Big Tarp Shelters

Nick

-
.
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,906
I'm looking into buying a big tarp shelter for use mostly as a shade shelter on river and lake trips. I quite enjoyed the Noah's Tarp 9x9 that @gnwatts brought on our recent Ruby Horsethief trip. I'm debating whether to go with the same thing but in the 12x12 or 16x16 size (I'm leaning 16x16). But then I see others like the MSR Zing, NRS River Wing and Big Agnes Deep Creek.

The MSR and NRS seem ridiculously expensive, but the Big Agnes isn't too bad considering it includes poles and the Kelty does not. But man, that red and yellow color scheme Big Agnes has been doing is awful. That alone might keep me from buying the Big Agnes.

Anyway, I thought I'd post and see if anyone here has any opinions on the topic.
 

Nanda

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2013
Messages
281
I bought a 12x12 noah's tarp for wy trip and I was glad I did. More than shade, it helped me numerous times with the rain. Size was just about perfect for me, enough coverage for my table and stuff and not too big to be a menace in the wind. I also got the tarp on a sale on amazon, but didn't get so lucky with the poles and had to get the flexible ones from kelty(but more expensive).


 

Wyatt Carson

Desert Vagabond
Joined
Apr 15, 2015
Messages
296
I've found sil nylon to make a very poor shade shelter so we stay away from any tarps made with it. I'm like you and hate bright colors. The darker colors seem to absorb more light anyway.

There is a small 5x7' tarp in my daypack at all times for making shade for lunch stops or long breaks where no other shade is available so I'm a tarp freak. We use it for shade all the time but got to use it for a rain shower a couple weeks ago and it was, as usual, very cozy.



and for shade;



I recently came across some various sized Tarps Here and like the subdued colors but have never tried any. I did send them a message asking which made the darkest shade and they never did get back to me. So who knows.

There are dozens of ways of erecting them so I keep a few lengths of line so we can put up a tarp in most any configuration.
 

pstm13

Auribus Teneo Lupum
.
Joined
Dec 27, 2012
Messages
570
I have an ENO ProFly 10 1/2 x 6 1/2 $80 @ 22 oz. and love it. But may not be as big as you want and it doesn't have poles. Nix-wax does sell a sun protectant to keep it from breaking down but not sure how effective it is.
 
Last edited:

ogg

Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2015
Messages
56
I have the 12x12 Noah's Tarp and have used it quite a bit, and have mixed feelings about it. What I like: plenty of length to set up over a picnic table, packs up fairly compact (compared to my wife's Easy Up), holds up fairly well in windy conditions (when fully guyed), pleasant color. What I don't like: difficult to set up in wind, stable use in windy conditions requires using all of the many guy out points, shape provides minimal actual coverage for its apparent size on paper, stability in windy conditions requires the sides being pitched low, has a very large, spider web like footprint when fully guyed out. Based on my experiences of also using a basic rectangular 8x10 silynylon tarp in similar conditions, I think the tarp designs like the MSR Zing and others that have more rectangular sides, as opposed to the Noah's triangular sides, would have better coverage and also be easier to erect in windy conditions. The last time I tried putting up my Noahs tarp in a really strong wind with a friend to help me, we had so much trouble we gave up on it. Of course, any tarp shelter would be troublesome to pitch in such conditions but I think the key shortcoming of the Noahs tarp is the triangular side.
 

Nick

-
.
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,906
I thought I loved the Noah's Tarp, but after this weekend, I've decided it's a piece of junk for hot weather and shelter from the sun. I didn't believe it at first when my wife told me, but it really does let through a lot of sun and radiant heat. It's nothing like sitting underneath the average pop up or a canvas top. I think I'd get a sunburn if I could pass out underneath it (I tried, the sun was too intense). So with that said, anyone know of any good tarp shelters like the Noah's Tarp but that actually block out the sun?
 

Nick

-
.
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,906
I've had the NRS River Wing for a long time. It seems to work well. Although I don't remember paying so much for it (maybe just tried to forget that part :scatman: ).

http://www.nrs.com/product/2772/nrs-river-wing

It's for rafting - $400 is a bargain!

Have you by chance used the Noah's Tarp for comparison? I honestly wouldn't mind spending $400 if it actually blocked out enough sun to make napping under it feasible.
 

River

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2012
Messages
419
It's for rafting - $400 is a bargain!

Isn't that the truth! I haven't used the Kelty. My Wing is probably more than 10 years old. It looks like they've changed the fabric since I bought it, but mine is a pretty heavy material that blocks the sun.
 

Vegan.Hiker

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
2,090
Probably a dumb question but Is there no way to remove your bimini with it's frame and somehow use that?
 

