Tarps Are Worthless

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Bluewater
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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Post by Bluewater » Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:52 pm

As a tarp convert the title and initial post caught my eye. I appreciate that this has been like an interesting conversation rather than a dispute.

At first the idea of using a tarp was just a weight saving technique, but I was uncomfortable with the idea of feeling exposed. After a few nights I was completely sold and my experience since then with tarps above treeline has been good.

A shaped tarp with bug netting is a minimum requirement for me during typical June conditions. I use an older 8 oz Zpacks Hexamid without the 'beak'. This is essentially a non freestanding tent that requires a single trekking pole for support. I rode out a serious thunder storm just below the north side of Gabbot Pass last June and stayed dry and comfortable. The storm was bad enough that I couldn't make it to a lower elevation on the slick granite cross country terrain.

For the past two years I've used a shaped tarp in the winter and shoulder seasons, a 9 oz Solomid, and have been fine while waiting out a few snow storms above treeline (usually for 16 hours). One day after searching for 30 minutes during a snow storm in the Ionian Basin the only flat spot I could find was just big enough to fit the footprint of my Solomid. It was essentially a bivy site cleared out within a boulder field.

I slept through four nights of late season rain storms a few years ago on the JMT using a 5.5' x 8.5' flat tarp and homemade bivy, although only one night was above treeline. The weight of the tarp and bivy setup was under 8 ozs. Having to use rocks to help with the setup was inconvenient but since then I've become more comfortable and creative with the process.

When camping with my wife we recently switched from a 3 lb Big Sky Evo 2p freestanding tent to a 10 oz SMD Haven shaped tarp. In June we bring the 14 oz inner net tent. We made it through an intense thunderstorm while camping totally exposed above Wanda Lake a few years ago. We stayed dry and safe, just like we have under similar conditions in the free standing tent, which would have been staked down that night!

Most nights I prefer to cowboy camp. For shelter this year I've switched to just a larger flat tarp with more tie-outs and no bivy for 3 season use. This article helped me make the switch to just a simple flat tarp:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin ... 7Hmmtq9KSM" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Here is a basic setup for tarp camping in "inclement weather" (taken from BPL):
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balance
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Tarps Are Useful

Post by balance » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:25 am

I've really enjoyed reading the comments about tarps from knowledgable people. Your experience and perspective is interesting and informative. Thanks.

In fact, I'm ready to acknowledge that tarps are useful. Tarps are really good for covering bales of hay in the back of a pickup truck when you're going to feed the horses.

Peace.

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AlmostThere
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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Post by AlmostThere » Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:08 am

Tents are worthless, unless you set them up right.

Hay is worthless, unless you use it for something other than the furniture.

:p

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Clothes Are Worthless

Post by balance » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:36 am

Since this went over so well, I'm preparing another topic: Clothes Are Wortheless.

When everyone reads this and agrees, can you picture the HST meet-up: Hundreds of beautiful, naked people cavorting in the granite fields? :eek:

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rlown
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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Post by rlown » Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:06 pm

balance wrote:Since this went over so well, I'm preparing another topic: Clothes Are Wortheless.
Might want to pick another topic. Naked is not good at altitude except for short periods like washing and in the water or in a tent; pretty sure we all know that. UV is not friendly, nor are the bugs. But, do what you will.

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Wandering Daisy
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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Jul 01, 2014 3:49 pm

Silly posts are worthless.

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maverick
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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Post by maverick » Tue Jul 01, 2014 4:10 pm

balance wrote:
Since this went over so well, I'm preparing another topic: Clothes Are Wortheless.
So would be that topic. :\
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org

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balance
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Clothes Are Worthless

Post by balance » Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:35 pm

I initiated a lively discussion on the pros and cons of tarps. To keep things conversational and friendly rather than becoming argumentative, I employed humor and hyperbole. It was a spirited discussion yet no one took things too seriously. The resulting comments which people made were interesting and very informative.

Following some light hearted banter about using hay bales as furniture, I suggested that everyone would agree with the topic "Clothes Are Worthless". I'm a bit surprised anyone would take this literally. But since three people took it so seriously, it seems advisable to leave all frivolity, irony or jocularity out of any future posts. Just to be safe.

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longri
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Re: Tarps Are Worthless

Post by longri » Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:01 pm

Maybe you should choose a different avatar.

I did enjoy this thread. But I wish it had included pictures. Tales of enjoying serious weather in a tarp or a bivy sack come across a little too much like fish stories.

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AlmostThere
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Tarps Are Worthless

Post by AlmostThere » Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:51 am

I kind of liked the thread - had I wanted to sap it of humor I could have talked about alternate uses while using tarps on a SAR. But I find that mentioning body parts kills the conversation, generally speaking.

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