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More Thoughts on Tarp-ology

2636 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Whitewater Worthy Equip
I want to add some more thoughts to the subject to tarp-ology (the study of Tarps). I have kept up on the most recent tarp threads and just want to put out some alternative ideas.

The biggest problem with the nice big expensive tarps that are commercially or custom made is that they are nice tarps made out of expensive material that costs a bunch of time and money. The other problem is that once you dump that kind of cash in to a tarp the last thing you want is your fire pan anywhere near the tarp.

I have now made a couple of hybrid tarps systems that start with a poly tarp and then address their short comings. I like to use white tarps in the 16x20ft range as the base layer. (below I'll post a link) I reinforce all 4 corners and add 1 1/8" D rings. I sew the D ring to a piece of 18oz PVC using a piece of webbing and sewing Triangular reinforcement with D ring to each corner of the tarp. I then have a way to add a permanent center line that runs from one corner to the other. The Mods cost about $75 and the tarp runs $40.

For less that $120 (Plus ropes and anchors) you can get a solid system that works well and you won't feel the need to put the fire pan in the next zip code. I will be happy to give you rigging tips and tricks with any purchase.

I will be happy to address thoughts or questions here but email me directly at [email protected] for ordering info. Please do not PM me.

Thanks and stay safe out there.
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Why the white fabric as opposed to the silver (I think heavier) fabric?

Can you go larger? 20'x20'?

How well does tarp material, in general, hold up to fire embers? In your opinion.

Do you see any longevity issues with the not-so-expensive material?

I have used the original "Big Top" that was tan colored and it was a beast. I t held up very well to embers, but it was heavy. ($400 was a lot back then too)

I have a friend who has the newer "Big Duck" that's blue and you don't dare get it anywhere near a fire. Not my cup of tea, especially for $550+

Always looking for alternatives.
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looks as though from the reviews on Amazon that these tarps aren't worth it

I like the White because it works ideal for shade in the summer and it lets nice light through on rainy days.

You can definatly go bigger but they do become more of a challenge to set up due to the tention required on the center line to keep it from sagging. For larger groups I like to keep the kitchen out of the living room. I usually bring a kitchen only setup like the one at the bottom of the post when we have more than 8 people. The pic of our Pop up extension makes the shelter 10x20.

The material does better than you would think with embers if it is raining but if your friends drag the fire pan under and some jack as throws a bunch of dry wood on it will melt as fast and anything else. I try to put the pan on the down wind side and get it going well outside of the tarp and then once you get to a controlled burn rate drag it closer to the edge by garbing the fire blanket.

I am really hard on equipment. Partly because we try to get 100 days of the water per year and I don't baby my gear. I usually can get 2 seasons out of a tarp that I trust sleeping under in a storm. I hate setting up a traditional tent and usually bring the group gear so sleeping under the tarp cuts down on our camp chores and helps expedite the breakdown in the morning. Another great advantage is the dogs are sleeping close to the kitchen so I have never had a bear do any damage to our camps including trips from the Rogue to the Arctic ocean.

Thanks for all the great questions and constructive dialog. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other thoughts or question.

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looks as though from the reviews on Amazon that these tarps aren't worth it
I went with that tarp because it is a medium wt and is white. The silver extra heavy duty are definitely, beefier, and weigh close to 2x as much. Keep in mind that the Amazon reviews are of the unaltered version and people are most likely setting up semi-permanently, ie. way more exposure to UV than a camp tarp is every going to get.
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