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408 Equinox Tarp 2011-06-01

Equinox Tarp

Outdoor gear costs a lot of money. Growing up without a lot of funds, I had to learn how to get by on the cheap. One cost cutter that worked for me was using a tarp instead of a tent. Yes, the tarp was buggy and it took some finagling to set it up properly; but it was worth the savings.

One drawback was that when I was using tarps, I did not hike with trekking poles. Trekking poles have simplified setting a tarp. The poles heights are adjustable and the tips just fit perfectly into the grommet holes. Before I used trekking poles, I had to find natural features to use in lieu of poles to set the tarp.

When bike touring, I used to carry a tarp. On one trip, I found that the Florida State Park where I was camping did not allow campers to tie anything to the trees. I used the picnic table and bike as my trees! I did however have to place the tarp over a low lying area because of the unmovable table. It rained hard that night but the tarp held it's shape, sure I got wet, but from puddling, not from the rain.

When I think back to my tarp days, I have a lot of good memories. Camping was not about the gear we had, instead it was all about being outdoors.


tarp with side poles

Set-up with side poles

A few tarp tips ....

Tarping makes you a better camper. You have to learn to set a tarp and then adapt the set-up each night to match the campsite.

Every time you set the tarp, you get better.

For a standard set with trekking poles, it takes me about ten minutes to set the tarp (by myself.)

A tent is only set one way. A standard rectangular cut tarp can be set a gazillion different ways. It is your job to set the perfect tarp.

Stakes and lightweight cord are needed to set the tarp.

I used to call the different set-ups by number. Looking at the terrain I would declare the number before trying to set the tarp. "I think this site will take a number 6" and then proceed to set the tarp to the "6" configuration. Most of the time I just made up the numbers but it was a good show!

The Equinox Tarp weighs less than a pound and can sleep four. Four ounces per person is very light for shelter.

Equinox is a small company in Pennsylvania. We have ordered quite a few things from them.

Some folks feel a tarp is too open for them, no mosquito netting, no privacy, etc. Sleeping in a trail shelter is very similar to sleeping under a tarp except the shelters have mice!

The silicone coated tarps do not stretch when wet, like regular nylon tarps.

Remember, it is not the tarp, it is the setter.

Tarpology is not an Olympic sport; but it should be. : )

Oh, and yes, I had fun playing in the backyard!


Happy tarp trails


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