Feb 28, 2010 at 1:56 pm #1255874
New to BPL, I've enjoyed reading everyone's posts. Very knowledgeable and helpful. Thanks.
With my tarp purchase, I want to try going directly to where I'll end up; that is I don't want 4 tarps laying around with my 4 packs and 5 stoves, etc.It's been an expensive evolution getting to ultralite. As background, I mostly hike alone, but sometimes take my son. I'm careful with my gear, live in the midwest, and pack year round most recently using Henry's Moment. So far I'm leaning towards an MLD Grace. I'd like your suggestions regarding mfr,tarp material, and size including any custom dimensions you have found works best for you. All advice welcome.
Thank you.Feb 28, 2010 at 10:50 pm #1579946
I started off with a Granite Gear silnylon 8'x10' tarp back in 2006. It was a good tarp and I learned alot using it. I still keep it for use when going out with friends.
In early 2008, I had moved to my 2nd and current tarp. It's the smaller and much lighter MLD Grace Solo in cuben fiber. I am quite happy with the size of this tarp and used it to hike the Pacific Crest Trail last year. I've been in strong wind, rain and snow (sometimes all 3 in one night) in it and was happy with the coverage. I have no plans to replace it anytime soon. I do use a MLD Superlite bivy sack with it and there have been a few times I was glad for the additional protection. But for the most part, the tarp does a good job by itself.Feb 28, 2010 at 11:07 pm #1579951
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Wait, you own a TT Moment and you want to use a TARP instead???
AAaaarrrggghhh!Mar 1, 2010 at 12:40 am #1579958
If you're new to using a tarp, you should get yourself first a cheap silnylon one – why not make one yourself and learn something on the way? That way you can see if a tarp (and a bivy) would be something you enjoy and are comfortable with, because if you're not then that's only a few $ out the window instead of over 300$ for a MLD Grace Duo or similar.Mar 1, 2010 at 4:56 am #1579972
+1 make your own. It will cost you ~6 yards of silnylon, some cheap webbing, guylines you probably have sitting around, and some patience. Rectangular flat tarps are easy to make, just make sure you use a wide flat-felled seam for the ridgeline and a rolled hem for the edges. Good luck.Mar 1, 2010 at 5:08 am #1579974
I know…pretty spoiled with Henry's stuff, it's great! I love the Moment. But I found I wanted some variety this winter when pitching with just my MLD Superlight. 15 degree night, full moon, and quiet. I loved the open views. Now that Spring is around the corner in Ohio, I'll need to put the top up occasionally.Mar 1, 2010 at 5:27 am #1579978
Guys, thanks for the ideas. I'll ponder making one myself. My birthday's coming up in May. My wife already thinks I'm nuts for sleeping in the winter woods. Maybe I can ask her for a sewing machine! Where's a good place to get the material and and other items needed?
Sean, I'd love to see the Cuben Grace. May be where I end up once I get some experience. Heard nothing but good things about MLD and like the Superlight Bivy.
Probably have more questions later, especially if I begin to sew.
I'll continue to follow the posts. This is a great place to learn and get ideas. The great thing is, this forum has no international boundaries. Thanks again all.Mar 1, 2010 at 5:52 am #1579981
@red_foxLocale: South Florida
While I recommend that you try a MYOG tarp first as well, I will say that my first tarp was an MLD Grace Solo. I absolutely love this tarp. However, just because tarps worked for me does NOT mean they will work for you. If you end up liking tarping, then you will probably love the Grace.
-SidMar 1, 2010 at 7:11 am #1579997
Marco A. SánchezMember
@marcoasnLocale: The fabulous Pyrenees
Although cuben or spinnaker tarps are lighter, silnylon tarps are more tolerant of the typical mistakes made during the learning process (excessive tension applied on some guylines). Thus, +1 for a silnylon tarp (MYOG or not)Mar 1, 2010 at 7:13 am #1579999
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
If you decide to go the MYOG route,Quest Outfitters has a great Cat Cut Tarp Pattern. You get the pattern and all needed materials for $56. This tarp is equivalent to the $140 Gossamer Gear SilTwinn or the $150 MLD Silnylon Grace Duo.
