Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

Talking Tarps

Looking for further ways to decrease my load, I started to look at tarps. I really like my Scarp 1, but I believe that weight savings can and should be made. Initially planned for the next summer, I am looking for a tarp (and a bivy bag, which will be discussed in a future post). It should be light, flexible in its use, have plenty of room, and if possible be useable without trekking poles (I don't have any and am not convinced of their usefulness). It also should withstand high wind speeds and be able to carry some snow. Finally, it should be under 300 g excluding guylines, line locks, stakes and poles.

There's plenty of companies out there who make tarps, but only a few made it into my list. Besides the option of buying one, I like the idea of making my own. But as I want to go as light as possible with a tarp, that would mean I need to sew cuben fibre, which, I read, isn't the easiest material to work with if you're a beginner. So while the idea is certainly in the back of my head, I think for the first tarp I will trust a company's sewing skills over my own and buy one. In case you're wondering, for me tarps and shelters are the same - floorless, without bug protection, with lots of views.

So, here the options I have had a look at:

MLD Grace Solo Spectralite .60
- 168 g in Spectralite .60
- no beak or rear end, which could mean some rain or snow, but certainly wind, can come "in"
- lots of view
- 260$

MLD Patrol Shelter
- 184 g in Spectralite .60
- has a beak and closed rear end
- 305$

LAUFBURSCHE Duo Cubenshelter
- 208 g
- has a beak and closed rear
- I'll not disclose the price as I am not sure if I have the permission to do so

Gossamer Gear SpinnShelter
- 250 g in 0.99 Spinnaker cloth
- has a beak and closed rear
- 195$

Integral Designs Sil Poncho
- 280 g in Silnylon
- Can be used as a Poncho/ Packcover - great multipurpose item
- 95$

That's it already. Four companies, five options in total. The DuoMid, while an interesting shelter, didn't make it in there as its "too heavy" even in cuben, and I am not ready to pay over 400$ for a shelter. The GG Spinnshelter looks good and is cheap, and the video on the GG side is awesome and gives a good idea how it functions. Maybe Ron from MLD or one of the fans out there are able to produce something similar. The LAUFBURSCHE shelter is excellent, and I would be supporting a European SUL manufacturer, which is always nice. Integral Design's Sil Poncho is a classic, and I could drop the rain jacket from the pack, further walking lighter. Multipurpose items are one facet of UL backpacking, and the ID Sil Poncho is a excellent choice for that reason.

I now just need to assess my financial situation and then make a decision. The dollar is currently approaching the 1,50€ mark, which makes the US shelters quite affordable. Anyhow, I am looking forward to your comments and recommendations, and hear which tarp you are using or considering.

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