Feb 19, 2012 at 8:27 pm #1285893
I just sold my beloved TT contrail, after just a seasons worth of use.
I need to go lighter.
I am very strongly considering buying a golite poncho tarp, after doing some research ive decided my only other choices could be a gatewood cape-
Or a sea-to-summit poncho tarp.
My goal is to be AS LIGHT AS POSSIBLE.
the golite looks so sleek…i find its weight appealing.
I want to see pictures of all the mostcraziest, makeshift and creative ways any tarp-ers here have (or do) pitch theyre ponchos. Or tarps, im really trying to justify not using a bivy. The half-pyramid and a-frame pitches seem o.k. but ill most likely not pin my corners to the ground because it looks like im going to use ALL available space under the golite to stay dry.
Whats the WETTEST stretch of days or rain-battered nights youve had to endure while tarping SANS BIVY?
I need inspiration here! my 1st SUL summer is in sight!Feb 19, 2012 at 8:57 pm #1841756
David ChenaultBPL Member
@davecLocale: The West Slope
A bivy is pretty handy. Without you'll have very little room for error with site selection and pitch.
I like the Golite because it's light and stuffs to the size of an apple. If I expect lots of rain on a trip, I bring a larger tarp (and separate rain gear).Feb 19, 2012 at 10:14 pm #1841771
I am a recent convert myself and purchased the Golite Poncho Tarp last year. "Fortunately" I was able to experience some bad weather on a brief overnight trip to the Buffalo Peak Wilderness in Colorado last September. I hiked in the rain with my Poncho and experienced wet lower legs. Upon arriving at camp it was still raining and I had to quickly pitch my shelter which had been my rain gear so I got more wet while pitching. So in one short overnight trip I had experienced two of the clear downsides with poncho tarps. Fortunately I had practiced my pitches at home and was able to setup quickly and avoid getting too wet. The Half Pyramid pitch I use for bad weather pitches three sides to the ground but leaves little space for moving around while waiting out a storm. With that experience I have decided to use the Poncho for cases where I expect weather to be good but am willing to deal with short periods of inclement weather. However, I am looking at the addition of a second Tarp to my kit for cases where I expect bad weather or where the trip is long enough that the chance of bad weather is likely at some point. In those cases I would likely take the Poncho for hiking in the bad weather but have a larger tarp for shelter which also allows me to move around under the tarp better while it's still raining for cooking etc..For that I am considering the MLD Cricket Tarp or MLD Trailstar.Feb 20, 2012 at 1:54 am #1841799
yeahhhh i am beginning to think a bivy will be necessary for poncho-pitching unless (like randy says)i have a large tarp or secondary rain gear. heh heh, its easy to succumb to the allure of sleeping bare tarp & bag. i have seen the golite pitched half-pyramid, it leaves frightening little room for evading condesation. if it were guyed at least a foot to each stake, i think that'd solve the problem but eliminate bombproof storm mode.
thanks for the nuggets of knowledge-from-experience. for that specific reason (getting wet whilst pitching) i thought about staking/pitching from under the poncho. i know that would lead to a scene of silliness and frustration, however. I might just bring a DriDucks jacket, and as for the lower legs getting wet; I really dont mind it. hiked for days on the PCT last sep. in a garbage bag rain kilt, not sure i'm ready to add rain pants to my pack…the condensation/sweat issue is dauntng to me.
is the only solution going to be bringing a full set of rain gear, or at least a rain jacket?
an umbrella comes to mind…Feb 20, 2012 at 1:32 pm #1842010
Here are pictures of some of my tarps. I'm not very imaginative about it. But when I was first getting into tarps I searched and searched for pictures, so here's all I have.
My Golite Poncho
This probably wouldn't have kept any rain off me
Set up for privacy in one direction
Set up the same way as the previous I think I decided I liked the roominess of this set up the best. Enough overhead to protect me from a non-wind-blow surprise rain and provide privacy but not so much to keep me from feeling like I'm cowboy camping.
Set up the same way I awoke to drizzle on this day, which turned to rain.
