Author Topic: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?  (Read 19512 times)

Offline The Great Mahoo

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 14
  • Karma: 1
Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« on: August 03, 2010, 01:32:10 PM »
I am looking to get back into camping, something I've not done since I was a wee-lad.  I've been an avid hiker for the last few years, but stick to day-trips rather then overnighters.  I am now looking to do a nice long hike, staying 1-2 nights, depending on what I can get off work and find a buddy to drag along.

Anyway, I am curious as to whether you prefer a tent or stringing a tarp for shelter.  I'm used to tents from when I was a kid, but the lighter weight and utility of a tarp has caught my attention.  The problem is, I've never used a tarp to make a shelter, and am not that familiar with it.  Of course I am planning on testing out whatever method ahead of time, but what is your oppinion between the two?

What do you prefer for camping/outdoor shelter?  Tent or Tarp?


I am planning on the shelter for me and the (large) dog, or perhaps me and one other.

Thanks in advance!

endurance

  • Guest
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2010, 01:47:30 PM »
If there's no bugs, creapy-crawlies, plenty of trees, and you have plenty of time on your side, a tarp is adequate.  However, if you're camping where there's problems with mosquitos, black flies, midges, scorpions, rattlesnakes, etc., then I'd prefer to get a screen between me and them.  That said, I use both.  A good silicone impregnated nylon 8x10' tarp weighs in at about 10 ounces and makes a great place to get out of the rain where you can cook dinner without making your tent smell like dinner (something to avoid in bear country).  It gives you a back up shelter if your tent is damaged or you discover it's not as waterproof as you thought it was.  They don't come cheap ($50-75 for a 7x9-8x10'), but because they're smaller, lighter, and cheaper than a tent, I keep mine in my car kit (BOB/GHB) along with a one-person mosquito net.

Full disclosure:  Sometimes I want to pack fast and light and carry just a tarp and some 550 cord for my shelter, but I avoid anywhere near water when I do so I don't get eaten alive.  It's a great backup shelter when you're planning on sleeping out under the stars in the desert, just in case that chance of an afternoon thunderstorm turns into a reality.

Offline joeinwv

  • The Bee Whisperer
  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 2579
  • Karma: 92
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2010, 02:23:54 PM »
I like a tent, but hate to carry it. If I am trying to stay light, it will be tarp and hammock. If possible, I prefer to have both - make a larger shelter from the tarp and use a small tent for sleeping only.

Offline chezrad

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 198
  • Karma: 10
    • Brush n Soap n Blade
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2010, 05:17:37 PM »
Tent: Heavy for the protected space but it is enclosed. A real pain to put up and take down in the rain.

Tarp: Light and fast to put up. (For me anyhow) No protection from bugs without a bugnet. Put it up first and take down last for rain situations.

What I ended up with: Hammock! Tarp for rain protection. It goes up first and then you have shelter. Hammock can be used as a chair. In really hot weather it is much more comfortable than a tent. (Cooler) About half the weight of a tent with a lot more versatility IMHO.

Glad to hear your getting back into it!

Offline Darkwinter

  • Junior Evil Overlord
  • Moderator On Leave
  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *
  • Posts: 2171
  • Karma: 116
  • Has his wife's permission
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2010, 08:06:43 PM »
Sis and TW showed me an awesome product.  It was an ENO Hammock.  It had a rain tarp  and a bug net and fit in a quart sized bag.  It was super comfy easy to put up and pack away.



I think it would fit your needs for hiking. 

Offline sdcharger

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 709
  • Karma: 13
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2010, 08:29:28 AM »
I have a single person tent and a two person tent.  Neither one weighs much at all.  I would look for a good used two person tent for you and the dog.  I've done tarps and hammocks and bivys, etc. in the past and nothing beats a good self supported tent.

Both of my tents are nice, barely used Eureka's and I bought them used on craigslist for about 25% of retail.

Tommy Jefferson

  • Guest
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2010, 09:00:59 AM »
Tarps are fine if you camp where there are no crawlies and it does not rain and there is a laudromat nearby to dry your dew-soaked clothes.

It is not fun to wake up at 3:00am in 50 degree temps with a tiny rivulet of water running between your shoulder blades because the weatherman was inaccurate.  Makes it difficult to get back to sleep.




Offline 18C Troll

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 63
  • Karma: 3
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2010, 09:56:44 AM »
Maybe I am early but having done time in the Infantry the old bungee cord and poncho works well as a back up.  I always went one further and had a 8' x10' camo tarp.  It was plenty of room for myself and the rucks of a few more guys.  If it was going to rain heavy I had enough space to drop the edges to the ground and cover the seems with dirt or dig a small trench to re-route the water.  And if it was a nice night  or very ligt rain I put it up high so most of us could fit underneath and cook and bullsh*t.  I then found a one man pop-up mosquito net, the name escapes me now. But I put that underneath the tarp and have never had a problem.  Even camping with the family I have enough room to fit my 3 yr old in there with me, altough tight its nice.  This is the set up I will probably use the rest of my life, its light, cheap, and covers everything except heavy snow. 

