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Tarping 
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Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:23 pm
Posts: 114
Location: Denver, CO
I don't see the Tarping thread, so I'm starting a new one!

I have never tarped. I always say I'm going to, but it just doesn't happen. Mainly because:

A. I usually set up alone.
B. I am a really short person and just don't know how I'm going to get a rope up high enough on a tree to hold the tarp high enough
C. I am not real good at knots. It's been years since I macramé'd anything.

But this year, I am going to have help setting up. Between the two of us, I think we can do this. Can anyone offer up some Tarping tips for a pair of short grrls?


Sat May 05, 2012 8:49 am
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bring a weight... like a fishing sinker weight.. to tie to your rope and then you toss it over the branch. just make sure no one is under the toss. that is how we get high up there, nothing to do with height.

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Sat May 05, 2012 9:19 am
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Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 9:15 pm
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Location: midwest
I got a big grin on my face that lasted a long time, when, while walking thru the woods, I saw an archer shoot her arrow into the trees! There was a light string attached, which they then tied to a stronger one, all to haul up a tarp.


Sat May 05, 2012 2:29 pm
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Location: Denver, CO
So I should take up archery or learn how to throw like a grrl!

I don't remember too many stones around tho. I guess I should add that to my packing list.

What was the consensus as far as peaked vs long slope on one side? Was it ever decided which was best? And, wasn't there someone who had it down to such a science that she advised which side was to be on the west?


Sat May 05, 2012 3:31 pm
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Location: Tampa, FL
I tie my water bottle to a rope, toss it over a branch. No need to bring anything special for tossing. Surely, there's something that you'll have on hand - heavy, easily tied to a rope.


Sat May 05, 2012 5:18 pm
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Location: Denver, CO
Water bottle! Excellent! Thanks! I was trying to picture myself throwing a shoe, but I definitely like the bottle idea better! I was worrying about what would happen if my shoe got stuck up there!


Sat May 05, 2012 6:08 pm
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I make sure my tent entrance faces away from the wind and the tarp has a long side facing into the wind. The idea is to have the wind pushing down on the tarp instead of into it causing it to billow up.

No matter that, do not suspend all 2 corners equally. Not unless you want a swimming pool suspended over your tent! :)

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Last edited by Rabbit.Leaps on Sun May 06, 2012 12:31 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sat May 05, 2012 10:23 pm
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Location: Denver, CO
Good point, RL! I do not want a pool floating over my head.

Is there a predictable direction that the wind blows? West to east, is my guess.


Sun May 06, 2012 12:23 am
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I was told last year that as long as the tent is seam sealed, it really isn't necessary to tarp. So I didn't. And even with the huge storm, wind and all (remember?!), my tent was safe and dry. Just adding in with my experience. I am planning again, to not tarp and hope it is all okay.


Sun May 06, 2012 12:33 am
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tofutattoo - I put the peak in the middle, suspended with a line across. That holds the weight of the tarp well. Basically, tie the edges and you're done. I use a LARGE tarp (my tent is old and does leak) giving me lots of dry space all around it. I have set up and taken down in the rain, nothing gets wet once I have the tarp up. Being able to pack up a dry tent on a rainy day is a great thing. If I didn't put the peak in the middle, I'd have to get the front (or back) SO high it becomes ineffective. I think the key is to have LOTS of rope. HD has nice colorful rope in bundles of 1 or 2 hundred feet that works great. It doesn't have to be very heavy duty.

Put the tarp up first, then setup the tent underneath. Not just for weather, but because it's much easier that way than trying to get the tarp completely covering the tent once it's set up.

Throwing something heavy to get the line where you want it often works well. Another strategy I use is to use a long stick to push a line higher. This works best with 2 (hell, the whole thing works best with 2, but I have done it alone). One holds the rope, the others 'hooks' it with a little elbow of a long branch. The branch can then push the rope high while the rope holder keeps the rope slack. When you have it where you want it, wrapping the rope around the tree is enough to hold it. Any little nubby in the tree helps, but just the bark is usually friction enough to hold it, especially if it's wrapped around a couple of times.

No need to stress about having trees in exactly the right spot if you have lots of rope. Just tie it off to 'that tree over there' or stake it down.

One last tip - use a lightweight tarp. I used to have a heavy duty one (sounded like a good idea), but it was much more difficult to deal with. Lightweight works fine as long as it's well sloped, taut and large lightweight tarps are relatively inexpensive. If you want to cover your whole tent and have space left over make sure it's plenty big enough in all directions. At least a 3 ft overhang in all directions, with another few (at least) in one direction for dry sitting and storage space.


Sun May 06, 2012 7:32 am
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Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:01 pm
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Location: Madison, WI
I camp in a hammock and would be misearable without a tarp 'cuz when it's raining, I can't even get my raincoat on before I get all wet. One hint for easy, perfect tarping if Mother Nature failed to place a tree or snag in the correct place: lash a strong (not big, just not rotten) fallen branch at the perfect height between two trees, then attach your tarp to the perfect place along that branch. I camp in the middle of some tall cottonwood trees in Workerville, so there are no low branches to toss or shoot a rope over. I use a metal picnic cooler (Coleman) to keep stuff in and sit on, but I also use that cooler to stand on so I can tie two corners of my tarp up pretty high. One corner of my tarp is nearly on the ground, and I lash a branch between two trees at ground level to have a place to secure that corner of my tarp. Tent stakes pull out too easily. I hope these hints help.


Mon May 14, 2012 8:26 am
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Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:23 pm
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Location: Denver, CO
Nutloaf, thanks for the tips. I don't quite get the lashing part of the branch though. Are you just using a branch for a stake?


Mon May 14, 2012 8:09 pm
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Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2006 4:40 pm
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In our little neighborhood, about 7 tents or so, no one tarps and no one leaks. A properly placed ground cloth and a good tent are way more important, I think.

YC


Tue May 15, 2012 6:23 am
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Well my tent has never leaked either, but I would like a dry porch area. So I might as well hang a tarp that covers everything. I actually considered one of those pop up canopies, but a tarp is a lot cheaper.


Tue May 15, 2012 7:23 am
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to add to what outsider said, lots of rope is really important. I tie the rope to a water bottle and use that to throw over the tree branches. it's a good weight, and doesn't generally catch on anything in the throwing process. i used to use one of my work boots but that was not a good projectile.

I have had both cheap and good tents and have always tarped. not only does it lessen the water chances but it gives a bit of dry space around the tent for entering and exiting, keeps shoes dry outside, keeps stuff off the rain fly (small branches, leaves, bird shit, etc), sun protection..... all hopefully lengthening the life of my tent. just some random thoughts.


Tue May 15, 2012 7:52 am
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