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Tarp Tents, your thoughts?

Long Term/Short Term Survival Shelters. Constructions tips and ideas.

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Tarp Tents, your thoughts?

Postby Here2Learn » Mon Oct 14, 2013 11:28 pm

Hi All,

When I first started thinking about putting a BOB together, I had to tackle the problems of shelter. I originally planned for a couple of 2-3 person tents for my family. I purchased one but didn't really care for it.. Although cheap, it wasn't as cost effective as I wanted. Although not very complicated, it wasn't as simple as I wanted. Although portable, it was bulkier and heavier then I wanted.

Then I stumbled on to tarp tents. They provided shelter and were not very expensive(depending on what kind of tarp you use), seemed more portable and lighter then the commercial tent, and are not very complicated(easier to take down and put up in case you have to bug out from your camp site.

The basic design I intended to follow was this one(with a few modifications of my own):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBP-TugrI3Q

What I added to it was a second smaller tarp for the floor, a mosquito net to hang over the front, and a couple of extra tent stakes just to make it more secure and to have some spares.

The tarps are cheap ones from Harbor Freight(man, I could spend some time and money there). My thinking was that it was good enough for now and if the tarp tent experiment was a success, I could get better tarps later.

I should say now that I have never stayed in it. I set it up for a test but have not had time to do an over night. Here is what I found...

*Set up was easy and take down was not much more difficult - lay the big tarp down, then the smaller, and then the netting. Place the other stuff inside and fold and roll.

*The inside tarp wasn't big enough but good enough to keep us off the ground.

*Inside the tent was very hot, although it wasn't very hot day.

*The most noticeable feature is that its open on one end. Althought it would shelter you from rain and wind(If set up with the wind direction in mind), I imagine it would still be cold in the winter. A fire set up in front would help that but then, how close do you want to get a plastic tarp to a fire? I was thinking of adding a small piece of clear plastic(for visability) sheet to drape over the opening(similiar to the mosquito net) to keep at least some of the elements out(and maybe some of the heat in)

*Lastly(and kind of important to me) is with the tarp being open underneath, I imagine all kinds of wildlife would be able to come under the walls, especially the tubular, no legged kind. I've been planning a camping trip with a friend for next year where I planned to use this setup but he tells me the place is heavy with poisionous snakes(he mentioned rattlers, cotton mouths, and copperheads I believe).

I have been thinking of something I could do to improve the tent. So far I have come up with the clear plastic and spraying the mosquito net with Sawyer permethrin insect repellent.

I've also thought if I will have two of these using each as a half and using the same pole in the middle. This will join the two tents and there would not be an open end, but then, no visability. Even if you have posted a guard, I still don't like not being able to see out.

So, do you/have you ever used a tarp tent. What have you found? Thoughts, likes, dislikes or tips?

Thanks,
H2L
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Re: Tarp Tents, your thoughts?

Postby Onegreenguy » Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:37 am

Well I kind of liked the music to the video! Not sure if I would use a tarp style tent in a snake infested area unless perhaps I ran a line between two trees threw the tarp over the line and staked off the 4 corners and then ran a hammock under the tarp to keep oneself off the ground...doesn't solve the mosquito problem though....
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Re: Tarp Tents, your thoughts?

Postby Permafrost » Tue Oct 15, 2013 1:58 am

I have used a tarp in the spring and fall up here. I have one of those military sleep systems, the one with the 3 layers, the outer being gortex or something. I lay a tarp on the ground and then lay in the sleeping bag, then I just fold the tarp over with the fold on the side most likely to have water running on it. It works well for me, and I have used it in the winter, but it was a little chilly. I could see some problems with how you are using yours. In rain, water collects on the surface and runs wherever there is the least resistance, and also under the side of your tarp the way you have it set up. In the winter in the snow you need something underneath you so when the snow melts you don't get wet. It looks good though. Try it out in the rain or snow, and you'll see what I mean. Emergencies rarely happen in good weather. If you can't afford a tent or don't want to deal with one(myself), just fold your tarp in half with the opening on the downhill/downwind side, piroshky/taco style, and call it good. If the weather is good you don't need a tarp or anything for that matter, just slather on the bug spray, roll down your sleeves, put on a mosquito netting hat, lean up against a tree, and catch some sleep.
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Re: Tarp Tents, your thoughts?

Postby RayMac1963 » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:01 am

My personal philosophy is bugging out is my last last LAST resort. IF i leave the safety of my home i know i'm going to be gone a good while because things have gotten really bad. For that reason, i approached my tents as something i'm going to have to live in for weeks or months so i didn't go cheap. I took my time with ebay, amazon, and local sales and searched for deals on my camping systems, I did research and i bought the BEST i could find with my budget. Good tents, all season sleeping bags, heavy subfloor tarps, camp cooking equipment... And my son and I have put it all up in the back yard several times to learn and test. (hint: get some GOOD tent stakes ;) )

Ask yourself "do you want to sleep like that for a month?".

Also, don't be afraid to shop yard and estate sales, to be honest most people who own camping gear don't use often. You can find some almost new stuff out there in some odd places.

Good luck.
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Re: Tarp Tents, your thoughts?

Postby Lilredmg » Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:47 pm

I have a tarp tent and like it very much. Although, mine is a tent, not just a tarp. It has a floor, a vestibule, and netting on the sides for air flow. It is a single walled tent, and one thing you have to consider is condensation. A tarp tent will get condensation on the inside. Keep an extra bandana or absorbent cloth and in the mornings, just wipe the interior down to sop up all the water. It has a bathtub floor so if it rains, you won't get wet from it seeping in. GREAT tent!