If you prefer to buy, you need to decide if you want a Cat-Cut Tarp or a Flat Tarp. Cat Cut tarps do better when pitched in a A-Frame configuration. They tend to pitch tighter and with less "wrinkles" and flapping than flat tarps, but flat tarps offer more pitching options.
For Cat Cut Tarps I would look at
Mountain Laurel Designs
Etawah OutfittersMar 1, 2010 at 9:08 am #1580033
Matt, I checked out a you tube video on the flat felled seam. Then I went to Quest's site that Brad suggested. I'm intrigued about making my own tarp. May just give it a go. Now I need to get a sewing diploma! Thanks all!Mar 1, 2010 at 9:25 am #1580040
Sean (and everyone) it sounds as though the Grace Solo size is adequate in most situations. As you may have noticed, I'm considering making my own as a trial. Not sure yet, but here's my question. Solo or Duo size? And if I find I CAN actually sew, I may make a flat one, too. "Both Feet" is what my wife calls me….Mar 2, 2010 at 12:32 am #1580419
Here are a few photos of the Grace Solo.
Here I'm tightening the guylines up as it starts to snow. I have it pitched low due to some wind.
And here is my tarp 2 nights latter under some trees after it snowed about 4" overnight. I have more coverage in this photo as I have it pitched higher and wider.
Mar 2, 2010 at 3:08 am #1580425
Vraig, check Bradfords link, that would be my choice if living in the US – its dirt cheap and you can choose your own colour. For a sewing machine I'd check a second hand store or ask relatives. There's a few "Sewing Primer" articles here on BPL with instructions for beginners on how to make seams, what needles and yarn to use, etc. I made my own tarp in January and its such a great experience to make something yourself, so I really hope my enthusiasm shines through here =)Mar 2, 2010 at 9:08 am #1580523
Thanks for the great pics Sean. Where were they taken? Very beautiful country (and why my favorite time to pack is winter.) It's helpful to actually "see" and get some perspective. Since I occasionally take my son, the decision left is size. Solo or Duo, or something in between? I see that Ron (MLD) will make whatever a person wants, but of course the custom work is not returnable. I like the Solo simply because site selection would be easier, smaller footprint. I was looking at the BPL's new cuben cat and noticed it's size is a hybrid, sort of between the Solo and Duo. Any opinion on that size, 9 x 8.5 x 5.7? Thanks again.Mar 2, 2010 at 9:49 am #1580547
Hendrik,your enthusiasm has spilled over onto me! I ordered the cat kit from Quest and am looking for a sewing machine. It really doesn't have a downside. Learning something new (that can save money, too)and being able to say to my buds, "Yeah, I made this." I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to read the BPL sewing articles tonight after work. In the meantime, I'm going to order a solo for my immediate use. Then I can use my MYOG Quest (9.1 x 7.17 x 9.75) for my father/son ventures.
Thanks to everyone for getting me ready to tarp. I'll let you know how my sewing goes.Mar 2, 2010 at 11:16 am #1580599
"Thanks for the great pics Sean. Where were they taken?"
They are from the last few nights on the Pacific Crest Trail in Northern Washington before I reached Canada. The 1st one is at Rainy Pass on Sept.29. The 2nd was from Oct.1 below Holman Peak.
The Grace Solo is too small for 2 people. While you might be able to in an emergency, I wouldn't want to for any other reason. I think the Gossemer Gear SpinnTwin tarp is sized about the smallest I'd go for a 2 man tarp and its a tight fit for more then a few days. So I would defintely look at the Duo. Or buy a cheaper larger tarp to learn tarping with and to use when camping with your son and then latter pick up a more expensive smaller one for solo use after you are more comfortable with a tarp.Mar 2, 2010 at 11:41 am #1580622
Sean, I love your pictures. They capture a lot of what's great about not being inside a completely enclosed tent.
