Tarpology, by Cougarmeat

JohnAbercrombie

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Dec 7, 2011
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I was in Trotac yesterday and they had some extendible boat hooks. They were pretty chunky, but seemed really solid. I'm going to paddle tomorrow, but will head in to town and look through some of the stores in the next few days to see what they have. Capital Iron might have something as well.
One thing to measure before you start shopping is the maximum length pole you can get into your kayak. A lot of decisions and DIY ideas can come after that.
Unless you can get something really cheap, my advice would be to just buy the REI or MSR poles. I've used them both and they work. The REI poles are sturdy enough and are more compact (smaller diameter tube), as I recall.
If you see used hiking poles in the 'Free' listings or at a very low price, they can be useful sometimes as extenders for other poles.
 

Tangler

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Sep 5, 2016
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Nanaimo, BC
I just ordered a set of similar poles from Amazon. Paria. Two poles for less than $80 (Still stupid money to spend for tarp poles...) and they see more adjustable than the MSRs. Don't know about the quality yet but they are US made...
 

JohnAbercrombie

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I just ordered a set of similar poles from Amazon. Paria. Don't know about the quality yet but they are US made...
Those look like a good bet. Having each section with a locking button, and skipping the shock cord can increase the versatility.
Not made in USA, but I would still buy them if I needed poles.
3+ week delivery time.
From Amazon 'Answers to Questions':
Thanks for your interest! We are based in Denver, Colorado, but our products are manufactured in China.
Company history is in this article:
https://www.outsidebusinessjournal.com/the-magazine/copycat-gear/
 

JohnAbercrombie

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No poles but here's a Canadian mail order site I came across with some of the doo-dads referred to in rigging, and some specialty fabrics etc. for the DIYers.

What have you done?? :)
That's a dangerous site!! Lots of interesting gear I don't own yet!
Seriously, aside from all the nifty tarp rigging and hammock doo-dads, there's quite a lot of gear I haven't seen before - hydration/filtration, food bag, etc etc.. They also have some RipstopByTheRoll fabrics if you don't want to order from the US.
Browsing there could cause a cash flow blip! :)
Cheaper shipping from Canada can more than make up for a bit of a premium on the prices.
Thanks, Jim, for mentioning that site.
 

chodups

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Nov 2, 2005
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1,137
What have you done?? :)
That's a dangerous site!! Lots of interesting gear I don't own yet!
Seriously, aside from all the nifty tarp rigging and hammock doo-dads, there's quite a lot of gear I haven't seen before - hydration/filtration, food bag, etc etc.. They also have some RipstopByTheRoll fabrics if you don't want to order from the US.
Browsing there could cause a cash flow blip! :)
Cheaper shipping from Canada can more than make up for a bit of a premium on the prices.
Thanks, Jim, for mentioning that site.
Oh oh. Wish I wouldn’t have looked at that website.
 

YYJ Paddler

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Jan 11, 2021
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Victoria, BC
One thing to measure before you start shopping is the maximum length pole you can get into your kayak.
Great point about the size. I think that the MSR poles should fit, but will try with my foldable trekking poles just to make sure.

I have just moved from a Delta 17, which would hold anything and everything, to a CD Sisu. I had to replace my 20L dry bags - and no chance of fitting my bear barrel :).

Edit: In theory, if I added a strap or something, I could put the poles in the cockpit. I just remembered that one of our club members stores them there beside his seat. I have the pump beside the seat on one side, but have another side to put stuff!
 

JKA

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Jul 25, 2016
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Banks Peninsula, New Zealand
Cougarmeat (and others), what's your verdict on Nama Claws?

I like the idea, as simpler (maybe) than a Prussic knot, but as they are going to be expensive for me to get in NZ I would want to be convinced that they are worth it.

I currently just use a quick-release Halter Hitch, but this lacks the ability to tension once tied.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Cougarmeat (and others), what's your verdict on Nama Claws?
https://hofmanoutdoorgearsupply.ca/tarp-rigging/237-nama-claws.html

When (in days of yore) I learned to use Prussik knots for crevasse rescue and other tasks in climbing, the Prussik loop was always in thinner stuff than the climbing rope - 4-5 mm Prussik on a 9-11 mm rope. With folks using (slippery) 1.7 mm Zing-It for tarp ridgelines, it gets difficult to make a Prussik hold and also be easy to release. Any line smaller is getting very thin and hard to manipulate.
So I guess the Nama Claws can be added to the long list of gizmos for tensioning tarps on ridgelines.
At least the Nama Claws look like something I would remember how to use, unlike some of the other metal hardware whose usage doesn't seem very intuitive to me. :) ...picturing myself standing and staring at a metal gizmo in my hand....
 
