Ok so after giving a insight to why i use a tarp i thought it a good idea to give a few hints and tips to the world.Now i know i may be preaching to the converted as i know a fair few bloggers who use tarps but if you are just starting out few bit of information never go a miss,so if you are sitting comfortably i shall begin with
I will always have possible camp spots marked on maps before i leave home.I look out for good water source,shelter from the elements,view and how flat it will be.I like to have a couple of sites earmarked all with in a few kilometres of each other for each nights camp.You never know what may happen.Now when iam out hiking i will aim to stop for the day with plenty of day light left as i like to get to my spot,slip the pack off and sit down and relax,some time i will even get a brew on.Once i have started to get a feel for the area i will have a search around for a flat sheltered spot with a good vibe. I have moved on even though i have a flat spot but its doesnt feel right[ bit of a hippy i hear you cry].I like a nice sheltered spot so boulders,walls,fallen trees,even bracken make ideal shelter from the wind,and i always try to use the land itself to give me shelter.
What style are you going to go for.Well that’s the joy of tarps they can be put up in so many different ways.Lean tos are good for shelter from the wind especially if no rain is forecast.I also like a lean to in the winter when you can build a fire in front of you for warmth.[now before i get the hate mail from you all about building fires.iam a responsible fire user and always get rid of the ashes so that you would not even know i had been there]
Classic basha styles made famous by Ray Mears are good to use in wooded areas where you can use to trees to support the whole thing.
The main thing is to practice putting up your tarp in your garden,park or somewhere safe so that if you need to get it up in a hurry[ oo er missus] it does not take too long.In a push i can have my tarp up in about 5 minutes flat.
Ok of course we need a tarp,pegs,guy ropes,poles but what to choose well any tarp will do really as long as you have points on the tarp for connecting guy ropes too.I like my sil nylon one but there are all shapes and sizes and materials out there.For pegs i use two types.standard shepherds crook style titanium pegs,mine our vargo i think and v shape titanium pegs.I normally use 4 corner guy ropes and two at the ends so i can get away with just 6 pegs but i always carry spare guys and pegs in case of bad weather or if i need to use a different style to put the tarp up.For guy ropes i use 1.5 mm dyneema with mini locks to keep it all tight.Underneath it all i have a piece of ripstop plastic sheeting as a ground mat to keep everything clean and dry.I always use a bivvy bag as you never can tell when the weather will change.
Ive put a few more pictures up for you to see different ways of using the tarp.
I believe people who use tarps have a slightly different attitude towards camping.It can be more uncomfortable and you are a bit more open to the elements but in being so i get a real feeling of my surrounding’s feel humble and unlike being in a tent i am not zipped up and unaware of my surrounding’s.You have to be comfortable with all your kit and be prepared for the worse but i get a more complete experience from being closer to nature.Tarping in the rain and wind can be tough and you will get damp but if you make sure you alwaysa have a dry sleeping bag and a se of dry clothes then your night will be much more comfortable and being able to light the stove and get a brew on from the depths of a warm dry sleeping bag is one of my joys.
photo 1. tarp set up using fallen birch tree,Ashdown forest.
photo 2. lean to set up using two trekking poles,lake district.
photo 3.tarp set up using two poles an a A frame set up , Bavaria alps.
photo 4.a different set up using two poles but at opposite corners,brecon beacons.
photo 5.One pole set up using just one pole and the tree,Snowdonia.
photo 6. two pole set up,Friston forest,south downs.
well happy tarping people.