Mar 29, 2009 at 10:50 am #1235159
looking for peoples suggestions on the best material for a DIY tarp. my backpacking buddy and i were talking the other day about wanting a tarp around camp. this is not to sleep under btw…just looking for some shade, a place to cook under, and a place to stash gear under at night. i am also looking to buy a bd epic tent, and i figure rather than haul or make a vestibule this might be lighter and offer more gear protection. i also figure that if i were ever out in a sustained deluge i might be able to rig the tarp over the tent to keep the majority of the spray off the epic fabric. so that leads me to materials. epic was the first that came to mind due to its light weight and the fact that this tarp does not need to be completely waterproof. silnylon seems like a good choice also but may be a bit heavier. however, after doing a bit of research it seems like tyvek fabric might also be a good choice due to it being cheap and readily available, and also easy to work with with glue, tape, and grommets..no sweing. i relize there are probably a few lighter materials out there (cuben, spinnaker) but these seem to be mucho expensive and i really don't know if i want to spend more than $100 on fabric for a tarp that i still have to make. so..what do people think? i'm probably looking to make an 8×10 and possible thinking about trying the caternary cut. hoping to end up under a lb.Mar 29, 2009 at 12:46 pm #1489582
make a 8×10 silnylon tarp and leave the tents at home. If you have to cover a tent it is just a bug bivy at that point. get a bug bivy for <$100 and <10oz and forget about the tent. (check out alpinelite's bug bivy and tarps)
Silnylon is more waterproof and lighter than EPIC and much stronger than tyvek, it does stretch some when wet/cold so you could make some of the self tensioners people have been talking about lately.
If you just want a gear tarp or to sit under in the rain go 5×9 (or 8)
-TimMar 29, 2009 at 7:14 pm #1489670
well…regarding leaving the tent at home, lets just say that the weather up at 9,000-10,000 ft in the mountains is alot differant than it is in the flatlands of minnesota. i usually expect average winds of 20-30 mph with gusts up to 60 mph. last night top windspeed at 10,000 ft was 73 mph according to the avalanche experts. so lets just say a silnylon tarp would not be the best shelter for those conditions. a tent is a must have up in the alpine areas in which i like to camp for climbing, skiing, etc. i should also mention that our "summer" here usually only lasts a little over 3 months and the rest of the year snow is likely part of the equation..again, the need for a solid shelter is real around here. i have decided on the bd epic tents mainly for this reason. these tents are the lightest tent on the market that can handle mountain weather with ease. while i would certainly love to drop even a bit more weight, but the though of waiting out a torrential deluge/wind and hail storm like i experianced a fall or two ago in titcomb basin in a double rainbow or similar doesn't sound like my cup of tea.
as for my original thought of using the tarp as double protection, you need to understand that it doesn't rain here much in the summer. sometimes late in the season we get daily fast moving afternoon showers but they are usually come and gone within a few hours…well within the weatherstopping ability of epic. generally it is rare for us to get any prolonged periods of preceipitation, and if its in the forecast we usually hold off on heading up into the mountains anyhow. my thought is that if i am using the epic tent as a backpacking shelter for a week or so at a time a lightweight tarp could be used as double protection IF some type or prolonged precipitation rolled thru. generally though, we just want a lightweight (under a lb) tarp for kicking around camp etc since many times our backpacking trips involve some base camping at high alpine lakes for fishing or climbing. the epic tent doesn't have a vestibule and the stock one from bd weighs in at 15oz. i would much rather carry an 11-12oz tarp and have more fuctionality than a vestibule for cooking and stashing gear. it also leaves me the option of leaving the tarp and the extra weight at home for shorter adventures like overnight bivys for climbs etc.
all that said, back to materials…is silnylon actually lighter than epic? i always thought epic was the lightest wp/b type material out there other than the pricey guys (spinnaker, cuben). obviously as i have said before weight is more of a concern than waterproofing abilty since this will not be a shelter for camping. i also noticed that the tarptent sublight made out of tyvek is lighter than the one made of silnylon. was kinda hoping that tyvek might be a good fit due to its ease in obtaining and low price. anybody else got any ideasMar 29, 2009 at 7:42 pm #1489676
silnylon is lighter, EPIC is WPB, sil is just WP not so much B.
-TimApr 1, 2009 at 3:45 pm #1490510
so, in doing some research the last few days with fabric vendors, i have seen some variation in the weights of 1.1oz/yrd silnylon. some places list it as 1.1, some say the actual weight per yard is closer to 1.4-1.5 with the sil coating and that the 1.1 just refers to the fabric weight pre coating. the tyvek 1443 kite fabric is listed at 1.25 oz/yrd and is super cheap. so what the verdict? if the 1.1oz sil is not actually 1.1 oz, then it seems to lose its weight advantage over the tyvek, add in the thread for stitching and the seam sealer then and it really seems to lose its advantage over the tyvek which can just be cut to shape, no edge dressing, glue on the seams instead of sewing. i like the idea of the burlier fabric, but given what i want to use this for, it seems the tyvek might be lighter, cheaper, and easier to work with. i dunno though..seems to depend on the actual weight of the silnylonApr 2, 2009 at 2:54 pm #1490771
when i calculate the weight of sil projects i use 1.5 oz yd2 and it is always right on. You can use the tyvek as many others have, i just have no faith in its overall durability.
-TimApr 2, 2009 at 8:13 pm #1490871
well…looks like tyvek it is. i understand what you are saying about durability. however, this whole project doesn't look like its going to cost more than $25-30 and about an hour or two of my time….so i probably won't be too invested in the project. if the tyvek doesn't work out i'll deal with the sil and the sewing later on.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.