Jul 24, 2011 at 11:15 pm #1277153
@dparkLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I've made the plunge and purchased a bivy and am almost settled on a tarp. Right now, I know that I want something smaller than an 8×10. (No challenge.) I'm leaning toward flat tarps for the learning potential. I'm thinking of a 6×10 and setting up either with a half pyramid or A-frame depending on the weather.
My question has mostly to do with rainy conditions. If an A-frame is pitched low, how do you maneuver yourself under the tarp and into the bivy without bringing in all the wetness on your clothes and getting your bag/pad wet?
Also any thoughts on the tarp choice would be appreciated.
Thanks.Jul 25, 2011 at 12:41 am #1762735
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Get an 8 X 10 and you do not need a bivy. But you need rain gear.
Get a 5 X 8 poncho/tarp and you need a bivy. But you do not need rain gear.
If your clothes are that wet, take them off before getting into your bag/quilt. Damp clothes soon dry out if you get in your bag/quilt, but I find I get warmer quicker if I take them off. Actually that has never been an issue for me, but I do not hike in the PNW.Aug 3, 2011 at 12:12 pm #1765842
@brooklynkayakLocale: Atlantic North EastAug 4, 2011 at 10:39 am #1766143
@aarrebeaLocale: Northern Bay Area, CA
I am in the same spot as you. I am currently using a golite poncho tarp with a ti goat bug bivy. I have weathered some pretty nasty storms with this setup but it did require some tricky pitching and luck. So I am considering a slightly larger tarp. I think I have narrowed it down to zpacks 9 x 7 tarp. It is slightly longer than my golite and about 1.5 ft. wider. I mostly pitch my tarp in a half pyramid and I think the extra width well make it a little more comfortable should some weather roll in. The extra width well also allow a little more head room pitched in an A-frame storm mode. Seems to be a pretty versatile size for a tarp.Aug 4, 2011 at 11:46 am #1766162
@brooklynkayakLocale: Atlantic North East
I think I agree on the 9×7 size. A rectangular poncho tarp can be very confining when pitched tight for rain protection.
The common standard for many long distance hikers is the 8×10, but I think a 9×9 with many tie points would be more versatile for just a little more weight.
The Oware tarps come to mind. I have used an Oware 10×10 for two people and loved the room, tie-outs and protection from the elements.Aug 4, 2011 at 12:58 pm #1766177
@aarrebeaLocale: Northern Bay Area, CA
A 9×9 would definitely be a more versatile tarp. I know for me, a 9×9 would be pure luxury, and with a bivy no need to worry about getting wet. Having a square tarp would open up many more pitch options and probably (taking a guess here) allow enough room to sleep and dry any wet cloths if caught in some weather. If you don't mind a few more ounces and you are expecting rain, it seems like it would be a good option.Aug 4, 2011 at 8:57 pm #1766308
@tarasbulbaLocale: Rocky Mountains
I once had a Crazy Creek tarp but never had a chance to use it because my Six Moons Design Gatewood Cape performed so well, so I gave the former away. The Gatewood weighs only 10 oz and my bivy about 5 oz, and I always pack both. That way I can sleep under the stars when the weather's nice or hunker inside the Gatewood during a storm…I've even used it during a snow storm and was as snug as could be! This past weekend I was in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, where it's still February, and camped for three days on about 6' of snow at the still frozen lake using this set-up. It's plenty roomy for me and all my gear, and should it begin to rain while I'm on the trail I can wear it like a poncho that covers me and my pack. A sterling piece of gear, indeed!Aug 4, 2011 at 9:38 pm #1766323
@mtnratLocale: Southern Cdn Rockies
When it is really nasty at tree line I pitch my BMW poncho tarp in a half pyramid as low as i can. When the wind swirls and tries to drive rain into the opening I just grab the handle of my pole and drop the front edge of the tarp to the ground. I had to do this about a week ago when I was out near tree line with my dog. I was able to keep both of us dry with heavy rain, lightning, and swirling wind.Aug 5, 2011 at 2:12 am #1766357
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
A square tarp (roughly 9'x9') is pretty hard to beat. Here in the ADK's that seems about the minimum for good coverage of you and your gear. It also sets up as a lean-to for those nights that it is not raining. Bug nets, bivy, or screen tent are pretty much required for summer nights, though. Spring and fall you can skip them. But, I have run into mosquitos in September.
An A frame seems to offer good protection. But I have also set up single poled shelters. These work well in storms with a 42" pole. These types of shelters are very dry on well chosen ground. The worst is water running in along one edge or another in heavy rains. With a larger tarp than 5×9, you can often shift stuff around a bit to avoid the worst of the water. But, I will agree, generally a square tarp has much better pitching options.Aug 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm #1766510
I happen to have a 7' x 9' handmade, Cuben tarp available for sale. It is a true rectangular cut tarp without cat cuts; intended to be pitched in "monk tarp" / half-pyramid configuration, but it can also be pitched in a traditional A-frame configuration. The ridge line is bonded, edges are sewn to keep them neat, and it has eight reinforced tieouts. Also has a cuben stuff sack that is about the size of a 16 oz bottle. The tarp weighs 5.4 ounces and the stuff sack won't register on my scale. Brand new, made by yours truly. Email me if you're interested in buying. I also have enough cuben in stock right now to make a custom tarp from scratch to your specifications.
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