32

I think you pretty much covered it. Advantages of a tent: Keeps more rain/snow out (particularly if you have little skill in tent/tarp setup) Keeps out insects. For me, this is the big one - in spring time when the mosquitoes are fierce, being confined to your sleeping bag with a net over your face is not nearly as pleasant as lounging in your enclosed ...


22

Why I use a tent in three easy-to-understand bullets Mosquitoes Ticks Mosquitoes Yes, I could carry netting, but at that point the tarp + netting would be both more hassle and more weight than my tent. (Which is where Ryley is 100% wrong about a tent not protecting me from nature. I've never had mosquitoes in my tent)


20

I would say... never. What is a tarp but something that keeps precipitation off of you. In humid summer months, sure, condensation can cause precipitation under the tarp, but in winter, this is not so much a concern, and you can pitch it lower to the ground. You might get frost inside - but just shake it off when you pack up. Tents provide a few degrees ...


19

Linseed oil is used because it's a drying oil, A drying oil is an oil that hardens to a tough, solid film after a period of exposure to air. The oil hardens through a chemical reaction in which the components crosslink (and hence, polymerize) by the action of oxygen (not through the evaporation of water or other solvents). Source It also looks like the ...


18

If the wind is blowing from all directions, then you need to get as low as possible to the ground. Do your best to find a spot that is somewhat sheltered from the wind. The lee of a crest usually works, but if you have wind blowing from all directions then try to find a recess in the ground - a low spot where the ground that slopes up in all directions away ...


15

It's not animals you really need to worry about, it's bugs. I pack a tent to keep out of the bugs more than I do to keep the critters out. The only time I can ever remember having issues with animals was in the Ptolemy Plateau, for some reason there were a lot of gophers, and they were all over our campsite at night, scratching at the walls of out tent and ...


14

As others have already noted, keeping out mosquitos can be a big deal in some locations at some times of the year. However, when I go camping around Arizona in the summer that's not the reason that I use a small tent instead of a tarp. The biggest reason in this case is larger critters that can hurt you, like rattlesnakes, scorpions, and the like. Some of ...


12

This seems unlikely—simply facing something orange to the sky doesn't get automatically detected as a request for assistance. In general, if someone isn't searching for you, no one is going to be looking to see it in the first place. A space blanket might be useful in that sense if you've already called for help somehow, or been missing long enough someone ...


11

Is there really such a clear dichotomy between open tarps and enclosed tents? The OP implies that open tarps offer a qualitatively different and superior experience to enclosed tents. My response would be: not for everyone, and not in all conditions. In reality there's a continuum from cowboy-camping through many types of tarp, to tarps combined with a ...


11

A poor tarp pitch can lead itself to condensation. Did you use a plastic ground sheet? Water running under the tarp when it's raining can cause a lot of humidity inside the tarp. Were you pitched on long grass? Plant life can increase condensation under a tarp. This can also be alleviated by a plastic ground sheet. How close to the ground was your tarp ...


10

I would say it's not a question of too cold, tents don't add that much warmth. Tarps and a shovel can make some very nice shelters in the snow. The real limitation is blowing snow/rain and the wind speed you expect to stand. If the wind is shifting at all, or is much above 20 mph, a tarp is going to be fairly miserable. ( I'm not including floorless tents ...


10

I sometimes bring a tarp and sometimes a tent. Most of my backpacking is in the summer in the Sierra Nevada, which means most of the time there's no threat of rain and I don't take my tarp or tent out of the backpack. When there are bugs, I typically sleep with a mosquito head net over my face. If it's windy, I kind of like a tent, because it keeps the wind ...


9

Your most practical solution would seem to be a wing shelter. For the most part, you simply need your tarp, a tree, sticks and rope. The pdf I attached recommends making it 5 feet tall, but you could easily make it 2 or 3 feet tall to accommodate the length you need the shelter to be.


8

Short answer: I use both. But then, I don't have particularly light weight gear. For weekend hikes (my home is in Germany with hills and abundant forest) usually the tarp or nothing at all (or maybe a cave). Moskitos drive me into the tent. In fact, I once returned to get the tent because moskitos were so bad. Short tours (weekend, prolonged weekend): ...


8

With luck and planning I would assume in mountainous/timbered areas you would be able to setup your tarp so one of the open sides of your tent were mostly/partially blocked by a tree/rock/bush/etc. which would solve roughly half of your problem. After that it is about accepting the limitations of your tarp tent, or deciding that you want more reliable ...


