POP UP VS TARPS - Mountain Buzz

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #1
wharf-rat's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 73

so, which do you prefer and why?

POP UP Tents (ex, kelty shademaker) or Tarps (Kelty Noahs)

I basically cant decide between which shelter to buy. this shelter would be for multi days in all types of weather and i have kids.
Which is the better setup for rain and giving the kids a place to chill? the only reason i can think of getting a shademaker is for how fast it can be set up. Which is a bonus, but i wonder how it holds up in a downpour . i would assume the tarp would be better in the rain, larger cover and closer to the ground.

What are ya'll using and why?

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #2
MT4Runner's Avatar
Kalispell, Montana
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 2,849
Standard engineering answer: it all depends

Does your wind come with rain?

We camp at the Lochsa A LOT. It rains A LOT. Not much wind, so we tend to use EZ-ups and big wing tarps. Yeah, I really like a tarp for vertical rain.

On the flip side, if you frequently camp in areas without a lot of trees, setup involves poles, oars, and a lot of guys/stakes. A shademaker is a million times easier to set up.

Love the Ez-up for both, but couldn't imagine taking that bulky thing on multidays.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #3
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,818
Plus one as MT4Runner nailed the answer.

I have the big wing, small wing tarps and my choice for river trips.

I also have a Eurmax push up (another version of the EZ-up) and that tarp set up works great when we are setting up a week long base camp for floating and have the truck / trailer along to haul gear. This unit has the side walls to add on for horizontal rain.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 639
I've taken both, but the pop up rarely unless I'm going for just an overnight, and more for sunshade in the summer in the desert than for wind and rain. The downside is it's big and heavy, the upside, shelter in a jiffy, just remember to tie them down

A comment on the Kelty Noah's tarp, it's a complete POS, I don't think I've ever seen a cheaper flimsy tarp out there, one was destroyed in moderate wind and rain on Grand Canyon, and the stakes, wow, they turn into projectiles when the tarp is wind loaded....
I bought a Big Agnes tarp, and have used the NRS wing, which works much better when you shed the poles and use oars instead.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,778
I've used both, and taken both on trips. The pop-up's great for fast shelter, like at a lunch stop on a hot day, but is heavy and bulky. The NRS wing's lighter and more compact for the square footage you get, great for a large area, but takes awhile to set up. It depends on what your need is. Neither is great with wind...
Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,208
This is a heavy duty tarp we used on a MFS trip, we set it up before the heavy rain and thunderstorms rolled in on us, before dinner preparation. We stood on the table and tied the rope between the two trees than tied the tarp to it, stuck the oars up and anchored it down with rope and 24 inch X 1/2 inch long rebar stakes. Would of liked it a little lower but we used what we had. It poured and thundered with some ping-pong size hail, a tree limb about 5 ft by 6 inches fell right on top of the tarp, with no problem. Cooked dinner under the tarp with our very modern 33 gallon steel drum cut in half. The heavy duty grill box was a pain in the as to carry out to cooking area but bear proof. This picture was taken in the morning and drying some clothes, both the charcoal lighter and Seagram's 7 sitting on the ground were helpful in getting the fire going. I would get a heavy duty tarp with sturdy stakes, it heavy but worth it when you really need it. This was in 1983.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
Calgary, Alberta
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 628
I have and continue to take a pop-up on overnights.

Yeah it's big and heavy but I raft in smaller groups where quick set up of the pop-up is great, and out kitchen setup is almost certainly simpler and smaller than most.

We all choose our luxuries on the river.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 60

This is the tarp I bought from someone here on the Buzz a few years ago. Last year on the MF it was life saver both from the sun and the rain. It has earned a permanent spot on my boat.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #9
RidgeLivin's Avatar
Nederland, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 42
After lots of shopping around, we picked this up. However, our primary purpose was for bug protection. You can literally put this thing up and pack it back down in under a minute. It is one piece. It's also much lighter than a lot of the more expensive hunting bug shelters and costs 1/4 the amount. If hiding from rain, we'll often combine it with a good ol' blue tarp and some tarp poles or trees. I don't think this would be great for strong winds or a torrential downpour on its own. It has been called a "life saver" many times on our trips. We usually don't put it up unless we clearly need it, but love that it can be erected in under a minute if the raindrops start falling or the mosquitoes start biting. When folded up, it fits perfectly sideways on our 14' raft right in front of the frame and helps provide a good base for the paco pads. You also can't beat $120. We got the 15X13 version.


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