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  #1  
Old 29 May 2009
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Question Tarp made of Tarp....

Along with acompulsive need to buy tools from tool shops and bikes from anywhere, I also seem to have a finacially unhealthy interest in buying all sorts of tents.

As a result I often find myslef looking at funky bivis and even tarps. But these are rarely cheap.

Now that the summer is here, i Estonia, I'd like to start exploring, either by Ural or by XR400. Particularly for the latter, packing light is advised and so the idea of bivis and tarps is quite appealing.

So, in order to do this on a budget, I thought about trimming down some tarpaulin that I have packed away. At the moment it is 4m x 4m but is lighter than my tents (2.5kg). So, my questions are these:
  1. Instead of expensive MSR or Robens tarps at ££££ a hit, could old-fashioned tarp provide adequate shelter?
  2. Although it should cope with rain, will tarp stop water seeping through from the ground if I lie on it?
  3. 4m x 4m is a bit big and bulky. If I cut it down to size so that I can use it as either a shelter over me, or a surface to sleep on as well as shelter about me (folder to form a ground sheet and canopy above), or an awning for my tunnel tent, what size would you recomment? 3m x 3m? 2m x 4m?
Thanks
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Last edited by Warthog; 29 May 2009 at 10:39. Reason: Wrong figures.
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Old 29 May 2009
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Consider a Gortex BIVI bag

Then it doesn't matter if it seeps or leaks.

Loads of eBay. The Ex army ones are the best.

DPM GORTEX BIVI BAG army cadets camping para sas acf on eBay, also Field Gear, Surplus Equipment, Militaria, Collectables (end time 29-May-09 16:48:31 BST)
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  #3  
Old 29 May 2009
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Or an Alpkit Hunka. Apparently they are excellent.

Hunka bivy bag - Alpkit

Matt
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Old 29 May 2009
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I plan to buy a Hunka next week. However, this would be supplemental to the tarp idea.

The tarp would be weather protection to the Hunka's temperature protection: I want to have the option of decent shelter should the elements rebel.

Tarpauline will do as a rain shelter (this much I have worked out for my self), but if it can double as a tent-type design then that is what I want: hence the question about its waterproofing properties and optimum size...

Any views/answers on those questions?
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  #5  
Old 29 May 2009
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Camping near trees? Have you considered a tarp/Hammock combination.

Lots of ideas here... Hammock Forums : Your Number One Hammock Community - Hammock Camping&

Scroll down for gear manufacturers section.
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  #6  
Old 29 May 2009
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I really just want info regarding any experiences lying on tarp over night: will it keep me, my bag and my mat dry, will it keep the rain off, or will it leak when the first twig pokes it.

I also would just like to know what size people recommend... 4x4, 3x3, 2x4....
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Old 30 May 2009
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All I can say is try it. If you're tough enough then anything is possible. Here's a guy at a meet I was at earlier in the year...



This type of "camping" is better done in a gore-tex bivy bag but he was alive the next morning and ready to ride. He's ex-Army which may help and slightly mad. He's currently riding a Honda C90 around the Sahara!
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Old 30 May 2009
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Hmm, not quite the design I was looking for, but certainly low profile!!

I thought about it last night and from my 4m x 4m tarp, which was gigantic, I decided to fashion two 2m x 4m tarps with eyelets punched in.

That way I can lie on it width-ways (I am 1,75 ish), and have 4m to make into a tent, if I want. This will make camping with the XR far easier!!

A Hunka will be ordered next week.
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Old 30 May 2009
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I have a goretex bivvy bag and I've tried shelter type things. But in Estonia, you have mosquitos to deal with, and the psychological effect of being in a tiny tent, or bivvy bag or tarp thingy is quite negative.

I feel that the space a tent gives is really important especially if you're stuck in rain for a long time. Minimalism has a downside.
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Old 30 May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caminando View Post
I have a goretex bivvy bag and I've tried shelter type things. But in Estonia, you have mosquitos to deal with, and the psychological effect of being in a tiny tent, or bivvy bag or tarp thingy is quite negative.

I feel that the space a tent gives is really important especially if you're stuck in rain for a long time. Minimalism has a downside.
Yes, but this will not be my only resource.

I too have two tents to choose from, and I may decide to use the smaller of the two, but the bivvy/tarp combination means that, bar waterproofs, spare clothes and food, I can fit all my kit into the Givi topbox that I managed to attach to the XR's tail. I also saves me 3.5kg of weight, not to mention that the tent would be vulnerable to damage or theft strapped to the outside of the Givi...

