Tarp talk

Specifically for cycle touring subjects & questions
ericonabike
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Tarp talk

Postby ericonabike » 16 Sep 2015, 7:12pm

My 60th birthday present to myself next year is to be a cycle tour through Spain. Following in the footsteps of Laurie Lee [of Cider with Rosie fame] who walked from the port of Vigo, next the Portuguese border, to Cadiz via Madrid. I'll be setting off from Vigo on 1 June and taking two to three weeks to do it. Previous trips that I've done have been fairly full on, doing 200km a day, travelling as light as possible and staying in hotels/B and Bs. For this trip I'm taking my Dahon folder and Carry Freedom trailer. My intention is to use hotels in towns and camp in between. To replicate the full Lee experience [he slept in a blanket on the ground!] I'm looking to avoid taking a tent. I've bought a cheap bivvy bag, which with sleeping bag I'm guessing will be warm enough in Spain in june. But the idea of a tarp appeals as well - thinking perhaps of using the Dahon, with its prop stand, as a support? But I've never camped without a tent before and would appreciate any advice or suggestions. I know it's a long way off, but planning is all part of the pleasure!
Motorists' mantra: Cyclists must obey the law and the Highway Code AT ALL TIMES. Unless their doing so would HOLD ME UP.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Tarp talk

Postby Tangled Metal » 16 Sep 2015, 9:12pm

Tarps are great if used right, can take a bit of practice to get the hang of different pitch styles. As you're looking at using the bike as a prop for the tarp you'll probably be limited in pitch styles. There's a cycle touring tent that uses the bike bars to hold the porch up with the other end of the tent using the front wheel. Perhaps a kind of a frame pitch using the wheel and the bike at each end. No.idea if that would work.

An alternative could be to buy some very light poles. There's US backpacking companies selling carbon fibre poles for tarp use that are feather light yet pack.down.small I think. Two of these could be packed somewhere and you'll have loads of pitching styles from flying v, lean-to, a frame, cave, etc. It's possible to pitch a tarp in a really stable pitch with two poles. I've survived storms that have truly battered Hilleberg Atko solo tents (they survived but got flattened in gusts before springing back). My tarp just seemed to shed the wind.

Tarp and bivvy may not be lighter than a decent tent. Can be cheaper, lighter, stronger but not all of them. My bad weather tarp/bivvy kit is heavier than a laser tent but about £100 all in. My light tarp kit is below the lightest laser tent from terra nova but I'd not want to be out in any weather in that. All used with trekking poles when walking though.

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bikes4two
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Re: Tarp talk

Postby bikes4two » 17 Sep 2015, 10:15am

Tangled Metal wrote:Tarps are great if used right, .......


I must admit to knowing virtually nothing about tarps, where clearly you have some solid experience. I would be very interested in learning more of this style of camping - any useful websites you might recommend please?
Without my stoker, every trip would only be half a journey

mercalia
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Re: Tarp talk

Postby mercalia » 17 Sep 2015, 7:29pm

maybe some one can answer here my question about using tarps. A|bout 2 weeks ago I used my tarp for the first time. It rained over the night, not very hard. but was surprised me that there seemed to be a lot of condensation on the inner surface. The tarp was open both ends slanting at one end. There wasn't any wind. So wondering is it condensation or a non waterproof tarp?

ericonabike
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Re: Tarp talk

Postby ericonabike » 17 Sep 2015, 7:33pm

Seems I'm not alone! One query that I'd forgotten about re tarps - when touring in France saw a guy using one on the campsite. Occurred to me - how did he get undressed? Seemed very exposed, as it were. If there is a blog or similar giving newby tarp advice I'd be pleased to see it.
Motorists' mantra: Cyclists must obey the law and the Highway Code AT ALL TIMES. Unless their doing so would HOLD ME UP.

mercalia
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Re: Tarp talk

Postby mercalia » 17 Sep 2015, 8:04pm

ericonabike wrote:Seems I'm not alone! One query that I'd forgotten about re tarps - when touring in France saw a guy using one on the campsite. Occurred to me - how did he get undressed? Seemed very exposed, as it were. If there is a blog or similar giving newby tarp advice I'd be pleased to see it.


I suspect you DONT you just take off stuff sleep in the rest? In my case it wouldn't have mattered as I was also stealth camping for free in a local nature reserve, no one around. On another matter The YHA over the summer ran a competition to see what a single person can do with £75 over a week end. The theme was "small budget" traveling :lol: :lol: My stay cost me £0 8) :lol: Seems like the YHA, these days, have a different idea from me what "budget" means

"Dorm bed: £20; Lunch at Slice Pizza: £6.45 (pizza: £2.95, beer: £3.50); Drinks at Matt & Phreds: £7.20; Breakfast at YHA Manchester: £5.25; Library visit: FREE; Dinner at Soup Kitchen: £13.85 (Jerk chicken: £9.95, beer: £3.90); Total: £52.75. "




"

Tangled Metal
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Re: Tarp talk

Postby Tangled Metal » 17 Sep 2015, 8:58pm

http://www.ddhammocks.com/tips/tarp-tutorial
Check out alpkit.com they have advice. Also buy tarp video from randr enterprise (backpacking light uk).

