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  1. #1
    gunner76's Avatar
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    HQ Issue Camo Tarp

    Gear Guide Tarp Vrs HQ Issue Camo Tarp

    (Old School) Gear Tarp purchased late 2009 early 2010

    HQ Issue Camo Tarp purchased March 2013

    Bought from Sportsman Guide.

    The Gear Guide Tarp has been a favorite of hangers due to its large size and low price. While it is not high quality, it has been a great tarp for car camping or as a starter tarp.

    The only thing it really has going against it is its weight.

    Getting one was always a crap shoot as they are only offered in the spring and in limited quantities so they sold out fast.

    In 2012 there was a major problem in that most of the folks on the forum who ordered the tarps were complaining about quality and sizing issues. You can search for the discussion on the problems if you want to read up on the variety problems encountered.

    I have been looking for the elusive camo version of the tarp which has not been offered for sale for about 4 or more years (being a Marine I like camo camping gear). When I saw that they were being offered again I decided to grab one.

    Instead of being called a Gear Guide Tarp, the camo version is now called a “HQ Issue”

    From Sportsmans Guide Web site........

    “HQ ISSUE™ Camo Tarp

    Emergency shelter comes in 2 handy sizes!
    HQ ISSUE™ Tarp, Digital Camo
    Military-inspired cutting-edge quality! Portable emergency shelter goes anywhere. Great makeshift tent/camping shelter you can customize in a pinch when sudden storms hit as a survival shelter. Cover your firewood, ATV, boat and more instantly. The user list goes on and on.
    Tough 190T nylon
    1,000mm polyurethane coating
    Factory-taped seams help protect from the elements
    Multiple guy out points (lines included).
    Order your concealment edge / protection ONLINE today!
    HQ ISSUE™ 8 1/2x8 1/2' Tarp, Digital Camo
    HQ ISSUE™ 11x11' Tarp, Digital Camo”
    Weight is not given.

    I ordered the 11x11 tarp. Has same specs as the current Gear Guide tarp.

    Took one week (8 business days) to receive. Took out of box and it comes in a long stuff sack with carry handle.

    Nice looking camo pattern. The included stuff sack is long and skinny making it difficult to be able to stuff the tarp back into. The stuff sack could be used to carry tent poles. I will be making a new stuff sack for this tarp out of some camo material I have.

    The tarp package includes:
    • the tarp
    • stuff sack with carry strap ( (toss and get something better )
    • instructions (really basic, not much help)
    • Smaller stuff sack with...
    • 7 very light weight aluminum stakes (toss and get something better)
    • Cord with line locks (looks like 550 para-cord) (toss and get something better)


    Weight 2 lbs 2+ oz complete tarp as received
    • Tarp …........................... 1lb 11.8 oz
    • Main camo stuff sack............ 0.7 oz
    • Blue stuff sack w/line and stakes...... 5.7 oz
    • Line …....... 1.8 oz
    • Stakes ….... 3.7 oz


    Heavy for a backpacking but a great value for a first time tarp or car camping. I would swap out the line for some Zing It or equivalent and get some stronger stakes.

    Claimed measurement... 11ft x 11ft
    Actual measurement...... 11ft 6” x 11ft 6”
    Tie Outs....lots

    The web site picture shows the tarp as having some type of black edging and says the tarp has “factory taped seams”. The tarp in the picture on the Sportsman Guide web site is not the same as the tarp they are shipping. The tarp I received has rolled edges and I do not see any evidence of them being taped seams. While the ties outs are plentiful, they are reinforced with some type of cheap plastic material.

    As it is larger by a few inches than the claimed size I considered that a bonus.

    I set up my old Gear Guide 11ftx11ft tarp and the Camo tarp on my hammock testing stand in my back yard. I placed the camo tarp over the old Gear Guide tarp and it overlapped the old Gear Guide tarp. When I checked the “feel” of the two tarps by hand, the camo tarps feels much thinner but the weight is within an ounce of being the same, go figure.

    I did not do a water test as I did not have time to do so and wait for the tarp to dry out.

    From the looks of it I believe the ridge line seam will have to be sealed.

    My conclusion....for $30+ dollars you can't go wrong with this tarp. Even it only last one or two seasons it is still a good buy.

