Tarpology

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Guest

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The way I string tarps is with a ridge line, prussics and two small carabiners. What follows is my preferred way to setup a rectangular tarp in a basic A-frame roof style.

I start by setting up a ridge line between two trees using a siberian hitch knot (aka an evank knot) on the first tree. It's a quick-release knot that's easy to tie at arms length on tip-toes when you want the ridge line to be high. The free end of the ridge line is attached to the other tree using a trucker's hitch so I can re-tighten the line later on, as even a very static line will stretch and sag a bit over time, especially when the line and tarp are wet and wind blows against the tarp.

Next, I attach the tarp itself to the ridge line by suspending it beneath the ridge line. I do this because it's fast, easy to do in a strong wind, and prevents wear and tear on the tarp where it would rub against the ridge line if it were draped over the ridge line.
The tarp is suspended from 3 points: the exact center tarp loop and two tarp loops at the middle edges. Here's a link to a brief video clip showing how fast and easy it is to suspend a tarp this way: http://s1122.photobucket.com/albums...inging/?action=view&current=Tarpstringing.mp4

The center loop is suspended from the ridge line with a short bit of cord. I just pass the cord through the center tarp loop a couple of times, then wrap the two ends around the ridge line two or three times, then tie the loose ends in a bow like a shoe lace. This won't move in a wind, but you can slide this knot along the ridge line to reposition the tarp along the line. This bit of cord stays permanently attached to my tarp so I never need to look for it.
I use proper prussic knots at the two middle edge loops with two short loops of cord. To make for a faster setup, I wrap my prussic loops 3 or 4 times around the ridge line and instead of tying these directly to the middle edge tarp loops, I attach them with little carabiners. These carabiners and little prussic loops also stay permanently on those middle edge tarp loops. Like the center knot, these two prussic knots won't budge in a wind, but they can be slid by hand along the tarp to reposition the tarp or make it more taut when the tarp stretches and sags.

Because these middle edge loops are attached to the prussic loops with carabiners, you can tie a light cord from one carabiner to the other UNDER your tarp to serve as a clothesline if you wish.

The carabiners and prussic loops remain attached to the middle center tarp loops after I take down my tarp so they will be ready to use the next time I string my tarp.

Next I guy out the four corner tarp loops to whatever trees are suitably located for this or to ground stakes, roots, or heavy rocks if necessary. I attach my guy lines to the corner tarp loops using a rolling hitch so I can lengthen and shorten these guy lines as needed without having to untie and retie them from their anchor points. I then make a small loop or bight in each of these 4 corner guy lines about 3-5 feet or so from the corners of the tarp so I can later attach my middle lines to my corner guy lines. The free ends of the guy lines are attached to whatever anchors are available, usually with a quick-release siberian hitch.

The remaining tarp loops located along the edges of the tarp are then secured using short lengths of cord (4' to 6') to the bight loops I put in the main guy lines. So, these secondary guy lines are actually attached to whichever guy line is closest to them. These are also attached to the tarp loops with rolling hitches and the free ends are tied to the bights of the guy lines with any simple quick release knot (usually the siberian hitch again) These secondary guy lines are also tied using rolling hitches, which makes for a nice taut tarp.

Because my rectangular tarp is sil nylon and sheds water in part by being drum tight, I'm pretty fussy about a taut tarp. I also own a very big wing tarp with catenary curved edges, but that requires a slightly different setup.

I hope this description makes some sense. Below is a pic of my wife stringing our rectangular sil nylon tarp.
IMG_1978.jpg


Hope this helps,
- Martin
 
Joined
Nov 29, 2012
Messages
453
Location
southwest Indiana
Any thoughts from you more experienced tarp riggers on what makes a good ridge line? Not only rope type and thickness but a reasonable length? I am looking for something that is a good compromise of weight, packability, strength, and hopefully something that doesn't stretch overly much when wet.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Raymond, ME
You can go real skinny if you want.. but not nylon paracord. Nylon is too stretchy when wet. Polyester does well. I carry I think 3/8 dia line. Some 60 feet has always been sufficient . I like a high rope, so am always looking for forked trunks or some sort of lower branch to throw the ends of the ridgeline over.

I do use paracord on tie outs.

Did you see this thread?
http://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=36603&hilit=tarp+rope
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2012
Messages
287
Location
Rochester, NY
I don't use a ridgeline. I tie to the corner and edge tabs directly. This allows me to moves the lines to different tabs for different pitches very quickly. The line I use is spyderline. It is 1.8mm line dseigned for sailing. Ties and unties easily when wet and is quite strong as it has a dyneema core. Plus no strecth. Downside is the cost.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
596
Location
Aberdeen, MD
I like 1/4" braided line for a ridgeline. If you can find 3/16", that's even better, as it's lighter, yet still strong enough, but it's not too common. 30' does it for me. the 4 corner tie-outs are about 20'.

I set my tarp up similar to PineMartyn, but with 2x prussiks only, and the line goes under the tarp. I use a quick release bow knot at one end, and a trucker's hitch at the other.

edit: I meant 3/16, not 3/32.
 
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G

Guest

Guest
I have a 10'x14' silnylon tarp with lots of loops, which allow for an external ridge line. I rig it with Prussics and carabiners, much like PMartyn. Trucker's Hitch to tighten the ridge, and short bungee loops on the tie outs to take up stress on windy days. This is usually an A- frame or Wind hut type of thing. A smaller 10'x10' is for additional wind breaks or above the tent on downpour days. My wife no longer allows me to string up my laundry under the tarp!? She also brings a good book to read, it takes her mind off me constantly fidgeting and fiddling with "improving" our tarp city. Pretty soon I'll need an extra pack just for my rope. Brad
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2013
Messages
924
Location
Red Lake, Ontario
Ridgelines are great but not always possible. I set up my tarp over the door of the tent so it needs to work with the tent.

I set one up this week where there was nothing to tie one side to so used the paddles and BIG rocks to get the same effect.

Sometimes I tie out the 4 corners then use a pole in the middle.

Sometimes I run a line and tie one side of the tarp to it and the other side lower.

I use a Western Saddle Cinch for the main line on one side and just a clove hitch on the other.

To secure the tarp I almost exclusively use half hitches to secure to the ridge line (if used)

Never do I tie knots. Everything I use is able to just get released.
 
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Guest

Guest
The easiest most effecient way to string up a tarp is not to use rope but bungie cords. They keep the tarp taunt in winds plus combine in an infinite variety of ways so that it doesn't matterabout tree spacing. This is the only photo I could find of one of my set ups on Big Club Lake near Timmins

http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n.../oct15023b.jpg
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2014
Messages
1,133
Location
Minden, NV
I guess you can make tarps as complicated as you want. I use an old Moss Parawing. It only has 4 stakes and two poles. I use hiking poles. It is simple and effective. In crummy weather I shorten the poles to lower the profile. That's it.

I have used canvas tarps for years, and like to use a rope or a pole for the ridge. Canoeists as a group are probably as skilled with tarps as any other user group.

One other thought on tarps. I went on a trip in the Rockies in Wyo once with a guy that used a very large blue plastic tarp in the size range of 18 feet by 24 feet. He used one center pole around 10 feet with a piece of cardboard on it. We tied the grometted edges to trees about 6 1/2 feet. We had our whole camp under there, we could walk around under it and still see out in all directions. Rain is common in the Rockies in summer, but even with a breeze the rain never went past the edges. We were in grizzly country and my friend's theory was he wanted to see them coming. The big tarp worked better than I would have thought.
 
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