Hammock Practice #2 - tarps in WIND!!!

Discussion in 'Hammocks' started by NJHeart2Heart, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. NJHeart2Heart

    NJHeart2Heart Backyard Bushcrafter Supporter

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    This is a continuation of my preparation with my new bridge hammock setup for an official hammock camping weekend end of April :)

    This Saturday, I decided to practice putting up some of my tarps.
    OH MY GOODNESS WIND...WIND.. AND MORE WIND!!!! But my I learned a lot, and quick!

    Ted the hubby was on his way a little behind me (after all there was a craft beer brewery release... and he HAD to do that LOL!).
    I got to the park, which is about 20 minutes from our house. One of our favorite easy targets for hiking and being outdoors. I parked at the day use site, and did a nice casual walk around to see what trees were available, and what the status of the ground was. MUDDY! That was the status, at least in the first area I checked. We've had a historical record breaking amount of precipitation this winter season - not snow, but rain..and the last few weeks have just made our own yard a mud pit between melting snow, and rain rain rain..

    First, a quick mile walk in the woods with the hubby was great for warming up just a bit.
    screenshot_20190323-174658_46537703665_o.png
    Did I mention we've had a LOT of rain? Yep, and it was apparent on the trail. I recently felt victorious for FINALLY replacing my 10 years+ hiking shoes, but I wasn't quite ready to take the new ones on the trail, and the old ones are rather holey, so I was better off in my sneakers. It was a nice bit of a walk. Just right for two out of shape mid-40-somethings who are anxious to get back into shape, but whose bodies are yelling EASY!!
    20190323_140830_46537693645_o.jpg
    I was surprised by two distinct moss greens on our walk. One, like this pictures, more muted yellowish tinge, and one (not pictured) a beautiful bright, truly basic GREEN color growing on some rocks. It was nice to make some observations, even if on a short trip..

    We got back to the day use area, and while hubby took another spin, I attempted my first tarp setup of the season. I picked two trees, and got my ridgeline up first.
    20190323_163503_32511112487_o.jpg

    First tree up above here, simply attached a carabiner (yes, I am embracing the pink :) ) to a premade bowline, easy peasy. The other side was a bit more challenging. I didn't have a plan for how to get the other side set so that I could get the ridgeline guitar-string taut, but I had hardware and lots of ideas from what I've read and vids watched. I was not intending to go all out bushcraft here, and actually wanted to experiment with a variety of hardware I've gotten over the last couple months (because I obessively buy cordage and hardware for fun).
    Here you have a cool tightening turn technique I saw on a video. You wrap once around the tree, and then come over and around the ridgeline again, and back around the tree. This helps give it a good bit of tension to start with...

    20190323_163418_46729771134_o.jpg

    I already had a couple/three prusiks tied into the ridgeline, and let me tell you, I grow to love these things more and more by the day!

    20190323_163405_33576664948_o.jpg
    ..then followed that up by clipping a large Nite Ize carbiner clip onto the prusik, and fastened the ridgeline end onto the hooky part (I know, great terminology, right? LOL!). Love these things too, so I give equal love to knots and hardware alike :) Is there a better setup (like why didn't I just to a taut line hitch to fasten the end?) Definitely! and I know several alternative ways to do this, but in this case, I was experimenting with hardware and how I could configure my setups in different ways, so I was ok with a bit of duplicative work. 20190323_163412_46729771034_o.jpg
    I was pretty proud of my work thus far and once it was fastened, stood to admire my adorable happy green apple colored prussiks with my little cute blue plastic carabiners that coincidentally matched the paracord prettily.

    20190323_163453_46729772164_o.jpg
    Mind, you it was already windy, and I hadn't even pulled out the tarp yet (this becomes more entertaining if you can use your imagination below).

    Now, getting the tarp up? Different animal. My first tarp was basically sitting in it's original packaging and the guylines were not yet attached. I set out to get that beautiful almost ultra-light material up and over the ridgeline and then somehow manage to hold it there while trying to attach the guylines in constantly gusting winds. Well, it was a humourous DISASTER! One of the few times I totally had to laugh at myself (I'm usually a pretty serious perfectionist). The WIND was soooo crazy, and it just WHOOSHED through from all angles.

