Aug 8, 2006 at 7:02 pm #1219233
I’m looking for a tarp that will usually be used for one (very tall) person but I want it to also comfortably fit two people. I was leaning towards the Gossamer Gear SpinnTwinn, but cost is an issue and I noticed the Oware CatTarp 2, which is over $20 cheaper. The only problem is that it is 9 feet long, whereas the SpinnTwinn is 10 feet long. This will be my first time using a tarp as a shelter and I was wondering if 9 feet is enough to have good storm protection? I don’t want to use a bivy, and I have the long versions of sleeping bags (I’m 6’5″). Anyone have any experience with this tarp? Is it generally long enough with a low pitch to handle storms well?
On a separate note, is there a way to search the forums? I couldn’t find one, I don’t want to post something that’s already been covered. Thanks.Aug 8, 2006 at 8:23 pm #1360730
Adam KilpatrickBPL Member
@oystersLocale: South Australia
Can’t really help you with the tarp question, but…
You can search forums by using the blue “SEARCH FORUMS” link above. It is next to MAIN FORUM INDEX. Hope that helpsAug 8, 2006 at 8:50 pm #1360733
Ken HelwigBPL Member
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
The bigger the tarp the more of a problem pitching.Aug 8, 2006 at 11:21 pm #1360737
As a fellow “Tall Person” (6’4”) and have had experience with both the GG SpinnTwinn and Oware CatTarp2. I guess I’m qualified as any to toss my 2cents in.
First the Math:
G.G. SpinnTwinn. Dim: 9’ to 7’ Wide x 10’ Length (Ridgeline) Material: Spinnaker.
SpinnTwinn 8.0 oz, 8 – 6” Titanium Stakes 2.0 oz, 25’ EZC line 0.4 oz, Stuff Sack 0.4 oz
Total Weight: 10.8oz. Cost: $135
Oware Cat Tarp2. Dim: 8.5’ to 5.5’ Wide x 9’ Length. Material: Sil-Nylon.
CatTarp2 10.7oz, 6 – 6” Titanium Stakes 1.5 oz, 25’ EZC line 0.4 oz, Stuff Sack 0.4 oz
Total Weight: 13oz. Cost: $112 (w/free shipping)
My 2 Cents:
At first when using my small 1 man tarp I was concerned like you about the need for extra protection and carried a bivy. It was ok but then discovered that by using a larger (1.5 – 2 man) Tarp I had more coverage (+ 20sqft.) and could eliminate the bivy (6.5oz.) and still lose 2-3 oz. I adjusted the tarp for different conditions wind/rain/hot-cold temperatures and have comfortably weathered anything nature has thrown at me. Both Gossamer Gear and Oware offer Excellent products. Yes the G.G. SpinnTwinn has a longer Ridgeline length of 10’ but 12" of it is front entrance overhang. The Oware Cat Tarp2 Sil-Nylon material weighs more then the GG Spinnaker but the Cat Tarp2 can be setup with only 6 stakes.
Guess its up to you….
A Couple Oz. Vs. $23 bucks
Best of luck with your final decision.Aug 9, 2006 at 7:17 am #1360746
Steven MillerBPL Member
I’m thinking of using the G.G. SpinnTwinn as a canopy for my Hennessy hammock (in addition to it’s intended use). The size is right but I’m concerned about the “raised” ends, as pictured setup on the GG site letting rain in on the ends. Do you think if the tarp is stretched between 2 trees along the ridgeline 1st, then pulled out at the bottom ends that the bow would be an issue, or that the tarp wouldn’t tension well? Any input would be appeciated!
SteveAug 9, 2006 at 9:47 am #1360757
I’ve never used a Hennessey hammock with a Spinn Twinn so I’m not qualified to answer your question but I know who can:
Glen Van Peski or Grant Sible of Gossamer Gear
RegardsAug 9, 2006 at 10:08 am #1360763
Steven MillerBPL Member
Thanks!Aug 12, 2006 at 12:16 pm #1361011
Thanks for the comments Roger. I just had a couple of questions. I noticed that the CatTarp appears to only have tie-outs in the corners (and the ridgeline), is this true? It’s nice to only need 6 stakes but I wonder if it would also be nice in windy weather to have the 2 additional tie-out points. Secondly, is it a problem that only the ridgeline is catenary cut? Can you get a good tight pitch? Thanks.Aug 12, 2006 at 12:54 pm #1361013
Sam HaraldsonBPL Member
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
My research has shown that tie-outs located within the “wall” section of the tarp help primarily with creating “headroom” inside the tent.
Stability in the tent’s pitch is derived from tie-outs located along the tarp’s edges and at the ends of the ridgeline. More tie-outs properly strung and staked = more stability.
This is probably obvious to most but it never hurst to be redundant as I’ve noticed there can be an overwhelming amount of data relating to some of the topics we discuss here.Aug 12, 2006 at 1:15 pm #1361014
Thanks for the clarification, I can definitely see how that is true. Sorry for my poor explanation, but I was actually referring to another two tie outs along the edge of the tarp, but halfway between the corners along the long section, like the SpinnTwinn has.Aug 12, 2006 at 1:28 pm #1361016
D GBPL Member
@dangLocale: Pacific Northwet
I own a Cattarp 2.0 and though the pictures don’t seem to show it, it does have two tie outs at the middle of the long sides, so the tarp has a total of 8 tie outs. I generally don’t use these unless it’s pretty windy, in which case it’s nice to have them.