If I raised it up I got more room
My 8×10 Equinox
This is an 8×10 tarp
This is the same 8×10 tarp
Here's the 8×10 set up folded in half. Probably wouldn't have kept much rain off.
Again, the 8×10 tarp
Again, the 8×10 folded in half
The 8×10 set up A-frame style to fit two people
The 8×10 set up again for two
One last boring picture of the 8×10
A website with way more and varied pictures than mine.
Tarp CampingFeb 20, 2012 at 2:08 pm #1842020
@jbmcsr1Locale: Rocky Mountains
Join Backpacklight and get access to some great articles about ultralight techniqueFeb 20, 2012 at 3:14 pm #1842047
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
The article link that Dave C provided does an excellent job of pointing out advantages and disadvantages. I have used tarps and poncho/tarps as my main shelter for a long time. If I expect a lot of rain, then it is a 8 X 10 tarp for me, with separate rain gear (often a poncho), and a bivy is not needed.
I have done quite a bit of rain weather the past few months using a zPacks Hexamid with a zPacks poncho/ground sheet. The shelter has done an excellent job even in slanted rain, when pitched at the right orientation.
Since the poncho is also the ground sheet, I can take it off when I am done setting up, and put it on in the morning when I start to take down. If I wear shorts with a 7" inseam, the bottom of the shorts get wet, which I don't like. So I have been wearing 5" shorts with it. The poncho is not as big and loose like most ponchos, so it is easier to hike in, plus I am used to using a poncho. I did some bushwhacking last year down a desert side canyon with lots of boulders, shrubs, cat claw, and cacti and the poncho was not a hindrance. Total weight of the shelter/poncho/groundsheet is under 7 ounces, sans pole and stakes. In groundsheet mode, the poncho is actually a bathtub floor with the optional zPacks clips. A bivy is not needed.Feb 20, 2012 at 3:43 pm #1842058
Piper S., i read your insight all over the forums and big ups! you have much knowledge you bring to the table. thank you for all the pix, those golite poncho tarp pictures were just what i was looking for!!! i am basically sold on that piece of gear.
i wont be purchasing a membership any time soon, not that its anyones business but my funds are less than depleated.
If i werent jobless and needing to get back into classes i'd be springing for the hexamid solo….that is a very enticing shelter. it is the perfect shelter in my eyes.
alas, i am broke.
Piper S., what are your techniques for pitching shelter in rain? i am most likely purchasing a chromedome umbrella so i'm thinking that will definantly help alot while pitching and might even allow me to leave the driducks at home.Feb 20, 2012 at 6:52 pm #1842166
I never had to pitch the poncho or the Equinox tent in the rain and it has never done more than drizzle on me with either of those two items. By the time I got any experience in the rain I had a tent and umbrella with me (mosquitoes!). I find the poncho too big for me to use as an actual poncho. I'm only 5'3" tall. For me the poncho is for trips when I don't expect to actually have to hike in it.
My strategy for setting up in rain was about the same as it would be with a poncho. I looked for tree cover under which I could set down my pack and set up my shelter with little rain actually hitting me because of campsite selection under tree-cover.
I would probably prefer the 8×10 tarp for rainy places. The large size of the 8×10 makes me feel like there's no way I'd get wet and no way I'd need a bivy. I can fit all my gear and have room to spare and lots of room to sit up and cook. The drawback of the 8×10 is that it's sort of saggy. You have to get up and tighten stuff in the night.
My friend Lenny is 6'5" and used the Golite poncho for the entire PCT. He tested it in heavy So Cal storm conditions and stayed dry.
Here's how he always sets up.
Lenny wearing the poncho. Cut Lenny off at the knees and that would be me in the poncho.
