tarp guys

wannahuntmo

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Jul 6, 2012
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Auburn, Ca
solo tarp questions... how close to the ground do you set the tarps? it seems in the pics there is usually 4-6" of air gap. why is this? when there is a rain how far under the tarp gets wet? im guessing at least a few inches in. of course the closer to the ground the better. any other things i should know? I've always used floored tents.
 

Becca

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I am more of a tipi gal myself, but I have spent a few nights in floorless shelters, both golite and Kifaru tipis as well as the Kifaru Megatarp. I have never noticed any issues with rain coming into the shelters at all, but if it does it would be an inch or two into the interior at the most. I suppose the type of terrain might make some difference (we most often camp on tundra), but probably not much. With our SL3 and SL5 we usually leave around 3-4" of space at the bottom (and even inadvertantly a little more if the surface is uneven), and that little bit of airflow seems to keep the condensation inside the shelter to a minimum. If its really windy we will pitch it closer to the ground, but most drafts can be effectively blocked with gear or packs. I was skeptical at first, but breezes have pretty much been a non issue.

The Kifaru tipis and the mega tarp seem designed to stake out more flush with the ground, as the stake loops aren't adjustable (like the ones on the golite tipis are). We haven't had any trouble with condensation in our K tipi ( that might be due to size, it's a 12 man) and the open end of the Megatarp allows for ample ventilation if you aren't using it with an annex.

As an aside, I was concerned the Megatarp might be too breezy with the one side opn, but in three nights bivying in it on my sheep hunt this proved not to be an issue at all. I probably wouldn't want to be waiting out a gale on Kodiak in an open ended Megatarp, but for most other summer and early fall applications here in AK it is a great lightweight shelter.
 

Backpack Hunter

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Becca pretty much summed it up. I have had some water come in, but no more than 2in on any occasion.
Just this week I set up and there was a torrential downpour for the next 4 hrs. My hunting partner was talking junk about how I would be flooded out, and everything would be wet, etc, etc.......not a single drop made it in though.
 

Lawnboi

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its all about where you pitch it man, if you pitch it in the right spot, water shouldnt come in at all.

You wont see water come in very far if your pitched in the right spot. maybe an inch or 2 if your close to the ground with the tarp.

I wouldnt worry about water coming in, id worry more about where you pitch it, you dont want a river coming through your tarp when you get a downpour!


To answer your question about the gap, well that all depends on the conditions. if its hot out ill leave a gap or put a side up on my paratarp to get some air moving. if its cold ill seal it up nice and tight to the ground and fire up the stove. All depends on the conditions. Versatility is the best thing about a shelter like the para or super tarp imo.
 

littlebuf

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Feb 24, 2012
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Ive always wondered more about bugs then water. the one thing that's kept me from going floor less is sometimes the only heaven from mosquito's is the tent. id love to hear some real world experience on that. Becca i'm from Wasilla originally and i know the bugs in Alaska. hows the floor less set up hold up?
 

Backpack Hunter

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Ive always wondered more about bugs then water. the one thing that's kept me from going floor less is sometimes the only heaven from mosquito's is the tent. id love to hear some real world experience on that. Becca i'm from Wasilla originally and i know the bugs in Alaska. hows the floor less set up hold up?
Normally bugs are not a real problem inside the shelter where I hunt or camp, but if they are, or are perceived to be, then you can always run a small nest or rig up netting.
 

Becca

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i believe they typically run a small nest in their floorless shelters...
Indeed we do usually use a nest with bathtub floor, which is great insurance against bugs. Alaska's bugs can be pretty vicious.

That being said, we used our Megatarp for three nights on my recent sheep hunt with no nest (it was a semi-unplanned bivy situation that went longer than expected after we got a sheep down) and bugs were a non issue. I can't explain it except to say that even though the bugs were out in full force in the daytime, I never saw Ny in the Megatarp when we layer down to sleep, even with one whole side open?! The temps were dropping pretty low at night, it frosted hard a few nights so maybe that helped.

I prefer the nest, but have gone without it and lived to tell the tale :)
 

unm1136

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Aug 30, 2012
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Albuquerque NM
This is my first year going back country, and after doing a lot of homework my partner and I will be using tarps. Many of the floorless "issues" will be avoided by hanging hammocks inside our tarps. It worked well for the first scouting trip of the year. Next scouting/gear shakedown in two weeks, three weeks after that will be the third and last trip before the November season.

pat
 
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swat8888

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Apr 6, 2012
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Alaska
I just used the SL5 for a 10 day hunt. Rain coming into the tent was a non-issue, as were bugs...for whatever reason the only bugs that got under the tent went straight up the vents and hung out there. On a side note the mosquitos weren't that bad overall. The venting issue was also not a big deal...as Becca mentioned I just piled up my gear around the perimeter to block any unwanted drafts. The only issue we had with the floorless tipi design a nasty little mouse that was raiding us during one of our naps. Scared him off and didn't have any other issues after that. Also, I found that you can easily lower the edges all the way to the ground if you use some medium size rocks and place directly on the edges of the tent.
 

luke moffat

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Yep you can usually get teh SL-5 and SL-3 flush by sucking up all the tensioners tight before staking. But I prefer to leave a bit of a gap otherwise condensation can be more of an issue.

One thing to be sure is to have the door zipped all the way closed when you stake it out. Otherwise with it open it is VERY difficult to close the door once its guyout out tight with the door open, thus making it possible for the zipper to fail on the door.
 

JG358

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its all about where you pitch it man, if you pitch it in the right spot, water shouldnt come in at all.

You wont see water come in very far if your pitched in the right spot. maybe an inch or 2 if your close to the ground with the tarp.

I wouldnt worry about water coming in, id worry more about where you pitch it, you dont want a river coming through your tarp when you get a downpour!
What he said :)
 

Rizzy

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Idaho
Sometimes I get a gap along the bottom other times not. It depends on how even the ground is and how "symmetrical" the pitch is with my Supertarp. Either way its not an issue for me and I don't pay much attention to it rain or shine. I have not had any problems with water, critters, etc. A cold wind would be the only time I make sure its tight to the ground. Tarps may not be for everybody, as some want that feeling of security that only a floored, zippered tent will give.
 
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