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PostPosted: December 1st, 2021, 7:23 am 
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Joined: December 21st, 2016, 2:10 pm
Posts: 108
Location: Courtice Ont
Getting a good trap, that's big enough at a decent price is hard (almost impossible). I've made my own and a couple for others over the years and hands down it's the way to go. If you own a sewing machine, it's really not hard at all (just look at what it is, a giant piece of fabric). I've starting making bags as well, again not rocket science.

I go to https://ripstopbytheroll.com to get my material. I like Silnylon over Silpoly, it packs better, but to each he's own.
ALSO make sure you use polyester twill ribbon for the guy lines and Polyester threat. That way it resist rot unlike nylon.

As a side note my tarps I use are 12' x 11' and weigh just over pound. Thats with the guy lines, a 50' ridgeline and a storage bag. So not bad at all. Because it weighs so little, I bring one on hikes.


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PostPosted: December 2nd, 2021, 1:25 pm 
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Joined: May 6th, 2005, 12:52 am
Posts: 127
Location: Ottawa
Nice to come upon this thread just as Santa Claus was looking for a new tarp.
Current experience is two of the old-style MEC tarps. I presume nylon with polyurethane coating. These seem to fit for size in use, so something similar is the objective. (Lighter does look nicer as St. Nick gets older.)
I re-coat these every few years, depending on the amount of use. Both are stretched from those times when rain or wind overwhelmed the setup.

What I am reading here and elsewhere is that silicone coated is what most are - and that it is lighter and more(?) durable, but the silicone can break down and get sticky even in storage(?).

What is the view on fabric weight? Traditional/standard seems to be 70D but has silicone coating or anything else changed that? I do wonder whether 40D would give good service (Mfr's sites don't give the same user-experience feedback as you folks!). I suppose as long as the setup is more protective vs. wind/water stretch, the attachments are likely all just as strong.

MEC tarps apparently discontinued - so that staple product is gone. (Should have bought one in the summer when I was first thinking about it.)
I was looking at CCS as having a useful size and quality, or maybe going down market to likely good value in Eureka. (Our Eureka Mountain Meadows tent has done the heavy lifting among our tents for more than 25 years, giving us several hundred nights of use in all conditions.)

Now you have given me some options - and I have to say that AquaQuest looks attractive in product and price. Hilleberg (wow!) and DCF have interesting websites, and I have been looking at the others too.

I will post separately about tarping techniques.

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PostPosted: December 2nd, 2021, 1:47 pm 
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I was using MEC silicone nylon tarps. I believe that silicone treated tarps do not suffer the same degradation that polyurathane (PU) does, namely getting sticky and peeling. my MEC tarps so far have no issues with the coating and are many years old. Of course, the thicker the fabric and coating, the stronger the trarp will be, but also heavier. This is why AquaQuest, for example, has 3 different tarp product lines, to provide a range of balance between durabilty and weight/pack size.

Your tarp choice is a personal one. It really depends on your specific use and the way you set them up. For example, we typically use a roof setup, and go ridge-line if we need a wall for wind/weather mitigation. I decided to get a 15x15 in a ligher duty and high durability 10x13 to use as a wall. This way we can set up the 15x15 roof fast and if we need weather protection I can wall up with the 10x13 without re-configuring the 15x15. Since the 10x13 will be the wall, I got a high-durability one. This will be more versatile for us than juse getting 15x15. If I was going to just get the 15x15 I would have gotten it in high durability which is more weight than 15x15 in low durability + 10x13 high durability and will be more versatile.

I've also used the cheap $40 PU coated tarps from Amazon. They seem ok too! I use them as floors mainly but I think they could work ok as a flying tarp. It just comes down to price and personal choice.

My AquaQuest order will be in a few days. I am very curious to see what the build-quality is like!


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PostPosted: December 2nd, 2021, 1:55 pm 
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Joined: May 6th, 2005, 12:52 am
Posts: 127
Location: Ottawa
Everyone seems to learn by doing, and watching others, with experience (better someone else's than mine - ha ha) being a major instructor. So I am reviewing the discussion about what you all have learned and do.

I endorse a bungee or two in a setup, or at least as an option to hook on when required. The flex can let it shed air a bit better, but especially water. I frequently use one on my hauldown point (low point I want water to run if/when it rains). Sometimes that point has a high or quite high (tree) point for general use and a low point where I can hook it to hold that spot down more tightly when raining. While car camping I have used a bucket there to at least prevent digging a hole in the ground with the runoff. Once I used a cast-iron frying pan to weight that point (prevent flapping) when it was not hooked down tight. That was a rainy weekend.

Ridge lines - I like them. I have used both underneath the tarp and with the tarp suspended from the line. Especially useful when good trees are limited. I worry a bit about abrasion when the tarp is over the line, but figure gear is made to be used.

Tarp clips - I have a few of two different types. Very useful to have at least a couple in the rope bag whether to replace a torn loop or grommet or put a tie down just where you need one.

I am interested that many of you use paracord. That proves it must be strong enough. I have always wondered what strength line is really needed. Most of mine is a bit of overkill at 6mm / 1/4" nylon rope, but I have been lightening some of the lines and added some of the greenish glowing stuff that picks up daylight and then glows in the dark. It's soft and doesn't need a light to reflect back.

EDITS: Thanks Plexus for that last post, especially re silicone. You give me cause to consider a pair.