I did a comparison of my various strategies. I forget the exact weights but it came out that the combo of:
– Golite Gossamer Gear One tent + umbrella was heaviest
– Equinox 8×10 tarp + umbrella medium
– Golite poncho + bivy was lightest
I still haven't sewed my Parcho kits yet. I wanted to try having a real upper-body rain item. So far I have only used an umbrella or a polycro ground sheet to hike in the rain.Feb 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm #1842190
Mike MBPL Member
@mtwardenLocale: MontanaFeb 20, 2012 at 8:14 pm #1842201
Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
Get a Gatewood. It gives 360 degree protection that a poncho never could. Add a little polycryo film for a ground cloth and you have a good shelter. Easy to pitch as well.
I carry a poncho for day hike CYA and it takes the wear and tear off the Gatewood. A space blanket bivy can round it out for really stinky weather.
Ponchos and the Gatewood can be aided by a simple cord for a belt. I think 99% of liking ponchos is just getting over the lumpiness. They aren't as sleek as a $400 welded-seam rain shell, but the multiple use drops base weight like crazy. Not only do you get shelter and rain shell, but your pack stays dry, including the straps and back panel— something you will enjoy come the next day and you aren't wrapped in cold wet foam straps and panels.Feb 20, 2012 at 8:47 pm #1842227
This pitch provides a good balance between weather protection and space.Feb 20, 2012 at 10:27 pm #1842273
Sean StaplinBPL Member
@mtnratLocale: Southern Cdn Rockies
In some situations where I have run into thunderstorms with wind that swirls and turns the rain into fine droplets that get under and around any pitch of a small tarp I just grab the bottom of the pole and lower the tarp to the ground. When there is a lull in the wind I lift it back up and shake the water off. It works pretty well mostly because those types of thunderstorms are pretty short and you can get back to sleep when it passes. BTW I also use a light weight bivi to keep my bag dry when using a small poncho tarp. For overall comfort I prefer my gatewood but like the openness of a small tarp pitched half pyramid or lean-to.Feb 21, 2012 at 12:55 am #1842296
that is a radical-looking Golite pitch, right there…
Piper S., those pictures of your hiking bud's poncho are really inspirational, frankly between using a method like that and the one shown above this post of mine, even if i raised my poncho a tad of the ground with some guylines i could manage a nice weatherproof pitch. i seem to remember reading somewhere (perhaps written by himself) that Andrew Skurka used a poncho tarp solely on a thru hike…and managed it as his only rain gear to stay dry. i believe he uses down sans bivy, as well…
I would like a gatewood, it really appears to be the smart way to tarp. throw a space blanket or some painters dropcloth plastic down and you'd be bomber.
the setup here was made with some old coated nylon, the yellow dots are places sticks had ripped holes from makeshift pitching. i am truly on a budget. that picture was snapped moments after waking at 6am from an all-night deluge on a test trip along the boulder river trail in the cascades. i left my ti mug out all night and it was almost full upon waking. i was using a breathable bivy that weight 1lb and this crummy tarp weighed somewhere around 11-13oz, so it was about the same as my TT.
i stayed bone dry and didnt even have to get in the bivy. no high wind, but i'm thinking i'll have to adventure a little when searchig for places to pitch a poncho. i'm liking my odds.Feb 21, 2012 at 9:04 am #1842372
I have never understood an A frame pitch on something as small as a Poncho Tarp. Same issues as other front entrance shelters. Getting in/out involves climbing over your gear/bag. Am I missing something?Feb 21, 2012 at 11:25 am #1842447
Yeah, I could never quite figure out how to get into a tarp pitched A-frame like that. I think you basically have to wiggle into your sleeping bag feet first and try not to bump your head on the tarp or get too wet on your way in. And how will you get your shoes off without getting wet feet before you do that??Feb 21, 2012 at 11:39 am #1842453
yeahh randy honestly nor have i. i hadnt planned on it raining that night, and in the morning had to lay down my packliner-garbage bag to crawl out on avoiding the sponge-like forest floor…no bueno
i have just ordered a Equinox Poncho Tarp from user WilliamZila on here for $35.00. Thats more like my price range i got lucky. its 58"x90" so thats, like, 4.8ft x 7.5 ft…almost the same size as the golite poncho, and i am 5'7" so i'm pretty hyped its gonna be my shelter for the '12 season. I plan to pitch it pyramid-style and flying-diamond, but i'll throwdown with the good ol' lean-to if conditions are mild.