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JohnAbercrombie

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Here's a video about the Nama Claws:

Downside for me would be the fact that they need to be threaded on to the ridgeline before use. Excellent for people who have a standard ridgeline for their hammock tarp, but when I pitch a tarp I'm usually improvising something over a tent or eating area, just pulling line out of a bag and stringing it up.
 

cougarmeat

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The plus and minus of Nama Claws is they are designed to work with 1.75mm cord (A.K.A. LashIt or ZingIt). It’s a plus because that 1.75mm Amsteel is plenty strong (500lbs). Some brave souls even support their hammock with it - NOT ME. It’s a minus because the smaller the line, the harder it is to work with in the cold rain and sometimes even hitches - like prusik - lock up so tight it’s difficult to get them to release.

That said, know that there are a variety of slide/lock knots that fall under the category of Prusik. Some work better than others. As John mentioned, you usually want the locking line to be a smaller diameter than the line it slides on. If not, or there is sliding, you can usually fix that by adding more wraps on the pursue (what every style).

But a little hardware does away with all that.

Now the claws have a small opening. some of my tarps have a small split ring that just fits if I rotate into the smallest thickness. But sometimes that ring still finds its way out while packed up (not when it’s rigged up). Other tarps have a thick D-Ring (or triangle shape) - too thick for the claw opening. In that case you make a loop of some cord, hitch it to the D-Ring and put that loop in the claw. Others add a little noose to that loop so it more aggressively holds on to the claw.

I understand all about different tarps and moving gear from one to another depending upon the expected requirement. For example, tomorrow I’m leaving on a four day trip with weather prediction of warm nights and no rain. So I’m taking my WarBonnet MiniFly. It’s the smallest tarp in my quiver - lots of visibility and access but, should it rain, it will still keep me dry. Instead of moving rigging line/hardware from tarp to tarp, it is not that expensive to set up each one with it’s own, permentantly affixed, ridgeline cord and hardware. I may keep that guyline stakes separate. And I go back and forth on keeping the guylines themselves attached tothe tarp or just in a bag to grab (or forget) along with the stakes. Sometimes you might need and extra long run - like if you want to tie of to a tree rather than stake to the ground. So extra guylines are handy.

Here’s my usual setup:
I have a line of 1.75mm ZingIt about 35 ft long. It has a small hook held by an eye at one end. Note that you don’t tie knots in those Amsteel type lines - you weave in eye’s and such. Along the line there are two Nama Claws and the tarp’s ridgeline D-Rings are attach to them (maybe via a small loop of cord). At the other end of the line - along the line passed the tarp - not at the very end, is some version of locking hardware. It can be a DutchWare Wasp, or LoopAlien, Figure-9 or even a sliding toggle (bar). It is just something used to lock off the line at that end.

The tarp is in a snakeskin so it looks like a long tube (nylon or mesh). and the line comes out of each end. For packing, I sort of roll that tube up and wrap the exterior line around it.

I should interject here that though some “ways” are better than others, there is no absolute “Right Way”, except for an unspoken rule that you get your hammock/tarp setup before the tent guys are done. It’s just a rumor that I start scoping out trees as we approach within 100 yards of the proposed camp area :)

So I wrap the hook end of the line around the tree and attach it so the Line is coming off the side fo the tree, not the middle (less stress on gear). I feed out the snakeskin as I walk to the other tree and slide the locking hardware at that end along so it’s at a point on the line where I can lock off on it after I bring that end around the tree. At this point, I have a line strung taut between two trees with a fat boa constrictor in the middle. Then I slide off the snake skin, have a philosophical discussion with myself about keeping the guylines attached to the tarp or keeping them separate, and guy out the tarp. I usually put in one to both poles to pick a side up the tarp up for easy entry and more visibility. If it’s windy or going to be stormy/rainy later, I’ll remove the poles at night and guy to the ground.

I’m trying to remind myself that the tarp ridgeline does not have to be level. It makes easier entry of one end is a little higher and also helps assure rainwater run off instead of pooling. At this time, I have “pre-made” guylines that have a length of bungee cord backup by the fixed line that restricts the stretching. So I get some play, but the shock-cord shouldn’t break and even if it does, the guyline is till attached.

