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Tarps Are Worthless

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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:03 am

There is no such thing as "Free standing" in a severe storm. All tents and tarps have to be staked down. Even with stakes, I still back up each tent end by tying to the heaviest rock I can carry. Sometimes when the ground gets saturated, your stakes will pull out.

One advantage of a floorless shelter, is that if you get water from the ground, at least you can see where it is coming from, and try to trench for drainage. A small leak coming in to a "bathtub" floor tent, and all it does is pool inside the tent. You really cannot fix that situation during the storm unless you get outside and get wet.

If conditions get sketchy, I will put on insulating clothes, shoes and rain clothes, and stuff my sleeping bag in its waterproof bag, and then sit the storm out inside my tent. If the tent/or tarp were to fail, my sleeping bag will not get wet and I would be prepared for the rain.

My Tarptent Moment has some condensation issues, but it is really storm-worthy in high winds. It is quite symmetrical so can take winds from any direction no matter how I orient it when I set up. The floor will saturate slightly if it gets totally flooded underneath. I always bring a sponge to use in this case.

It is easy to say you "should not set up where you get flooded", but in reality, I have done that twice. What appeared to be a good drainage site was overwhelmed by 4 inches of rain in 3 hours. The other time it was user-error when I simply failed to notice that I set up in a bathtub because I was being swarmed by mosquitoes and my only thought was getting inside my tent!



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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Postby longri » Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:56 am

rlown wrote: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 understand the limitations of a simple tarp, at least in the context of my own limited skills with one. Unless it's a short trip I carry an 8oz WPB bivy sack along with the tarp and groundsheet. When the weather is looking wet and windy I run downhill for the forest. If I have a good tent I may still head for shelter but I don't feel that I have to. When the wind is bending the poles and pushing the fabric against my back or face I'm happy to be in a good tent rather than a tarp.

But I don't discount the notion out of hand that there are those who are skilled enough to be happy in a simple tarp in a windy storm. I just haven't witnessed it, haven't seen a video or photos and wonder sometimes if they're exaggerating a little.


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

So I see. But I wonder if that's because you're in a tarp instead of a tent. I put on the raingear and get out in a storm sometimes to take a pee. I don't often carry a camera but if I had one I could shoot a photo in a storm. Why not?

IMG_4872.JPG

This wasn't particularly nasty. Early September at about 11K, something in between snow and hail, kind of windy but no big drama. We were inside drinking whisky. A tarp would have been a lot lighter on my back but I would have had a harder time sipping the whisky (or taking a pee) while cinched up in my bivy bag.


Here's another, sort of, since it had stopped snowing for a brief spell. First day of September at 10K. We got 3-5" of snow but it was virtually windless. A tarp would have been fine except perhaps for keeping the snow from drifting in the sides. I had to get out and "shovel" with my hands a few times that day.

summer.jpg

We weren't just smiling, we were laughing at the situation.
Last edited by longri on Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:24 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Postby longri » Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:59 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:It is easy to say you "should not set up where you get flooded", but in reality, I have done that twice. What appeared to be a good drainage site was overwhelmed by 4 inches of rain in 3 hours. The other time it was user-error when I simply failed to notice that I set up in a bathtub because I was being swarmed by mosquitoes and my only thought was getting inside my tent!


It happened to me one time in the Tetons. We were dumb. It looked like such a nice spot, so why wasn't anyone camping there? It started pouring in the middle of the night. I turned on my headlamp and found our boots afloat, bobbing up and down in the vestibule. I had to get out in the downpour and trench with my ice axe for about 30 minutes.
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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Postby JWreno » Fri Jul 18, 2014 11:49 pm

We have used a pair of TarpTent Squall 2s for several years with very good results. Keeps the bugs out and are very light. In 2008 my wife and I survived a hard windy thunder storm just under Glens pass. We stacked out and rocked over our stakes and didn't get a big wet. It was a very intimidating storm with much lightning, wind and sidewise rain. My faith in the Squall 2 was much higher after that event.

The TarpTents are tents not tarps but don't way much more than a tarp. I would only consider using a tarp in the fall after the bugs died off from the cold. I have used a bivy in the past but for 2 people the TarpTent Squall 2 is a lighter roomier option.
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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Postby balance » Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:27 am

Just want to thank folks for posting. Especially the people who actually use tarps. Your perspective was interesting and informative.

Peace.
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