Nick

-
.
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,906
Is there no way to remove your bimini with it's frame and somehow use that?

No. It relies on the frame of the boat for it's structure. And even then, it's not that big and that shade is valuable in both places. The biggest problem with the bimini is that you are at the mercy of where the boat is parked at any time of the day. While I was trying to sleep under the Kelty on Thursday, my wife was sleeping soundly under the only piece of shade under the bimini. Sometimes it works out in your favor, but usually we're rigging up hanging towels and things to try and extend it a bit. Meanwhile with a land-based system, you just move to where the shade actually is.

I also recently picked up a whitewater raft so I want to have something I can pitch on the beach on those trips too.
 

Vegan.Hiker

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
2,090
Gotcha. That makes sense. I never really thought about how complicated the tarp situation gets without trees.
 

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
.
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Messages
1,014
Are you specifically looking for ultralight?
 

Wyatt Carson

Desert Vagabond
Joined
Apr 15, 2015
Messages
296
Not at all. It'll be in a raft or on my pontoon boat. Heavy is fine.

Nick, we use a forest green and have a gray poly tarp too for car camping. It is heavy by silnylon standards and bulky but very strong and you can get them for extremely inexpensive. They last a good long time. They also come in many sizes and do block the sun and provide good shade. The shade is actually better than it looks in this image as I lightened it some to see in the shadows. They are the same as the blue tarps you see from time to time but the green and gray that we have seems to cut more sun rays. I have seen Here is an example from Lowes. Here is another online site with a gray tarp and there are many of those online and some have forest green. AI have not used those exact models but get them from a place less than a mile from my place in town. You might find them near you too.

I just tie it off the back of my vehicle and use a couple of trekking poles to put it up. This one has been used for years...



so 400 bucks vs 20 bucks...it might be worth your while to give one a try. You will not want to backpack with one but riding in your boat might not be too bad at all...
 

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
.
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Messages
1,014
Not at all. It'll be in a raft or on my pontoon boat. Heavy is fine.
Have you considered something like this?

I used 2 of these on my recent White Rim trip and when I floated the Green a few years ago and I've only
got good things to say.

They do take up space, probably 50"x8"x8"' when collapsed and are heavy, 25-30 lbs, but if those are not deal breakers then for the price, I don't think you can beat it.
 

powderglut

In search of Fresh
Joined
Oct 17, 2012
Messages
367
I'm with @Wyatt Carson on this one.
I've used the poly tarps over the years, mainly in camping areas that have trees. Great shade and excellent rain protection over your cooking area. Ropes and bungees are key to this set up.
The center pole thanked us for not using it as firewood. I put a plastic Gatorade bottle over the pointed top to keep it from puncturing the tarp. We had a fair amount of weather on this trip. Coverage allowed us to cook under all conditions.


IMG_6204.JPG


I'm also in agreement with @DrNed on using EZ ups in areas with no trees.
We started using these at our camps at RockyGrass Bluegrass festival in Lyons Colorado. Shade is essential at camp in July. The key to using these... are making sure you pin all 4 points, and then run secure lines off of each upper corner. These shelters can be raised or lowered if the wind is getting huge.

This was 2010 at Stateline CG. Before they put up the permanent covers at each camp site.
IMG_1309.jpg


This was out Hole in the Rock rd. You might recognize this spot. We did have to lower it once because of huge wind.


IMG_4292.JPG


EZ ups set up fast...securing them takes time.

I have not used any of the new styles you are asking about. Skinny poles would bother me on some of them. They also seem pretty spendy. But... hard to put a price on good shade or weather protection.
 

Vegan.Hiker

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
2,090
I was originally thinking along the lines of what @Wyatt Carson said and almost submitted a similar response. I too use the $30 green and brown poly tarps from Home Depot. These work fine in the woods when you can tie a truckers hitch ridgeline as taut as a tightrope between two trees. I was going to ask why anyone in the world would spend $400 on a tarp unless for UL packability and weight reasons, but then I looked at Nick's picture. I realized that without the trees things get way more complicated. I erased my original response thinking that he needed something lightweight since he didn't have the trees to create a bombproof ridgeline that could support a heavy tarp. Since then, Nick has commented that weight is not an issue. If that's the case. My vote is one of the EZ up tarps like the ones @powderglut uses if space and weight is not an issue. For something a little lighter and smaller (since he mentioned using it on a raft as opposed to a boat) would be one of the beach shades they make for beach goers. Super cheap and probably as effective as one of those $400 tarps if weight/packability aren't priorities.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Caravan-Canopy-Sport-Shelter-Blue/19793790

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Coleman-Beach-Shade/3661081

And here's an article comparing multiple models of beach shades.

https://flipboard.com/@topsee/top-10-best-beach-tents-for-sun-shelter-2016-k0k927r9y

If you have an abundance of trees though and camping not backpacking, poly tarps and a simple truckers hitch is the way to go. I put up this 16x12 and 12x10 last weekend. I could have slid the 16x12 that's over the tent forward and fit the picnic table underneath along with the tent.