Re catenary cut at sides: It’s probably a nice feature, and I notice the Cattarp 1.5 has it, but most tarps don’t have it. I don’t think it’s that necessary, and the tarp does pitch nice and tight, and quite easily. I’m no expert with tarps and was able to get a nice tight pitch quite easily.
DanAug 13, 2006 at 6:30 pm #1361075
For a while I was convinced that cat-cut tarps were the way to go but now I’m not so sure. My main shelter of choice is now an ID Siltarp 2 (8 x 10) with lots of tie-outs, a center tie-out, and no catenary ridgeline. I really like the versatility of the tarp over what I used in the past (6 x 8 catenary, Hex 3, Spinnshelter) and 80 sqft is alot of room for 2 people. Another alternative for you would be a flying diamond. Ron Bell at MLD makes such a tarp with catenary fabric edges and ridgeline. Granite Gear also makes a 10 x 10 tarp with no catenary ridgline but tension-taped catenary elements between the tie-outs. Perhaps this is your best option… albeit a little on the heavy side.Aug 14, 2006 at 4:07 am #1361091
@garkjrLocale: Southwestern Ohio
John: I assume you’re talking about Granite Gear’s White Lightning. I’ve got an 8×10 version, and I tend to choose it despite its heavier weight. The extra weight (versus an 8×10 ID Siltarp) seems well-spent to me. The center seam appears to be taped (and I’ve never had any leakage along it.) There are two webbing pole cups (adjustable for various poles) and the side guy-outs are adjustable webbing – which means no more untangling guy lines. Pair it with an REI Minimalist bivy sack and 8 titanium skewer stakes, and you’ve got a shelter that weighs just shy of 2.5 pounds. (I tend to use a Salathe bivy, for the better ventilation, but even that combination saves me half a pound over the Hubba tent I previously used.)
I also recently acquired the ID Silwing. At 12 ounces (versus 7 for the 5×8 Siltarp and 15 for the 8×10 Siltarp) it’s not a bad compromise between weight and space for a solo hiker. It did have to be seam-sealed, but it pitches reasonably easy, and is fairly roomy, especially near the taller head end – seems to have enough room to cook or move around a little. And, since it’s 10 ounces lighter than the White Lightning, maybe I won’t feel so guilty for taking my Salathe bivy (the Salathe and Silwing weigh right at 3 pounds.)Aug 14, 2006 at 9:06 am #1361096
@ccorbridgeLocale: Southern Oregon
I have a Gossamer Gear SpinnTwinn Tarp.
It’s about 9’x8′ and weighs under 9 oz with cords attached. It’s an irregular shape and works well over my Clark Jungle Hammock. I carry a bigger homemade Rayway Cave 2 (9’x10′) when I expect lots of rain. It’s about 20 oz with cords.
The GG tarp is just barely big enough in blowing rain. I sometimes cover my hammock ends with a trash bag or grocery bag. At night sometimes I use my rain jacket over the foot end which gets the least coverage from the tarp. I find the gg tarp to be a good light weight alternative for the occasional thunder shower or for the committed light weighter. Like I said I take something bigger if I’m expecting to spend much time in the shelter area.Aug 14, 2006 at 9:27 am #1361097
Michael FickesBPL Member
Generally this tarp provides good storm protection for one person, but even with a low pitch expect to get some rain blowing in during high winds. You can only pitch the head end so low and still get inside the thing. If you dont want to use a bivy then you better have some other means of protecting one end of your bag in windy/wet weather.
Contrary to an earlier post my CatTarp 2 has 3 tie-outs on the sides, plus the tie-outs in the corners, for a total of 5 tie-outs per side.
MikeAug 14, 2006 at 10:53 am #1361103
If that’s true then what’s the point of these type of tarps? Once you add an extra pound for a bivy you are approaching tent-like weights for the combination. Do most people that use a tarp use a bivy too? I can see using a very small tarp to cover your head and gear with a bivy and still being ultralight, but why are so many companies selling these types of two-man tarps with open ends? Am I missing something here? I can also see using tarps with beaks (SpinnShelter, GoLite Cave, etc.) but that’s another topic.
What about the down bags I seem to be seeing lately with DWR, could those work in this situation? I have a synthetic bag (I hear they still insulate when wet), would that be sufficient?
