Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Renax127

Tarp camping questions

Recommended Posts

So the tent I've been using for a while finally is beyond repair so instead of spending a lot of money on a new one I'm thinking about just using my cot and a tarp. However I've never used a tarp to sleep under so I'm looking for some pointers. I thought about maybe using a hammock as well.

 

I'm in North FL/South GA so I'm not really worried about cold though bugs might be an issue. I plan on getting a bug screen of some sort as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So how much room do you need? I have tarp camped under some pretty small "tarps".

 

Open ended pup tent sized, rain poncho sized, dining fly sized? Canvas? Nylon?

 

A lot of different factors. I find canvas more weather resistant than nylon. Nylon is easier to cart around, not as durable as canvas.

 

Canvas takes longer to dry out.

 

There are just a ton of variables and most of them depend on personal preferences. I guess I more of a minimalist and can get by with just a small tarp, sloped to drain in rain, and no cot, just ground pad. If I go with the short cot I use the old WW II dog tent and if I go tall cot luxury, I use a canvas A-Frame style of tent. The Mrs. prefers the ground with nylon tent for privacy. Of course having spent 20 years in Alaska, her preferences are a bit more rugged than a lot of female campers in the "lower states". :)

 

Stosh

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If your site has decent trees, rope for a ridge line and guy lines for the corners is all you need to support a decent size tarp. The trick is to tie "stops" in your ridge line so the center of your tarp stays stretched. If you're in the open, you'll want a set of poles and decent stakes to replace the trees. Walking sticks will do if you aren't setting up a base camp. You can either rig an a-frame or lean-to pretty easily. With a little origami, you can get by with one pole and fashion a shelter that's taller on the door side and tapers down to your feet. I don't worry about bugs, anything that flies in can fly right out. (But, I'm a far cry north of you.)

 

Of course all that applies to when I'm feeling really patient and have found a decent picnic table worth sleeping on! (Cots don't survive me :( ) Generally, I just lay the tarp on the ground, throw down my bag on one third of the tarp, crawl in, and if it rains roll over the other two thirds. (Or pull the other two thirds over me.) Boom done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Been reading about you "tarp people" for awhile now, and I gotta ask:

 

Are there any tarp aficionados who camp in the land of mosquitoes and fire ants? How do you cope? Deet doesn't really deter the ants...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We don't have fire ants locally. But we do have ants. If one keeps away from plopping down their gear on an ant hill, they do alright. Mosquitoes are another thing. Usually they quiet down and are only a problem at sunrise or sunset. In Canada, they hang around all night long. If I know it's going to be a problem I toss in my netting, otherwise, just throw a clean shirt over my head and face and don't worry about it. If it's going to be a hot muggy night, then the only salvation is the netting. My full body netting can be stuffed into a very small stuff sack that doesn't weigh much more than the sack. I've had no experience with fire ants but if one tucks the netting under the bedding and seals itself completely, it might do the trick, I don't know.

 

Stosh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm getting a bug net for sure. I'll probably try a plastic tarp from Walmart for my first attempt, since I have about 10 of those, and if I like it I might look into one of the nylon ones. This is for car camping anyway so no concerns about weight just yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kelty makes a lightweight diamond tarp (which just means it's a square tarp) in a few different sizes. What I like about these is that in addition to grommets in the 4 corners, there are tie downs along the edges of the tarp. They come with 2 poles so you can set them up in a field in a typical "A" configuration (open at two ends, sides down. If I use it as a dining fly, I prefer to string it up using trees as my poles if I can.

 

But that's dining, not sleeping. Sure, you can set it up and use a picnic table as a cot but when you don't want to haul around a cot, you'll be sleeping on the ground.

 

For that you'll need some stakes, some rope, and a good, sturdy wooden hiking stick (or a canoe paddle - or a stick you find in the woods). The hiking stick will be your tent pole - and will hold up one corner of the tarp (and you'll need the rope for that). Stake the opposite corner to the ground, then stake the sides to the ground. In rainy weather, point the opening away from the direction the rain is coming or use the pole in the center of the tarp and create a pyramid tent.

 

But since pictures are worth a thousand words, look up Diamond Fly and you should be able to find a lot of different ways to set up a square "tarp" for sleeping quarters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Trees are a pretty good idea most days. Since you car camp, don't skimp on rope and stakes. You'll go through a few before you figure out what works best for you. But pay attention to which trees and the season. A couple of years ago at this time, I strung one between two very tall oak trees. However, this is when they begin to drop their acorns! Think hiding behind a target on the sling-shot range and you get the idea :eek:. Except nobody yells "fire" when the next volley is about to drop :mad:.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was blessed with the opportunity to attempt this this past weekend. Had a ground trap and sleeping bag, it was awesome.

 

Cool breeze and 60 degrees. just a couple of Mosquitoes buzzed my ears.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

10x15 tarp. Rope and pegs and four 4'poles..... Stretch 10x4 on the cleared (or padded with pine needles) gournd. Set a 4' pole at each foldover corner, foldover 4' and stretch out the top edge, a little over the ground piece. place two 4' poles about by first ground edge, stretch tarp to the poles, over 4' area. Gives one sleep bag space and space for gear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This all sounds so great and I love the idea. However in tornado alley rain rarely falls vertically it is more a qhorizontal trajectory and in all sorts of directions. Around here if there is any chance of rain there is a very good chance it will nugget very nasty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unless your talking week long camp, where you drag and drop, send the cot the way of the old tent.

 

I like tarp camping, but don't always do it the same way; I use what nature provides.

 

A few things to keep in mind:

1. Water runs down ropes, and tarps; have all edges pointed downward.

2. You don't have a floor, and water will migrate under you; use a ground cloth.

3. You're open air, which is nice, but check your spot carefully for ant hills, poison ivy, ect

 

My default tarp rig is my hiking stave, the ten feet of rope I carry at my waist (daisy chained), a 6x10 camo tarp, and two lightweight aluminum stakes (optional).

 

I forgot, a painters drop cloth for the ground, and a low end pool raft ($3.00 at Wal-Mart) to sleep on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If your site has decent trees' date=' rope for a ridge line and guy lines for the corners is all you need to support a decent size tarp. .[/quote']

I don't believe the woods rangers appreciate rope around their trees. Isn't the use of wider webbing preferred?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...