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Thread: Tent or Tarp?

  1. #1
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    Tent or Tarp?

    I've been looking at 4 season tents, but when I put up an old tarp I had my whole viewpoint has changed. A tarp seems to be much more versatile versus a tent-the configurations are many when setting up a tarp. I'm wondering what you guys use and what recommendations you have for all season camping. A tarp might not be as good as a tent for winter camping, but I'm impressed by their versatility at this point.
    I expend tremendous amounts of energy and time merely to be normal.

  2. #2
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    As a avid backpacker (Canada & U.S.) for many decades I would strongly recommend a tent if your more than one day away from civilization. Bad weather can happen at any time, as I have experienced, and being secured in a highly reliable 4 season tent is recommended. A good quality 4 season tent is going to run you $400 plus. So, if your going out for more than a couple of days then buy a good quality tent especially if your in the mountains.

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    I’ve taken to a 10x10 silnylon tarp, hammock, under quilt and 40 degree sleeping bag. Total pack weight of just under three pounds, with a lot of comfort, warmth and versatility. I backpack the Colorado Rockies once a year for 5 days on the trail, and a couple of weekend trips in Indiana per year. It works for me.

  4. #4
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    Iím a fan of the tarp and hammock combination. I know this for sure, Iíve been wet in tents before, but never under a tarp.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boy Scout View Post
    I’ve taken to a 10x10 silnylon tarp, hammock, under quilt and 40 degree sleeping bag. Total pack weight of just under three pounds, with a lot of comfort, warmth and versatility. I backpack the Colorado Rockies once a year for 5 days on the trail, and a couple of weekend trips in Indiana per year. It works for me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inkslinger View Post
    I’m a fan of the tarp and hammock combination. I know this for sure, I’ve been wet in tents before, but never under a tarp.
    Please share tips for how you set up your tarp & hammock combo, even if its something you consider very basic.

  6. #6
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    Tent or Tarp?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brett Kastl View Post
    Please share tips for how you set up your tarp & hammock combo, even if its something you consider very basic.
    Obviously trees are needed. What I usually do is use 550 cord on the grommets of the tarp to suspend it from its corners in a diamond pattern. I take the other corners and tie to stakes, rocks, or good solid sticks pounded into the ground. You can get more coverage if you need it by suspending it in a square/rectangle pattern. By tying to the grommets instead of running rope from tree to tree, that allows you to flip up one side or the other and still keep the tarp attached to the trees if that makes sense. That gives you a lean-to configuration when weather is nice. I also try to keep the tarp as low to the ground as possible. I hope that makes sense. These are images I found from google. I try to keep the tarp a little lower to the ground than these pictures.
    Last edited by Inkslinger; 03-23-18 at 08:05.

  7. #7
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    FWIW my friends & I do period correct scouting and camping using 18th century items (nothing modern allowed) and techniques ... and agree that a good diamond tarp is a most versatile shelter. A tad heavy the way they waterproofed them though.
    Given that 10-shots are a group and 5-shots may be a favorable trend ... know that just one good 3-shot group can make you an instant internet superstar!

  8. #8
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    Tarps work great for both hammock-ing and ground camping. The 10x10 tarps at Bushcraft Outfitters are my favorite. They have reinforced webbing tie-outs instead of grommets.

    Here's my BCO 10x10 configured for ground camping.
    There's a BCO 5x7 inside as a ground cloth.
    image.jpg

    (Ugh. My pic is upside down. Oh well)

  9. #9
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    You guys rock! This is the knowledge and info I'm looking for. Love the tarp set-ups. I can see the usefulness of each set-up! PS what hammock do I need?
    Last edited by tog; 03-23-18 at 17:24. Reason: more questions
    I expend tremendous amounts of energy and time merely to be normal.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tog View Post
    You guys rock! This is the knowledge and info I'm looking for. Love the tarp set-ups. I can see the usefulness of each set-up! PS what hammock do I need?
    Amazon usually has a good selection of cheap backpacking hammocks. I wouldnít go crazy.

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