- Jun 9, 2019 at 7:21 pm #3596931
We’ve been training with our Sanctuary SilTarp dining fly for Philmont. We use Voile straps to connect 2 trekking poles for each end.
It got a little windy and one of the trekking poles bent.
For those of you who take your own dining fly, what do you use for poles? I was hoping to go lighter and use our trekking poles, but there’s no way I can do that now, at least not combining poles.
Do you take down your dining fly if it gets windy?Jun 9, 2019 at 10:35 pm #3596949
We train with and take our own dinning flies and use either trekking poles or old tent poles converted for a dinning fly.
The thing is you don’t need to splice two trekking poles together for a Philmont style dinning fly. They are set up low to the ground with the ridge line only 4 to 4½ feet high and the sides staked out only about a foot off the ground. for wind, rain and hail protection. The crew just gets in under to sit out bad weather, take siestas, or play cards. In an emergency you could cook with stove and pot outside one end.
If it is dry, we usually strike and pack away our dinning fly after supper, so it won’t be dew or rain soaked in the morning. Items that would be under the dining fly all night are moved to the fire ring; TP, stoves & fuel, etc. Crew members keep their boots under their vestibules and their packs are covered with their rain covers.Jun 9, 2019 at 10:35 pm #3596951
That concerns me a little because I’m planning on using my trekking poles lashed together in my Duomid XL in the Sierra in a few weeks. Can you give any details about how they were set up? I wonder if you didn’t have enough overlap? What kind of poles were they?Jun 10, 2019 at 12:49 am #3596975
@moonshine I think we should just go with the 2 pole or tree method now that I think about it. The high fly is nice at times, but looking like not a necessary/good idea.
@matthewkphx The poles were ones an ASM purchased recently on Massdrop. We put the Voile straps wrapped around twice, two straps for each pair of poles. I cut off some of the excess on the straps, but perhaps that excess could have made 1 more wrap around. I didn’t think that was necessary, but that might have been a mistake. The handle of one of the poles is what bent.
I think that there would be less stress on the poles in the center of a Duomid XL than at the end of large A frame tarp in wind. I could also be wrong about that, too.Jun 10, 2019 at 2:39 am #3596987
@ Brad and Matt
We used the BlackDiamond pole link strap at Philmont for the dinning fly. I have also used the BD strap also for my MLD Duomid. ( and I have plain old fashioned lashing with paracord to hold two pole handles together).
Even in high winds, I have never had a pole handle bend. With loose or sloppy lashing, I have had the two poles separate a bit in such a way that the top pole might be 1 or 2 degrees off the angle of the bottom pole. It almost sounds like the pole did not extend the whole length of the handle. I agree with David that you do not really need the extra height at Philmont but it does make the tarp more convenient to use and gives you more pitching options. Our dining fly weathered several storms at Philmont and we had no problems with the two poles connected with the BD pole link but we did experience a few stakes pulling out every now and then.Jun 10, 2019 at 4:16 am #3596997
Brad P, “or tree method”
Just be aware that Philmont is very protective of their trees and does not want anything tied to them. That’s why hammocks are banned. Even bear bags ropes are to have sticks surrounding the tree under the bear rope wraps to protect the bark from rope wear.
“Philmont should be enjoyed, not endured.” MoonshineJun 11, 2019 at 11:29 pm #3597269
Neal SBPL Member
We are planing to use, with the same tarp:
Will make some grommet adapters to attach the pole to the tarp.Jun 12, 2019 at 12:58 am #3597290
We are planing to use, with the same tarp:
Will make some grommet adapters to attach the pole to the tarp.
Which length pole and can you tell me about the grommet adapters?Jun 12, 2019 at 1:19 pm #3597360
Neal SBPL Member
Some similar to this.
Seattle Sports Sherpak Hood Loops (Pair) – Under Hood Anchor Point for Tie Downs https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0024ALDMS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_eLpaDb9M5FE4E
I have some stuff to make them on hand already. I am traveling right now, once I get home I will let you know what size hole the grommet must have.
There are tiedown locations on the tarp I plan connect the straps to with accessory cord.
If you use webbing to reinforce the connection you could install the grommets in the tarp. I did not want to do that so the tarp is unmodified.