DSC05058-1.JPG
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
wsp_scott Big South Fork Views Backpacking 1
Gunnahafta Green River <> Big Sandy WIND RIVER RANGE Trip Planning 1
norwegianxplorer Big SEKI loop, Sequoia Kings Canyon Backpacking 1
J Pahranagat Country: Big, open, room to roam Nov.9-10, 2019 Hiking & Camping 0
Tim Valentine Big Pine Creek Eastern Sierra Backpacking 10
NorthwestWanderer My Yearly big timelapse video 2019 General Discussion 10
pstm13 A Family Trip in the Winds: Big Sandy and the Cirque Backpacking 10
misSOULa Montana's Bitterroot Mountains: Big Creek Lakes and Ranger Point Backpacking 2
stevecochranephotography Desert Winter Run Off - Big Dominguez Canyon Hiking & Camping 2
NorthwestWanderer Big Four Ice Caves Hiking & Camping 1
toddrparr Easy family backpacking in Big Thicket Preserve, Texas Trip Planning 0
Scott Chandler Starting Out 2019 in Big Sur Hiking & Camping 10
Born to Hike Windriver 36 mile loop: Skull Lake, Washakie Pass, South Fork Lakes, Lizard Head Trail, The Cirque, Big Sandy Lake Backpacking 6
Bob Big Agnes coupon Gear 1
Mike Jones Big Sur or Zion Next Week? Trip Planning 20
B Upgrading Big Agnes tent question Gear 10
Perry Posting Panoramas - File Too Big Questions, Suggestions & Support 4
Tim Valentine Biking Big Sur Everything Else 6
wsp_scott Packrafting the Big South Fork (KY) On The Water 7
Seamus NYC weekend tripper, occasional big treks! Noobs: Introduce yourself! 2
Perry Gregory Zulu 30 - Too Big for a Day Pack? Gear 6
S White Cloud route, Big Boulder Lakes to Boulder Chain Lakes Trip Planning 3
Eugene Paria Canyon from White House to Big Spring Backpacking 3
kimbur96 Tarptent Double Rainbow or Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2? Gear 2
hamtron5000 Big Dominguez Canyon Overnight Backpacking 0
SKLund Big Agnes Bag Gear 6
SKLund Dromedary, Platypus, or Big Soda Bottle? Gear 27
Adventure monkey Steve Allen's exit out of Happy Canyon to the Big Ridge. Trip Planning 17
piper01 Big Bend National Park, Thanksgiving 2016 (part 2) Hiking & Camping 4
piper01 Big Bend National Park, Thanksgiving 2016 (part 1) Hiking & Camping 0
Scott Chandler Highlights From a Week in Big Bend NP Hiking & Camping 11
SKLund How Big a Pack for Long Trips Gear 32
wsp_scott Big South Fork (KY) Backpacking 3
H ON THE ROAD WILD WEST :: Yellowstone, Grand Teton, & Glacier National Park Big Sky Road Trip Photography 8
J Ascent of Big Baldy - Bear River Range Hiking & Camping 7
Dave Fees coming for Big, Little Cottonwood Canyons General Discussion 0
Bryan Harwood Selway- Bitterroot Wilderness #2: Big Creek Backpacking 2
BJett Cumberland Plateau - Obed/Big South Fork Hiking & Camping 7
Vegan.Hiker Autumn in the Adirondacks: Mt Jo, The Brothers, Big Slide Mtn Hiking & Camping 6
Jimmy Big Bend National Park - December Trip Planning 6
John Goering Big Agnes Cooper Spur UL3 Gear 1
Dustin Gent Big Agnes Shield 2 tent - 1st impression Gear 15
lostlandscapes Big Boulder Lakes, White Clouds -- July 3-5, 2015 Backpacking 12
BJett Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area On The Water 1
someguy Big Elk Lake Backpacking 5
DrNed Nick Goes Big Time General Discussion 13
J Big Escalante Backpack Loop: Stevens/Fold/Bobway/Coyote Gulch April 25-30, 2015 Backpacking 8
Christian Canyoneering East Blarney, Big Springs East, hiking to some less frequented areas in Moab Canyoneering 4
Bob The Big Burn : 1910 General Discussion 4
katuah Big Agnes demo tent sale Gear 9

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top