Any luck with the canoe plus tarp camping shelter?

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My stars, I like my canoe, everything about paddling it just tickles me no end. Then we get to the campsite and there it sits, looking good but no function till I put it in the water again. I keep itching to come up with some nifty way to use my Cooks tarp and the canoe, kind of like the voyagers of old. Everything I've tried takes way too long and is vastly inferior to my Timberline tent. Now the tent is up and guyed all round in about 15 minutes. I can spend anywhere from 45m. to an hour and I'm still not pleased nor confident of the canoe/tarp rig standing a storm.
My normal drill is to put the tarp up on a line between two trees, if there's the least chance of rain, then with everything under the tarp and protected, go on and erect the tent.
I wouldn't have that protection if the tarp was my primary shelter, plus so far it's so slow to get up.
Has anyone any experience using a tarp shelter and how did it work?
Maybe I'm beating a dead horse here in the interest of nostalgia for times gone by, there probably was a reason they invented all these dandy tents!
Sure would be interested if something worked for you.
Best Wishes, Rob
 
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Willis

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I have seen illustrations and pictures. They all involved a large and wide wood and canvas canoe. Plus there seems to be little headroom. I will see what I can find on the web.
 
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Thanks Willis for the link! That one photo of the kid looking out from under the tarp; that is pretty much my plan if we are ever caught in a quick violent storm with no time to get ready. Not really a camping set up, more a "wait it out till things get better setup".
Rob
 
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likewise... tarp and hammock. when there are more people than just me, and we're cooking/gathering around a fire, we set up a tarp first thing, like oldie-moldy said.

i've seen several pics of the tarp over canoe setup in old books, but never tried it myself except one time, and we didn't sleep under it. there was a major storm blowing off Lake Lila and the landed/tied down canoe was being moved by it. we pulled it up into the campsite and tied it sideways to two trees, gunwhales touching the tree, then wrapped the tarp around it like a lean-to. the canoe kept the rain from blowing in underneath, and supported it against the wind, as well as providing a place to put things up off the ground. we huddled there awhile until it was clear to set up the hammock and tent.
 
G

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I have used a tarp and canoe many times. yes it takes time to get things set up just right and have the confidence of having a solid shelter. For me, time doesm not matter. If it takes ma an hour, so be it. Same for cooking...if a meal takes me 2 hours to prepare...so be it. I don't wear a watch when canoeing so time has no meaing to me.

When I do my tarp and canoe, I just lean my canoe on it's side then carve a trench along the side away from where I will be tarping. This is a water catch or trough to redirect rain. I then pound in two large brnaches in the ground about 10 feet out from the canoe. (where my feet will be.) I then string a rope across the bottom about 8 inches from teh ground. The tarp then stretches from canoe to rope in a downward slope. In the center I place another low stick that makes a peak. Then there is room for two. I'll take a pic next time I set this up. I hope this all makes sense.

Something like this...I'm no artist

tarp-canoe.jpg
 
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Thanks Mouse, Your point about taking the time needed is a good one. Making that transition from 21th century to camping mode for me mainly is about slowing down. That and being careful. About the only time I really need to move it is when it's just about to pour.

Thinking about it; I'd bet primitive man had a lot slower life style than us, more time to ponder and sift things down in between his ears. As I watch the world go by I see so much crazy stuff going on that I can't understand. Wonder how much mental illness and what not would be avoided if we lived slower. Guess we'll never see that, if anything the pace is picking up. Multi-tasking and all. I would bet you a nickle that Stratovarious (that violin guy) didn't multi-task.
Best Wishes, Rob
 
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Hope it's ok to resurrect this thread...

Back in the summer, I was practicing some poling upriver and made a quick canoe camp shelter for some relief against the heat and sun. Wouldn't consider this setup for an overnighter in a storm, but it was fun to rig up and got me curious to search out images of other temporary shelters rigged up in a similar manner.
BigEast+Poling+056.jpg



One of my favourites is this photo dated to the 1860's of a Maliseet canoe camp. The bark canoe is propped onto its side with a tarp supported by their poles & fishing spears...
P5-253.jpg



