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Shedding some extra gear

I was/am getting ready to shed some extra gear. In the past few months I have been practicing with different sized tarps. I have a number of 10x10 tarps and a newly purchased 8.5x8.5.  The smaller tarp was purchased in response to Evan Shaeffer's AT gear list. As a ground sleeper 8.5x8.5 is OK and it provides options for both with and without bugnets as well as general shelters. But if you've never used a 10x10 they are huge.


This is a 10' tarp and the hammock is also 10'. That means that the configuration needs to be perfect in order to star dry. Even a standard A-frame with a 10x10 flat tarp is a challenge. Once you're in the hammock the length is considerably less but not by much. Also this cat-cut tarp give you few options.

  • 8x8 is 64sq ft with a symmetrical diagonal of 11+
  • 7x9 is 63sq ft with a asymmetrical diagonal of 11+
The weight difference between an 8x8 and 10x10 depends on the material, however, for regular silnylon it's about 5oz. One constant tarp trap is deciding on the size based on the conditions or the mission. I have other tarps that are 9x6 that are black for quick dry as there is humidity year round in Florida. And if there is rain I'd go with a low pitch which can be a challenge. And then with large tarps you lose plenty of cross ventilation.

it was a quick setup and might not be perfectly level.

It looks the same but it is not. I made a number of changes... First it's only one hammock. Instead I clipped the static side to the tree wrap so that the side was generally static. The corner tieouts were the same 5' length as the other tarp so that brought the sides of the tarp close in. Longer lines would be better and offer the ability to use a trekking pole for ventilation. Importantly because this was a half-turtle stand that meant that I needed to guess on the slack. It's a 9' tarp and a 10' hammock. Another challenge will be dealing with the pack.


Ready for a nap it's 9a and dark under the tarp. By noon it will be hot under the tarp and I will need trekking poles or a fan.

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