You tube has plenty of people pitching tarps in so many more styles.

The alpkit site has a downloadable pdf file on tarp pitch styles including one for pitching using bike and front wheel as poles.

Just a simple search of some sites I've seen with info on tarps. My preferred style was taken from an idea I got from watching a YouTube video.

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Sweep
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Re: Tarp talk

Postby Sweep » 17 Sep 2015, 9:27pm

Eric, might be worth checking my post today in the "poncho" thread - link to vid of guy using poncho as tarp supported in part by bike.

Ps good for you mercalia.

Having an idea about the general area where you live am intrigued by your sleeping spot. Feel free to pm me with top secret location.
Sweep

Tangled Metal
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Re: Tarp talk

Postby Tangled Metal » 17 Sep 2015, 9:34pm

There's something called misting with tarps which has something to do with the fabric failing IIRC. Some tarps and tents are supplied by with hydrostatic head close to the limit of being able to call themselves waterproof, 1000 or 1500mm hh. Silicone.treated nylon does degrade with time so your tarp could have been sat around some time before you got it so could actually no longer be waterproof. Or it could just be condensation.

For me tarp camping came about because I couldn't afford any light tent that could fit me in it. I then learnt that it's a great way to be out in the hills. I've only used tarp once in a campsite. I pitched it open end to the fence at the edge and went in late rose early so not an issue. Plus coming from a whitewater kayaking group I no longer.have a sense of modesty. Kayaking trips often ended up in busy spots and it's impossible to get out of tight wetsuits and dry cags without being in a high state of undress. Just learn to be quick and not look shifty. Do that and most people around you just don't notice you changing.

ericonabike
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Re: Tarp talk

Postby ericonabike » 17 Sep 2015, 9:44pm

Thanks again - much food for thought....
Motorists' mantra: Cyclists must obey the law and the Highway Code AT ALL TIMES. Unless their doing so would HOLD ME UP.

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andrew_s
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Re: Tarp talk

Postby andrew_s » 18 Sep 2015, 1:29am

mercalia wrote:maybe some one can answer here my question about using tarps. A|bout 2 weeks ago I used my tarp for the first time. It rained over the night, not very hard. but was surprised me that there seemed to be a lot of condensation on the inner surface. The tarp was open both ends slanting at one end. There wasn't any wind. So wondering is it condensation or a non waterproof tarp?

Condensation.
Any time there's dew on the grass, there will be condensation, regardless of how well ventilated your tarp (or tent) is. All you need is minimal wind and some clear sky to let your tarp cool down more than the air.

hamster
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Re: Tarp talk

Postby hamster » 18 Sep 2015, 11:14am

Frankly if you are going to Spain in early summer I would wonder if a tarp is really necessary (except in Galicia or the Pyrenees). I would probably just make do with a bivvy bag.

I'm about to have a go at making a pair of lightweight tarp poles out of carbon fibre kite poles; I'll tell you how I get on!

The other issue is mosquitoes: by the time you have a bivvy bag, bug net and tarp you might as well get a tent. Last time I bivvied (in late August) I got a fair dose of tiny ticks. If you aren't too huge, then the Jack Wolfskin Gossamer is on the dividing line between a bivvy and a tent and is OK provided you don't have sustained rain (unlikely in Spain). I've had one for 5 years or so. It's solidly built and has a fine mesh to keep the nasties out.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Tarp talk

Postby Tangled Metal » 23 Sep 2015, 3:06pm

Tents are usually more expensive. Not always about weight with tarps, sometimes other factors come into play.

Never had too much issue with bugs despite being a midge magnet. Tend to pitch higher up if they're around. Never tarped it with a bike only walking which allows you to get higher,into a breeze so midges aren't a problem. There are always ways around that issue IME.

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syklist
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Re: Tarp talk

Postby syklist » 25 Sep 2015, 11:10am

Take a look at http://www.backpackinglight.co.uk/shelters.html they stock different types of shelters so you get a reasonable overview of the types of products on the market.
So long and thanks for all the fish...

nmnm
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Re: Tarp talk

Postby nmnm » 26 Sep 2015, 5:04pm

Will you take a mat too? I read As I Walked Out.. a while back, terrific book, heading towards A Moment Of War next. LL was in his 50s when he wrote As I Walked Out and was recalling being a 21 year old, so you are definitely allowed some equipment leeway beyond the tarp and dahon, if desired! He had that violin after all, with which to win softer perches!