Canoeing, sailing and motor boating by Warren H. Miller (1919) has an image (p.145) featuring a comfortable canoe camp, where the hull of the canoe serves as a headboard of sorts and shelving for various supplies. The tarp is being lifted with a canoe pole...you can just see a metal shoe at the base. While this looks too permanent with the cots and bedding, the setup looks tempting...
Canoe+Shelter+-+Miller+-+Canoe+Camping.jpeg



Here's one I came across in Boy's Life, March 1944 showing how the canoe can be supported with paddles lashed to the gunnels while a small rain poncho is tied off . Not much headroom here but interesting...
Canoe+Shelter+-+BoysLife+March+1944.JPG



An image from Hesketh Prichard's enthralling read, Through Trackless Labrador (1911). Here a complete absence of trees meant improvising a shelter to escape the wind (p.70)
Canoe+Shelter+-+Pritchard+-+Through+Trackless+Labrador+-+pg+143.jpg



Boy's Life, April 1957 has a brief writeup on Lean-To Shelters including a sketch of a canoe shelter with a rigged tarp and forked sticks holding up the overturned canoe. It looks comfy only because the paddlers are tiny kids - no way adults would fit...
Canoe+Shelter+-+Boys+Life+April+1957.jpg



There are some more photos of modern day canoe tarp setups over at Path of the Paddle Canoeing & Bushcraft.
 
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Murat - I like the way you did it better than those other pictures.

The only time I've ever used the canoe as a shelter was in a summer hailstorm. I just rolled it over on the bank and crawled under....
 
G

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That's a beautiful post Murat, I love the historical photos showing us backcountry life and travel of yesteryear. Your riverside camp is my idea of a perfect beach holiday! I've only used my canoe as a wind break next to my cooking area. I've added a 10'x10' tarp for extra protection, but can't make it work quite right for sleeping under it. I'm probably just a softie. But I do like the idea of simpler approaches to, what after all is supposed to be, a simpler experience. The slowing down attitude is so important too, very good point Oldie M. I used to "white knuckle" my way through traffic to my paddling destination, and then take a full paddling day to unwind. I've now decided that my holiday is "all in my head", and now it begins for me the moment I leave the house. Like many things canoe related, I'm still experimenting/learning/succeeding/failing; and "tarpology" is one more thing to play around with. Thanks for the ideas.
 
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I agree with Brad, nice research and leads to great reading, Thanks Murat, and those thoughts from Oldie M and Mouse make alot of sense.
I have tried using my canoe for camp help, like a table to cook on, a wind break, or using my paddles for tarp poles, but I missed going out after dinner for an evening paddle in an empty canoe, so I quit doing it.
If I did a river trip, I guess it would be the way to go if you had a hankering', and it would be a fun experience to lay under a tarp and canoe like those pictures, not sure if I have the courage to give up that nylon wall I call a tent every night out there.
 
G

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I started using a tarp and a hammock after the break up where the ex got the tent. I use a hammock when it's warm and when I know there will be trees. For sandbar camping or for cooler weather I use a tarp. Although there have been times when I've used the canoe as part of my set up, I usually don't. The exception is in case of storms. I find that with a fire half under the tarp and the canoe as a backrest, I stay happy warm. Using the paddles as poles I don't feel too closed in. Murat's picture is much like my setup except I have a cheap ground cloth and no canoe pole in the middle.

Daniel
 
G

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I did it on an overnight trip this past spring. I used a 15' wenonah so you don't need a big boat. Worked just fine for me and I slept like a rock. My biggest tip is to use a quality tarp, not the cheap blue plastic thing I used. It was a simple design but it was a neat experience. I would surely do it again.
 
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I don't know boys, the bugs up this way are very bad this year, if you ain't got screen between you and the hordes, it's gonna be a sleepless night! I have only used the canoe tarp thing a couple of times, and like Steve, it was to get out of the hail.
 
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We had a nice day today so I decided I'd try again to come up with a setup that would work. Here is what I've come up with; I believe I'll try it the next time I go.



That's my Old Town "Camper", it's really not a bad canoe but it's twenty-five pounds heavier than my Swift and I find that those pounds are pretty close to too much. The tarp is Cooke's 12 x 12, the ground cloth is a little tarp from LL Beans.



