Category Archives: flattarp

Ten Essentials

Develop your own “Ten Essentials” for your trips.

Here are my categories.

Clothing and Shelter
Light Source
Knife and Tools
Sun Protection
Fire Making
First Aid

Each time I head out, I take a quick look at my list and match
categories with items suitable for the activities expected.


Half Day Hike in Know Territory:
Water– Pop bottle with water in pack or back pocket
Food – eat before I go
Clothing and Shelter – Fleece hat and garbage bag in pocket or pack.
Navigation – known terrain, not needed
Light Source – button flashlight “Fauxton
Knife and Toolspocket knife
Sun Protection – sunscreen before I go
Fire Making – bic lighter or firesteel, toilet paper
First Aid – (Very small), bit of tape, aspirin, large dressing
Communication – cell phone, whistle

All day or night ski tour, new territory:
Water – Quart and 1/2 of water, metal cup to melt more or for hot drinks

food – lunch, extra energy bars, energy drink or juice in one of the water bottles (also makes “bread crumbs” in the snow for navigating back), tea bags, (fruit and water in car for return)

Clothing and Shelter – Layered clothes of synthetic and wool, gloves and spare mittens,
hat, waterproof parka and pants, spare socks, ski boots, gaiters, vbl socks silnylon tarp and foam sit pad for stops and emergencies.

Navigation – Gps, compass, topo map in plastic.

Light – LED headlamp with fully charged batteries, spare batteries, couple of “Fauxtons”

Knife and Tools Pocket Knife, Screw driver that fits ski bindings, Duct Tape,
Wire, Spare binding screws, Steel wool for filling loose binding screw holes,
Cord (for emergency rope climbers, towing, building a rescue sled or shelter building,) pocket wood saw for trail maintenance
and fire/shelter building,
avalanche shovel, avalanche beacon, avalanche Probe, ski Skins and skin wax, ski poles, red wax, wax scraper

Sun Protection – Sunscreen, brimmed hat, sunglasses, Clown White for extreme ‘sun on snow’ days.

Fire Making – Matches, bic lighter, Fire Steel, cotton balls rubbed with Vaselene, toilet paper, maybe a pop can alcohol stove

First Aid – Tape, Bandaids, 2nd Skin, Super Glue, dressings, aspirin and Ibuprofen, hand warmers.

Communication – Cell Phone, Two Way Radios, Signal Mirror, Whistle, Paper and Pencil

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Filed under flattarp, Oware Backpacking Gear, oware tarps, Tips for the Backcountry

Reference-Tarp Article at Backpacking Light

For those who have a Backpacking Light subscription, they just posted an article
“Tarp Camping Techniques for Inclement Conditions”

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Filed under flattarp, Good Links, oware tarps

Scouts like new tarps for heavy weather and light packs


Thanks for getting the tarps out so fast. I really appreciate it.

We put them to good use on our troop’s trek this week. We faced some of the rowdiest storms I’ve ever seen in the mountains. The boys LOVED the tarps and have total confidence in them. I don’t think they’ll ever carry a tent again.

Here’s a pic:

Patrol Tarp


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Filed under backpacking tarps, Customer Quotes and Photos, flattarp, Oware Backpacking Gear, oware tarps

Quick Release Tautline Hitch

A better Tautline Hitch

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Filed under cat tarp, Do It Yourself, flattarp, Oware Backpacking Gear, oware tarps, pyramid tarp, Tips for the Backcountry

Tarp Shelter Set Up Options

From our friends at Extensive article on using tarps to make shelters.

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Filed under backpacking tarps, Customer Quotes and Photos, Do It Yourself, Fabric, flattarp, Good Links, Oware Backpacking Gear, oware tarps, Tips for the Backcountry

Seam on cuben tarp

Cat Tarp 1.5 cuben fiber. Center seam photo. Felled seam, then taped.


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Filed under backpacking tarps, cat tarp, Do It Yourself, Fabric, flattarp, Oware Backpacking Gear, oware tarps

NetTarp Redux

An old favorite returns with some new improvements. Used by Utah river runners when the bugs come out.