I bought the 48” poles, because I believe that is what Philmont issues. I’m sure you could go higher if you want.Jun 12, 2019 at 1:28 pm #3597361
Seattle Sports Sherpak Hood Loops (Pair) – Under Hood Anchor Point for Tie Downs
Thank you! Another issue we had was the webbing straps were sliding down the poles. We twisted the strap, but then it was a struggle, particularly for small 14 year olds, to slide the trekking pole tip into the webbing.
I just ordered those. I think they’ll work well.Jun 12, 2019 at 2:18 pm #3597368
Dinning fly pole length should be between 48” to 60” (52” optimal) to work best with 10’ x 12’ tarps.
You should run 25 feet of 3mm cord under the tarp ridge line tied pole top to pole top to take the pull stresses to avoid ripping the tie-outs or grommets out of the tarp. There should be about 7 feet of cord left on each end to stake it out.
“Philmont should be enjoyed, not endured.” MoonshineJun 12, 2019 at 4:22 pm #3597385
You should run 25 feet of 3mm cord under the tarp ridge line tied pole top to pole top to take the pull stresses to avoid ripping the tie-outs or grommets out of the tarp.
That’s what we’ve been doing. I’m curious about that because when I look at sites that sell tarps as well as many videos online of people demonstrating ways to pitch a tarp, the only people (outside of Philmont) I see doing this are hammock users.
That’s not to say everyone does it that way, but it’s what I was finding. I make no claims to be a tarp expert and I’ve only recently made reservations at a Holiday Inn Express.Jun 12, 2019 at 5:09 pm #3597396
We just do it the way Philmont trained us to do it. For Philmont’s tarp, crews were required to supply 10 stakes and cords. We were shown to cut them into three 25-foot lengths, one for the ridge line and one for each of the two eve edges.
The ridge line cord was looped through the end grommets and held in place with small sticks which were supposed to break and release to save the tarp from ripping during high winds..Jun 20, 2019 at 12:57 pm #3598546
Dining fly attachment to trees:
Bottom of page 12, Part 1 of the 2019 edition of the Shakedown Guide, explicitly says the dining fly CAN be attached to trees as long as the “sticks under the rope” method is used. It elaborates that different weather calls for different pitches.
Of course, the Rangers in the field might be saying something else. But on your own, using a tree with sticks, is in fact “The Philmont way”, as of April 2019. If another crew calls you on it, whip out your printed copy of the skakedown guide (haha)Jun 20, 2019 at 1:45 pm #3598555
Gerry, I saw that, too. We’ll be trying some more setups this weekend.Jun 20, 2019 at 2:48 pm #3598562
To the comment
@ the comment “many videos online of people demonstrating ways to pitch a tarp, the only people (outside of Philmont) I see doing this are hammock users.”
Lots of other folks sleep under tarps and your hammock videos are not helping much since they are tying off to trees. My normal backpacking shelter is a tarp. You can search past BPL articles for many articles about pitching shaped tarps. You are using a “flat tarp” but the principles are the same.
It looks like you bought a tarp with webbing so you should not need to 1) use any adapter with the webbing attachment to the pole or 2) use a cord under the ridge line.
If your poles are slipping, after tying the cord to the webbing, attach the same cord with a timber hitch or several clove hitches to the pole, then run the cord to the ground. There are multiple photos on BPL of how this works. If your stakes holding the ridge line poles are pulling out, attach a second cord between the pole and the ground to you have two attachment points at an angle of about 30 or 40 degrees.
With a high quality silnylon tarp (which is very strong) if you have enough tension on the two ends respectively, you do not need a cord under the ridge line, and the use of such a cord in my experience makes adjustments to and knot tying at either end more complicated.
If this description is not making sense, send me a message and I can send you some photos.Jun 20, 2019 at 3:18 pm #3598563
@ Brad P
In reference to the slipping of poles, are you using the poles, handles down or handles up? On many tarps with webbing, by using the poles handles down, the pole baskets can help prevent slipping at least until you have all the knots tied…Jun 20, 2019 at 4:05 pm #3598572
Using a ridge line helps reduce the stress on tarps that belong to PSR, which are expected to last through MANY uses.
