Tarp storage idea


Oct 27, 2020
In my last trip report I mentioned a few bits of gear that were in need of an upgrade. New rain gear has already been acquired, and I'm making my way through the rest of the list.

One item that I didn't mention was my tarp. It's an Aquaquest tarp and has been wonderfully dry. My issue is not with the tarp, but with the bag.
In theory it's quite well designed. It has a mesh bottom to encourage drying, and is very compact.

However, in practice there's no way a folded up or stuffed in tarp is going to dry much in a bag, no matter how much mesh there is. And being very small is actually quite a nuisance when putting it back into the bag. Even at home, when the tarp is dry and I have all the time in the world to fold it up nicely, I struggle.

Another issue is that when the tarp is soaking wet and is the last piece of kit I out away, it tends to get rather filthy if it touches the ground.
So what about a way to pack it away while the ridgeline is still in place?


As a proof of concept I picked up a 4l stuff sack (probably going to use a slightly larger one, maybe 6l in future) and put a grommet in the bottom. Idea is that I can use the cord bundled up at the bottom to affix one end of the Ridgeline, pull the bundle from the top of the bag (leaving the tarp inside) and affix the other end. Then, once it's off the ground I can take the tarp out and finish setting it up.
The reverse should be possible as well. Stuffing a wet (but clean) tarp into the bag, closing it, taking down the ridgeline and stowing the cord.


I'll give it whirl on my next overnight. Like I mentioned, I think a larger bag would mean easier packing and a more malleable end result, which if slightly larger would probably stuff into available space easier. Ideally I'll find a smaller grommet too.

I am sure there are similar products available, but it's fun poking holes in perfectly good stuff.


Jul 25, 2016
Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
Looks like you're making a sawed-off snakeskin:

Setup gear:
In addition to the usual tent stakes (another rabbit hole of Shepard hooks, ground hogs, titanium nails, etc). the most useful is a snake skin. Before I adopted the “skin”, the MMA fight between cougarmeat and the wind was Wind 2, cougarmeat 0. that was winds in the 15 - 20 mph range with some stronger gusts. Trying to deploy an 11 x 10 ft tarp in high wind is great material for Americas Funniest Home Videos. The snakeskin is just a nylon or mesh tube that slides over the tarp, leaving the ridgeline cord out and available so you can attach the tarp to the trees (or poles), without the full body of the tarp exposed. It looks like a fat snake hanging between the two trees. SnakeSkins either come in two pieces - each about six feet long - or one piece about 12 feet long. The current favorite is one piece and mesh.

Putting up:
You slide the skin off - it scrunches up on the ridgeline cord - exposing the tarp a little at a time and guy out the tarp as you go.

Putting way:
Mesh is preferred because when you put a wet tarp away, the inside of the skin gets wet. You’ll want that dry before long term storage. The mesh dries much faster with a little sun expose. Note that we are not talking about drying the tarp - that’s done by exposing the whole thing to the sun. With a two piece skin, you sort of collect the tarp material from one end to the middle and slide the skin on that, then repeat on the other end with the second skin. Care is taken so you don’t end up with a bunch of material in the middle. A single skin starts at one end and you wrangle the tarp material (YouTube is your friend) as you pull the skin along the full length of the tarp.