I don’t mean to sound harsh, I’m just genuinely curious as to what most people use. Thanks.Aug 14, 2006 at 12:40 pm #1361111
@garkjrLocale: Southwestern Ohio
To me, the point isn’t necessarily to save weight (though my setup does save from half a pound to a pound or more, depending on the actual combination I take.) I simply prefer the versatility of the combination. I tend to hike mostly in fair weather (not perfect, just fair: I cancel the weekend if the forecast is for two days of steady rain, but I’ll go if it’s just for scattered rain some of the time.) In fair weather, if the sky is clear and it doesn’t feel like rain by morning, I just unroll the bivy and camp is made – it’s that simple. I really like sleeping under the stars; I’ve never been able to duplicate that with a tent. I also like to camp on exposed rock ledges; tents – even freestanding ones – just aren’t as convenient in those settings, but a bivy conforms to wherever you find it comfortable to lie down. The tarp can be erected for rain shelter, but the footprint need not be as big as a tent. As long as the footprint is big enough for the bivy, the tarp can also cover the occasional bush or rock that would make it impossible to put a tent there.
If I were still going out in all kinds of weather, all seasons, I’d probably still carry a tent. But, for me and the way I now backpack, the tarp/bivy combo works simply and simply works.Aug 14, 2006 at 2:37 pm #1361120
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
If you think about it, a small tarp and bivy are
just a smaller two wall tent. You get protection
from heavy rain, snow and radiation loss from
above with the tarp. You get the wind protection,
bug protection and spindrift/spray protection
from the bivy.
It is just a way to lighten things up a bit and add
a bit of versatility as you can use each item
How and where you set up your tarp makes a
difference too. The fellow that hiked the
triple crown used a 5×8 ponch/tarp. Not a
lot of coverage there, but he made it work.
For example a BPL’s smallest tarp and lightest
bivy combo will weigh less than 10 oz total.Aug 26, 2006 at 2:34 pm #1361724
@dfliednerLocale: North Texas
I wanted to resurrect this thread a little since I have been rolling back & forth with the small tarp+ bivy vs. large(r) tarp without bivy debate in my mind. I was wondering if the experienced tarp users could chime in and give us an idea of what seems to be the smallest tarp needed to not use a bivy sack (sweat sack). I too like the Spinntwinn (and Oware 2, as mentioned in the earlier discussions), but am also worried about the windblown rain protection from the front and back. I have thought about buying a spinntwinn and sewing on beaks (spinnshelter seems too small) but am not sure… TIAAug 26, 2006 at 3:16 pm #1361726
That was basically the gist of my question, and I’d be interested to hear more opinions on the matter. At the thread below you will find a similar discussion. I found another thread like it at one point but I can’t find it now. The answers varied pretty much between 9 and 10 feet.
There is, of course, the ones that have beaks, like the Golite Hut 1 and 2, and the Spinnshelter. I also hear that Granite Gear is coming out with a new tarp with beaks.
I thought I’d give an update on the original topic. I started comparing the area of the Oware 2 and the SpinnTwinn and it became clear to me that it isn’t an apples to apples comparison. Really, the SpinnTwinn gives as much area as the Oware CatTarp 3.0. Just something to consider if you want to fit two people plus gear.
I actually chose the Granite Gear White Lightnin’. The reason was mostly cost (I found one for $90). It is a little heavy, but it seems better suited to a beginner, with the adjustable tie-outs and tension tape. I got the small size, which is 8 feet by 10 feet. It is not catenary cut but I thought the tape would make it so that I can pull it very taut. Plus, it is made of Sil Cordura, which I’ve heard is more durable. If anyone is interested I may give a user review after I’ve used it for a while. I did try to pitch it today and it didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped but it was my first experience, I didn’t have much time, and I didn’t have good poles to use. I think it will work out well with time.
Mostly I wanted a bigger tarp because I want to fit two people at times, and I didn’t want the extra cost of a bivy. If I knew I were going solo and I had tons of cash I’d go with a bivy and a small tarp probably (integrated bug protection). But that is much heavier unless you spend a lot of money.Aug 27, 2006 at 5:04 am #1361755
Will RietveldBPL Member
@williwabbitLocale: Southwest Colorado
Dane, I recently went on a trip with a guy named Don Johnston (who really has his gear kit thought out). He used a Spinnshelter on the trip, which was very wet, and it worked very well. He did use a bivy, but could have gotten by without it. Using a sl bag with a really good water resistant shell helps a lot.
I use a SMD Gatewood Cape and Montbell Alpine #3 bag, and that combination works great. I don’t use a bivy. The Cape is very stormworthy, but is vulnerable to wind driven rain from the front. The Montbell bag has a superb shell that really repells water. WillAug 29, 2006 at 2:58 pm #1361949
Eric, I’d be curious to hear how the new GG WL tarp fairs in the 30d SilCordura. Does it act like a dirt magnet like sil nylon does? Noise level in wind compared to Sil Nylon? Hotter underneath than Sil Nylon? Light availabilty underneath brighter/darker than Sil Nylon? TIAAug 29, 2006 at 4:42 pm #1361954
I’ll try to answer some of these questions as I use it. Of course, the big obstacle to answering these questions is that this is my first tarp and I have never used a SilNylon tarp before, so I can’t really make a comparison. To be honest, I’m not sure what Cordura is, Granite Gear says it’s Cordura Nylon, which implies to me that it’s a type of nylon. Maybe it’s the way it’s fabricated or something.
I know that it does appear pretty transparent, I’m kind of wishing I got the blue color. But that’s about the only observation so far.
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