Small "kitchen" tarp

10:34 p.m. on February 24, 2017 (EST)
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I am looking for advice on carrying and using a small tarp as an extra shelter in addition to my solo tent.  I purchased a 5x7 nylon tarp from Equinox and used it today for a lunch break while a cold misty rain fell.  The tarp worked great but the tarp and lines weighed a pound.  Do other people backpack with small tarps?

12:43 a.m. on February 25, 2017 (EST)
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I imagine quite a few of us do however most and even me would consider it unnecessary weight. on the other hand there have been very few time that I haven't carried one. It is unnecessary but it's usefulness is clear to all. I'll use mine just like u if it's wet weather and on one trip it really came in handy when my tent started leaking. Other than that i generally use it for a ground sheet under my tents to protect them and it's especially good for that on freezing days as it helps just a little bit more. We also have used it for a wind block on numerous trips. So it's really up to you if you want to carry the extra weight.

The one I most often carry is a UST Hex tarp it weights 1lb 8oz probably 2 total lbs with guy out strings and it is great for all those reason plus more and is also Mylar on one side cost $34 2years Go at sportsmans wharehouse 

I will point out that depending  your tent type the rain fly minus the inner tent will do the same thing and save you that pound

7:09 a.m. on February 25, 2017 (EST)
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I been  pondering this after Phill's post using one this past year in his winter backpacking..I'd go with a Mountain Laurel designs Tarp for kitchen or added room to my solog 6's entree...You can find lower weight tarps...But the cost increases...

8:34 a.m. on February 25, 2017 (EST)
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Most trips I'll have a small cheap blue plastic one that gets used much as John described above. Usually it goes under the tent, but since I have it along it can be used to make a wind break to cook, a quick rain shelter along the trail to ride out a downpour, folded up to make a sit pad and I'll string it over my tent if there is threat of hail in hopes it will slow down the stones enough they don't punch through my tent :)

I'd invest in something better if it was my primary shelter. For abusing it on the ground I prefer something cheap and crappy, though my latest one is starting its third year of service. Might just be cheap and not so crappy.

3:05 p.m. on February 27, 2017 (EST)
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I took my UCO tarp on a couple of rainy trips where I knew I would be wanting more operating room. It's a case by case decision for me if I lug it along and am not willing to invest in a lighter one yet. For short trips where weight is no an issue, I am not sure I would invest in a state of the art tarp personally unless I carried it a lot. My Solong 6 did fine this weekend when I knew I needed rain protection to cook for one day...it's multiple days I am concerned about. I am waffling back and forth but currently considering a new tent with loads of vestibule space instead.  

It's what's great about this pastime...always something to think about and decide on!

10:54 p.m. on February 27, 2017 (EST)
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I was concerned about cooking near the tent, lions and tigers and bears!

6:16 a.m. on February 28, 2017 (EST)
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Good plan. I have an admitted bad habit of cooking near the tent in non grizzly habitat. Even in black bear country I never do it in high use areas or established campsites but do it regularly at LNT pristine camps which are my usual choice. If it looks like a site has been used before I move the kitchen down wind. My next tent is for walking across Scotland so no issues with bears etc.

5:08 p.m. on February 28, 2017 (EST)
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In a wet climate like the Cascades, the difference between and good trip and a bad trip can be the presence of a communal tarp to sit under with a fire and to cook under.

10:21 p.m. on February 28, 2017 (EST)
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I have a small tarp that I take with me. Seems like I use it one way or another every trip. Sometimes I sit on it other times I sit under it. Have also used it as a wind break when I couldn't get to good cover for a camp and to cover gear that I didn't want in my tent during a storm. A simple nylon tarp I bought at a Wal Mart store for just a few bucks. It's a good tool and take it every time I go.  

11:22 p.m. on February 28, 2017 (EST)
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John Starnes said:

"..unnecessary but..  ..useful..."

 That sounds like something I once heard during a performance review.

I carry both a parasol (most frequently used against the sun) and a 9' X 11' dining fly.  Especially when my shelter is a tiny solo tent.

Ed

4:54 p.m. on March 1, 2017 (EST)
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ppine said:

In a wet climate like the Cascades, the difference between and good trip and a bad trip can be the presence of a communal tarp to sit under with a fire and to cook under.

 ABSOLUTELY

Ed

8:04 p.m. on March 1, 2017 (EST)
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whomeworry said:

John Starnes said:

"..unnecessary but..  ..useful..."

 That sounds like something I once heard during a performance review.

I carry both a parasol (most frequently used against the sun) and a 9' X 11' dining fly.  Especially when my shelter is a tiny solo tent.

Ed

 You got me grinning on that one? I'm afraid I simply don't possess enough culture to have any illusions as to what a performance review is as I prefer to be a player not a reviewer or critic. Simply put it works or it don't and what are its quantifiers. I'm a little too country to comprehend much more than that.

I also use an umbrella mine is a baseball cap and or rain jacket. And almost never am I without a tarp. 

