Multi Use Tarp (DCF)

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Jan 22, 2020
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Hey there, roksliders. Looking at getting a tarp to fill many roles in my backcountry and even truck hunting kit. I want it to be a glassing rain/sun shelter, ground cloth when I'm not using tyvek, ultralight replacement for a bivy with slick bag under my primary tarp (sitka 8x10) in a pinch. Maybe even pack liner for both rain and packing out bloody (or greasy bear) meat, among the many other uses I will find for this thing.

Looking at a 7x9' DCF tarp from Etowah ($263 at time of post) for the simplicity of design, 5.3oz weight and price point. Plus Paul seems like a great guy that will fix anything I may break on it down the line.

Does anyone have wisdom to impart? Does DCF break down too quickly over many folding cycles if using it under a sleeping pad at night, then packing it to a glassing area each day? Will a "gray" (basically white) tarp be so bright it glows if I'm glassing under it in the sun? Not so worried about bears spotting it so much as deer and elk. I love the idea of a sub-8oz with guy lines do-it-all tarp that lives in my kit, and allows for sleeping on it like you couldn't with a slippery sil-nylon ground sheet/tarp. Any wisdom or advice is appreciated!
 

ILIKEGEAR

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We really like the Kifaru Sheep Tarp. Its 9oz and comes with me on every trip. I use for many of the things you described, except as a pack liner - but you absolutely could.

We have never reviewed the DCF but may have to in the future. The raffle + review we do on lightweight tarps, the Sheep Tarp is amongst the top chosen by the winners.
 
OP
V
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The Sheep Tarp is certainly on my radar! Have you ever used it as a ground sheet under a sleeping pad? I've used sil-nylon for that purpose before and struggled to keep from sliding downhill on it.
 

ILIKEGEAR

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I have not. I use it to cover my gear or as a lightweight shelter- never slept on it.

You are right in that its very slick, so I'd think you would slide for sure.
 

Desk Jockey

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Most tarps are .5 DCF and ground cloths are usually .75-1.0. my dcf ground cloths are holding up well. They are hard the weight and 3x the price. I wouldn’t expect my thinner DCF tarps to hold up to a lot of abuse as ground cloths.
 
OP
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Most tarps are .5 DCF and ground cloths are usually .75-1.0. my dcf ground cloths are holding up well. They are hard the weight and 3x the price. I wouldn’t expect my thinner DCF tarps to hold up to a lot of abuse as ground cloths.
For that cost difference, I'm tempted to just give the .5 dcf a try for my purpose and see how it fares.

Do you notice any significant delaminating at frequent folding points?
 

Desk Jockey

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For that cost difference, I'm tempted to just give the .5 dcf a try for my purpose and see how it fares.

Do you notice any significant delaminating at frequent folding points?
No but I only took the DCF plunge a couple of years ago so I can’t say any of my DCF gear has tons of use. I have the most nights with my tent and it is holding up fine.

opinions on DCF vary but it’s my belief that you probably give up some durability over nylon So I wouldn’t expect a piece of dcf gear to last as long as a comparable synylon piece.
 

Desk Jockey

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Just a thought, but for the “do it all, always in my pack” tarp, I run and MLD poncho. 8.0 and it will cover a lot of the rolls you mentioned.
 
OP
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No but I only took the DCF plunge a couple of years ago so I can’t say any of my DCF gear has tons of use. I have the most nights with my tent and it is holding up fine.

opinions on DCF vary but it’s my belief that you probably give up some durability over nylon So I wouldn’t expect a piece of dcf gear to last as long as a comparable synylon piece.
Yeah, I've heard that too. There's always a tradeoff, just curious how significant that tradeoff is in durability.
 

mtwarden

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if you're seriously considering using it as a ground cloth, I would definitely bump up the weight of the dcf- (.75+) doesn't add a ton of weight in a tarp sized piece

I'd also recommend a tarp in the ~ 7x9' range; I've experimented with a lot of different smaller tarps and for the difference in weight- I've found myself going back to larger tarps

7x9 gives you very adequate room for a shelter in poor conditions, it also gives you plenty of room for glassing and allows for some different pitches to stave off wind or precip

be sure the tarp has multiple tie out points for maximum utility

as far as color- you can get dcf in green, grey and even camo :)
 
OP
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if you're seriously considering using it as a ground cloth, I would definitely bump up the weight of the dcf- (.75+) doesn't add a ton of weight in a tarp sized piece

I'd also recommend a tarp in the ~ 7x9' range; I've experimented with a lot of different smaller tarps and for the difference in weight- I've found myself going back to larger tarps

7x9 gives you very adequate room for a shelter in poor conditions, it also gives you plenty of room for glassing and allows for some different pitches to stave off wind or precip

be sure the tarp has multiple tie out points for maximum utility

as far as color- you can get dcf in green, grey and even camo :)
I was hoping the likes of you and @AK Troutbum would weigh in here. I'm definitely sold on the 7x9' size.

I'll have to see if anyone other than MLD has .75dcf. Their lead times are 12-16 weeks right now, which puts me past the April bear hunting trips. I'll give Paul at Etowah a call to see if he can do that custom. Let me know if you have any recommendations other than MLD or Etowah.

It also might just be worth carrying in the 4.5oz of Tyvek just to save the abuse on a spendy DCF tarp, allowing me to go the .5dcf route.
 

mtwarden

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going .5 opens up a lot more options

I think Borah gear sells a dedicated dcf ground sheet that is under 2 oz, probably for a price though :D
 

mtwarden

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^ that's not too bad :)

also Hyperlite sells a .8 dcf flat tarp in two sizes (and two colors)
 
OP
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Jan 22, 2020
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^ that's not too bad :)

also Hyperlite sells a .8 dcf flat tarp in two sizes (and two colors)
I was close to getting one of theirs before their sale ended a few days ago. They are a little larger and heavier than I'm looking to go for this purpose.

Those ground sheets from Borah look like a nice addition to certain mobile camp kind of setups.

Thanks for all the info, fellas!
 

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