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Author Topic: How to convert tarp to tent  (Read 7745 times)

Offline yardsale

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How to convert tarp to tent
« on: November 17, 2019, 10:18:43 am »
I have a 10 x 12 Egyptian Cotton tarp given to me by Tentworks many years ago as they were a year late in producing a tent I purchased from them. Is it possible to remake this tarp into an alternative to the 21 lb Snowtrekker tent two of us currently use?  Would be MUCH lighter.   My initial modeling suggests this enough material to construct  a  pyramid type structure with four equilateral triangle panels 6' on a side yelding a height of about 5.5'. Inside dimensions are 4' x 4' with a 2' height or 4 x 6 if you extend the total length of the tent.  Doesn't sound like enough space for two if we add our small 4 Dog stove.  Ideas?
« Last Edit: November 17, 2019, 10:26:40 am by yardsale »

Offline Bothwell Voyageur

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Re: How to convert tarp to tent
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2019, 12:06:10 pm »
Don’t cut it up. Take a look at the videos by Papa Hiker on YouTube. He has a series of videos showing some of the enclosed tarp shelters depicted possible with a relatively small tarp. It’s never going to be huge but depending on the level of comfort you are looking for may be what you are looking for. You’d need a small stove and think about adding a stove jack, or maybe make up a door panel with a jack, but take some time to play and figure out what would suit.

Failing that I’d happily swap your tarp for enough 5oz tight weave cotton to make an 8 by 8 tent.
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Offline yardsale

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Re: How to convert tarp to tent
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2019, 03:13:21 pm »
Easy enough to try that out before considering any cutting.  Thinking I could just route the stove pipe out the front without bothering with a stove jack. Thanks for the suggestion.

Offline yardsale

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Re: How to convert tarp to tent
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2019, 02:10:43 pm »
Hey BV,
My Egyptian cotton tarp doesn't have the middle guy out points discussed in the video. I am wondering if this material will tolerate the "stone attachment" tarp technique where you place a round object (I have 1" wooden balls) under a tarp, then gather and tie off material under the ball to spread the load on the tarp.  Thoughts?   I also might try turning this structure into a modified tee pee by replacing the guy out points with auxiliary poles attached to the central pole somehow.

Offline Bothwell Voyageur

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Re: How to convert tarp to tent
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2019, 03:10:36 pm »
Not sure which arrangements your trying to achieve but I can see that may be a problem. Even if the cotton can take the wear (how about rubber balls?) it may be that the stone attachment point could cause water to come through. How about rare earth magnets? A two inch disc can hold well over 100lbs of pull.

Its not hard to sew more pull outs on. Back them up with another layer of fabric, glue into place and then sew.
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Offline rbinhood

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Re: How to convert tarp to tent
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2019, 07:59:07 pm »
Small pullouts added from 7 ounce cotton canvas would add little to the weight and would give you many more pitching options. I think I'd avoid the stones or balls.
Regardless, you're going to have trouble fitting two inside, plus a stove. One plus a stove, maybe.
"Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify."
Henry David  Thoreau

Offline yardsale

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Re: How to convert tarp to tent
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2019, 10:15:29 am »
Wanted to try temporary attachments to try out the space before making permanent changes to the tarp.  Papa Hiker says the pitch yields enough for two plus a bike which I would think is equal to two plus a stove but we'll see.

Offline yardsale

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Re: How to convert tarp to tent
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2019, 03:19:00 pm »
Set it up today.  Would be tight for two people plus the stove.  Will check it in the rain tomorrow to see what happens.

Offline Bothwell Voyageur

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Re: How to convert tarp to tent
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2019, 04:32:24 pm »
One thought would be to set it up as an A frame over a ridge line then add a door at either end. Hammock campers use something similar, referring to them as "beaks". One beak could have the stove jack sewn in, the other would act as your door.
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Offline yardsale

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Re: How to convert tarp to tent
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2019, 08:33:58 am »
BV, a large pup tent in other words.  Would be dependent on having trees accessible.     My  teepee pitch managed to stay dry in wind driven rain last night BUT the fabric seemed to stretch overnight such that the pitch sagged badly.  When I looked at it i thought some stakes must have pulled out but no.  Common with this 4 oz fabric?

Offline Bothwell Voyageur

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Re: How to convert tarp to tent
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2019, 10:11:05 am »
You could always take poles or cut them if allowed.
The rain may have contributed to the stretch, plus, the tipi pitches usually pull along the bias rather than at 90 deg. to the weave so that an make the fabric stretch. You can always put shock cord loops on the pull outs to take up any stretch.
The old "George Tent" tarp designs described in Kephart's book had all the panels cut s that when the tarp was formed into a tent all the load was in line with the weave. Sometimes the stretch is useful. A lot of tarp shelters need it to work effectively. Fabrics like Cuben Fiber (DCF) don't stretch and make crappy shelters.
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Offline AunNordDuNord

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Re: How to convert tarp to tent
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2019, 11:43:46 am »
You could always take poles or cut them if allowed.
The rain may have contributed to the stretch, plus, the tipi pitches usually pull along the bias rather than at 90 deg. to the weave so that an make the fabric stretch. You can always put shock cord loops on the pull outs to take up any stretch.
The old "George Tent" tarp designs described in Kephart's book had all the panels cut s that when the tarp was formed into a tent all the load was in line with the weave. Sometimes the stretch is useful. A lot of tarp shelters need it to work effectively. Fabrics like Cuben Fiber (DCF) don't stretch and make crappy shelters.
Hmmm I don't know if I would agree with your last statement, I have friends up here that use only Hypelight tents and have been for years now and wouldn't go with anything else. The tents are super light, really tough in pretty much any conditions, lots of snow and wind and all of that above tree line on extended trips up to 20+ days.... Anyway, I never used one so I can't say they are good or crapy but those guys sure swear by them!!

Offline Bothwell Voyageur

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Re: How to convert tarp to tent
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2019, 01:48:47 pm »
Great tents, crappy tarp shelters. They work very well in the shape they are sewn but try to do something imaginative and things start to go wrong. I have the Mountain Laurel Designs Trailstar in silnylon, it's also made in DCF but even the manufacturer says it's not as good as the Silnylon version due to lack of stretch.
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Offline yardsale

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Re: How to convert tarp to tent
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2019, 03:44:19 pm »
 "You can always put shock cord loops on the pull outs to take up any stretch."

The pitch was taught around the perimeter. I also tried to increase the height of the single pole and that didn't help either. Really didn't understand what was going on.

Offline Boatman53

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Re: How to convert tarp to tent
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2019, 09:27:00 am »
Years ago I made a pyramid style tent out of coated ripstop nylon. All the panels were cut with straight seams and each panel was cut square on the fabric. When I set it up for the first time there was a big flap of fabric along each seam which I didn’t anticipate. I ended up ripping out all the seams, recutting the panels in a curve based on the amount of extra fabric from the first setup. After re sewing it set tight all around.
Jim