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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have rediscovered a tarp that I had put up in some old camping/prep supplies and want to customize a widely effective and highly adaptable "kit". I want to be able to build tarp shelters that are four season capable with just the on-site addition of poles and stakes I can make from the wood around the campsite.

I have:

- 12ft X 8ft good quality, nylon tarp with back coating and 12 grommets.

- 100ft 550 paracord dedicated to this kit.

- 6 Nite Ize small "figure 9" to make set-up faster by avoiding the need to knot and untie cordage, pictured below:



Questions:

- I would like to pre-cut and melt the paracord to a good general length that that will work for most standard tarp configurations. so, 8ft? 10ft? lengths?

- I would like to add extra brass grommets to the tarp but have NEVER had any luck with those damned "do-it-yourself" kits, the brass always ends up over or under set. Is ther a secret to it?

- What is the most orderly and compact way to store the 4 -10 lengths of paracord with the tarp?

- any other stuff you old pro's can help me with.

Thanks folks!
 

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When I backpack I use a hammock and tarp set up. I know I usually find myself needing varied lengths of paracord. None smaller than 8ft. and sometimes up to 15 or maybe 20.

I think I recall seeing a sort of grommet gun, not that different from a rivet gun. In any case, if you can find a place that does awnings/tents/custom tarps, they would probably install grommets for you... you might even be able to chose stainless...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
hey, thanks for the info! I tried hammock camping twice and doesnt seem to be for me. I get cold on my back, and i cant seem to get a pad to stay under me in the hammock.

I'll have to look for a grommet gun, thanks for the tip
 

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Cold back is an issue for me too! I was thinking of getting this reflective type of insulation called Reflectix and somehow pinning it to my hammock and wrapping it around myself. Going under the hammock not between the hammock and myself... It still would not be a four season solution though...
 

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reluctant sinner
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There is a range that the grommets' work in properly. File off the excess male part before setting the grommet in thin canvas/fabric. An extra disk/diamond or two glued inside the folded layer where the grommet is to be attached helps. Those will help with over set, not much works for under setting except less layers or longer grommets.

Waste a few on some scraps to learn what works length wise, then buy several bags of replacement grommets. the tool doesn't usually wear out. I like to use a proper sized hole punch, usually made from sharpened tubing/pipe and used on a wood block.
 

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Ill just quickly mention what i do because its similar.
Tarp, 550 Cord, Carabiners.
Im a lazy shelter builder. Skills involved: Overhand knot tieing. Cord involved: Like, 5-30ft per anchoring point depending on the location.

Bare in mind that your environment and how youre setting your tarp up will have alot to do with the lengths of cord. If youll reliably have anchoring points close to the tarp you can get by on 5-10 feet. To be safe you should probably get 15-20ft lenghts just incase you need to erect your shelter somewhere that doesnt have convenient anchoring points. Either way youll still need a bunch of spare paracord.

Most compact way to store a few lengths of cord? Get a stick and wrap the cord around the stick. Get a new stick when it starts getting bulky. Put your sticks on top of your tarp when you store it. Paracord usually wont unravel much unless you toss it around or something.
 

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Master Rationalizer
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I suppose my question is... "WHY"? Why over-complicate an issue? If you're looking for everything pre-measured with uniform lengths and sizes, buy a tent and be done. Tarp shelter? Pick a tarp, throw in your cordage of choice, and learn how to use the terrain and what's available.

Seriously--I was out today for a simple break from the monotony and went from untouched snow to this in just under an hour. Learn to do more with less. Gear fails.

 

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Maybe you got a bad batch of grommets. I have had a few of the cheap, do it yourself kits and they have installed just fine.

Watch those grommets after/during rigging under tight pressures. Some tarps last longer than others but by and large, watch those grommets. Grommets are clean-looking but they put the force on a concentrated area of the fabric, which often ends up tearing at the grommet hole. I have experienced this and now for backpacking/camping, I go with tarp(s) that have tie-outs rather than grommets.

You might find that tending to the different lengths of cordage, along with the figure-9 biners, will become frustrating; especially if you like to keep your gear straight, clean, and organized. I love all the little nick-knacks that are available, but I'm anal about keeping things orderly so I've found that simplicity--especially in a tarp setup--is liberating.

Unless you know the precise camp site and intended setup, I would plan on 10-12 feet of cordage per corner; another 20-30' for the ridge line. I carry plenty of cordage, usually opting for a quality 2-3mm line for space and weight savings. A bit of para-cord is packed for other uses.

If I may, I'd also suggest learning a few knots and committing them to muscle memory. There are a few that only take seconds to tie, are useful in general, and will let you use those biners for other things. The Taut Line Hitch is easy and is a must have in the brain. The Girth (and Prusik), Bowline, and Clove Hitches, respectively, are also easy, useful, and great to know. I probably use these the most.

FYI: here's one decent tutorial page.

Sorry for the extras - I realize you didn't ask. ;)
 

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You can make DIY grommets with key chain rings and gorilla tape. It helps if you fold the edge or corners over so you get a double layer, but you don't have to. Then all you do is put a patch of tape on each side of the tarp with the keychain ring sandwiched in between. Then poke a hole through it.
 

