat cuts are helpful to eliminate loose, flapping material, but you can get pretty close with good pitching. It won't be 100%, but close.

  3. #3
    Whoooo Buddy)))) Shug's Avatar
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    I used these directions to make some goodly tarps. Modified some and some straight from the instructions........http://www.hammockforums.net/index.php?page=blackcat
    Shug






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  4. #4
    hangNyak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shug View Post
    I used these directions to make some goodly tarps. Modified some and some straight from the instructions........http://www.hammockforums.net/index.php?page=blackcat
    Shug






    Shug, you've got some nice looking tarps. I'll second that tutorial on the Blackcat tarp. It was very helpful in constructing mine. I did a couple things a little differently. One thing I did was make a template out of large masking paper. That made it very easy to trace the design on my material. If I made a calculation/cutting error, it was going to be on the paper and not my material.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Floridahanger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDA View Post
    Hi all,

    I've got a DIY tarp made of Silnylon. Right now it's a 10'x10" rectangle. I've got a couple of questions:

    1) I wanna make an all around decent tarp - I don't have the money to collect a bunch of tarps for special conditions. I've been reading on these forums and it looks like a hex tarp is a good all around choice?

    2) I can usually get my tarp to be taut if I take a while and dink around with it. But it seems to take a long time.

    3) Is doing a cat cut on a DIY tarp a big hassle?
    First and foremost, Welcome to the forums.
    To start, I'm guessing it is a 10 foot square?
    (1)If so, like Dejoha said, keep as is for options. No bunch of tarps, just options.
    Or (2)you can turn it in a diamond shape tarp, corner to corner. That makes it a little tighter and faster to pitch and only 2 tieouts to ground.

    (3)Sorry, no info yet as I'm making a cat cut on an 11x10 (will be hex) currently, well within next few days, maybe. But Shug has some good info on his post and the instructions aren't too tough (I hope)

    P.S. If you haven't already done so, check out Shug's videos on his signature. And I highly recomend Dejoha's book, "The Ultimate Hang"
    2 Hammockforums.net Celebrities answering your questions. How cool is that?

    Good luck in your venture.
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  6. #6
    Needs more Hang time Catavarie's Avatar
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    If you want just one tarp to cover most all circumstances I'd leave your tarp as is. You could add Cat cuts and it would help to make it pitch tighter faster but not neccessary.

    I made a hex tarp as many have, although instead of following the blackcat plans I used a bit of pythagorean theorem to determine the angles of the sides and used a long bit of pvc to form the catenary curves which I traced onto the fabric and then cut out. The hemming of the cat cuts wasn't hard, just slow going as you can't really go full bore on the thread injector with curves, or at least I can't.

    As already suggested I would just add in some extra tie outs that you could use to create doors and pitch your existing tarp in hex patern when desired.

    Oh, and welcome to the high life.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Great looking tarp you got there Shug. How big is the tarp that is closes to the ground in the first picture.

    Thanks.

  8. #8
    JDA's Avatar
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    thanks for the advice everyone. It's very helpful.

    Unless the site is almost perfect, it takes me maybe 30-45 minutes to set up the 10x10 rectanglular tarp I have with a decently taut pitch. This amount of time seems excessive to me but then again I have very little experience with this kind of thing. I haven't actually tried setting one up but it sure seems like an advantage to a cat cut and/or hex tarp is the relative ease and quickness of set up. That being said I like the recommendations of leaving the tarp in its current rectangular shape - and the flexibility that allows. I am a big fan of flexibility and plus this will save my lazy *** from having to do the work to make the tarp into a different shape.

    I'm away visiting family for the holidays but when I get back I can set the tarp up and get a picture so you can see where the tie outs are (and recommend where others can go if need be).

  9. #9
    Whoooo Buddy)))) Shug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgemaung View Post
    Great looking tarp you got there Shug. How big is the tarp that is closes to the ground in the first picture.

    Thanks.
    It is 11 1/2' x 8. Plenty large.
    Whoooo Buddy)))) I Love Onions, Grits, Greens, Livermush, NC Style BBQ, Potted Meat, Anchovies, 'Naner Puddin", Peanut Butter Pie, Red Velvet Cake and Cocoa and Straaaaaawwwwberrrry Milk and Coffee Crisps....
    I Hope Heaven has a Bakery!!!!



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