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  1. #1
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    Do Black tarps get Hotter ?

    Just about to order a new tarp. And was wondering if anyone has had experiences in the summer sun with a black tarp?
    It has the cool factor to it, but Im afraid of burning up underneath it.
    I will at least half the time be camping in hotter weather and less shade. and maybe using the tarp itself as a shade cover in the day time.
    any helpful words?

  2. #2
    Senior Member angrysparrow's Avatar
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    I have black tarps, and I have gray ones. I can't tell a temperature difference between them.

    The black actually offers deeper shade in the bright light.
    I think that when the lies are all told and forgot the truth will be there yet. It dont move about from place to place and it dont change from time to time. You cant corrupt it any more than you can salt salt. - Cormac McCarthy

  3. #3
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    Great ! Thats what I want to hear.
    Thanks.

  4. #4
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    Can't speak from experience, but a black tarp should absorb more of the light energy and thus get hotter. A white tarp would reflect a lot of that energy and not get as hot.

    Ever notice how it's cooler inside a light colored car in summer than a black one?
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  5. #5
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    In theory, maybe. Not in my experience. It's warmer with a tarp than without, but I certainly didn't overheat last summer in my 10x12 black cat cut tarp. I think tarps the way we use them have pretty good ventilation. I've noticed it being warm to the touch, but not noticeably warmer inside than out.

  6. #6
    Senior Member angrysparrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonM View Post
    Can't speak from experience, but a black tarp should absorb more of the light energy and thus get hotter. A white tarp would reflect a lot of that energy and not get as hot.
    Your reasoning is sound, and I would have agreed with you before I actually used a black tarp. I can't say if it is because the material is so thin, or because tarps are so well ventilated like Lori says, or something else.

    There are a few valid reasons for choosing tarp color (preference, stealth, etc) but my experience says that temperature isn't one of them.
    I think that when the lies are all told and forgot the truth will be there yet. It dont move about from place to place and it dont change from time to time. You cant corrupt it any more than you can salt salt. - Cormac McCarthy

  7. #7
    Senior Member photomankc's Avatar
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    Well, my experience has been that my darker tents and tarps definitely create more radiant heat. That said, I'm very sensitive to heat. I notice it a lot more than other people seem to. My small two person tent with a lot of black in the fly is unbearable to me if the sun is on it.

  8. #8
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    I wonder if there is more UV damage to a black tarp?

    There was a lot of talk about this a while back. I think the consenses was it's the same, just more shaded. Darker tarps make it easier for me to sleep in.
    Is that too much to ask? Girls with frikkin' lasers on their heads?
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    My first two tarps (not counting the Hennessy napkin) were both very dark; one Blackcat and one SG 9x9. To top it off, I was living in Florida. Never noticed a big difference between those and my later MacCats and SuperFlies. Course, the other side of this is how much time are you spending under your tarps when the sun is out? In my case, not a lot so maybe there is a difference if you are using it for hiking vs. camping where it makes sense to use it as shade from the sun.

    Random pre-coffee thoughts.
    Trust nobody!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cannibal View Post
    My first two tarps (not counting the Hennessy napkin) were both very dark; one Blackcat and one SG 9x9. To top it off, I was living in Florida. Never noticed a big difference between those and my later MacCats and SuperFlies. Course, the other side of this is how much time are you spending under your tarps when the sun is out? In my case, not a lot so maybe there is a difference if you are using it for hiking vs. camping where it makes sense to use it as shade from the sun.

    Random pre-coffee thoughts.

    Ahh, random thoughts before me.

    Not much time, but at the same time I try not to let my gear sit out in the sun when I can help it. Planning to get a good 10 or 20 years out of some of my DIY gear.
    Is that too much to ask? Girls with frikkin' lasers on their heads?
    The hanger formly known as "hammock engineer".

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