As for the mozzies, well some net curtain should keep them out. The little b'stards are a pain whatever you are sleeping in that does not have double-glazing.

If minimalism does not suit, I have lost little in time or money and I can take the kitchen sink with me if I load up the Ural...
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Old 30 May 2009
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It's certainly worth a try....................


If you ever do get a bivvy bag, you might think about one modification which I find good. It is to sew a mozzie net onto the bivvy bag, not only for mozzies, but for ants which creep in, then you roll on them, and they bite. I also used this in a desert where I read that snakes like to slip into the bag for warmth......

The net is closed from inside with a drawstring....
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Old 30 May 2009
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I was actually thinking of making a mozzy net/net curtain sack that the whole bivi, sleepoer and me would slide into and drawstring that...

A bit bigger, but that way I don't sew holes into a perfectly good Bivi.
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Old 30 May 2009
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Blue plastic tarp will keep the ground water out for the first couple of times you use it ,after that all bets are off .
Look for an ex army ground sheet ,heavy but durable ,haven't seen one in years though .
Look at DD hammocks website ,a friend recommended them to me recently , they have a hammock ,bivvy bag ,waterproof bottomed piece of kit with a mozzie net that looks the cat's ass .
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Old 30 May 2009
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OP, you seem determined to use a tarp plus a bivy or tent. That's fine; the tarp-plus-bivy combination is tried and true. But once you start adding netting and other refinements to your tarp and/or bivy you're going to a lot of trouble in order to provide yourself with....a tent. What's more, your tent, being home-made, will be prone to leak rain, mosquitoes, ants and whatever vermin might be present. Unless you're quite good with a sewing machine it'll also probably be heavier, bulkier and less convenient to use than one you buy ready-made.

As a labor of love, or to save a few bucks, homemade gear is fine; however tent manufacturers can generally do it better, lighter and more conveniently than you can, unless you put a lot of work into it. If you want cheap, they can produce it cheaper than you can buy the materials. If on the other hand you want quality (cheap and high quality being, in general, at odds), they can manufacture stuff you wouldn't dream of trying, with design refinements you don't even know exist, like subtleties of cut, seaming and material which shed high winds and water effectively.

As far as your original question, which had something to do with whether a tarp would keep the damp off you, the answer is that it depends. There are cheap tarps and there are effective tarps. As was pointed out above, the woven plastic (often blue) tarps are highly effective for a brief time before the weave starts to open up. They also photo-degrade. Better plastic tarps are available, but it's not for no reason that tents, bivys and tarp-tents are manufactured from various nylon and/or polyester formulations. FWIW, for the ultimate in lightweight, strength and durability, I like sil-nylon, but it's expensive and difficult to work with.

None of the above should be taken to mean that I disapprove of the guy in the photo who's sleeping under a simple tarp. I've done that, and I'll surely do it again. Sometimes I do exactly what he's doing....but without the tarp, in good weather. It's just that as soon as he begins to want to stay totally dry, bug-free, and have space to read a book while it pours down rain, he's going to end up in a tent like the rest of us.

enjoy,

Mark
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Old 30 May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
OP, you seem determined to use a tarp plus a bivy or tent. That's fine; the tarp-plus-bivy combination is tried and true. But once you start adding netting and other refinements to your tarp and/or bivy you're going to a lot of trouble in order to provide yourself with....a tent.
I understand all this and this is not a problem for me. I am not trying to replace tents, I am only trying to replace them in certain situations where I can live with the disadvantages by virtue of the advantages...

I have two great tents already: I don't need another. Where they fail is that they are are about 50-60 cm long when packed and weigh about 4.5kgs. This is important for only one reason. I have a Ural: I can pack this comprehensively and I have a Honda XR400R which I cannot pack comprehensively.

I have managed to bolt on a top box to the XR. If I pack my sleeping bag, Thermarest, stove, tarp, a handful of tools and home-made mozzy sac, I can have everything I need in one top box, lock secure, dry and out of reach of hands or branches. If I need to attach a tent, this is not longer the case. Any other sundry items (waterproofs, clothing, camera and food), can sit in a ruckasck on my back.

Now I can travel very light (by muy standards, and not worry where I park or where I ride...

In pleasant weather, naturally... It's really no more complicated than that.
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