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DanO

review Bear Paw Wilderness Designs tarp

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I pick up a 10X10 silnylon Bear paw flat tarp. I ordered it with a tie under the center of the tarp for a trekking pole.  To use I make it like a A frame tent with the front open. A trekking pole at the front and a trekking pole at the center under the tarp. Bear paw put in a really good tie in point made for up in the under center of the tarp. I ordered the lightest guy line I could find from Z packs. I pre tied in a hundred feet of guy line on the tarp and added in 5 titanium stakes. Total weight is 1lb 5oz.  This for me is a fairer weather shelter for the alpine. Monster room for two, can set up most anywhere, best cost and weight deal on a tarp I have found to date.  No field testing yet but expect good times. This should give good shelter for most anything except high winds  while using a light bivy sack.

      The SOL Pro Breathable bivvy sack at 8oz is the best I found to date for performance and weight, for a normal sized to small person it is great. There are two other less expensive SOL breathable bivy sacks that are also good at less cost.  Look for the breathable SOL breathable bivy sacks for intentional use for camping.  The SOL bivy sacks run a good size for summer weight sleeping bags, the Pro version has a bit more room than the mid priced SOL breathable bivy sack. The lightest SOL breathable bivy sack is 5.5oz,  but open on top. I have no relation to any companies.

Good set up for not so high good weather alpine camping, can carry a light bivy sack while climbing up from camp if wanted, that is the main advantage over a tent, also tarping usually has much more internal room than tents- luxury of covered space. Main disadvantage with tarping over tenting in good weather is less bug protection,  however bug net clothing works fairly well. As a minim I always carry a bug net head cover, some bug juice. 

I would use a tent instead if any chance of really bad weather or wind, or winter like conditions (check weather forecast, consider how high you go or if going to very windy areas, mountain passes etc). May use a tent if bugs are super duper bad...

Tarps are good to about up to 30mph or so, then big trouble, but you can clamp down all the sides or make a closed in teepee  type shelter if caught out with a big enough flat tarp. Good to study some different tarp set ups and have a plan if caught out in a storm.

 

Dan

Edited by DanO
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A basic two trekking pole setup I use most of time. I usually put the front pole upside down, pole tip up through tie in loop.  Other pole the tip down, the pole up under center of tarp. Depending on weather the outer sides can be up and airy or down low for bad weather. If bad weather try put the open front on other side of the direction of wind. One can drop the open front down low , even down to the ground if weather is really bad and if tarp big enough.  However I mostly use this set up as a fair weather shelter low chance of rain, as normal with most hill walking. But it works great for rain with bivy sack (with milder winds), but take extra care not camp in low areas(flooding). The larger tarp gives extra protection. This setup is far better than a tent when looking for back country campsites. This setup is not for if expecting very bad weather. When leaving camp leave or bring trekking poles as desired.

hansel_bryan_090706-1021.jpg?fit=502,377

 

Edited by DanO
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I used this setup a lot for the last two summers, late spring to early fall.  Worked well, most of the time did not need the weather protection due to good weather forecasts. The few times the weather was mildly bad it worked great. The nice thing is being in the back country and while looking for a camping spot this kind of set up is a lot more easy to find a place to camp, most of the time.  Uneven ground is no problem the covered space is so large that one can place the center of the tarp on a rocky spot or lumpy area  and have enough of two spots for two people to lay down.  It works pretty well on sloping ground, it works well with the door opening sideways to the orientation you are laying.  Several times I used this setup where it would be very difficult to use a floored tent shelter. It does cover a lot of area, but this has not been a problem to date for me as the sides tend to go over objects.

             I personally like to use a closed cell foam pad that is fairly large as my pad / ground cover 24" by 70".  One can use a pad inside the bivy sack or a ground cloth of some sort according to personal preference.

        I had only a few slight storms in this setup, once we had a good forecast to do the Ptarmigan Traverse last summer. But Right at the middle we had a mild wind storm of around 30mph winds. We ran out of time and camped on a very rough rock section that was sloping,  impossible to use a tent on that spot, we would have had to camp on snow if had a tent.  We had our heads uphill and the doorway to the side of our sleeping orientation. At that time I had a 8x10 ft tarp.  The wind roared somewhat that night and the tarp flapped like crazy but we were fine...  This type of shelter gives a different experience, which can be interesting in of itself..

Edited by DanO

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