"Used the tarp on a weekend scout camp in the high Wasatch Mountains. We experienced the first winter storm in the mountains. 1.57 inches of moisture in the form of rain, sleet, hail and eight inches of snow. I pitched the tarp using the two pole Ray-Way method. My tarp was one of three structures out of eight that did not sustain any damage and collapse from the wet snow. Throughout the night when the snow would build up, I'd bang the sides of the tarp with my hand and the snow would slip down to the ground. In the morning I had 18 inches of snow piled on each side of the tarp, but not a drop of water inside! If I had any questions about the design of the tarp, they were answered last Friday night / Saturday morning. PS. I don't know the speed of the wind, but it could be best described as whipping! PSS. I'm going to stop using a clove hitch on the stakes and start using the "Ray-Way butterfly quick release clove hitch." The wind tightened the clove hitches so tight that I could hardly loosen them in the morning." -John M. (Marc) K. Venture Crew 9112 Advisor, US.Army.Mil
"I completed sewing my new two-person tarp last night. What a wonderful shelter! And the experience of crafting it together, with practically no prior sewing experience, was very fulfilling and uplifting. It turned out quite well. What a delightful difference a lighter pack makes! I can focus on the beauty filling my soul rather than on my burden. I'm grateful that you have shared your vast experience with me through your books." -Ken
"Though we have never sewn anything before, we were able to (mostly) complete our RW tarp. We couldn't wait, and set it up in the back yard to see how it was going to look. Hey, just like the pictures! Maybe a little wrinkled but we'll fix that. Still need to sew in the lift patches and the accessory loops inside, but otherwise done. Not perfect, but still good. It weighs 14.7 oz on the digital postal scale in it's carry bag. Thanks for the great products and personalized service!" -George & Jalene H.
"I just finished making my 2 person tarp from your kit. The time the kit saved me in gathering materials and the knowledge that I was using the best quality material available make it a real (and rare) value. The directions in the Tarp book were very clear and easy to understand once you start to pay close attention to all those important details that make the tarp such a precision tool to use in the out-of-doors. I just followed the directions and everything fit together like a puzzle. In all, it was a very enjoyable experience to make what will be my outside shelter for some time to come. It will be more enjoyable to use it, each day remembering that I made it with my own hands. Not directly related to sewing, I suggest at the end of your classes you suggest the students re-read Beyond Backpacking. I did and got a bunch more out of it, even though I had read it MANY times before." -Ed G.
"I just retired after 30 years of teaching. My wife and I love to backpack, but we've done too many 50 lbs. packs. With the AT and many other adventures all ahead and the time to do it, your book on lightweight backpacking has been terrific. Last weekend we went out, stealth camped, carried only 18 lbs. (Still working on reducing more.) After a tremendous rainstorm one night, we were totally dry using the tarp. Some friends who had camped in their 3-season tent were soaked. I've ordered the net tent kit. Thanks for a new frame of reference." -Jim H.
"We completed our Ray-Way Tarp and Net-Net and took it on our first adventure circumnavigating the Three Sisters. Both were fantastic as the bugs and the weather were severe. Thank you for sharing your experience and skills with the kits. We found the instructions and the materials to be the highest quality and the results are the best. On our first 4 day trip the bugs were out in force and we were extremely happy with how fast the system was to setup up. It took us a few nights to learn how high to pitch the tarp. We would have done better to read your instructions more carefully!!!! Nonetheless, they worked perfectly. On our last night we were caught by a huge thunder storm with 1/2 in hail and a flood of rain. Everything worked great as we quickly setup the Tarp, pushed our gear under it and then put up the Net-Tent finishing seconds before the sky fell on us in the form of heavy rain. Thanks again for your terrific designs. We are looking forward to your future inventions becoming available as kits." -Pat & Nola B.
"I just wanted to say thanks for the great tarp design and kit. I finished the kit and took it on its first trip last weekend. The benefit in space and weight reduction in my pack were significant, and I had no difficulty setting the tarp up. It really took no longer to set up than my tent and fly. The instructions in your book are clear and well written for the novice. I avoided the temptation to take shortcuts, and the results were excellent. As an engineer in an aerospace firm, I fully appreciate well thought out lightweight design, and can see it throughout your products. I'll be ordering the quilt, and net tent kits in the near future in order to reap the full benefits." -Eric B.
"I tried it out by sewing one of your stuff sacks as shown in your tarp book. Amazingly I was successful on the first try. Your instructions were easy to follow." -Scott S.
"Thanks for everything. After you shipped the order Saturday it arrived Tuesday, it was amazing, I wasn't expecting it to come that fast. We have always been into hiking, but when we heard about your line of products we got your tarp and net kit and your two person quilt kit with Xtra layer and split kit along with stowbags. After we completed the tarp we couldn't wait for everything else so we went camping in the hill country of Texas with just that and plastic sheeting underneath as you said to do. We loved it! Thank you very much. What a great way to commune with nature. We have never used anything but a tent before and I was a little wary of being open to the elements, but it was great. Our dog, Saible absolutely loved the tarp as well because she could sense and hear everything around us and protect us in our "den". -Nina S.
"Greetings from Holland. The picture was taken at dusk in the Eifel (Germany). You can see our tarp in the woods. When you look closely, in the Net tent is our Kelly green quilt. Emmy is sleeping under it, warm and comfortable despite to low temperature (2 C) that morning. We love the quilt and will take it with us on our PCT hike in about one month. We live in Rotterdam and the Eifel en Ardenne are excellent for training. We stay very close to the methods in the PCT Hikers Handbook. We feel very well prepared, thanks to that book. Thanks again for the Kits send to us! They made some rainy and cold winter nights, warm and refreshing behind the sewing machine. And even better, now we have self-made gear that we can use on our summer hike!" -Robert C.
"Your kits are great! The tarp was my first sewing project. I made it primarily because I wanted to use it while hiking New Hampshire's Cohos Trail. I wanted to use your lightweight techniques to make it enjoyable. I figured spending some time constructing the tarp would teach me something about the spirit of the tarp itself. I also liked that you had thought out the entire processes and included all the materials. My biggest worry was that I'd screw it up so bad I'd have to abandon all sewing projects and use the poly tarp method. I used the Tarp Book and was actually surprised at how easy it was to follow the directions, despite how unnerving it was for a neophyte to approach a sewing machine. During the cutting phase I found myself making simple mistakes. "Measure twice, cut once" quote worked for me here. It was difficult for me to sew in a straight line, but eventually I learned to sew slower. Twice I had to remove stitches from about 4 inches of overlap where the beak fabric had crept under the seam. I was afraid that the pinholes would leak, but they didn't (at least not that I noticed) -- though a couple tropical depressions, no less. I eventually learned to continuously check that it wasn't bunching or folding under. A better sewing machine would have helped me, but I only had the newfangled el-cheapo Singer. Despite my initial floundering, the resulting tarp worked great! We had driving rain storms, and on another trip we survived a night which was punctuated by the remnants of hurricane Bonnie. I also made two quilts from your kits. The quilt kits were much easier for me to sew, but that's probably because of the experience I had by that time." -John R.
Some of the tarps shown here are pitched too low to the ground. On a no-wind night, or one with very little wind, the ridge of a two-person tarp should be 52" above the ground, and the ridge of a one-person tarp 44". Anything lower is inviting condensation to form under the tarp. And if very low, that condensation might drip onto the occupants.
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