- Nov 28, 2017 at 7:13 pm #3504533
I’m in the market for a Cuben flat tarp. I do not intend to use it as my main shelter, but as an additional vestibule/porch for a Duplex or a mid-day respite out of the rain on those trips when expecting prolonged nasty weather. My first instinct is to go buy whatever ZPacks is selling, but thought I should probably lean on BPL’s collective wisdom and solicit recommendations. The things I consider important (in order of importance):
- Low weight – since it’s not my main shelter it won’t get erected in harsh weather/winds and if it were to fail it would not be devastating. For this reason I don’t think I’m interested in anything but Cuben. Thinking 0.51 but again, interested in hearing other’s opinions.
- Big “enough” – harder to quantify … I’m thinking 5×7 would be plenty but could go larger. As mentioned above, a dry place to eat lunch, to setup/take down the shelter then get in/out of rain gear “on the doorstep”. Experience-based points of view appreciated.
- Customer Service – I know and trust Zpacks to stand behind what they sell, but am also certain that they hold no monopoly on excellent customer service. I’m happy to consider any other high quality manufacturer’s wares.
- Price – I have no problem paying for quality if the item is exactly what I want, but all other things being equal, cheaper is always better :) I do not care to sacrifice quality for price.
- Tie-outs – I’m thinking 8 total is sufficient, 1 each corner and 1 each mid-panel.
One interesting option is not a tarp at all, but the Triplex sized groundsheet from Zpacks. Nice size, nice total weight, nice price, but probably much burlier fabric than necessary.Nov 28, 2017 at 8:33 pm #3504543Dan DurstonBPL Member
@dandydanLocale: Canadian Rockies
I’d look at MLD. Only a little more money for higher quality stuff. They make the Monk Tarp and Supertarp – both flat tarps available in cuben. The Monk tarp is 4.3′ x 9′. The SuperTarp is twice that wide.
Actually, if you’re in the market for a bigger tarp, HMG makes a flat tarp similar to MLD’s SuperTarp that is also super well made – perhaps even better – and it’s on sale for $301 (vs $380). This is only $25 – $50 more than similar product from Zpacks and quite a bit better made.Nov 28, 2017 at 8:52 pm #3504547
Thanks Dan. I was looking at the monk but at 4.3’ wide think it might bit long and narrow for my purposes. I used to own a cuben grace duo it it was as fine a piece gear as I’ve ever owned.Nov 28, 2017 at 9:44 pm #3504549Dan DurstonBPL Member
@dandydanLocale: Canadian Rockies
It looks like MLD will shrink the SuperTarp to smaller dimensions like 5 x 7, but it doesn’t look like the price would shrink. At 5 x 7, Zpacks might be your best bet. Yeah the Monk tarp does seem a little long and skinny. I expect it’s that width because that’s how wide a roll of cuben is. The construction gets more difficult once you go wider.Nov 28, 2017 at 10:52 pm #3504559JohnBPL Member
@johnnyh88Locale: The SouthWest
I’ve had a 0.5oz cuben fiber 8.5×11 tarp from ZPacks for over 4 years now. It’s mainly been used as a group hang-out tarp in rainy weather, and has held up through heavy rain, wind, and hail on many occasions. Works well for up to 3 people and 2 dogs. Rather luxurious for just my dog and I.
Maybe 5×7 would be a good size for solo. The weight penalty and extra cost though for a larger cuben tarp is pretty small, but the extra coverage in rainy weather is welcome.Nov 30, 2017 at 6:23 pm #3504839
Hard to beat HMG’s build quality. Here’s an 8×6 for sale in Gearswap.Dec 3, 2017 at 6:02 am #3505254Terry SparksBPL Member
@firebugLocale: Santa Barbara County Coast
I have an 8.5′ X 8.5′ flat tarp (as well as two other shaped tarps) and wished the flat tarp were at least 6 inches longer. I personally don’t see how a 7′ tarp would be long enough, when set up with a storm pitch, to keep your bag from either hanging out the back end or, the foot box being in constant contact with the tarp and soaking up the condensation. Keep in mind, for a good storm pitch, and others, you will need to allow for it’s material to be used for a back wall.Dec 3, 2017 at 1:05 pm #3505266
Terry, I think the OP wants to use the tarp as a secondary mid-day shelter or to compliment his primary shelter.
Thinking about it a little more, my vote would be getting the tarp wider than 5’. I went on a cold and windy dayhike in the woods last spring with a friend that didn’t want to go far. It was really more of a picnic and saunter. I brought my silnylon 5×9 tarp and wished it was a little wider so that I could pin it to the ground to keep the wind out while sheltering us while sitting in case it started to rain.
Going wider than ~5’ in DCF means seaming the tarp resulting weird tension issues if you pitch in pretty much anything other than a shed or A-frame. I like diamond pitches and those don’t seem to tension well with flat, seamed DCF tarps based on my limited experience.