    Besides the missing guylines, I hadn't even marked up in any way, the short side from long side on the tarp, so just imagine my little plump body, fighting against this crazy wind and not even knowing what side I really WANTED over the other side of the ridgeline. 10 minutes (and I'm being kind here) I finally fought it over, only to find it was folded across the SHORT side, and I had wanted it to lay long-ways from tree to tree. The wind just billowed that thing out alike a GIANT gymnasium parachute, and some moments I had all I could to hold on and hope it didn't tear in two! I tried to stake that gray gusting kite down, but every time I got one in, and started moving toward the other corner, the first one pulled out, or the wind whipped the opposite corner (not staked down) BACK over the ridgeline towards me. Sadly I have no photos of this, but I almost (ALMOST) wish my husband could have captured my efforts, it was hilarious! I think I burned more calories just fighting that tarp then my mile long walk in the woods!

    So.. 20 minutes later, guylines here, there and everywhere, tarp fluttering randomly and Ted approaching, I gave up (for the time being.. to be continued with the Paria Tarp). I had another tarp in my bag of tricks, so I decided to give that one a try.

    To be continued....
     
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  2. NJHeart2Heart

    NJHeart2Heart Backyard Bushcrafter Supporter

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    Soo... Tarp #2 was SUCCESSFUL, and I learned a great deal about that experience too!
    After shoving my first tarp in a bag temporarily, I took out this handy dandy two sided stuff sack which housed the most lovely robin egg blue - totally NON bushcrafty looking lightweight tarp :)
    20190323_163440_46729771694_o.jpg
    As you can see from the spoiler picture, the biggest difference here is that it was in a stuff sack such that the ridgeline of the tarp was already "set" on top of the parcord, and the tie out loops for the center of each short end were exposed. So, as I tied up my ridgeline, the tarp was already suspended. I was able to attach one end of the tarp to my existing prusik/carabiner, and then just pull it out and attach immediately to the other prusik. This in itself was still a challenge but by then I also had a sense of the direction the wind was going most often, so I also re-oriented perpendicular to the original pair of trees. It was still crazy windy, and coming from all directions, but perhaps slightly less horrendous than the first orientation. I did have a heck of a time adjusting the ridgeline itself, which had way too much slack on the end of the static end of the rope, and too little excess on the adjustable side, so I had to HEAVE HO on that ridgeline to get enough slack to disconnect part of the tarp to make my adjustments (sorry I know this makes no sense without photos).

    My big take away lesson from Tarp #2 was which guyline technique works best for WIIINNNDDDY conditions.

    #1 Worst hardware ever! Well at least for this size rope (and I don't think I'd use it even for smaller diameter). It was fidgety to adjust and more importantly I just didn't trust that it would stay fastened.
    20190323_155003_46729767824_o.jpg

    #2 Better, but this piece of hardware is made to be permanently attached to a grosgrain ribbon type of tarp tie out piece. I fell in love with these when I was camping with a new tent last fall -they worked great. Here it was clunky because, me having a phobia against permanent attachments, I used a cow hitched loop to attach to each end, and it apparently works best when it's aligned nice and straight. It also I think is made for about the same size cordage, but the reflective stuff is more "bumpy", so it didn't slide as smoothly as it might have.
    20190323_155215_46729768554_o.jpg

    #3 The adjustment was not at the tarp end, but at the stake end, with a good 'ole tautline hitch. This is my runner up as I know the knot by heart, and it works really well under moderate loads once attached. However, I like to use a bowline loop and a cowhitch to attach to my stakes, and with the tautline, I was only able to loop it once around the stake, or it wouldn't adjust.
    33576664458_8fd2bb9d3f_o.jpg

    #4 The WINNER of the day, and what I'm going to modify most of my guylines with, is the Nite Ize mini camjam. Quick and easy attachment at the tarp end, and I can leave the guyline attached (with aforementioned cowhitched bowline) on the stake, then the adjustment is dead easy. Just pull out of the "jam area" to loosen, pull it back into the jamming mechanism to re-attach and tighten. The camjam didn't care that the cordage was bumpy, and I was able to maintain my other two criteria (easy attach/detach from tarp, and secure cowhitch around stakes).