Here is a link to the website. A little pricey, but worth it. My tent sleeps two and weighs less than 2lbs

http://www.tarptent.com/

Edited to add: Airflow is the key to reducing condensation. It takes some practice to set up with maximum airflow, but these tents were made to get maximum airflow. These tents were designed by a long distance hiker, for long distance hiking. They are also very durable. Mine is ten years old, and I've hiked 1000 miles of the Appalachian Trail with it and it has no rips, tears or snags.
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Re: Tarp Tents, your thoughts?

Postby Here2Learn » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:04 am

Thanks for the replies everyone.....

Although folding the tarp in half would work for me, It wouldn't for the family. I'm thinking a lot about the psychological reassurance that having a roof over your head, some type of walls, and someone to huddle with can bring to scared people in a SHTF situation. Most of my family isn't on board.

Interestingly enough, the friend told me that he sleeps "under the stars" in snake land without any problem.

Unfortunatly, I cannot see me remaining in my home for any long term SHTF situation. I'm on the edge of a small city and the only thing between me and the bad part of town is a well bridged river that you could probably wade across in the summer time. I'll be in the path of the Chicago hordes when whats left finally makes it out of the city. I also happen to be in the cirlce of death of several non fosil fuel power plants. My state is run by morons and I'll want to get out before they get the bright idea of "helping" me.

If we have to bug out, I'll be on wheels but gas runs out an S does happen so I have to at least plan to be on foot. At that point it comes down to whats on our backs. Weight and ease of carry are important factors. No, I don't want to live in a tent for a month or maybe a lifetime but tent or tarp is better then nothing.

H2L
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Re: Tarp Tents, your thoughts?

Postby ajax727 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:00 am

If you think you may have to bugout and run out of gas and need away to carry more gear . You might want to get a bike or two and use them like a pack mule . Load them down and role it along , they have been used in wars as a mode to transport supplies .Add a couple of cans of slime to keep the tires up and going .That way you can carry a tent with you .
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Re: Tarp Tents, your thoughts?

Postby Here2Learn » Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:08 am

Thanks ajax727. I have thought about adding a cart to my preps. Never thought about using the bikes as carrier instead of a vehicle. Right now, I have a hand truck with bigger size tires that I would bungi cord some stuff to. The big problem with that is its very noisy. Also, it wouldn't hold the contents of my trucks bed on it so it would be pick and choose the important things and hide the rest for possible further pick up.

H2L
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Re: Tarp Tents, your thoughts?

Postby ajax727 » Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:51 am

About the bike you can make a rack with pvc get 40 schel not 20 that is the wall thickness -1 1/4 pipe and ubolts to hook to the frame . Just keep it as narrow as you can , use pins or bolts to put it together try to keep the mass close to the bottom to avoid the tip factor .A cargo net and rubber straps to keep every thing in place . A rope to help pull it up a hill and you can cut small a tree around 2 inch dia. strap it to the handle bars and 2 people can walk it along or hook two bikes together and walk them along .Think you can move 100 to 200 pounds of stuff with ease .Also you can heat the pipe and make bends in it just try not to crimp it, have a wet rag to cool it off , try not to melt it just hot enough to make the bends . A flat place to work off of a speed square to make the angle bends a ruler or yard stick to mark the points to make the bends .If the bends are not just like you want them just reheat and bend . Hope this helps .
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Re: Tarp Tents, your thoughts?

Postby pelenaka » Thu Oct 17, 2013 10:31 am

ajax727 wrote:A rope to help pull it up a hill and you can cut small a tree around 2 inch dia. strap it to the handle bars and 2 people can walk it along or hook two bikes together and walk them along .Think you can move 100 to 200 pounds of stuff with ease


That's a brilliant on the fly idea :) Besides the ease of moving the bike two people pushing keeps the momentum going.

I started researching ultra lite hiking gear for preparedness reasons now I have dreams of a cross country bicycle tour :D
Now I'm a gram weenie when it comes to both making & buying my gear. The more weight I can save the more food I can carry.
Check out youtube for ultra lite hiking tents & also bicycle touring (ideas on how to pack a bike), & making your own bike trailers. More than a few geared toward bugging out by bike.
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Re: Tarp Tents, your thoughts?

Postby Gordon » Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:34 pm

I carry a 12x12 Noah's Tarp (brand name) on my week-long backpacking trips in the Rockies. The thing weighs less than 2 pounds out of the box, but I've added some metal figure 9s that have bumped the weight up a little. Using the two trekking poles I now carry (I'm old), I have never had any problems setting it up, although in the right places it will hang just fine without any poles. I have it rigged for A-frame set up, but variations are nearly limitless. There are numerous Youtube videos demonstrating use of the Noah.
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Re: Tarp Tents, your thoughts?

Postby ajax727 » Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:29 pm

On the bike I can not take the pat on the back but thanks . I have read a lot on most of the wars that have been fought , the cong used them to move arms down the trail the japs used them to move arms ever were they fought and so did china along with several other countries . It is just a easy and cheap way to move things in areas were trucks and cars can not go .It will haul more that a single person can haul and supply food ammo to a larger group . There is a lot of info we can use from the history of others .
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Re: Tarp Tents, your thoughts?

Postby sageprice » Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:52 am

If I'm buging out I will be traveling and have no time for tents or Tarp. I have a Great cape of fleece and water proofed nylon. A foam pad keeps my tail bone off the ground. Worn over a light coat it is very warm and easy to vent. Granted not everyone can sleep sittng down, but After the Miilitary I learned to sleep standing up. :rofl:
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Re: Tarp Tents, your thoughts?

Postby slowjeep » Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:11 am

Its pretty easy to make a tarp into a basic shelter. Its sometimes called a burrito style shelter. String a line between two points at a height of about 30" with one end closer to the ground than the other. Hang the tarp over the line and fold the sides under to make the floor. Close one end, get inside, and use your BoB to close the front entrance.
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