Making My Own Bushcraft Tarp

Discussion in 'Shelter' started by Derk, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. Derk

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    I want to make my own tarp system. The 1.9 oz ripstop tarps are great to save weight and bulk but they're so so so weak. I hate having camping gear made from this material. It just plain doesn't last. I have a tent made from 2.9 oz ripstop nylon and it didn't make it three months without tearing out. I just don't want the stuff anymore.

    I've been looking about good old fashioned "break your back" canvas pup tents, but I'd really rather have a tarp system. I've looked about making a canvas tarp, but it seems that the 400D and 500D nylon Cordura fabrics are much stronger, waterproof, weigh less, and has less bulk than canvas.

    So does anyone have an opinion on the 400D and 500D nylon Cordura canvas? Are they too stiff for the tarp setup? What are the real weights of these nylon materials? It seems that every site has a different number of ounces per yard. I've seen 5 oz to 10 oz. That's a big difference. I have a Molle II large field pack and it's made of 1000D Cordura. It seems like a great material, but the tarp may push up to seven or eight pounds. The other two should keep me in the four to six pound range, which is fine.

    Thanks for any help you can give!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
  2. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    You can still buy a real canvas tarp yet, other than the light painters tarps. I have a couple of 10x12 waxed canvas tarps, I think they were around $40-50 bucks each. They are a bit on the heavy side, but they are tough!
     
  3. GoodPhotos

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    From what I can gleen in a quick glance at, "10X10 cordura tarp" they weigh about 12lbs.
    A 10X10 tarp in 3oz ripstop nylon weighs about 2lbs.
    I'll carry the lighter tarp and some duct tape to repair any tears. Hel, I could carry TWO of the ripstop tarps as insurance and STILL save the 8lbs.
    I suppose if I were camping out of my Jeep or with a pack animal, Cordura would make more sense, but then if I were camping out of my Jeep or with a pack animal, why not the heavier duty canvas?
    If I've got to hump it all on my own back, I want as light and compact as I can get while still functional.
    :)
     
  4. Derk

    Derk Tracker

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    A 10x10 500d nylon cordura tarp does not weigh 12 pounds or even close to 12 pounds. A 1000d nylon cordura tarp won't weigh 12 pounds. A 12oz cotton duck canvas tarp won't even weigh that. A 10x10 in 500d cordura should weigh 5.5 pounds with the 400d coming in around 4 pounds. I'll take the tougher material over the paper thin junk any day of the week. I have a 10x12 military tarp that has been waterproofed with linseed oil. Linseed oil coating is super heavy. It's 13 pounds. That's too much, but the cordura is a perfectly fine material weight wise. In tests the 500d and the 400d are stronger than 16oz cotton duck canvas but weigh about half.

    The big problem is that I'm not made of that kind of money. A common 10x10 1.9oz tarp costs $70. Then it's trash in three months of camping (three dead tents prove this to me). I can't keep buying that garbage over and over. I've already thrown a lot of money down that hole. I need something with some balls to it. I can buy the 500d and sew my own for around $60 and it will last... and I don't need to haul around a roll of duct tape for repairs either.
     
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  5. IA Woodsman

    IA Woodsman Overwatch Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator Vendor Lifetime Supporter Bushclass Instructor

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    I have never seen a tarp made of Cordura. Lots of pack,bags, and pouches but never a tarp.
     
  6. GoodPhotos

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    I THOUGHT 12lbs sounded heavy (considering how light my THW Haversack is empty), but that's what several sites had 10X10 Cordura tarps listed as weighing.
    Let me know how it works out and if it's light enough, I'll commission one from you! :)
     
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  7. GoodPhotos

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  8. IA Woodsman

    IA Woodsman Overwatch Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator Vendor Lifetime Supporter Bushclass Instructor

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    This worries me when I see water repellent and breathable. This is quoted from the above link:

    Super Tough, New CORDURA Nylon Tarp made right here in our USA factory. Made of 1000 denier coated, tough, Dupont/Invista brand USA Coated CORDURA Nylon. Water Repellent. Breathable. Super, Super Tough.
     
