The Ray-Way BatWing Kit

A Door That Closes Off One End of the Ray-Way Tarp

Ray-Way Products

Ray & Jenny Jardine

The BatWing on the A.T.

While pitching my tarp one evening I found two sticks close at hand. Neither one was quite strong enough, so I used them both together.

A cold wind was slanting rain, but I slept very comfortably thanks to my BatWing.

BatWing Kit

The BatWing is a door that closes off one end of the Ray-Way tarp, used on those stormy nights when the wind is slanting rain a ways into the interior.

It weighs very little, and is quick and easy to set up. You can set it up from inside - you don't have to go out in the rain. But when you do have to go out in the middle of the night, you can quickly and easily unhook one side of the BatWing.

It works with or without a Net-Tent or Spitfire, and is adjustable depending on the geometry of the pitch.

Of course you can have two BatWings, one at each end (but to me that would be over-kill because I would pitch just one BatWing on the tarp's windward end only).

I developed the BatWing for my 2009 AT thru-hike, and carried it the entire way. I used it only once, when in the middle of the night the wind piped up and started flinging rain into the interior. I was glad to have it that night, and carried it for the rest of trip, just in case. Then in 2010 during my third AT thru-hike I carried a BatWing and used it many times - because the weather tends to be stormer in the early season. Since then I have carried a BatWing on every trip that involved camping.

The BatWing is not customizable, and must be ordered to fit a Ray-Way tarp in ether a one-person or two person version.

1) To fit a One-Person Ray-Way tarp. 1.4 oz.

2) To fit a Two-Person Ray-Way tarp. 2.1 oz.

Because the BatWing so light and functional, I recommend every Ray-Way tarp owner carry one.

Contents of our Batwing Kit

Our Batwing Kit contains detailed instructions for making the Batwing, the needed fabric, webbing and directions for sewing the webbing to the tarp, and the cord and hooks for attaching the batwing to the tarp.

BatWing AT-2013. The night started out windy, but later the wind dropped so I reached up and unhooked the upper attachment which dropped the BatWing for needed ventilation.

I designed the Batwing - not to block the wind, although it does that well enough. But rather I designed it to block mainly the wind-driven rain. As such, it keeps the rain out without sacrificing the much-needed ventilation. That's why I didn't fill the gaps all around. These gaps let in the air, while the Batwing itself blocks the rain. So the person stays dry.

The reason I designed it this way was to minimize condensation. If instead I had made it fill the gaps, the person and his/her insulation would start getting damp from internal moisture build-up from breath and insensible perspiration.

Now, during most nights, the wind tends to lessen. Even during very windy nights, the wind tends to greatly diminish as the night wears on. Not always, but usually. So if you have a big Batwing that fills the gaps, you would wake up and find your quilt or sleeping bag moist, and the same for your clothing. Not good. But my design reduces this problem.

Still, on a big hike I will go to sleep on a very windy night with the Batwing set, then wake up mid-night and feel the moisture beginning to pervade the interior. By this I realize that the wind has dropped. So I simply reach up and un-hook the upper Batwing cord. This drops the Batwing to the ground, leaving that end of the tarp completely open. Hello to the much needed ventilation, and goodby to the moisture buildup. Then come morning I will finish un-hooking the Batwing at the lower edges and center, and pack it away in it's stowbag. Next I will stow the rest of my gear in the backpack, then emerge into the early morning and take down the tarp, and stow that also. Now I'm ready to start the day's hiking, assured that I won't have to stop mid-morning to "air-out" my quilt or sleeping bag, because it is already dry.

* * * * *

And here's a tip! After pitching your tarp - with or without the Batwing - take a few photos of your tarp setup and your campsite in general. Take some in the afternoon or evening, and again in the morning. These photos are guaranteed to bring back memories later on, not only of the tarp but the general abeyance of that camp. And as well, you will have something to post along with your feedback. As the saying goes "no pics and it didn't happen."  

"Bat-wing to the rescue!

On a recent trip to the Maroon Bells area in Colorado we experienced colder than anticipated temperatures, as low as 25 degF some nights when we didn't expect much lower than the mid-30's, and the ranger even mentioned temperatures as low as 15 degF. Fortunately we were well prepared.

We were camping at Crater Lake and had little choice of tarp site or orientation in the designated camp sites. It was a bit windy and blustery at night, with the wind changing direction frequently (I don't think it got below freezing at Crater Lake, though).

I set up the tarp with the foot end low to the ground and up against a large downed tree (to block the wind from that direction), and the head end high enough to sit up but low enough that my new bat-wing just about filled the entrance.

This worked out perfectly. There was plenty of air flow to remove all the moisture, but not so much that we got chilly or were bothered by it. We were snug and comfortable in our Ray-Way quilts both nights.

Without the bat-wing we would have had to lower the head end uncomfortably low, or perhaps use two umbrellas to try to partially block the wind.

Thanks for the great ideas and designs." -Elliott W.

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