This is excatly what Im talking about heres the link......http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aohzKJ9pNj4

just my .02

Offline Docwatmo

  • May Ignite Spontaneously
  • Administrator
  • Survival Veteran
  • *******
  • Posts: 8703
  • Karma: 259
  • The Prepper Rising from the Ashes
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2010, 11:11:49 AM »
I like to sleep out under the stars sometimes, and dew doesn't bother me unless it gets really cold.  However, I always have a couple of large 55 gallon heavy duty contractor bags in my ruck. They take up about a 1.5 inch x 1.5 inch by 8 inch roll in my ruck and weigh just a couple ounces.  But I can drop every piece of gear I have in them and tie the top and they will be dry through the worst monsoon.  I can pull one up over my sleeping bag if need be and keep it dry if the rain gets bad.  A simple tarp with a couple bungees are good enough most of the time.

A tent is a convenience, and the climate and location of the campsite will have the biggest impact on if you want the open air flow a tarp and hammock in warm climates provide vs the contained weatherproofing and higher heat retention potential of a tent.

I prefer to have both, I don't do the long range backpacking where every ounce of weight makes a difference though so a little extra gear is fine for me.



 

Offline sdcharger

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 709
  • Karma: 13
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2010, 09:26:45 PM »
I've done hikes as long as three weeks and I never once regretted taking a tent along.

When I have taken people on their first overnight hikes I usually make the effort to bring along extra comfort items.  I want them to enjoy themselves enough to want to do it again.

In addition, my dog cannot leave the tent without my knowledge if that is an issue for you.

Offline andrebeergog

  • Fledgling Prepper
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: 0
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2010, 10:08:42 PM »
I have used both fairly extensively and as long as the bugs and weather permit tarps are the way to go.   If it's raining I just dig about a 6 inch trench around the tarp to keep the water from running in.  Bugs, err, you are kind of screwed unless you have nets.

Offline The Great Mahoo

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 14
  • Karma: 1
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2010, 12:45:34 PM »
Thanks for all the input, guys.  I ended up getting a new 2-person tent for my birthday before I managed to get around to picking one out for myself.  I guess that decision is made, for now... 

Offline Serellan

  • REMF
  • Moderator On Leave
  • Dedicated Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 1581
  • Karma: 97
  • Diligenter et Fideliter
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2010, 12:57:06 PM »
I do tarps plus EWCS.


Offline Chair-Force

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 48
  • Karma: 0
    • Mil-Spec Minded
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2010, 05:12:38 AM »
Sis and TW showed me an awesome product.  It was an ENO Hammock.  It had a rain tarp  and a bug net and fit in a quart sized bag.  It was super comfy easy to put up and pack away.



I think it would fit your needs for hiking. 

I recently bought a Hennessy hammock and love it. Though I'm not sure if I like the bottom entry as opposed to a traditional side entry. The bottom entry makes getting the sleeping pad and/or sleeping bag in position quite awkward. Hennessy recently started offering side entry.

Offline Nate

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 727
  • Karma: 27
  • Rookie Registered Nurse
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2010, 10:10:50 AM »
I have done many different set ups.  I have done the hammock thing, and the tarp thing and tents.  I agree with everyone here....tarps are great unless you have bugs and creepy crawlies.  2 weeks ago I went on a weekend backpack.  My wife couldnt go, so I thought I would dust off the hammock and tarp and give it a go.  She likes tents all the way and I havent hammock camped in a few years.  The first night I had a good hammock set up and was comfy although my ass was a little cold.  It rained all day the second day and I messed around with the hammock and tarp for over an hour and still didnt get something I was happy with.  My gear got slightly wet which wasnt too much of a problem because the sun came out in the afternoon.  After I went to bed and it started to rain again in the middle of the night.  I said screw it and moved to the ground and slept like a baby.  Fortunately we had no bugs where we were at.

I have learned that hammocks and tarp camping are comfy but you really need to get a perfect set up, which isnt always possible.  The slightest wind or drop in temp makes my backside cold in a hammock.  There is less space to organize your gear like in a tent.  I get a little OCD on camping trips.  I like to know where all my stuff is all the time.  So, I am pretty much sold on a tent set up with a tarp for cooking and hanging out under.  I think you will be happy with your tent!