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  9. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Tyvek is water repellent, pretty much waterproof and still allows air to pass through. May not be quite breathable though. I wonder what the perm is to be considered breathable?
     
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  10. Derk

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    Yeah, I see this Amazon listing for 10x10 tarps. That's why I was confused on the weight. By that the nylon weighs 17+ ounces a yard. 1000D nylon cordura is supposed to be 12oz a yard. Virtually all the material sites have 500d listed at 8-9oz a yard and 400d at 7-8oz. Makes a big difference.
     
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  11. Derk

    Derk Tracker

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    I just got in enough 500d nylon cordura to make a 10x12 tarp. The material weighs 5lb 6oz before sewing. It cost me $60. I still have to buy the proper thread, so that'll add a bit to the cost.
     
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  12. Derk

    Derk Tracker

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    I just calculated out the actual weight of this material. There's 13 1/3 square yards here that weighs 5 pounds 6 ounces. That calculates out to an actual 6.45 ounces a yard. That's lighter than they estimated the 400d to weigh. It seems like nice material. Feels like my Molle II pack.
     
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  13. Bob_Spr

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    @Derk - where did you buy the material?
     
  14. Derk

    Derk Tracker

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  15. Derk

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    I'm checking the water resistance of this material. I've used the material to line a colander and I put a cup of water in it to hold. I assume that it will eventually leak through but hopefully it's fully water repellent.

    20190110_150319.jpg
     
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  16. GoodPhotos

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    You could also probably 'scotchgaurd' it with a waterproofing spray as well without adding much weight.
     
  17. Derk

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    It didn't let a drop of water through while sitting. Looks to be pretty waterproof.
     
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  18. hidden_lion

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    How big is it when folded up?
     
  19. Derk

    Derk Tracker

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    It's not all sewed together yet and I've not compressed it at all in a bag. I came folded up in about a 14 inch square about 4 inches thick.

    I got some outdoor thread at JoAnns yesterday and have been hemming this up. I'm double sewing everything. I planned on making the tie-down loops by sewing doubled up pieces of the cordura but it didn't look clean enough to me, so I've ordered some brown cordura webbing from the same place I ordered the material.
     
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  20. GoodPhotos

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    I look forward to photos when you are done!
     
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  21. Derk

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    I just finished sewing up the edges and center seam. I double sewed everything and sewed four tight lines for the center seam. I wanted to fold over the center seam one more time but it didn't seem feasible when I was doing it, so I sewed an extra couple seams down the middle.

    I still have to wait for the webbing to show up on the 22nd before I can get the straps sewn on. It's going to have 27 loops. Every two foot around the edge and ridgeline and a couple extra in the middle so I can use either the 10 foot length or the 12 foot length for my ridgeline.

    I just rolled it up, not really compressed but generally tight, into a roll 17" long by 5" across. It weighs 5 pounds 6 ounces. It may go up a bit when I add the webbing.
     
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  22. A Seedy Lot

    A Seedy Lot Scout

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    I have made a few 10x10 tarps on with xpac and one out of some light weight material from https://ripstopbytheroll.com.
    Ripstop by the roll has great prices and also a great selection in fabrics found no were else. They have fabrics made for them and do not just selling end mills.
     
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  23. NJStricker

    NJStricker Guide

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    My concern with Cordura would be the coarse weave. Even modern canvas does not have the fine weave of the old stuff used for tents. As the Cordura stretches and is folded eventually it will fail.
     
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  24. Derk

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    I have several packs made from cordura that are years and even a couple decades old. They've been bent and beaten but are still water tight. I don't know why you'd be referring to the material failing. I have one pack from Iraq that is perfectly water tight. We'll see, I suppose.
     
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  25. Derk

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    I went to sew the cordura webbing to the doubled up 550 cordura tarp edge and the new sewing machine won't handle it. I'm going to get some leather or denim needles tomorrow and try them. If they still won't work then I'll have to pull out the hundred year old singer. That dude will sew two cars together. It'll handle it. Seriously, I've sewed four layers of full thickness bullhide together with this old Singer machine. It'll sew anything the needle will handle. I have broken needles off.:4:
     
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  26. GoodPhotos

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    There's always a Speedy Stitcher!
     

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