The poles here are from Cooks, they adjust using a "jam" washer around the shaft of the pole. It seems I'm always bumping them the wrong way and they snap down. Don't much care for that so I put a small hose clamp around the shaft and by golly they stay put! On all the places where I use one of the loops from Dan's tarp I place a orange loop of cord; it takes the wear and gives me more room to do things. That loop here is holding the attachment that goes to the top of the pole. If you were using a ridge line and wanted to extend the tarp out you could use a prusick knot and "button" that you see in yellow. The button would go through the orange loop.



A lot of folks don't like these plastic tent pegs; the only thing that I could fault them on is that they will break if you pound them into something like a rock. I get around that by using that iron tent peg to make a pilot hole. Almost always I can wiggle that thing around till they go right in. If the line is going to be under stress I'll put two pegs and slant them in so they are harder to pull out.



This is the bug tent I got from REI, they said it was for two people so I figured it would be just right for one! There is plenty of edge to tuck in under my cot. For my extra paddle I carry that Bending Branches canoe double bladed paddle. One half of it is lashed to that center place that comes with the Cooke's tarps; really what a great idea he had!



This is the backside, you can see the orange loops and each tent peg has a loop on it to aid in pulling it out. On loops of this kind that will never need to be untied after I've snugged down the square knot I'll flood the knot with superglue.

Fun way to piddle away a day!

Best Wishes, Rob
 
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Hmmmm....I really like that. I have the same tarp as you. What kind of cot have you got? A friend showed me one the other day that was really cool, came apart into a small bag, asked how much...she said $259.00....almost did the crap-ola dance when I heard that...
 
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Get ready to dance: Therma-A-Rest Luxury Lite ($239.00 REI) The only way I could bring myself to get it was with the REI return policy; I figured that nothing could be worth that price but, what the heck, let's check it out. Aaaaaaah.........zzzzzzzzzzzz.........morning already?
No kidding, I have a hard time getting these old bones comfortable and for me this cot really works. Plus no more chasing the sleeping pad around the tent, I secure it with a couple of straps to the cot and I'm good to go.
I'm pretty sure that it's no different than most any other quality cot but the clincher for me is how small it packs down.

Maybe a way to think about it is; how little it would cost per trip, a sure enough outdoorsman like you, camping often, why shoot it will soon be down to pennies per trip!

Best Wishes, Rob
 
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Ha ha, you've almost got me convinced, I'm off on a short trip on Monday, maybe it will be the last one for my 29 dollar air mattress.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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This is the bug tent I got from REI, they said it was for two people so I figured it would be just right for one!

Haha. Ain't that the truth about tents. A two person is barely enough for this here one person. Who the would want to be cooped up in the coffin of a one person tent, other than a skinny midget ultralight backpacker or kayaker, or someone with that mindset? I usually use a lightweight 3 person tent just for myself. Open canoeists are entitled to use circus tents.

While I enjoy all these clever tarp setups involving an overturned canoe, ancient and modern, I . . . uh . . . fail to see the practical utility, now that we are in the lightweight tent and tarp age.

I mean, if I have to choose between:

A. Popping up my three pole tent, rolling in, smoking a Cuban, sipping some hibiscus tea, and reading 200 pages of War and Peace.

- versus -

B. Dragging a 70 pound canoe up over a rocky shoreline onto a camp site, taking everything out and flipping it over, staking out a zillion pegs and lines for a tarp, balancing and staking a bunch of paddles and support poles, opening up a cot or stringing up a hammock with more lines, setting up bug tenting with a even more confusing lines and knots and pegs . . . well . . . phew! . . . I'm exhausted just typing about it.

I hate setting up and breaking down camp. To me, it's just a necessary evil that interrupts paddling time. The less time spent on that, and kitchen chore drudgery, the better.

I bought a CCS tarp after many years of indecision two years ago and have never used it other than in my yard. I set it up with Hoop's ridge line and prusik knot "shower curtain" arrangement, but I've never had a camp site since then that had trees in the right location (or sometimes any trees at all). I didn't see any use in walking 40 feet into the buggy woods to set up the tarp over the soggy ground there. I really need four poles to set up the tarp the way I would like on tree-challenged sites, but I don't want their weight or expense. Now I'm paralyzed with indecision again about the usefulness of a tarp, to me.

Having bitched about all that, I don't quite understand the purpose of your wooden button, Oldie. But, knowing you, I'm certain it's something you thought out well for the ridge line setup.
 
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