In your experience, would you say the Grace Solo is small and light enough to warrant keeping it packed all the time for those relatively rare, freak storm in otherwise dry regions scenarios?
That is, for someone who's not interested in having overhead shelter every night, but needs something just in case?Mar 2, 2010 at 7:01 pm #1580904
Thanks for the good advice Sean. That's the direction I'm heading. As you may have seen, I'm giving the MYOG a whirl. It's an inexpensive way to get started and, if my vision allows me to miss my fingers while sewing, I'm sure I'll enjoy the experience. Happy Trails!Mar 3, 2010 at 2:52 am #1581020
Great to hear, Craig! Here are some photos of my MYOG tarp pitched in the snow, I really enjoyed the process of making it, and will sit down this week to sew a VBL liner bag for a trip this weekend. You should definitely keep us posted on your MYOG adventure!
Which Solo are you going to order? If I would have the spare cash, I'd go for the BPL Nano, but for you maybe a Alpinlite Stratiform I would be appropriate? Its Silnylon, 8,9 oz and only 90$!Mar 3, 2010 at 8:22 am #1581077
i'd look at tarps from the hammock makers. they use them all the time and would be who i'd consider experts. in particular i'd look at 2 manufacturers.
you'll want spinnaker if you can afford it. it's lighter, doesn't stretch, and doesn't rain on the inside if you bump it, like silnylon. i'd recommend either the "OES mac cat" or "the edge" from warbonnetMar 3, 2010 at 9:02 am #1581098
Wow Hendrick! Your tarp looks great! Especially for your first attempt at making one. If the quality of mine is anywhere close to yours, I'll be happy.
I love backpacking in snowy weather. It's always been my first choice. Ohio winter's usually don't produce much, (nothing like your pics) however February snowfall was good as we broke a 100 year old record with 28 inches in about a week. That's a lot for us! Of course, my wife gave me her usual quisical look when I laid out my bivy and bag in the snow. It was so crisp and clear, a cool 8 degree F night. Stars out, no wind. That's when I decided to go tarping. I go to the mountains to SEE, feel, and experience, no matter the time of day.
The Alpinlite looks interesting, especially with the zipped beak. Weight's ok and so is the price. Thanks for the good advice and the kick I needed to MYOG.Mar 3, 2010 at 9:47 am #1581117
I like flat tarps due to their flexibility for different pitches to suit the site and shifting wind. I generally like either the diamond or A-frame pitch.
Here's a quick snapshot of my MYOG 8 x 10 silnylon tarp at Zaleski SF this past fall:
I used too much seam sealer, add a few tieouts once every few months, and if I carry decent stakes, the total weight of everything is up to nearly 26 oz!Mar 3, 2010 at 10:35 am #1581139
don't forget the Speer tarps which are 25% off right nowMar 3, 2010 at 4:55 pm #1581361
"In your experience, would you say the Grace Solo is small and light enough to warrant keeping it packed all the time for those relatively rare, freak storm in otherwise dry regions scenarios? That is, for someone who's not interested in having overhead shelter every night, but needs something just in case?"
I normally sleep out in the open without a shelter using at most a bivy sack. I only setup the tarp when weather is threatening as I'm too lazy to fuss with it otherwise.
However, unless its a quick overnighter where I know the weather, I always carry the tarp. It's small and light enough that I don't mind carrying it even if the chance of using it are slim. Most trips I take, the tarp is just dead weight, but I'd rather take it with me, just in case. If you really want to save weight on an emergency use only shelter, MLD's Monk Tarps are ligher and smaller and should be enough to "survive" when needed. Though the weight difference between it and the Grace Solo isn't much.
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