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Tarps Are Worthless

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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Postby Fly Guy Dave » Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:02 pm

longri wrote:What I want to see is a video of a driving rainstorm, with big gusty winds, and some guy under a flat tarp, sans bivy sack, who is warm and dry and smiling.


I think that what has been provided (three pictures and one video) is enough, don't you? Most folks are wisely hunkered down in their shelter when weather is coming through, not out in it filming or taking pictures. What is the point of the shelter if you're not going to use it when it is needed the most? I think aftermath photos are fine.

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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Postby longri » Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:08 pm

Fly Guy Dave wrote:I think that what has been provided (three pictures and one video) is enough, don't you?


No, I don't think so. I've been in much worse weather than those photos suggested or the video showed. At Marjorie Lake, in fact. I've wondered in those circumstances, while inside a tent, how someone in a simple tarp stayed dry. How did they keep the windblown rain away? I'm honestly curious how expert tarp campers do it because I don't know how I'd do it. I'd want a bivy sack in addition to the tarp and would expect things to get a little wet.
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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Postby sparky » Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:10 pm

Ive wondered this myself longri, and as attractive as a poncho tarp is this has whats kept me from purchasing one.
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
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Tarps Are Worthless

Postby Bluewater » Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:42 pm

As F.G. Dave suggested, I have not taken pictures of a tarp setup from outside during a storm. During these storms I was hunkered down either inside the shaped tarp during the snow storm or under my flat tarp snoozing inside my bivy during the storms. The bivy was made with a waterproof bathtub floor with 10" sides and a water resistant/breathable top. This combination has shed rain spray successfully for me. While I appreciate that this style of shelter is not for everyone I have grown to prefer it.

During the snow storm in Ionian Basin the snow was blowing across the lake as I was setting up, not a good time to take out a camera:). There is a YouTube vid of a guy inside a Hexamid during a blowing hail/thunder storm, I think he offers to help out his buddy after his shelter collapsed.

http://youtu.be/LUgaFCvF2KM


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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Postby Rockchucker » Wed Jul 02, 2014 5:48 pm

longri wrote:
Fly Guy Dave wrote:I think that what has been provided (three pictures and one video) is enough, don't you?


No, I don't think so. I've been in much worse weather than those photos suggested or the video showed. At Marjorie Lake, in fact. I've wondered in those circumstances, while inside a tent, how someone in a simple tarp stayed dry. How did they keep the windblown rain away? I'm honestly curious how expert tarp campers do it because I don't know how I'd do it. I'd want a bivy sack in addition to the tarp and would expect things to get a little wet.

Two things, one I button the tarp down tight to the ground on the wind side and two I use a light weight bivy that keeps anything else off my bag. I've been in both snow and heavy rain and survived just fine, no wet bag. A few time before I got my bivy I weather out 3 days of heavy rain without a problem. I did cover the foot of my bag with my rain coat to protect it from anything blowing in.
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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Postby rlown » Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:51 pm

longri,

you are way over-thinking the situations. If you choose to take a flat tarp, you know the limitations, and benefits of it before you go. I didn't get wet in my setup, and i had other options to build a lean-to on a log (yes, i carried 6 nails as well).

If we have to be under the tarp, we do that as well. never got wet, other than when during the night i pushed my fleece pants out of the side of the "burrito" and they were frozen. Otherwise, really comfortable in a down bag in a snowstorm under a tarp. And no pics for that after the setup, as the snow got stronger and we slid in.

You won't get any pics of during the storm smiling. We are in our shelter as FG Dave said.

This thread is pretty dead unless someone dances around outside their shelter in the middle of a storm.

Russ
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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Postby freestone » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:08 pm

unless someone dances around outside their shelter in the middle of a storm.


That would be John Muir being himself, probably in a tree, if he were still with us.
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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:09 pm

freestone wrote:
unless someone dances around outside their shelter in the middle of a storm.

That would be John Muir being himself, probably in a tree, if he were still with us.