I absolutely think a person should know a selection of knots. But, there is nothing wrong with using some hardware for ease of setup - so you can be done and go for that day paddle (or offer to help your tent companions).
 

cougarmeat

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In the case of hanky-panky, the rule usually is, at least one person must keep a foot on the ground. Get inventive. For more information, and to keep the moderator happy, you can google with appropriate key words.

But for SLEEPING - no, you do not want two people in the same hammock, no matter what any advertisement photo shows. My guess is, if the photo shoot does require two people in the same hammock, right after the shoot, one of the two people will file a restraining order against the other. There is close and there is too close.

Clark Hammocks, now sold by DutchWare, has a model called Vortex. It is essentially two hammocks sewn together, each person in their own sack.

Here are the problems: 1) any movement by one person will be felt by the other. Many in this forum are older and when you are older you find you have to get up at night - that will assuredly wake the other person up. Recall any video you’ve seen about a newborn giraffe taking its first steps. That “gracefulness” can be what it’s like to get out of a hammock - especially if the weight distribution is influenced by another body in the hammock. There are spreader bars (or hiking poles) you can put between two side-by-side hammocks - but that physical connection also transfers motion from one hammock to the other.

2), hammocks are designed for a weight limit - usually between 200 and 250 lbs. You can go heavier by using stronger fabric and/or using a double layer (DL) hammock. The DL has two layers of fabric on the bottom and is convenient if you are using a camp pad (inserted between the layers) instead of an underquilt. Note that that weight limit is the stress on the overall system - not the body weight in the hammock. The stress on the system is determined by the angle off the trees (support). When a vendor says that hammock will hold a 225lbs person, that assumes the hang angle will be about 30 degrees. So one reason for setting up with about a 30 degree angle is that imparts about the same force on the fabric/stitching/suspension as the weight of the person in the hammock. If you go shallower - like 20 degrees, it’s easy for a 200 lb load to apply about 300 lbs of force on the system. If you imagine a right triangle, the body weight is the vertical line and the force applied to the hammock is the hypotenuse (see hammock-hang-calculator). The shallower the angle, the longer the hypotenuse, meaning the more force applied to the system.

Also, all those force limits assume a static - not moving load. No Bouncing.

3) Even if you are with someone you really like, and cuddle up, my guess is you are not glued to each other all night long. At some point you will probably want your own space. Not be specific but I’m thinking one’s breath, six inches away, isn’t so fresh in the morning.

So, for many activities, the ground is still your friend. But if you want to be close - like handholding close - but still independent - the way it’s done is to find two trees with a diameter about the distance you want to be apart. You hang one hammock so the suspension comes off one side of the tree (most photos show a hammock coming off the middle of a tree, it’s better to come off the side). The second hammock is hung coming off the other side of the tree. That way, both hammocks are side by side, separated by the diameter of the tree. You are right next to each other, but each hammock is suspended independently so one person’s movements are not transferred to the other. I’m thinking of our big Ponderosa Pines or Doug Fir. A smaller tree might have a little sway - but if it did, I’d worry about it. You want it steel girder strong.

With two hammocks side by side, you now have the challenge of rigging a tarp so they are both covered. Some vendors (DutchWare) sell extra wide tarps.

ALWAYS REMEMBER TO LOOK UP AT THE BRANCHES TO CHECK FOR DEAD FALL. Because if you don’t, the “dead” might apply to more than just the branch.

A quick note - if the hammock is for sleeping instead of just lounging, the usually length is 10 to 11 feet. Most ENO hammocks and the cheapie one you find on Amazon are about 8 ft. When you hang a hammock, the end distance is usually about 83% of the physical length. So an 8 ft hammock would have its ends about 6.5 ft apart. If you are anywhere close to 6 ft tall that will not be comfortable.

I should probably move any further comments along this line to Hammockology instead of Tarpology. But again - this is all a repeat of what you’d find in HammockForums.net. Though I might be able to answer a specific question faster than looking through 50 pages on the same thread.
 

mick_allen

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May 15, 2005
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3,363
The hennessy hammock I have [safari] is rated for 350#, but is an old single bottom access and there'd be nothing but hassles getting in and out for the first person. As well, altho diagonal sleeping is quite interesting, I also think two would just roll together. So I like the space, but after first use, never thought another person was viable.
 
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