7

Most tarps have a coating applied to them. DWR should be avoided, it's only water resistant and will eventually drip. Silicone impregnated (aka silnylon or sil-nylon) is lighter than polyurethane-coated, and is supposed to be equally waterproof, but some people say silnylon can mist during heavy rains but it's more likely from condensation than ...


7

First, you have to figure out the dimensions you're looking for. Too big is uselessly bulky to carry, but too small can prevent it from being useful. This will depend on the size of your tent/hammock or whatever else you're trying to protect. Apart from that, things you can look for are: Waterproof-ness: This should be indicated on the label, but looking ...


7

Hammock Can you lie flat in it? How large/heavy is it? Footbox? Color (stealth camping?) Suspension How easy is it to adjust? Can you adjust your hammock to different sags? Do you always want to have the same amount of sag? What is the furthest distance between trees that your suspension can accommodate? This will depend on How much stretch there ...


7

I see 0 benefit to a tarp over a tent with regards to travel in bear country. this would allow the bear to see you (and leaving accordingly) Bears are going to smell you and your camp long before they see you. If your tarp/tent setup is any good at all, it'll be covering you from most directions anyhow. I can't imagine an open tarp having any ...


7

Condensation is about Relative Humidity of a given system. Relative humidity (RH) is the ratio of the partial pressure of water vapor to the equilibrium vapor pressure of water at a given temperature. Relative humidity depends on temperature and the pressure of the system of interest. When temperature decreases, both partial pressure and vapor pressure ...


7

You have some answers on condensation in general. Your breath adds moisture to the air. As the air cools the amount of water vapor it can hold drops. When you get to the dew point the moisture drops out of the air. The moisture will also collect on surfaces with a temperature under the dew point. Even at the lower side walls of the inner tent, we ...


6

OK, I finally tried the setup inspired by this site, which can be fully closed by pegging the sides closer to the middle, and pegging it directly on the ground on the opposite side of the entrance. It would be quite a tight night and you would need to leave your rucksack out, if it's big. But I was able to put the sleeping bag out of the bag from the ...


6

One of the fun things about tarping is that every tarp setup is different. For that reason it's hard to make generalizations. Also, it may make a difference what environment you're in. In some places, you're virtually guaranteed a rainstorm every evening. In others (the Sierra in summer), you basically don't expect rain, and the tarp is a piece of emergency ...


6

I have spent many nights sleeping in tents, tarps, and under the stars. Tents are definitely your warmest option, and can be up to 10 degrees warmer than the outside - if you're using a rainfly. Just using the mesh tent body will even increase the temperature by a few degrees, but won't protect from any weather except mild wind. Tarps can certainly ...


6

A tarp is significantly warmer. On a clear night the surface of your bag is radiating into interstellar space. Not much radiation back. With a tarp, you have one absorb/reradiate layer which will essentially cut this in half. If you look on a frosty morning, you will see that there is often no frost under a tree. Due to the tree intercepting radiation ...


6

Setup is the answer here. You would preferably want your open side to be lower in elevation than your closed side, so that you dont have ground runoff running into your tent. Same as for a regular closed tent. On a totally flat piece of ground, your probably going to want to dig a shallow trench (think moat) around the shelter to redirect any sheeting ...


5

In my experience, even heavy plastics tear easily with wind. This from trying to use such plastics to cover cargo that I'm hauling with a truck. I think this would be the only thing that would deter me from using such a thing as a tarp.


5

Spectra/Dyneema (UHMWPE) fibers are the strongest fibers available for weaving fabrics, but the puncture resistance of a woven fabric depends heavily on the weave. The major puncture risks for rafts or inflatable sleeping pads are needle-like (thorns, pine needles, wood splinters, etc.). Sharp-edged rocks could not easily puncture a raft or sleeping pad (...


5

I don't get condensation under my tarp, not in general, even after several hours in a heavy downpour. I don't pitch it over vegetation, in general. I did have condensation one time when I had it pitched close to the ground, just enough for me to lie under, and it rained heavy all night, perhaps 1-1/2 inches or more. If the rain's coming straight down, I ...


5

Neglecting the wind (advection) the tarp shouldn't make any noticeable difference. I doubt you could measure even one Kelvin difference. Even a tent isn't providing a lot of warmth during night but as long as you stay active in the tent (by moving and/or cooking) you will notice an increase in the temperature. During night you are passive and most of the ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible