Mar 27, 2012 at 4:48 pm #1287929
I'm just curious- I mean, I understand that with good site selection, setting up the tarp keeping in mind the prevailing winds, and using a bivy (optional) you can stay pretty much dry under a small tarp, like a 5×8 rectangular tarp. What I'm wondering is how you get out of your wet clothes and into bed WHILE it's raining. Under a small tarp there's not a lot of room to get out of your wet clothes and into your sleeping bag w/o bringing in a lot of water with you. I'm sure this happens to people (doesn't rain a lot here so I've never been faced with it) so I imagine there's a technique or procedure for this occasion. A demonstration video would be fantastic.
BMMar 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm #1860232
@theronrLocale: Los Angeles, California
This is a great question and much more interesting than is canister stove A better than canister stove B.
The most minimal setup I have used in the rain is a 7×9 tarp and a poncho. I used the poncho for a ground sheet which worked well and needs no bivy. The only flaw would be the risk of holes in the poncho.
I don't have the setup you describe and it hardly rains here either so I'll stand by for more info!
(PS: My guess is that people who know it's going to rain significantly don't use 5×8 tarps.)Mar 27, 2012 at 6:31 pm #1860237
@kat_pLocale: Pacific Coast
I think he was able to practice last weekend ; )Mar 27, 2012 at 7:04 pm #1860258
Great question. The first time I bivied with a tarp it was a 5.5' x 7.5' one. Thank God it didn't rain. I immediately went to a 7' x 9.5' MYOG tarp and felt much better. I was using this size tarp last weekend when it started to rain at 4AM and didn't quit until 8:30AM. I was able to sleep comfortably, sit up, cook breakfast, etc all with no hassle. I couldn't imagine trying to wrangle around under a 5'x8'.
I'm sure some of the gurus here do that, but it's not worth the hassle and few ounces to me.Mar 27, 2012 at 7:27 pm #1860269
I have a GoLite poncho tarp. It was my rain gear and shelter last Sep in Colorado when I arrived to camp while still raining. I got wet setting up the tarp with no real room to maneuver, change clothes have a dry floor etc.. Fortunately my speed of setup was Important in keeping reasonably dry. So I now have and carry a larger tarp (GG SpinnTwinn) when I think there is a decent chance of rain.Mar 27, 2012 at 7:42 pm #1860277
@rcowmanLocale: Canadian Rockies
lay on top of your bivy and change. just don't flail around. usually i only have to take off rain pants and a shell to crawl into bedMar 27, 2012 at 8:40 pm #1860300
… 5×8 rectangular tarp. What I'm wondering is how you get out of your wet clothes and into bed WHILE it's raining. Under a small tarp there's not a lot of room to get out of your wet clothes and into your sleeping bag w/o bringing in a lot of water with you.
I won't say it's easy. I find that I sometimes have to fight off a bad attitude and tell myself that this too will pass. Therefore I won't sugarcoat the experience.
I have used a 5×8 tarp a fair amount, an MYOG beaked TarpTent 1 from Henry's plans more often, which isn't much larger than 5×8. Also a tarp based on Jay Hamm's plans from here on BPL, which is a bit shorter than 8 ft but beaked on both ends and is wider on the head end even after making the head end 16 inches narrower than his plans.
Keep in mind that I am neither small nor limber.
Tarp get's setup first. For hard or windblown rain it's pitched pretty low, not necessarily high enough to sit up in … but I will sit up anyway while getting situated.
Pack goes under the tarp, the bottom end extends beyond the drip line.
Then a groundcloth (30"x80") or bivvy (adapted from SMD Meteor plans) are deployed under the tarp. They have corner guylines that run to the tarp's corner stakes … so they are held in place.
I go in next and sit on the groundcloth or end of the bivvy (the head end unzips pretty far and the top is pushed toward the foot end). My head might contact the tarp, big deal? No.
A quilt, kookabay pillow, balaclava and pad (neoair) are in the same silnylon stuff sack. Pull that from the pack and set it out of the way towards the foot end.
Shoes come off and are placed next to groundcloth or bivvy, still under the tarp. They make a good bin for things I will want during the night(like meds, headlamp, small water container). Raingear comes off and is rolled up tight and set somewhere under the tarp. Similar with other wet clothing. The groundcloth or bivvy are getting damp where I am sitting, the pad will cover that soon.
Neoair comes out of the sack and is inflated and positioned under me … resulting in about 1.5 inches less headroom (get used to it).
Inflate pillow. Get inside bivvy if using that. Get settled.
Sooner or later I'll want insulation. Quilt comes out of the sack and is deployed on my lower half. Balaclava set in a dry place. The sack goes inside out and wet clothing goes inside that … minimizing loose gear. Finish putting on quilt and balaclava.
More or less reverse the process in the morning if it is still raining.Mar 27, 2012 at 9:21 pm #1860309
Amazingly detailed and helpful reply. Thanks to both for the question and answer.
I really wish that I could have contributed a response, Kat, but I will definitely get some proper practice in the future. I often found it curious to see all the elaborate shelters pop up in group camps on balmy days. I never pitch a shelter unless I am sure it will rain and missed out on valuable experience. I should start pitching the tarp then just sleep in the open whenever the weather allows.Mar 27, 2012 at 9:21 pm #1860310
@goonch92Locale: Northern California
that was an epic post, good stuff.
when setting up the tarp, is it at all possible to keep one side dry (ideally the underside), or are both sides gonna get wet?
I've often thought about this but haven't been confronted with the problem…yetMar 27, 2012 at 11:07 pm #1860338
That's funnyMar 28, 2012 at 12:49 am #1860350
Inaki Diaz de EturaParticipant
@inaki-1Locale: Iberia highlands
Jim described it well, let me just stress the (by now) probably obvious: there's no hidden trick as with mostly everything regarding rain: you get wet, you forget about a completely, pristine dry shelter inside and accept getting on well with it. Humidity is not good but a bit of it won't kill you.
> I find that I sometimes have to fight off a bad attitude and tell myself that this too will pass
That's the key part, keep a positive attitude. It may be tough but at least keep that in mind.Mar 28, 2012 at 1:42 am #1860352
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
Matt I am the same way. And I must admit, my tarp skills are somewhat lacking.
It even go to the point where one cloudy night I didn't bother and ended up throwing my tarp over me like a blanket when it started raining.
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