So I think my suggestion is to build a tarp from wide Xenon from Dutch. You could build a ~6’ square (or maybe 6×7 or 6×8) tarp for very little expense that would tension nicely in weird pitches. This tarp would be considerably less expensive than DCF and it might be freeing to not have to baby the tarp when pitching close to the ground.
Another (more expensive and heavier) thought is to use a hex shaped hammock tarp. Hammock tarps are great for hanging out under, pitch quickly and typically tension really well using fewer stakes. I’ve used a hammock tarp as a supplementary porch over a tent while car camping in the past and liked how the ridgeline extended past the peak of the tent helping to shed rain while the diagonal cuts cleared the sides of the tent.Dec 3, 2017 at 1:23 pm #3505267
Thanks for your thoughts Terry, but Matthew is correct, I am not looking for a tarp as a primary shelter. If I were, I think your advice would be spot on.
Thanks also to Matthew for some well considered experiential advice. Currently I am torn between absolutely minimizing weight (as I think this item will be seldom carried, and even more seldom used) and accepting a little more weight for increased functionality.
My primary use case is setting up/taking down the main shelter in steady rain. Once set up, it would remain in place as a “porch” facilitating ingress/egress in the rain. As such I am strongly leaning toward what I described in the OP…very small and light…really, just barely enough to do the job. I expect it to get used 2-3 times per year, but what a bonus it would be on those occasions.
Has anyone seen/owned/used one of the Zpacks 1.0 DCF flat groundsheets linked in the OP, and if so, how sturdy are the tie-outs? They look reasonably well reinforced and the other specs seem to tick all my boxes even though it is not specifically designed as a tarp.Dec 3, 2017 at 1:36 pm #3505268Monte MastersonBPL Member
@septimiusLocale: Changes Often
Here’s the way to go John.
Get the 60″ X 90″ (5′ X 7.5′) ZPacksTriplex size Cuben Groundsheet. Comes with 6 tieouts on sides. With the material being a robust 1.0 cuben you don’t even need the side tieouts to be reinforced. All you would need to do is apply some black ZPacks, stick-on reinforcement material on for 2 ridgeline tieouts (middle of short side) and then sew on 1/2″ grosgrain. Even if you don’t have a sewing machine you can sew the tieouts on by hand using a thicker polyester thread, like you’d use to sew on buttons (can be had cheap at Walmart)..
The best part is the price…$120 for a 5′ X 7.5′ cuben tarp. The reinforcement material is $7.50. I mail you some grosgrain if you need it.
EDIT: You read my mind John. I was typing my reply as you were making your last post, LOL!Dec 3, 2017 at 1:44 pm #3505272
Monte…almost exactly what I was thinking. I was starting to wonder if I was missing something tho. Add 50′ of 1.2mm Z-line and you’ve got a 5 oz solution.
And thanks very much for the offer of Grosgrain, but I’m thinking of using the long-side side tie-outs to form the ridgeline and overlap a long edge just over the the Duplex’s pole to form an A-frame configuration that mimics the shape of the duplex, but raised up about 2-3′ higher than the Duplex. Hope that description made sense.
Edit: Great minds think alike Monte. Or at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it :)Dec 7, 2017 at 2:36 pm #3506055
Triplex size ZPacks ground sheet arrived yesterday and it is pretty much perfect. Great size for my purpose, 4.6 oz on my scale. The tie-out reinforcements are smaller than in the picture on the website and look to be one of the cuben repair patches they sell with the grosgrain sewn through both layers. They look more than adequate for pitching this as a tarp. The seam runs the short dimension, eg. between the long-side mid-panel timeouts…perfect for orienting the ridge-line that way I described above. Haven’t add a chance to play with it yet, but if anyone is interested I’ll post some pictures when I finalize the pitch.Dec 7, 2017 at 4:30 pm #3506065
Please consider this my formal request for photos once pitched.Dec 7, 2017 at 5:08 pm #3506075Duane HallBPL Member
@pkhLocale: Nova Scotia
I second the request for photos :)Dec 14, 2017 at 8:18 pm #3507499
Here is my first attempt at a pitch. I like the concept…it’ll definitely do what I was after. Plenty of room to get in/out of raingear before entering/exiting the tent. This is a low pitch…it could be much higher for light-to-no wind situations.
Of course this relies on having a tree on either side of the tent. I have a perhaps crazy idea…wondering if I stick one of the 2.5″ stick-on toggles at the apex can I use it as an anchor point? Rear guy would be where the blue arrow is. Would only be useful for a low pitch or one that was steeply raked.
Triplex ground sheet itself weighs 4.6 oz. With 6 – 12.5′ 1.2mm reflective zline guys (1 for each tie-out), plus two extra 12.5′ guys for extensions, 6 TI wire stakes and a small Sil stuff sack: 7.3 oz total.Sep 22, 2019 at 2:53 pm #3611281Diane PinkersBPL Member
@dipinkLocale: Western Washington
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Did you ever try the stick-on toggle on the ridgeline idea?</p>
Do you still think this was a good size for the job, or do you use something else?
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