My guess is that if you are using your own gear, the Ranger is going to be less pedantic about your pitching method. “The Philmont Way” is often based on the idea that PSR wants to prolong the life of gear that belongs to the Ranch. It is also based on them not wanting to have to bail you out of a preventable problem. “Be prepared” requires a minset and an inventory.
Using the belt-and-suspenders methods is not a bad idea for your own gear when you are on a 10 day trip. You can’t assume that PSR will have a spare “everything” at every staffed camp. They might be able to radio and have it at your next staffed camp. but that leaves you empty-handed for a night.Jun 20, 2019 at 4:49 pm #3598578
The goal of this thread was to help someone who bought their own tarp.
I don’t use tents except for the occasional winter snow camping when I expect a storm, I sleep under tarps. The only advantage I see to using a cord under the ridge line of a flat tarp is when your tarp has grommets. By using the cord under the ridge line, in theory depending on how you rig the shelter, there will be less or no force on the two ridge grommets, and therefore less chance of the grommet tearing.
If you have a properly constructed silnylon tarp with webbing the use of a cord under the ridge line just increases complexity, and makes the shelter more difficult to erect, more difficult to adjust the cordage in high winds or hard soil,and limits you to just one tarp configuration, the classic A frame with both ends open.Jun 20, 2019 at 4:55 pm #3598579
That ridgeline cord is a PITA compared to running lines from the tabs. I think this weekend we’ll just run lines from the tabs to the (single) pole to the ground. That also makes less of a line mess when unpacking the tarp.
If the weather gets too windy, the tarp comes down, anyway, right?Jun 20, 2019 at 5:17 pm #3598581
I interpreted Brad P’s comment that Philmont seems to be the only ones that use a ridge line as a question of “why do they insist on that method”. I may have been too subtle on hinting that your Ranger should not get upset if you want to use YOUR gear in a non-PSR way if it doesn’t impact the ecology or look ridiculously unstable.
I do not own stock in a rope company, but ridgelines aren’t a “bad thing”. A ridgeline does not limit you to an A-frame pitch.
A ridgeline can go corner to corner for a diamond pitch. A ridgeline can be along a set of points that is 1/3 of the way down a side, so you have a short overhang and a deep back roof. A ridgeline can go from the ground on one side to a taller point on the other side. Ridgeline does not limit you to symmetrical shapes, as long at the ridgeline isn’t permanently attached to the tarp. Which PSR doesn’t say to do.
As to a ridgeline adding complexity – if you set up a tarp with one a few times it really isn’t that difficult. Hard ground is a problem with or without a ridgeline. That’s when you can use trees (with sticks under the rope) and other anchor points.
You don’t need to use a ridgeline to have a good tarp setup – but they have their literal strengths and times they are useful.Jun 20, 2019 at 6:06 pm #3598594
At 51 years old, I guess I am far more stoic and patient than I thought I was. <joking – I am not saying anyone else isn’t>.
There’s no truly wrong way to setup hardware if you practice it and it works for you. The way you can quickly do in the dark/snow/rain/one-handed is the best way for you and your crew.
I didn’t even bring up the “snake” method I was taught at Matagamon High Adventure base (back when it was a National base in the 80’s). We folded the tarp in half with the ridgeline inside the tarp, then held the folded tarp like when you are folding a flag. Then you start to ROLL the tarp from the long edge opposite the “ridge/spine” toward the ridge tape, ridgeline sticking out from the ends. Coil the ridgelines (before or after the rolling) and lower the resulting “tarp snake” into a bag.
You set it up by stretching the tarp snake out, anchor you ridgeline ends (with poles or not), just let the fabric unroll and fasten the edges down (rope/pegs/whatever), and you’re done. It works very quickly for the low A-frame pitch. The first time I saw a hammock guy pitching a tarp from inside a “snake skin” made me realize one person could do the tarp setup.
CON – can take 4 people to hold it during the takedown if the wind is blowing. Minimum of 2 or three people to do it neatly.
Setup can be done by 1 person like the hammock guys if you use a tree. Everyone else can be under the fabric as soon as the ridgeline is taut.
My crew has gotten pretty good at this method.Jun 20, 2019 at 7:06 pm #3598608
If I can get this crew good at the A frame, I’ll be happy. They’re young and don’t have much experience with this. Trying to use K.I.S.S. approach. If they have an interest in other pitches, I of course will encourage them, but get the basics down pat first.
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