The tarp you see posted in some of my camp shots, is a high quality Silicone impregnated affair, with lots of quality'details' incorporated into it's design to make for a long lasting tarp, that happens to be very compact, making it perfect for 'Moto Camping'. Because of the material, unlike tents, it can be put away wet/damp without fear of mold quickly growing
I'll warn you up front that these types of tarps are not cheap, because of the material and workmanship involved.
Most of the photos will show my larger 2.9m x 3.9m (roughly 9.5'x 13') tarp, which covers your usual sized picnic table quite nicely, so it protects your kitchen/eating and sitting area during inclement weather (or provides relief from the blazing sun)and ther therefore expanding your 'living area' during those times, so you won't be 'tent bound'. They are very versatile and can be erected/used in all sorts of manner, limited only by your imagination
It is made by Mountain Equipment Co-Op
, a Canadian store. which is much like your REI
in the USA.Yes, they ship to the US
The tarp itself is called the MEC Silicone Guides Tarp
andI guarantee you wont find another manufacturer who makes a tarp like it, with the same features that are listed below.
There was a fella who made Silicone tarps which I advised IdahoRaider to buy from (MEC had ceased production of the Silicone version of the Guide tarp at that time), but the fella no longer makes them and the cost of him adding the 'extras' that come standard on the MEC tarp, added significantly to the overall cost of his tarp, but again, it is a quality tarp as well.
Winger77 bought this tarp
, and although 'adequate
', I think he will be the first to tell you that it is not of the same quality, nor have the 'features' of the MEC line of Silicone tarps.
Here it is in use this past weekend, when I was in the Watkins Glen, NY. area.
Here are a few shots , detailing some of the important features of the build quality of their line of tarps, that make them so durable for constant use like how I use them.
It is very important that a tarp packs very small, yet is of sufficient sizefor Moto Camping, as we have very limited storage space when you pack all the other camping items necessary for sustained touring. MEC's line of tarps include their own stuff sac.
Packed (stuffed) size comparison:
In order to set a tarp effectively, you have to pitch it good and taught. I use a modified truckers hitch, to tension my tarps. Doing so will pull/rip the grommets out of lesser quality tarps and leave it flapping in the wind, useless.
MEC adds lots of reinforcement to their tie out points. On the ends, the bar tack some nylon webbing on to the folded seam, spreading the stress along the seams of the tarp, making for exceptionally strong guy out points.
At both ends along the 'centre-line', or main seam of the tarp and along both sides of the tarp, they use grommets. On the centre-line seam, the grommets are installed in not one, but two reinforcing pieces of material. One is a triangular piece of 1000 Denier Cordura and then another piece of nylon webbing is sewn to the under side of thecentre-line seam and bar tacked, before a high quality grommet is installed. On the sides, they go with just the Cordura patch.
About the middle of the centre-line, thereis a large, roundreinforcement patch of Cordura attached to the underside of the tarp, with a loop of nylon webbing sewn in. It's purpose is so you can prop up the centre of the tarp with a pole/paddle/branch,
or what ever you have at hand, without damaging the tarp material, itself. I use the loop to hang my candle lantern from. On the reverse, or topside, is another loop of nylon webbing, so you can attach a cord/rope to it and attach that to an overhead branch, etc. All very well thought out and executed, I think.
Just like with a tent, you need to seam seal all the stitching to prevent leaks. With the Silicone material used in this line of tarps, you need to use a special seam sealer made for silicone materials. I highly recommend using McNettSilNet
to do the job.You can also make your own seam sealer for Silicone material, if you have the proper materials in your hardware store. A bit messier that using a tube, or two of the McNett, but it does the job just as well.
AS far as tent stakes to keep your tarp/tent anchored, the best stakes I have used are the MSR Groundhog
stakes. There are a few 'look-a-likes' out there, but they are nowhere near the same quality and will bendfairly easy, compared to the MSR ones. Accept no substitutions!!
As for cord used in guying out the tarp, just some inexpensive nylon braided cord
is sufficient to do the job> I will buy 150' - 200' of the stuff and cut it up so I have 1 -50'length, a couple of 25' lengths and the rest in 10' lengths. That allows me to set the tarp for any variety of pitching conditions/options, depending on what is available to tie off to, at each new campsite
Hope this answers your question. If not, then just PM and I'll address any further questions you may have.