Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Tarp update

Thanks to those who commented on my last post. I've gone back to the oracle - Ray Jardine in Beyond Backpacking. His view is that, whilst he has camped in all weathers using a tarp, a tarp is not a four season shelter. I think, also, some of the problems I experienced earlier this month were of my own making:

  • I didn't gauge the wind direction properly. The tarp was end on to where the wind was coming from and this produced the wind tunnel effect. I should have rotated it 90 degrees and pegged the windward side right down to the ground.
  • Apart from the end guys, the corners of the tarp are most susceptible to wind. As the ground was soft, I should have used more robust pegs which would not have come loose (hopefully).
  • It may not be a good idea to use the tarp and leave it unattended, particularly when the weather is bad. On a normal backpacking trip, as opposed to a "static" weekend, I would usually be close by.
  • It might be be better to use a tent during the worst of the winter. Unfortunately, my only tent is a Khyam Epic which is heavier than lightweight and does not pack down small. It is really a car camping tent.
  • I shall buy a bivy bag, probably the Alpkit Hunka. This should prevent the sleeping bag getting wet.
  • I plan to upgrade the tarp guys to fluorescent yellow (from black) so that I don't have the problem of others on site tripping over them.

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