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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so this is going to be my first post since joining.. love the site, but just an observer so far. I'm going tent camping next weekend for the 4th of July, and there's a possibility of rain (i know its a week away) but with that said..


I wanted to get some opinions on a tarp shelter, but not the kind of shelter where the tarp is my immediate roof. I prefer to hang a rope 20'+ in the air from tree to tree directly over top my campsite/fire pit with a tarp on top of the rope and tie off the 4 corners with a pitcher for smoke to trail out and rain to drip off. Unfortunately I do not have a picture to post as I rarely bring my phone with me when camping, but I personally like this set up and have used it since I was a child (I'm currently 28). Just wanted to see if anyone has done this before, and see if any new ideas could pop up.

Hope to hear from you guys.
 

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non-conformist
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I like your idea, sounds very practical and easy to set up/take down. I also like it for when it's sunny, you can enjoy a meal in the shade.

One issue I can see depends on where your camping. In the state parks I've camped at in Florida, the rangers wont allow anything tied to a tree. They say it hurts the tree. Seriously. last time we went I set up a hammock between a couple trees on our site and wasn't 2 hours before a ranger told us to remove it. I understand not wanting stuff nailed to a tree, but a rope around a 12" diameter trunk is not doing any harm.

good luck to you, hope you have nice weather.
 

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reluctant sinner
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I never like anything over the fire that is combustible. A tarp overtop and under the tent is usually a good plan if you are not carrying it on your back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@alltheway, I'm in SE PA, and they do not give us any problems with hanging tarps in the air. If they tried to give me grief I would be pretty appalled, I can understand the no "nails in trees" as being a logical reason, but tying a rope around a tree trunk? Gimme a breakkkkkkk.

@charlie, Understood what you're talking about, but it's not as you may be imagining it. You tend to hang 2/3's of the tarp over your sitting area and tent, with 1/3 hanging above the fire, but at a certain angle that the smoke can filter right up and not cause anything to burn. Been doing it myself last 10 years, and only 1 tarp has gotten holes put into it. When I come back from camping next weekend, I'll post a few pictures in thie thread to show you what I'm talking about. I've done it through a 7 day trip in Raystowne Lake, PA and it rained the entire 7 days. We were the only ones who weren't stuck in our tents, while most of the people went home.
 

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How big will the fire be and what material is the tarp made of?

I personally would not do it for 2 reasons...

1) Getting the tarp to hang 20'+ in a tree is not easy or very safe.

2) Everything burns - if you get it hot enough. And, synthetic materials, like plastic tarps, can burn even quicker.

The only flame that sometimes goes under the tarp when I'm camping is a citronella candle...

Source: http://www.houzz.com/photos/4369310/Citronella-Candle-contemporary-outdoor-decor-c
And I would never pay $4 for a candle :)
 

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We do something like that to cover our hay bales for the winter. We use a tow strap and a ratchet strap tie down to get the tow strap tight. Put the tarp over it and stake the corners. Picture a LARGE pup tent that is about 20' tall! The only thing is though, that the tarp is quite heavy. We use tarps that are about 30' by 60'. Makes a nice shaded area though.:)
 

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Very common up here
Done right even a good sized fire won't affect the tarp

One thing that I have done is made a monkey fist to tie onto the end of the rope when throwing over branches
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@Synical Getting the tarp to hang is a lot easier than you're thinking.. similar to what Coyotebc said, I personally use a smaller round rock to anchor on the end of the rope, and throw up and away until you hook the exact branch you want. Tie a knot, tighten the slack and go to the other side to repeat. Trick is, get rope anchored on one side, and then lay tarp on top of the rope, THEN raise the rope up and anchor off, you'll have shelter. For the roof you just need to decide which direction you want runoff to flow, tie 2 corners as close to the ground as possible (corners away form fire), other 2 corners hang 8'-12' ft in the air and you have your roof.

I rarely have a roaring fire that is 6' tall, typically I'll make a 'bigger' fire early in morning and late at night depending on the season.. but always have some form of a fire burning 24/7 while camping, only once did I burn some holes into a tarp, and that was after a bottle of fireball and still being awake at 3am (no excuse lol).
 

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How do you all keep sparks from a fire from billowing up and blowing in the wind and the wind from changing direction?
 
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