    2019-03-25d.JPG

    Ordered several more, so I can set up multiple sets of guylines (I have tons or cordage so I can afford to duplicate), and I always have my beloved tautline hitch as a backup :)

    Lastly, a very short video to show the extent of the wind that day:
     

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    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  3. bacpacjac

    bacpacjac Queen of the Cups Supporter Bushclass I

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    Way to go, Dawn! I laughed a little but when I tried to hang a tarp in the wind this Winter, I realized that it's not as easy as it seems. I salute your determination and dedication. Not to mention your Knot Knowledge. Thank you for this thread! You've set my brain afire with ideas and tasks. Among other things, I will be practicing my knots AND finding some Nite Ize mini camjams and mini biners. ;) Thank you!
     
  4. bacpacjac

    bacpacjac Queen of the Cups Supporter Bushclass I

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    WOW! I should have waited for the video. Awesome job!!!
     
  5. NJHeart2Heart

    NJHeart2Heart Backyard Bushcrafter Supporter

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    Yeah.. I'd never posted a video before so it took me a couple tries :) Glad I thought to video just a bit of it. Makes my comments a bit more realistic :)
    :40::40:
     
  6. Monkeynono

    Monkeynono Guide

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    Question, is the ridge line run under the tarp? Is the ridge line paracord?

    Also, bridges are awesome!!!
     
  7. NJHeart2Heart

    NJHeart2Heart Backyard Bushcrafter Supporter

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    Yes, the ridgeline is under the tarp. DON'T CARE, because I WANT to! :18::18:... (but will admit I do not have the knowledge of why it's BADDD to put the ridgeline under the tarp.....)

    and <sigh>

    yes it's paracord... (this one I know better at least) yes it stretches, and yes, it soaks up water, and yes... other stuff that makes it BAAAD for ridgelines... but ZING IT doesn't knot nice and I don't WANNA learn to splice!!!:17::17:
    I did think of tarred bank line.. but it's not PRETTY like all my colorful paracord!
    Why are you harshing my paracord BUZZ!?!!

    Ok.. yeah sure give me you oh so sage advice now :p:p (no really. it's ok. now that I've gotten the spoiled 4 year old out of my system)
    :40::40:
     
  8. Monkeynono

    Monkeynono Guide

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    You are right on the paracord.
    About the ridge line being under is only an issue in the rain, as it will travel down and drip inside (learned this the hard way).

    And splicing is fun....... I swear...... while I'm splicing
     
  9. NJHeart2Heart

    NJHeart2Heart Backyard Bushcrafter Supporter

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    NO SPLICING!!!! :eek::eek::eek: I willingly admit I'm LAZY!!

    Ah.. that is a good point about being under.... but I LOOOOVEEE MY PRETTY PARACORD!! HRUMPFFF!!
    Well for practice, I'm not planning on being in the rain (at least not yet), plus notice I've separated hammock hanging and tarp setup into different skill sets (and practice sessions).. so for now I'm good :D

    :40::40:
     
  10. wvridgerunner

    wvridgerunner BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    Good work setting up the tarp and finding a useful workout routine with cordage and a tarp.
     
  11. NJHeart2Heart

    NJHeart2Heart Backyard Bushcrafter Supporter

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    Don't forget the winds! Its just not a workout if I'm not fighting the winds while setting up! :confused::p:D:oops::D
    :40::40:
     
  12. PaPa K

    PaPa K Supporter Supporter

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    Another potential problem running the ridge line under is it can wear on the tarp over time from movement and friction. Many, including myself still do it that way, just another choice to be made. Under also give you a place to hang your ridge line bag...you do have one right??;). Also, snakeskins for the tarps make it a little easier when it is windy as you can get everything hooked to the trees before you deploy the tarp, more like camping, less like sailing. Keep at it, since I went to hammocks 4+ years ago, I have never slept so good outdoors.
     
  13. M.Hatfield

    M.Hatfield Midnight Joker #42 Lifetime Supporter

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    Once had wind blow my tent down into a canyon in Utah! :confused: :eek:

    Color me impressed that you got your shelter safely tied down. :dblthumb:
     
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  14. Woods Walker

    Woods Walker Rattlesnake Charmer. Supporter Bushclass I

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    I use those knots all the time. They allow the tarp to slide into position then tighten up. Nice pitch and tarp.
     
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