A flat tarp with noseeum netting around the edges and ends.Floorless makes it lighter and more compact. Less issues with spills while dining underneath too. No zippers to break or fill with sand or salt, just leave one corner un-pegged and lift it to enter.

Two sizes available, sewn to order with several fabric choices. NetTarp5 (10×14′) and theNetTarp2 (8×10′). These now come with a cat curve cut  into the hems for tighter set up and line loc3 cord tighteners on the 4 center tie outs to adjust headroom.

Poles available too, but many use hiking poles, trees, or paddles for the uprights.

Purchase stock one here  or call for custom fabrics and prices.


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Filed under backpacking tarps, flattarp, NetTarp, Oware Backpacking Gear, oware tarps

Foam Pads for winter, Line Loc 3’s option on tarps

Add a thick foam pad to your sleep system to insure a warm sleep as frost approaches.


Also now, line loc’s can be added to existing tarps for those that like the convenience of adjusting

the tarp cords from inside or outside the shelter.

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Filed under alphamid, cat tarp, flattarp, oware tarps

Flat Tarps

“Beaks”? We don’t need no stinkin’ beaks!
(or tent stakes or poles for that matter)

Backpacking Tarps

The lightest and most versatile of shelters, and can be used for a place for teaching out of the sun or rain. Their set up can inspire craftsmanship among students. They are used by many major outdoor schools and savvy go light backpackers everywhere. Our tarps are available in various weights of nylon with a thick waterproof coat of urethane or an ultralight silicone coating. To add strength, sewn on webbing loops are used instead of grommets for tying the tarp out  and are also reinforced with an extra layer of fabric at high stress points.  Custom size tarps also available.

Flat Tarps TM
We coined the term “Flat Tarp” to distinguish our rectangular and square tarps from the
tarps with curves (catenary “Cat Tarps”) cut into the seams. A Flat Tarp allows for more pitching
options in many shapes, while a Cat Tarp allows a taunt set up with fewer ties out, but is limited
to a specific shape of shelter. Reinforced center tie outs allow a flat tarp to be set up sealed close to the ground on the sides and one end like the photo. This without the limiting shape of “beaks”. For those who want to go light (pun intended) but enjoy tarp
craft while using natural features to set up camp, a square or rectangular tarp can
be set up in many ways (see bottom of page).

tarpinstructorsetupfront copy

TarpFlyingDiamondfront copytarpdinkTarp Set up copy


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24 years of simple rugged value.

Instructors, Teachers, Ski Patrolers and Outdoor enthusiasts:

Since Fall1985 when I made my first10 large yellow pyramid tarps for Pacific Crest Outward Bound while working there as instructor, I have been building outdoor gear for schools and outdoor folks.

Outward Bound Schools have been my biggest customers so far, ordering tarps, tents, stuff sacks etc. which have stood up to daily year around use. I’ve 17 years experience working as an instructor for several outdoor schools including Outward Bound, so I understand the need for robust gear. Lately, through input from customers, there are many ultralight products offered too.

Famous climbers heading for Patagonia and record setting through hikers have purchased Oware gear, even though sponsered by other companies where they could get gear free.

I use simple designs to keep costs down and durability up. Thread is matched to the fabric type but is generally bonded #46 to #69 nylon which has a breaking strength respectively of aprox. 7 to 10 lbs. per stitch. Fabrics available include Cordura®, pack cloth, Polartech®, Goretex®, eVent®,Epic®, reinforced truck tarp vinyl, urethane coated taffeta, ripstop, and oxford as well as the new ultralight1.1 oz silicone coated nylon. I use lock stitch, bar tack, and over lock sewing machines as well as a shoe patch machine for tough to reach repairs.

Does your school, scout group, ski area, or retail store need something made to your specifications? I especially enjoy developing new products to meet your needs, (quantity orders for special designs keep costs reasonable).

Feel free to contact me about ideas you have.


Dave Olsen


skype too

Steam Donkey

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Filed under alphamid, backpacking tarps, bivysack, cat tarp, flattarp, Oware Backpacking Gear, oware tarps, sleeping bag liners, Tips for the Backcountry