And you remind me that I have often carried one or two rag ends of old poly tarp - maybe 3x3 ft to 4x4 - to use for camp purposes like covering wood or to keep gear off the wet/muddy (and fold over packs in the rain), or as a dressing room floor to protect the feet of my drysuit while changing.

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PostPosted: December 9th, 2021, 6:59 pm 
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Joined: July 5th, 2013, 12:35 am
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I got the AquaQuest tarps. I am impressed. I got a Safari 15x15, Defender 10x13 and Survivor 10x10. In general the build quality is similar to CCS except that CCS has the webbing sewn around the perimeter. The AQ Safari and Defender do not have perimeter webbing, just the usual folded over and sew approach. Also with CCS the corner loops are part of the continuous loop of perimeter webbing, where-as the corner loops on AQ are separate. Survivor has a perimeter webbing but its mostly for reflective purposes but would provide some structure as well.

Note the loop webbing differs: They are all 3/4", Safari uses nylon 0.3mm, Defender uses 1.0mm polypropylene and Survivor uses 0.5mm nylon with a sewn reflective highlight.

In terms of cost compared to the CCS 15x15 1.9oz I had: The Safari and Defender together were the same price as the CCS. Or, another way to look at it, the CCS 15x15 was about $150 more than the AQ Safari 15x15 with the only difference being CCS has the perimeter webbing. Sewing quality and the thread used appear to be similar across all the tarps.

In terms of the webbing compared to CCS, the Safari webbing appears to be similar. But the Defender and Survivor webbing is thicker and feels stronger than the CCS webbing. Like CCS the AQ tarps have webbing sewn across where the panels join, so there is some intra-structural webbing on the AQ products.

It would have been great to get a Safari with the Defender webbing. Oh well. As I said the strategy now is to use the 15x15 as a roof, and hence under less load, and the 10x13 Defender for a wall. The Survivor will go into the bugout emergency bag.

Also and important note, AQ products are made in Taiwan, not China, and important and postiive detail.

Here is a page I put together with detailed photos of the 3 tarps:

http://theplexus.com/aquaquest/


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PostPosted: December 10th, 2021, 10:56 am 
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Joined: December 9th, 2012, 9:57 am
Posts: 407
Good summary Plexus, thanks for this. I've used a 10x10 Chlorophylle for >3 decades and it's been incredibly durable, only recently showing signs of wear and tear. I bought it new and at the time thought it overpriced overbuilt and over-the-top for the laid back canoe tripping I had planned. I've never regretted the purchase. I'll be doing minor repairs and keeping it in service. Several years ago I invested in a larger 10x14 CCS and likewise have never regretted this decision. The CCS I've put through some punishing wind and weather with no issues whatsoever. With a view to adding to my options I bought an AQ 10x10 Safari this summer. So far so good although I wish I'd chosen the tougher build Defender "just in case". Maybe that'll be my next purchase?
I understand the hesitancy towards trusting a name brand that has let you down. User error, decline in quality, or just a lemon, there are any number of reasons for accidents. I will continue to place my trust in myself and my gear until one of them fails. And then I'll rethink and retry.
Peace.


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PostPosted: December 13th, 2021, 12:35 am 
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plexus wrote:
I got the AquaQuest tarps. I am impressed. I got a Safari 15x15, Defender 10x13 and Survivor 10x10. In general the build quality is similar to CCS except that CCS has the webbing sewn around the perimeter. [snip...]/


Further to my previous post (the forum disables the ability to edit after a few days) I wanted to mention I thought the AQ Safari material felt slightly thicker/more robust than the CCS 1,9oz fabric. I dont know what "1.9oz" refers to, I figured its another way to measure thickness. Anyway, I didnt say anything about that to my camping partner who mentioned it herself when inspecing the AQ tarps. Just a subjective comment but something of note. I may have been a difference in the coating but over-all the Safari felt tougher.


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PostPosted: December 13th, 2021, 1:36 pm 
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Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
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Location: Manitoba
1.9oz is the material weight per square yard, i.e. it's a short form for 1.9 oz/yd^2. The coating may effort that weight.

If possible you should look up and read the data sheet for the material as it will give you additional information. Not sure how difficult it is to find out the actual tarp material (brand, etc.) as that would be required. Perhaps the tarp manufacture could provide you with the fabric data sheet.

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PostPosted: December 13th, 2021, 4:43 pm 
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Paddle Power wrote:
1.9oz is the material weight per square yard, i.e. it's a short form for 1.9 oz/yd^2. The coating may effort that weight.

If possible you should look up and read the data sheet for the material as it will give you additional information. Not sure how difficult it is to find out the actual tarp material (brand, etc.) as that would be required. Perhaps the tarp manufacture could provide you with the fabric data sheet.


I think all the tarp/camping gear manufactures could do a better job about specifying the specs of their materials. It would help the consumer make better purchase decisions. As it was, I had to order the AQ products sight-unseen which is why I checked in first with them about returns. I am happy that the quality met our expectations and we will keep and use them. But I did have to ask them about the webbing and some details about the coatings they use. I think all tarp manufactures should specify these things and moving forward I will ask, like I did with AQ before purchase.

Thanks for the info about the different tarp materials, its useful to know!


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PostPosted: December 13th, 2021, 6:26 pm 
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The weight is for the fabric prior to coating. Polyurethane (PU) coatings typically feel stiffer than silicone coatings that penetrate more deeply into the weave and help to strengthen the fabric. Modern PU coatings are said not to degrade like the old stuff though how you tell whether it is the new (PEU) or old stuff I don’t know. Perhaps you just wait to see when it fails!

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