Too true. Muir had some extreme weather stories. Once he was out staking out the Lyle Glacier to measure the glacial advance when a storm approached. He hustled down into the Lyle Fork of the Merced River and made it to the Washburn Lake north end where there is a cave like shelter (you can see it from the trail), gathered wood and hunkered down to wait out a snow storm. When it was over he made snowshoes from tree bark and walked out.

Anyway, the picture below shows the tipping point for my backing pard (he has even more backpacking and hiking experience than me, which is to say, a lot), who up to that time was a tarp user. In the picture you can see his fancy tarp-tent on the left, and my Nomad tent on the right. Keep in mind my Nomad is/was about the same weight as his tarp-tent. So for about the same weight as a tarp-tent, I was dry on that trip through several rain storms and a snow storm. I have been in that tent in heavy hail storms too. After that trip seen below, he found a lite tent and used it or something similar ever since. Why bother with a tarp when for the same weight you can be comfortable and dry in lite-tent?
(OBTW, in the picture below, that is the most snow I have ever endured in the main backpacking season (late spring to the early fall) in the Sierra in 30 years of backpacking and thousands of miles of hiking. Prepare for these kind of condition and you will most likely be OK in the Sierra.)
Attachments
TarpTent.jpg
Tarp tents are OK 90 percent of the time in the Sierra, but for that 10%, you will wish you had something better.
Last edited by DoyleWDonehoo on Fri Jul 04, 2014 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Postby Hobbes » Thu Jul 03, 2014 5:54 pm

I'm not sure what the distinction is between a tarp and a tent. Andy's photo of a flat tarp + bivy is what many people think of when someone says "tarp", but what about this set-up?

Image

This is my DIY 2-man tarp that was based on the Shires' original tarp-tent plans located here:

http://www.tarptent.com/projects/tarpdesign.html

Because I'm paranoid about getting wet, I pulled out his dimensions for both my solo and 2-man around 15-20% in both length & width. In addition, because I sewed them myself with 1st quality silnylon, and spent some time practicing beforehand, all the (sealed) seams & pullouts are pretty bomber.

With the low profile, twin trekking poles, guy lines and one-side pinned to the weather side, these tarps are (hopefully) not going to collapse or cause anyone inside to get wet. (The rain peak blocks blowing side rain.) Worst case scenario, I carry a Frog Togs poncho that I can unbutton and use as yet another piece of rain protection - it's essentially a flat tarp about 1/2 the size of the one in Andy's photo upstream.

Sorry, I too am not in the habit of stepping outside in a storm just to document the effectiveness of my shelter. However, this is Whitney during a second stormy day of snow/hail - the prior afternoon I was comfortably hanging out by the Crabtree RS in the middle of lashing wind, rain, thunder & lightning:

Image
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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:48 pm

Not all tents are weather-worthy, simply because they are a tent! In an above timber severe storm many of the tents on the market will fail. I actually feel the safest in a mountaineering quality bivy sack. Not the most pleasant way to spend hours in a storm (sort of like being in a coffin), but your shelter will not be blown apart. And what is a "tent". Does it have to have a floor? Floorless tents are used in the winter by many. And what exactly is a "tarp"? There are a lot of hybrid designs out there now. Regardless of your shelter type, the key to surviving a storm is to have a quality made shelter, know how to use it properly, and have common sense to set up in the best place. Any improperly set up shelter, of any type, is useless.
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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Postby sparky » Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:08 pm

my tarptent "squall 2", despite its name, sucks in a storm with high winds.
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
-Chuang Tzu.
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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Postby freestone » Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:06 pm

Sometimes it's not the tarp or tent that leaks, but what's underneath you that can fail and get you wet.
Last year I survived some hefty late season monsoonal storms in the UL Flycreek, pitched with only the ground cloth and fly. Most double wall tents have this option, but not freestanding without the inner. During the worst part of the storm, the ground became saturated and started to runoff around and through the tent, but no saturation or blow-ln from the fly. My savior? The Exped down mat kept me high and dry while water flowed under and saturated the footprint.


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