Offline Chair-Force

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 48
  • Karma: 0
    • Mil-Spec Minded
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2010, 09:26:54 PM »
I have done many different set ups.  I have done the hammock thing, and the tarp thing and tents.  I agree with everyone here....tarps are great unless you have bugs and creepy crawlies.  2 weeks ago I went on a weekend backpack.  My wife couldnt go, so I thought I would dust off the hammock and tarp and give it a go.  She likes tents all the way and I havent hammock camped in a few years.  The first night I had a good hammock set up and was comfy although my ass was a little cold.  It rained all day the second day and I messed around with the hammock and tarp for over an hour and still didnt get something I was happy with.  My gear got slightly wet which wasnt too much of a problem because the sun came out in the afternoon.  After I went to bed and it started to rain again in the middle of the night.  I said screw it and moved to the ground and slept like a baby.  Fortunately we had no bugs where we were at.

I have learned that hammocks and tarp camping are comfy but you really need to get a perfect set up, which isnt always possible.  The slightest wind or drop in temp makes my backside cold in a hammock.  There is less space to organize your gear like in a tent.  I get a little OCD on camping trips.  I like to know where all my stuff is all the time.  So, I am pretty much sold on a tent set up with a tarp for cooking and hanging out under.  I think you will be happy with your tent!

A under quilt or pad is definitely required for hammock camping due to the air gap below your body.

Offline ridge rover

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 133
  • Karma: 6
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2010, 06:47:02 AM »
For years I used a Clip Flashlite tent. Now I'm 100% tarp! For bugs I use this   http://www.sunnysports.com/prod/NFCTBGB.html?srccode=cii_9324560&cpncode=19-26374419-2

Offline Lara

  • TSP Med Control
  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 57
  • Karma: 2
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2010, 06:02:35 PM »
Here's another vote for the tarp & bug bivy combo (for my solo backpacking trips).  Of course, when things are colder, wetter, etc, I change to a tent.  If I'm in a less buggy and 99% guaranteed no-rain situation (like the summer I worked at Yosemite), then I just do the Thermarest and sleeping bag under the stars.  I always bring a sleeping bag rated at least 20 degrees F lower than I think it's going to be.  I prefer to keep my pack weight as light as possible, but I hate getting cold.  If you're gonna tarp it, make sure you know your tautline hitches well.  ;)  In this picture, I have my tarp up high just for the photo. 


Offline chezrad

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 198
  • Karma: 10
    • Brush n Soap n Blade
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2010, 07:22:42 PM »
Tents are OK. They give you a sense of security but really suck if you have to put one up or take one down in the rain.

Tarps are good. They provide a massive dry area for their weight and you can put the tarp up first and take it down last for rainy situations. However, as mentioned, bugs can be an issue. Some type of bug net or bug bivy takes care of this issue for little weight.

Hammocks are the bomb! They have the convenience of a tarp - ability to keep things dry in the rain! They are a lounge, a seat and a bed. It is so nice waking up and being able to sit in the hammock to put on shoes or clothes. Yes there is a learning curve with knots and straps and insulation issues. However, my gear is no lighter and I sleep better in all conditions.

I have a warbonnet blackbird and made my own underquilt and top quilt. I started out with a DIY tarp and finally went with a spinnacker OES tarp. (it doesn't sag when wet like sil nylon) I sleep better out in the woods than I do in my own bed.

If you want to check out hammocks go to http://www.hammockforums.net

I'm chezrad over there as well. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

Offline Chief_919

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 108
  • Karma: 10
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2010, 08:28:59 PM »
I am a tarp fan, mostly because I like my situational awareness. I can't look around are survey whats around me from a tent, I can from a properly rigged tarp.

Offline The Fishin Magician

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 52
  • Karma: 9
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2010, 12:29:58 PM »
I'm another fan of the tarp/hammock combo. It allows for greater versatility, IMO.

Hammocks work very well for my area (South Florida) probably 90-95% of the year. The remaining time can get a little cold, but I have soultions to remedy that. Having a seperate tarp enables me to use the tarp as a "stand alone" shelter, even if I can't use the hammock as originally intended. The hammock can be used as a type of ground bivvy, also. The tarp I use the majority of the time is the Campmor Versatile 10'X10' and my hammock is the Clark camo NX-250.

Offline ridge rover

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 133
  • Karma: 6
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2010, 06:39:12 PM »
This is with a Heat Sheet under an ultralight poncho, as a tarp. 


SmartLikeTruck

  • Guest
Re: Camping Shelter. Tent Vs Tarp?
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2010, 06:49:49 PM »
I prefer tents, but here is a great site for a bunch of tarp shelter configurations
http://www.equipped.org/tarp-shelters.htm