Best lightweight tarp for big groups

10:10 a.m. on July 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Hello fellow campers and gearheads! I need to buy a lightweight tarp for big groups and I'm having a hard time finding the right product. It needs to meet these criterias:

  • tough and reliable - a bit more than 1.3 silnylon for sure
  • can shelter at least 10 people from the rain (about 12' X 12')
  • Easy to set-up in the bush with local materials
  • as lightweight as possible to carry in a pack

We currently use a super tough square tarp that sets-up with a center pole, but the thing weights more than 10 lbs and the need for a center pole makes it harder to use in the bush. It's perfect for canoe trips though....

Any ideas would be welcomed, thanks in advance for your help!

10:25 a.m. on July 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Hllleberg UL Tarp 20 should fit the bill.

10:28 a.m. on July 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Family Guy said:

Hllleberg UL Tarp 20 should fit the bill.

Here is a link to the tarp FG mentions:

http://www.hilleberg.com/home/products/tarp/tarp.php

The UL version of the 20 comes in at:

2lbs 15oz

XP version:

4lbs 3oz

Size: 14.4 ft x 14.4 ft

I can't personally rave enough in regards to the strength & weather resistance of the Kerlon fabrics. 

12:57 p.m. on July 20, 2012 (EDT)
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1:14 p.m. on July 20, 2012 (EDT)
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The biggest model Tarptent makes is the hogback for 4. No where near big enough for the 10 the OP needs to shelter.

4:28 p.m. on July 20, 2012 (EDT)
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How about the Kelty Noah Tarps. I have a 9 which is big enough for covering a camp site table. And I use it backpacking too. I think they make a 12 and a 16 for larger groups.

4:49 p.m. on July 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks Rick for putting the link in there for me.

 

The reason why I chose that tarp is because the OP does not want silnylon and mentioned 'tough.'  One could go with a tarp made out of the cuben hybrid material that HMG offers as it would be as tough or tougher than Kerlon and about 1/2 the weight but HMG does not offer any large sized tarps like that.

 

The only concern I would have about the Kelty Noah Tarp is that the specs indicate a hydrostatic head of only 480mm, not to mention that PU coatings will wear off.  These specs must be incorrect.  Silnylon generally has a HH of 1200 -1500mm, although there is a new Silnylon version called 'Sheild' that has a HH of 3500mm.  The Hilleberg tarps are 3500mm. 

5:20 p.m. on July 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Family Guy said:

Thanks Rick for putting the link in there for me.

No problemmo... 

9:03 p.m. on July 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Really, the Kelty only has 480mm? Guess I never noticed if it leaked as I only use it as a cover for my camp kitchen. But it's been a work horse for over 3 years and still looks new. :)

12:58 a.m. on July 22, 2012 (EDT)
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That is why I said that the specs must not be correct. On the other hand, you may simply not have noticed. The tarp would "mist" and not leak.

6:26 a.m. on July 22, 2012 (EDT)
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You're so right about me not noticing the misting. When I use it backpacking it's during the rainy season out here. Most times I never take off my rain gear. Still it does the job I need it to do, but maybe not what the OP is looking for.

12:41 p.m. on July 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Thank you Family Guy and Rick for the Hilleberg link, I completely forgot they were also making tarps. Mike: I'm also surprised about the low water resistance of the Kelty tarp. Since it would be used and abused in all sorts of conditions, i doubt it will still be waterproof after a few years.

I'll check for a Hilleberg Tarp 20 UL or XP, not sure. I'll run it through the expedition comitee and will post a full review with pictures if we decide to get one. What we have right now is this: 4,26mX4,26m and 4Kg


bache_hiver.jpg

It works awesome for canoe trips where you have paddles and poles, but not so good for backpacking as you need a center pole.

12:15 a.m. on July 24, 2012 (EDT)
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Cooke Custom Sewing.

They make up to a 15x15 and you can't beat the quality.

12:16 a.m. on July 24, 2012 (EDT)
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11:33 a.m. on July 24, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks Alan, the tarps look great! I'll add this to the Hilleberg option. It would be a lot cheaper too.

12:19 p.m. on July 24, 2012 (EDT)
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Not nearly as strong though. There are many, many nylon tarps on the market but none with a tear strength of the Hilleberg. You want strong, right?

11:21 a.m. on July 25, 2012 (EDT)
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I have used a regular blue nylon tarp as large as 20' x 24' on a pack trip with good success.  One pole in the middle about 8 feet tall and grommets tied to trees around the perimeter.  I would not spend $500 for some fancy tarp that is only likely to be used once in awhile.

1:11 p.m. on July 25, 2012 (EDT)
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Family Guy you're right: strenght is a major factor. ppine, I'm also all about rigging gigantic poly tarps for my personal adventures. We even managed to keep 50 people dancing and the DJ booth dry during a crazy storm here with big poly tarps.

Problem is, this is for work taking groups of teenagers with cancer on expeditions, so it has to look professionnal and set-up in record time with minimal gear.

1:12 p.m. on July 25, 2012 (EDT)
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$500?!??!  Where would you buy that?

 

The OP is looking for strong, large, and light.  A 'fancy' tarp indeed.

2:56 p.m. on July 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Oware should be able to sew you any size that you need.  Shoot them an email.  I have a tarp from him and it has lasted for 7 years now.

owareusa.com

10:27 a.m. on July 27, 2012 (EDT)
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9x12' silicone nylon tarp, 792 gms, and only $109.00. The OP didn't preclude silnylon, but was concerned about the strength of the thinner fabrics. This one is TOUGH!

http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/Tents/LightShelters/PRD~5027-716/mec-silicone-guides-tarp.jsp

Tarps like this are a standard for guides leading a group. I've heard many stories of groups hiking down a mountain in the rain holding one over their heads, and they make a great emergency shelter.

Stay away from those blue nylon/plastic tarps. Way too heavy and prone to tearing. Good for car-camping but not much else.

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