Your friend john

10:48 p.m. on March 1, 2017 (EST)
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Thanks for sharing your tarp experiences.  With your input I think I will tote my tarp as weather dictates.  It's nice to know seasoned vets are willing to carry a pound or so as needed.

Any more tarp related wisdom would be good for this discussion.

2:56 a.m. on March 2, 2017 (EST)
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John Starnes said:

whomeworry said:

John Starnes said:

"..unnecessary but..  ..useful..."

 That sounds like something I once heard during a performance review.

I carry both a parasol (most frequently used against the sun) and a 9' X 11' dining fly.  Especially when my shelter is a tiny solo tent.

Ed

 You got me grinning on that one? I'm afraid I simply don't possess enough culture to have any illusions as to what a performance review is as I prefer to be a player not a reviewer or critic. Simply put it works or it don't and what are its quantifiers. I'm a little too country to comprehend much more than that.

I also use an umbrella mine is a baseball cap and or rain jacket. And almost never am I without a tarp. 

Your friend john

 We're talking as in (Job) performance review.

6:50 a.m. on March 2, 2017 (EST)
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Tarps dudes, just Tarps.

1:21 p.m. on March 3, 2017 (EST)
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xtra tarp? Wouldn't leave home without it.

 

I use it as a rain shelter above my hammock, use it as a sun shade above my hammock and if I get cold at night, I make a tarp sandwich with clothes inside it and use it as a blanket.

 

Well worth the extra pound

6:35 p.m. on March 8, 2017 (EST)
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Here's another advantage to hammock camping--the tarp isn't an extra. 

So I've sat with my buddy under my tarp while cooking dinner. After finishing, I set up the hammock and went to bed.

7:32 p.m. on March 8, 2017 (EST)
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I'm a big fan of the extra tarp, especially if I'm backpacking with others. Used to use an ID Silwing for both primary and secondary shelter...sure is nice to have another place besides your tent to spend time waiting out a rainstorm.

And for cooking, or lounging by the fire, or whittling, or just making that sweet sweet out-of-doors love...

12:29 a.m. on March 10, 2017 (EST)
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Wow, TMI on the use of a small tarp or maybe my trips are just boring.  That alone is worth an extra pound or two in any backpack.

6:53 p.m. on March 10, 2017 (EST)
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Speak of the devil...just had a couple of great nights in VA with my wife so lugged along the larger tent, and my tarp which we used as a windbreak and heat reflector for a campfire and cookingat a well used campsite...this is dinner pre-campfire. Don't build them much myself but enjoying one with the better half is worth the effort. 

20170308_172700.jpg

3:48 p.m. on March 17, 2017 (EDT)
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I'd generally skip a tarp in the summer when backpacking, though I always bring one on a canoe trip where weight is not such as issue.  Spring and fall trips I would opt for the extra weight of a tarp.  I hate being confined to a tent if the weather is bad.

Cooke Custom Sewing tarps are as good as it gets.

http://www.cookecustomsewing.com/

11:59 p.m. on April 18, 2017 (EDT)
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GI poncho is what I've carried as an extra tarp for 25 years.  I like multipurpose tools.  

1:35 p.m. on June 13, 2017 (EDT)
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Since I generally carry two tarps, there's no extra weight for me to put one up temporarily as a rain shelter for lunch, assuming that there is a convenient spot for it.

1:27 p.m. on June 14, 2017 (EDT)
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I carry a tarp anytime I plan to spend a lot of time on my butt or I expect precipitation. Undoubtedly life is better under a tarp when stuff is falling from the sky...but I probably use a tarp to deflect wind and sun more than anything else. 

Curtis...what are you using to rig the tarp with?

If you're bringing a tarp for rain you should probably also consider bringing something dry to sit on...otherwise you'll get a wet bottom. I use a Thermarest Z-pad like Phil in the photo above...but for an additional 2 oz. the Z-seat will do the trick...but you might get jealous when I stretch mine out and take a nap.

Gemma...I'm curious...can you tell me more about this two tarp system you got going? How do you use them both?

5:05 p.m. on June 14, 2017 (EDT)
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Joseph,  I rig up with light cord and figure-9 cord tensioners and tent stakes as needed.  As for the two tarps I have done the same, larger above as a shelter and a small tarp for a ground cloth.  But when I am tent camping, not tarping, I carry a smallish tarp for above and use the ground cloth to sit on when it is not under the tent.

On a multi-day walk on the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin I retreated to trail shelters in the evenings to ward off two days of rain.  It was that trip that got me to carrying a kitchen tarp in the event of no shelters.  Hence my query to others about their use of small tarps.

1:10 p.m. on June 20, 2017 (EDT)
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I am primarily a fair weather hammock camper, these days, so I generally use one tarp, a 9x12, for a rain fly. It's large enough for me to pitch into a fully-enclosed late 1800s-early 1900s style tarp tent, if the weather warrants it, using either a single pole, two scissor poles (gets the stick out of the doorway), or just a line to a convenient tree or other object. The second tarp is also a 9x12. I fold it up to use as a ground sheet, or it's a backup for my main tarp.


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