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Thread: Tarp or Tent?

  1. #1
    Widdler
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    Hey everyone,

    Please note this is not a which tent, or which tarp, but a which is likely to be better for my situation.

    If i decide on a tent, it will either be the Vango banshee 200 or the Zeypheros (sp?) 2 tent. If i go the route of getting a tarp and associated bits, ill be purchasing the Rig 7 from Alpkit along with rope and pegs from them too.

    I am trying to work out which is the best for my situation. I am without a doubt a newbie when it comes to wild camping. I have plenty of car camping experience and did loads when younger but no experience of camping wild. I plan to visit the usual places (Lakes, Peaks, Wales) to do some 2 or 3 day walking excursions, but i also plan to do some long distance cycling and camp wild whilst i do so (LEJOG is on the radar along with cycling to the Isle of Man and mainland Europe).

    Price & weight dont seem to matter, as when i have purchased all i will need for the tarp, it will run me at a similar cost to purchasing a small, lightweight tent and weigh similar too. It boils down to the privacy of a tent or the flexibility of a tarp & bivi bag.

    So what would you reccomend for a beginner with the plans i have? Would you go for the compact lightweight-ish tent or the tarp for the road? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers

    Zog

  2. #2
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    A tent gives more shelter and protection from the elements. To use a tarp you're using experience to compensate for the relative lack of protection, so as a beginner I'd suggest a tent. If you get it wrong with a tarp it's more likley to go properly wrong, which isn't so good.

    Pete.


  3. #3
    Mini Goon
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    Tent. Definitely. A few random reasons why:

    1. You can pitch it at a campsite without getting your gear nicked...yes, I know you're wild camping but very occasionally the lure of a hot shower or bacon butty is hard to resist.

    2. Privacy is good...when you want to get changed. Unless you're an exhibitionist. Perverts prefer tarps. As do people who've had a sense of humour bypass. Much like the people who'll be indignant at this last comment. .

    3. It's awesome falling asleep looking at the stars. Not so awesome when you wake in the morning to find you've been bitten by midges/gnats/horseflies/sheep and you've got 15-20 small lumps all over your head.

    4. In bad weather it's nice to seal yourself off from the wind and rain. Easier in a tent. And much warmer if you decide to camp in the winter.

    5. For a smaller tent like a zephryos, it won't be hard to find a pitch anyway so I wouldn't say tarps are that much more flexible.

    Summary? Get a tent. Then get a bivvy 12 months down the line...they're all good fun.






  4. #4
    ‹bermensch ShoutsAtQuietMice's Avatar
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    A tent, and as it has a proper inner that will not only pretect you from little flying nasties it'll add a degree or three to temps inside. never bothered with a tarp, just can't see the point.

  5. #5
    Initiate Kish Logan's Avatar
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    I hardly ever use a tent - nearly always now a bivi or nothing. But I'd still agree with the consensus above and start with a tent. Bivi (& probably tarp, which I've never used) is fine under reasonable conditions, but in Britain midges and farther south mosquitoes can be a nightmare. And two or three days of solid unceasing rain make them quite demanding. Get experience with tent, then shift.

  6. #6
    ‹bermensch
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    Well you could go for an approach which uses the single wall (light weight) but totally enclosable when needed. Perhaps even able to put a nest in it when you expect loads of midgets. When you go single skin you need steep walls, so no poles in hoop form, think tipi-style. Fo example a Go-Lite shangrila 3, an Eureka rip-off WickiUp 3 http://www.eurekaeurope.com/products...1.0.0.0?pp=136&












  7. #7
    ‹bermensch Bob C - backpackinglightdotcodotuk's Avatar
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    I totally agree with the comments re experience and expectations.

    As you state you are a newbie, you will really enjoy it more in a tent and you'll pick up tips as you go to make either experience more fun.

    "To use a tarp you're using experience to compensate for the relative lack of protection" Totally agree.

    Certainly think about a tarp when you feel ready to. It is a totally different experience and there are numerous ways to pitch one, depending on size and needs. However I would hate to see you spoil your trip should it all go wrong and you not know how to prevent it happening.

    And true, the lure of a hot shower and bacon sarnie cannot be underestimated



  8. #8
    Ultra King edh's Avatar
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    What's the best netting for repelling midgets Zuma ?

  9. #9
    ‹bermensch Shewie's Avatar
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    What about a tarp tent, best of both worlds then

  10. #10
    Mini Goon
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    i have a shangri la 1, it works well for me. good room for a 6"2 long body!!.

  11. #11
    Mini Goon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zuma View Post

    Well you could go for an approach which uses the single wall (light weight) but totally enclosable when needed. Perhaps even able to put a nest in it when you expect loads of midgets.


    ...midgets? Midgets?! Yes, I can see why you would want your tent to be "totally enclosable when needed". Very handy if you're going skinny dipping at Angle Tarn with The Seven Dwarves. Party hearty and all that .

  12. #12
    ‹bermensch
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    Oh darn, you got me. I have something against midgets, I confess

  13. #13
    Mini Goon
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    Little people need love too...

    I can start a thread for you if you like:

    OM Skinny-Dipping Meet at Angle Tarn. Easter Weekend 2013. Midgets welcome, clothes optional. People attending so far:

    1. Zuma

    2. Dopey

    3. Grumpy

    4. Sleepy

    5. Sneezy

    6. Bridget The Midget

  14. #14
    Mini Goon
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    Hi Zoglug,

    agree with the mob, any idiot can use a bivi tarp an be uncomfotable!

    I use a tarp tent which is bombproof and unless weather is really bad I tend to sleep with outer door open. I love the idea of bivi/tarp but in all but perfect conditions can't get on with it.

    Have a look at the mini peak tents at backpacking light, I don't have one but think they might be a good cheap tent/tarp option for the spring/summer.


  15. #15
    Widdler
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    Cheers for the advice peeps! I will be picking up my Vango Banshee 200 this evening from Go Outdoors along with a Coleman F1 Lite stove.

    Now just the small matter of a sleeping bag once i get paid, which i am 90% certain will be the Alpkit Skyehigh 600, if they have any left when i come to order one, should be perfect for the trips ive got planned. Never owned a down sleeping bag before.....no doubt ill wreck it before it gets any proper use!

  16. #16
    ‹bermensch Salmon Shirted Panther's Avatar
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    I reckon the Zephros will be more comfortable than the Banshee (more head room and the height in the centre is where you will ned it).

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