|HEAVY DUTY TARP TIPS||Back to Hints & Tips|
|A heavy duty tarp is an important piece of equipment that is being used today by many campers. These tarps (tarpaulins) improve your camping experience by offering added comfort. This is achieved by providing extra shade, an area to set up a kitchen and dine under, cooler temperatures in tents, protection from falling debris and great protection from the ultimate camping dampener (rain). Tarps can also be used as ground cover and will provide great protection from ground moisture and added comfort when camping on sand, dirt or wet grass.
A heavy duty tarp is superior to a standard tarp as it includes: computer stitched webbing attached to stainless steel D rings, reinforced seams and corners, UV Protection, 14x14 strong weave, welded rope perimeter and a 12 month manufacturers warranty on manufacturing faults and defects. These tarps are TOUGH!
#1 WHAT SIZE TARP?
To determine what size tarp is required you need to ask a couple of questions. Firstly what will the tarp be used for? Secondly what is the size of the tent, load, or area to be covered?
If the heavy duty tarp is to be erected over a tent and have enough room to provide shelter for a kitchen and dining area, you will need to obtain the dimensions of the tent and add sufficient coverage for table, chairs and BBQ. It is also a good idea to allow 600 to 1000mm awning for the rear and sides of your tent. See below for an example layout.
#2 HOW MANY POLES, GUY ROPES AND PEGS?
Once you have determined the size of the tarp, look at the packaging and read how many D rings are specified. You will require one pole to every second D ring (poles = D rings divided by two). You will need one guy rope for each pole, and double guy ropes on all four corners to alleviate tension from the corners of the tarp as well as providing the extra stability required on the corner poles. It is also advisable to incorporate the use of tension springs on the guy ropes to cater for any buffering the tarp may experience from wind. Last but not least you will need one peg for each guy rope.
#3 SELECTING THE POLES
There are two varieties of poles; galvanized and aluminum. The galvanized poles are extendable and use a thumb screw to fix off. The aluminum poles are also extendable and use a cam lock to fix off. Galvanised poles are heavier and sturdier, but if used frequently in a sandy environment the galvanized coating can wear and leave the pole susceptible to rusting. On the other hand, aluminum poles are lighter, easy to fix off and will not rust.
#4 SELECTING THE PEGS
To select pegs you need to ask one question; sand or soil? If you answered sand you will need to buy sand pegs. These come in plastic or steel and are designed with a larger surface area to deliver ultimate anchoring support. Obviously, if you are camping on the beach you will want to purchase plastic pegs as these will not rust. For sandy soil the answer is a steel angle style peg, and for hard ground the straight peg style is the best.
An absolute must have accessory for the insertion and removal of pegs is the Coleman WakJak. This mallet is constructed of high grade PVC and uses dynamic energy with a hook on the handle to easily remove your pegs. It has been machine tested to pull over 3 tonnes! Another great gadget is the BCF peg puller, a galvanized shaft with a T handle that uses leverage to assist in the removal of pegs.
#5 HOW TO ERECT YOUR HEAVY DUTY TARP
The fastest and easiest way to set up your camp is to first erect your heavy duty tarp. Set your poles to the desired height (set two poles higher that the rest), then with guy ropes and pegs at hand insert the spigot of the pole through the stainless steel D ring, loop the end of the guy rope over the spigot and run the guy rope down to the peg and insert into the ground. Tension the rope and you are complete and continue this process on all poles. Don't forget to use two guy ropes at each corner and position them at 90 degrees to each other. Running a rail or ridgebar between the two highest poles will create an apex and assist with runoff as well as adding extra support to the middle of the tarp.