    The pictures are my old Gear Guide tarp and the new Camo tarp
    Attached Images Attached Images
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  2. #2
    Unofficial Trail Dozer halfastronomical's Avatar
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    Very nice write-up! I have tried to make the time to do a full review for a week! You nailed it, so I am gonna try to post my "abuse test" findings this week.
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  3. #3
    Unofficial Trail Dozer halfastronomical's Avatar
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    Also, the cheap plastic reinforcements on the corners are made with what looks like a woven poly tarp material, like your heavy wal-mart type tarps
    Trail information, photos, waterfalls and vistas on the DeSoto Scout Trail facebook page.
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    Soon I'll lose these rags and run, Returning to the wild where I'm from. -Chris Whitley

  4. #4
    gunner76's Avatar
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    Looking forward to your "abuse test". I don't plan to take this tarp out into the field until I have time to set it up and hose it down to check for leaks. I figure at worst I will have to use some seam sealer on the ridge line.

    woven poly tarp material, like your heavy wal-mart type tarps
    I thnk you hit it on the head. I think that is what makes the tarp so heavy even though it appears to be a thinner material.
    Merchants Mill Pond SP Swamp Hang

    www.neusioktrail.org ..................... Free Hammock Classes

    Hammock Gear Time Line ..............Hammock Friendly Sites in NC

    I am 18 with 42 years of experience.

    Hammock Hangers...taking over the world..2 trees at a time !

    Warbonnet BB 1.7 and a whole lot of other great gear from the vendors on HF

  5. #5
    Unofficial Trail Dozer halfastronomical's Avatar
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    The seams definitely need sealing. I will save you that step of testing.
    Trail information, photos, waterfalls and vistas on the DeSoto Scout Trail facebook page.
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    Soon I'll lose these rags and run, Returning to the wild where I'm from. -Chris Whitley

  6. #6
    dragon360's Avatar
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    Nice to see pluses after the disaster of last year. Enjoy my white version for sure.
    The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering. - St. Augustine

    Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.
    - Bob Marley

  7. #7
    BrianWillan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunner76 View Post

    Claimed measurement... 11ft x 11ft
    Actual measurement...... 11ft 6 x 11ft 6
    Tie Outs....lots
    The pictures you included, show it pitched in a diamond configuration. Are the 11'6" measurements the diagonal lengths or the edge lengths?

    Cheers

    Brian
    Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment. - Unknown

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  8. #8
    Senior Member Floridahanger's Avatar
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    A good job on the review. You hit all the highlights and added more to wet the appetite.
    At that size, 11'6"x11'6", the tarp can easily be used for quite a few different types of pitches. I like the diamond shape in that size, not smaller.
    Enjoy and have fun with your family, before they have fun without you

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  9. #9
    gunner76's Avatar
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    Are the 11'6" measurements the diagonal lengths or the edge lengths?
    Corner to corner its 11ft 6" ( I could be off a couple inches as I was measuring it by myself and it was a bit windy ). It has a ridge line of about 15 ft. So even if I am off by a couple of inches this is still one big trap.
    Merchants Mill Pond SP Swamp Hang

    www.neusioktrail.org ..................... Free Hammock Classes

    Hammock Gear Time Line ..............Hammock Friendly Sites in NC

    I am 18 with 42 years of experience.

    Hammock Hangers...taking over the world..2 trees at a time !

    Warbonnet BB 1.7 and a whole lot of other great gear from the vendors on HF

  10. #10
    Senior Member Silverpalm2x's Avatar
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    Angry i agree

    Quote Originally Posted by halfastronomical View Post
    The seams definitely need sealing. I will save you that step of testing.
    I will save you time and let you know you will have to seam seal it. This one and the smaller one from last year everyone complained about.

    I took the camo one camping May 17-19. It basically rained on it from 1pm Saturday until I took it down on Sunday to come home. The seams eventually allowed water to seap through. I got some wet drips on my hammock and me. Great size if had kept the water out, even better.

    I also have the smaller one set up this weekend over my hammock and it did okay in rain from 9:50 on Saturday through til 5:30. Through thunderstorms and all, but at 5:50 when it poured I got wet. I bailed packed up my hammock, blankets, etc and eventually came back to get it after more rain until almost 9:30. It was almost as wet on the underside as the top.

    I will say that I now know what people are talking about sleeping in a hammock under a tarp in the rain. It was very peaceful until it started leaking and I hated getting out and up.
    They are great for shade but not the best for rain. I will have to figure out how to seam seal them. I am tempted to dip them in water proofing since I would mostly be using them for car camping.
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