I have a 15oz OR bivy i plan on cutting up, i'll cut out the face-flap (it has bug netting i WON'T cut out) and that should shave at least 2oz, but my goal is to keep my shelter under 1lb so i'll be exploring different ways to slash the bivy up to get it down to maybe 7, 8oz MAX. that would equate a 14, 15oz. shelter.
My hiking partner has given me a ENO BUGNET>
for hammock camping, its HUGE and looks like if it were flipped upside down and some of the hardware trimmed off it (even cut out the zipper, throw some velcro on that thing) it'd fit quite nicely underneath a poncho setup.Feb 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm #1842473
Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I prefer an A-frame. Often much easier to stake out guylines. Unless very bad winds are anticipated, no need to stake one side or end to the ground. With a Poncho/Tarp, most people use a bivy anyway. This past weekend on a trip there were 5 of us. We had wind gusts at night that probably exceeded 60 mph, and I was the only one without a shelter. I slept fine. Temps without wind-chill probably were around 40F, maybe a little lower. Chance of rain was around 20%, so I didn't put up a shelter even though I had my Hexamid with me. I never set up a shelter if there is little chance of precipitation. Sometimes when hiking in the desert, I take a 3 or 4 hour break to get out of the heat of the day, and will use different pitches to create a sun awning.
Here is a Golite Poncho/Tarp. Most of the terrain was rock, so it was hard to find an area with a large enough square footage of sand. The A-Frame pitch allowed me to run the lines through brush and shrubs. It was high enough that I could sit under the tarp.Feb 21, 2012 at 12:38 pm #1842490
nice pitch thats a pretty sweet ridgeline. i will rarely pitch a-frame. Here in Washington squals and drippings can move over you like the fieldmice that crawl across your sleeping bag…only is the peak summer months (and likely not in the olympics) do i feel secure cowboy camping. i envy desert-dwellers sometimes.Feb 21, 2012 at 6:04 pm #1842701
I found another picture. Here's my 8×10 folded in half with my homemade bugnet.Feb 21, 2012 at 10:26 pm #1842821
Piper what does that 8×10 weigh with the bugnet?Feb 22, 2012 at 4:53 am #1842869
My goal is to be AS LIGHT AS POSSIBLE
If your goal is to be as light as possible and have a fully enclosed shelter, check out this article I wrote a couple months back.Feb 22, 2012 at 2:22 pm #1843141
I don't know what it weighs. The 8×10 is something like 14 oz not counting stakes and line. The bugnet was made using 3 Coghlans mosquito nets (unshaped netting, not no-see-um) and a little bit of ribbon and chiffon. Have no idea the weight of that. There is no zipper or door on the net. There's no floor. I lift a corner and get inside.
I'm not always concerned with the absolute lowest weight. Sometimes it is fun to just experiment with different things to find out what you like best. I did some experimenting with having a tarp and net so that I could just use the net alone when I wanted to see the stars. It's hard to see the stars through white netting in case you are wondering. But it is fun to build a new and different "house" every night.Mar 1, 2012 at 12:17 pm #1847372
@dead_cowLocale: Southern Arizona
Was overcast and chance or rain, never setup a tarp if no chance of rain, it hardly ever rains in Southeast Arizona anyways. This pitch gives plenty of room for me and the beast, and I can drop the side if it starts raining hard. Cost me a whole $40 onsale for the tarp. It is a little fraigle but still can't beat the price and works well as a poncho with my wild things epic wind shirt which I take anyway. If there is good chance of rain I take a rain jacket and my MLD monk tarp (during summer monsoons), bugs are not usually an issue here. I plan to upgrade to the MLD Simple poncho this year, for durability reasons, plus its a little bigger than the golite.
PeterApr 16, 2013 at 5:18 pm #1977439
@firestarter01Locale: Bay Area
Towards the bottom you can see my setup in unexpected snow.
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