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I'm looking for some insight and opinions on shade/shelter tarps. Right now, I'm debating between the Kelty Noah's Tarp 16, The Kelty Big Shady Canopy, or the Timber Ridge Tarp offered at Costco. Do you Buzzards out there have experience with any of these, or have better ideas? The most expensive of these three is $150, so I'm not really considering something like the NRS River Wing. The main reason for needing one is for an April 30 Smith River trip with a group of 8, for which I'm planning on having some rain and/or snow, but I will also use it in the future for sun shade. I'd love some feedback, and bonus points for photos!
Cheers!
 

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I have the Kelty Noah 16. I can recommend it without any reservations. For the price, I was amazed at how well designed and solid it is.
We used it on a Middle/Main trip. It might be a bit small for 8 people in the desert, or you’ll all be crowded under there for the shade. For us it was great.
 

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Noah tarps are solid choices, not familiar with the other two. They require more work to anchor securely and are nearly impossible to remove all the flapping in wind. (Which is annoying, and when a tarp flaps, it's working on getting away from you)

If your more than a casual camper, I'd recommend sucking it up and buying the nrs wing or a dragon fly tarp. Easier to pitch and keep up, and better coverage. Also highly recommend using 20'-30' loop straps for anchor lines. Nrs wing + loop straps = cost of Dragon fly (roughly. In the past they came with straps, don't see it mentioned on website currently)
 

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I spent a lot of time going back and forth between different tarps to buy. Right now I have a Kelty Noah (I think the 12 but it might even be the smaller one) and a Nemo Shadowcaster 165. I definitely prefer the quaternary cut of the Shadowcaster, it creates a lot more usable space. So even if the dimensions are smaller, the usable space ends up being larger. That Costco tarp has a similar cut and looks like a good price but is pretty small. I use the Shadowcaster for a small kitchen setup and wouldn't want to go any smaller, and its definitely bigger than that Costco tarp. Take a look at the Batwing tarp. I haven't seen one in person, but there was a thread on here a while back about those with some decent reviews. The main question I had without being able to see it in person was material quality, but if I remember correctly it was about the same quality as the Kelty tarps. Had I not gotten a crazy deal on the Shadowcaster, I probably would have gone with the Batwing. My Kelty Noah now sits under a hatch in my vehicle as a backup. Personally I would look for something in the right price range with the better cut to increase the usable space.
 

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You could sew your own: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0...p_Instructions_-_revA.pdf?2687007158395941466

But when I priced materials it was ~ $170 for the fabric to sew one 18ft by 25ft, and you'd still need loop straps and hardware. But the dragonfly version is +$500. Maybe someday I'll sew one and let you know how it goes. If you do sew one, this series of videos seemed really helpful.
and included tips on sewing slippery fabrics on a regular machine.
 

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If you can handle the expense the dragonfly is the the one to buy. Killer workmanship, materials, hardware, it’s the one to get. Here’s another reason, service. I left mine up in my yard for a couple of weeks because we we’re having a rehearsal dinner and were trying to be COVID safe outside. Some wild turkeys kind of partied down on it one night and put some huge rips in one of the panels. Sent it back to Matt and he replaced the whole damaged panel for a hundred bucks. I don’t believe that would happen with any other manufacturer. You get what you pay for. Thanks Matt. You are the man.
 

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A bit off topic, but how do you all secure your tarps along the river? I have the Noah 12, and I have not been successful in getting it set up in breezy weather. It’s hard enough when it is calm out when there are not any trees to really secure it to.
 

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On your ridge lines, if it’s sandy, you can make a “dead man”. Dig a ditch perpendicular to your ridge line on the upwind side about where you would pound in a stake. The deeper the better. Put a sand stake/piece of wood/nice rock...... in the ditch with your ridge line tied to it. Bury it in sand. You may have to do all your upwind stakes if conditions warrant. Pretty frickin bomber but a bunch of work.
 

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I've had a Noah 16 for years now. Did end up buying a Big Agnes Deep Creek several years ago. They are all a pain to put up if there's wind and to stay up. I actually like the Noah better, its more compact, has a larger coverage area, and if it rips I'm not out alot. I do recommend replacing all lines with 550 p-cord and getting real sand stakes. Even the sand stakes don't do well on the deep, loose sandy beaches. I always take one or both and mostly use them for shade, and the occasional storm. I highly recommend keeping an eye on your oars if that is what you are using for poles in thunderstorms. I did go on a trip where we also had a riverwing. While the riverwind is definitely beefier, the group opted to put up the Noah for shade in the afternoons and on a rainy night, mostly because it was easier to put up and covered a larger area. 18 of us were able to sit under staying dry while having beverages and playing games.
 

