User Review: MEC Silicone Guides Tarp
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $105
Great all-purpose emergency shelter for a small group.
- Very light, good for backpacking
- Tough, reliable
- Excellent design
- Reasonable price for the quality
- Overkill for the average camper
- Don't forget some rope!
This is Mountain Equipment Co-op's larger housebrand siltarp. Personally, I'm not fond of them for camping – I prefer tents – but as tarps go this is one of the better designs. Many guides carry it for emergencies, or just as a shelter for a group in case of an unexpected rainstorm. I've used it both ways, for shelter from wind or rain at a campsite, or as an impromptu umbrella to wait out a storm or to take a group of clients down a rainy trail. In over two years of regular use, it's survived everything that's been thrown at it.
The tarp has nylon tabs at each corner and one central one, plus grommets along the sides, so it can be rigged as a shelter with a ridgeline or as a pyramid and staked out. Side points are reinforced with Cordura patches, so you can use a bit of tension when hanging it. At 3.9x2.9 m. (12.8x9.5 ft) it's big enough to serve as an emergency shelter for a group, or hung over a tent. One cute extra is that the stuff sack can be snapped onto the centre seam as a pad, so you can use a hiking pole, stick or paddle as a support without risk of punching through.
The fabric is 30-denier ripstop silicone-coated nylon which provides excellent waterproofing, and is extremely tough and very light. Total weight is just 792 grams (28 oz.), which means the tarp can be stuffed into the bottom of a pack for emergencies without loading you up too much. The stuff sack is included.
Don't forget to bring some paracord or some rope, and you'll be all set.