Interesting read, tarps have made month long camping trips workable for me in the past. Keeps the tent from rotting from moisture. Always figured in a pinch I could just use the tarp and skip the tent. I'll have to try some of these configurations out.
Here´some pictures of my tarp, i´m using the issued tarp (this one is in o.d., normally they are in M/84 camo pattern).
I use RVops bivi poles and Cleat for better customization
Inside the tarp there was enough space for two sleeping bags, nice if you are hiking with your friends, one takes the tarp, the other extra water or something like that
Please notice how "clean" the area is, when outdoor i´m living by the filosofy: "Living from your rucksack" that means only take that out you need WHEN you need it, and put it back as soon as you finished with it and NEVER let anything lay around on the ground, knifes, compass, maps etc. etc. can only be two places: In your hand or in there pouch!!! a habbit from the Army
I used a good old wally world 10x12 tarp for all my hooches in the army. I carry 100' of 550 cord, and a kit of bungee cords.
I have a set of cords used for securing the corners to the ground. These bungee's have a ball on one end, and make a loop. Here is a picture of what they look like.
The tarp I used was a woodland camo from wally world that cost about 15 dollars. The camo looked like this.
All you have to do is find two trees, and string up your line between them. For one person I could make a nice hooch that fit me, my weapon, and my ruck. It sure beat sleeping out in the open.
I never carried stakes or poles since there will be plenty of sticks, twigs, or shrubs to use.
The way I liked to make my hooch was to string a line between two trees. Then, I secure one end to the ground with stakes, and the other end I usually tied of to another tree, or stakes further away, for a lower grade angle. I liked to keep about 60% of the tarp on one side, which would be my foot side. With a 10x12 tarp, make sure you used the long side to go from head to foot. I liked my hooch to have open sides, and if it was windy and raining, I would lower the tarp closer to the ground. Here is a basic sketch-up version of the hooch.
I make a tube tent with end wall(s), to keep out creepy crawlies and blowing rain. I like a 16 X 20 tarp, tape the long ends together with duct tape.
Then in stead of staking the corners, I stake it a couple feet from the end. To make an end wall, pull the corners up roll them tight. It makes a great over hang keeping out blowing rain.
To make more room inside, tie 2 sticks together like a rifle bi pod. Tie to the middle of the tarp wall, over the sticks and down to a stake.
You could build just one wall, make end walls as tall or low as you want, or slide a small two man tent inside.
I use Duct tape to reinforce the tarp, where I put a small rock or piece of wood. Tie a loop around the duct tape protected tarp for a grommet.