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From personal experience p-cord is insufficient for holding a 16 Noah's tarp. A thunderstorm broke the p-cord holding the ridge line, the tarp then flipped two +/-15lb rocks tied at the mid points over the kitchen. After that we stopped using rocks...
 

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I guess I'm spoiled by owning a Moss Outfitter Wing and a NRS River Wing such that I truly believe you get what you pay for. I also own a Noah but I have difficulties getting it to pitch taut enough to stand up to a wind that the wings would have no problem with.

I only use the NRS wing when expecting rain such as going north to Idaho. It is very waterproof such that you can almost shake it dry(the fabric does not absorb water).

The Moss wing is taffeta and is no longer water repellent but makes a bomber desert shade tarp. It does function to keep rain off your head but drips a bit. It saturates with water then takes forever to dry. I got good advice concerning painting it with waterproofing but have not done so yet.

The Noah is used to pitch over my tent. I must admit on rainy days my tent site looks like a hobo camp with clothing hanging all around under the Noah and around the tent. The Noah over the tent ends up moving the drip line well away from our tent allowing us to pitch and put away a dry tent and an area to sit under for personal space away from the group wing when desired.

So, the Noah works but the wings work much better I think. As has already been said, buy once, cry once(or something like that). In other words, it hurts when you pull out your credit card but from then on you'll use it a long time and really enjoy owning a true wing. A good wing can help you get invited on trips!:sneaky:
 

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A bit off topic, but how do you all secure your tarps along the river? I have the Noah 12, and I have not been successful in getting it set up in breezy weather. It’s hard enough when it is calm out when there are not any trees to really secure it to.
I have found these spiral anchor pins(commonly used as dog lease anchors) to be amazingly effective in sand and dirt. Just keep spinning until you achieve the desired secureness. Much cheaper then a commercial sand stake.

In some places it is hard to find a BFR or log to use as a anchor or dead man. In such situations I've found filling rice bags or compactor bags with sand or smaller rocks works well. Once you have enough mass you can twist up the top of the sack fold it over and loop a cord around it to secure it closed. Besure to try to restore any disturbances you make to a natural state when you leave.

63514
 

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Sight unseen, I would recommend the Big Shady or Timber Ridge over the Noah. They just look like you can get a tauter pitch.

I looked at the Noah on line. It looks better reinforced then my 15 year old version.

It sure would be nice to compare the three side by side to access the quality of materials and construction.
 

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I’m looking for a tarp/wing setup as well for a Deso trip this season... I can’t swing the cost of the dragonfly, and I am not really a fan of NRS (other than straps) having come from a kayaking background...

I did find these, and was curious if anyone had any feedback...

 

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I'm surprised that there are that many that like the Noah's tarp. We had one along on a Grand trip, was a royal pain to set up, 3 people on the erecting crew helped, but that thing couldn't handle any wind. It eventually shredded itself, they are almost impossible to get taught, even after hours of fiddling with it. After that trip, I bought the Big Agnes Deep Creek and never looked back. It's a bomber tarp, easy to erect, easy to get taught in the wind.. They are $199.99 at EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports) . the one mod I did was to tie hoopie to the 2 grommets where the poles go, which fit over the handle of an oar, so no poles to mess with. It gives you about 150 square feet of shade and rain protection, and is only about 4 pounds without the poles. I DO use sand stakes with this, 1.250 aluminum angle 18 inches long, as it came with the same worthless tent stakes they all do.

While I haven't tried it, they make a screen room that is shaped the same as the tarp, looks to be the hot ticket for a late June / July Deso trip.. They were about $150.00 when I looked at them.
 

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Dragonfly for the win for me. I can set it up solo. It's super stable in wind and it makes me happy at how good it looks on the river. I paid full price not a shill, but I love these shelters and Matt is awesome on the customer service.
 

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They are damn sure nice, and Even with electric mayhems mantra of buy once cry once, 600 bucks for a tarp? I say that having just bought a Johnny partner toilet system... Almost $2,000 for boxes to shit in... But they sure are nice
 

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Dude, your priorities are messed up. Your complaining about a trip saving shelter for a bunch of people for 600 and you paid 2k for a place to take a crap. ( I had no idea they were that pricey)
 
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