- 4 to 12 stakes (4 minimum with trees for ridgeline tie outs, more stakes needed if windy, snow load or using poles for support)
- 2 trees, trekking poles, or tarp poles (use of at least one tree is easier to set up for one person, if using poles two people holding poles on each end really speeds things up)
- 6 cords @ 3′ on corners and middle sides of fabric panel
- 2 cords @ 6′ on ridge line (having some extra cord is useful for trees spread farther apart, and needed for tarps large enough for more than one person)
First attach the Ridgeline tie out to a tree or pole at a height that allows the netting to sit 4″ on the ground.
I like to use a releasable tautline hitch.
If using a pole for the ridgeline, tie a clove hitch around the top of the pole and then run the line down to a stake on the ground. Adjustable trekking poles make height adjustments easier.
Have someone hold the pole upright and go attach the other ridge line to a pole or tree.
Stake out the four corners at a height that maintains about 4″ of netting laying on the ground.
Adjust cord length using the tautline hitches and by moving stakes so that the tarp is stretched snug with minimum wrinkles. In a wind, you want the tarp to hum, not flap.
If needed, tie out center side points and four corner points on netting. Shepherds crook type stakes work well for the netting. The netting should be snug but not tight along the sides of the tarp (gentle on the netting) and loose on the pleated ends so one can crawl under the netting easily without having to remove a stake.
In the San Juans in Colorado.
MICRO CORD 1.2 MM,
Tiny, but with a firm finish that holds knots well and doesn’t abrade easily.
Super light you can carry less than an ounce and have lots for tarp set ups, compass lanyards, emergency shoe laces. Fits in most cord locks, even the smallest.
Misc. colors, our choice
Great Example of using paddles for tarp poles.
Photos curtesy of Stephen Miller.
For lightweight tarps.
patch for holding paddle or pole under tarp on silicone coated ultralight nylon
Make serviceable tarps from just some coated fabric and cord.
A simple coiling method to keep cord untangled until you need them. I learned this at Outward Bound. Firm Cord works best. I like to use 2mm cord on the most used tie outs and carry a bit of 1mm cord for long reaches to distant anchors.
Starting at the bitter end, coil around hand leaving a foot or two between the hand and tarp attachment point.
Wrap the remaining cord tightly around the first coil and then pass a loop, close to the tarp attach point, through one end of the now figure eight shape of the coil.
Loop this over the other end of the figure eight and pull. Reverse process when you need to use the cord to tie up your tarp/tent.
Ben Ward sent some nice pictures. I have the tent to patch some small holes and then they are off for more hiking.
Through hike photos
From our friends at Equipped.org. Extensive article on using tarps to make shelters.