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Don't overthink it. Flexibility is the key for setting tarps.

If you need a point of attachment, take a small rock and bunch it up and tie rope on top of it.

If you need carabiners, z drags, and other stuff you are over doing it.
 

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Lux in Tenebris
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Keep it simple bro...

I'm a fan of tarp clips too, keep 6 in kit, along with cordage and grommets, can build a damn tarp city....

Back in the day we used bungee cords (wrapped around Large Alice pack frame) and 550 to great effect, lived out of/under tarps quite effectively....
 

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I use shrink wrap for boats for tarp material it's best. especially for winter.
You don't need fancy clips waste of money and time .
A monkey fist is far more efficient and does not compromise the material .
Take a stone and press a pocket in the corner you choose, and do a slip knot behind it .
Now the load is spread over a much larger area ,no holes. Ever .
Never cut the cord , learn to use it uncut . it is the only cord you got and knots deteriorate the value down the line.
 

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I use shrink wrap for boats for tarp material it's best. especially for winter.
You don't need fancy clips waste of money and time .
A monkey fist is far more efficient and does not compromise the material .
Take a stone and press a pocket in the corner you choose, and do a slip knot behind it .
Now the load is spread over a much larger area ,no holes. Ever .
Never cut the cord , learn to use it uncut . it is the only cord you got and knots deteriorate the value down the line.
Not if you use the right kind of knots .

Read more at http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=339643#0iSvY7AHUDaPzh7u.99
 

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I am reluctant to cut cord in the event it is needed for some thing very important .
One having cut cord there will be waste that could as well be the residue from one point to another.
This practice also favors the whole cord not particular ones and the wear against typical ends.
Not that I would, but in the event you had to use your paracord for a raising system , trying to pull a knot through a pulley or Carbener might prove to be a challenge .
I have regular climbing rope and equipment for this purpose.
 

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Are we just talking about an a frame?

One piece of rope either through the middle or each end tied to some trees.

And some tent pegs?

Just get some bungy cord for the pegs.
This worked for me camping in the Amazon- but I used coated fly fishing line.
This I stretched between trees, with figure 8 knots to which I attached small s-biners. These I then attached to the tarp- no cutting required.

The grommets on the side had a length of 6 feet fly line, knotted at the end for tent pegs. The whole setup weighs less than 1 kg and is smaller than a 1 litre bottle.

This held up in torrential rains, and some fairly fierce winds.
 

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I took several months off about 40 years ago and did some motorcycle camping carrying only a tarp . & I thought I was pretty good at making tarp shelters

Then I saw this on youtube last week and ,unable to find a 10 x20 I got 3 10x16s , in camo at a good price (1 for each vehicle and one for my E&E /hiking/hunting pack)

This guys method provides a floor and a "snorkel" door too !

for his method the tarp proportions seem to be twice as long as wide

a 12 by 24 would be even better imho...but that is heavy and bulky to carry,, so I am also thinking, , if 2 people in your party , that maybe if each had a 12 x 12 or so, the two oould be joined at the grommets and gorilla taped ?

another thing is --practice makes perfect,, but kind of a big , time consuming job to practice over and over with a big tarp,, or practice in the house during blizzards like the one coming here today...so I got the idea to use a very small tarp of the same proportions to make "miniature" versions , just to practice In my living room.

anyway , here is the Reverends youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=BX8o_zoWzJE
 

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Micro bungee cords for ease of use and self-tensioning adaptability. 24" - 36" length, 1/4 inch thick, earth tone colors. Some versions have metal hooks, some have plastic. Either work.

http://www.patriotoutfitters.com/p/...eSize=60&currSort=web_sort&sortDirection=desc

http://www.tacticaltailor.com/bungeecords.aspx

http://www.supplycaptain.com/index.cfm/product/883/micro-bungee-cords.cfm

I usually carry 8 for use with a tarp/poncho shelter. Hook into tarp grommet and then stretch other end to a convenient branch, trunk, stalk, root, log, rock, limb, or stake. Easy and quick to set up. Fast to take down. If you use an ALICE or other external frame pack, the cords can be carried wrapped around the frame between the pack body and your back. Otherwise, just stuff 'em into a pouch with your tarp.



 
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I hammock (hennessy) and tarp in the late spring and summer, no BS tent the rest of the time. The cold back thing is a pain all right. I beat it by using a half thickness closed cell foam pad about the size and shape of a smaller coffin lid. A half length therm-a-rest works well, too.

I carry 2 rolls of para, each about 50 feet or so. I try really REALLY hard to not cut lengths of rope or cord, you never know, ya know?

My usual tarp has meter or so long bits of of slightly heaver cord attached to each grommet, these stay put and get rolled up and cinched when not in use. Works in most situations and if I have to, unused ones can be joined to used ones.

Tarping is an interesting art I, I found this page ==> http://www.elbtipi.com/tent.htm a while back and boggled at the idea of making 10 different tents from one rectangular tarp. Some time in a fit of boredom I'm going to build a modern fabric version. I've made #2 from a plain jane cheap chainstore tarp and it worked well, if you lift the front up just a little more, you can close it right up for weather or privacy. Clever!
 
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