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Author Topic: Tarp Camping and bugs  (Read 5392 times)

Offline 7mmfan

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Tarp Camping and bugs
« on: February 06, 2023, 03:41:29 PM »
I've been considering going tentless this summer/early fall for my alpine bear trips, weather permitting of course. I've got some good camp spots in the timber so dew isn't really a problem. I'm trying to cut down my pack weight as much as I can for a 1-2 day trip and was considering ditching the tent altogether and just sleeping on my pad under the trees. My worry is bugs. How do those of you that have tarp camped before deal with bugs? just put lots of bug spray on your face before bed?

I do have a MSR Thru-Hiker 2, mesh house, and it's fine, but some of my spots would literally just be flat spots above a tree on a slope, don't really want to mess with pitching a tent on it.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2023, 08:16:23 AM by 7mmfan »
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Offline GOcougsHunter

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2023, 03:47:28 PM »
For super light backpacking, I use a bivy sack.  They are tiny, are totally bug proof and also waterproof.  They are worth the extra pound
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Offline Stein

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2023, 05:21:08 PM »
I've been tempted but then remember bailing into my tent to escape the mosquitoes more times than I can count.

Bivy is an option as mentioned, but with the newest fabrics a small tent is really a trivial weight penalty.  You could always get a double wall and leave the rainfly home, probably about a pound or so for one guy.

Head net is another option.

Offline 92xj

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2023, 05:31:37 PM »
I love my tarp and bivy set up for 3 seasons.
total just at 1lb 11oz for tarp, bivy and stakes.

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Offline The scout

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2023, 05:46:56 PM »
I use a big Agnes copper spur for going light, itís maybe 1 lb heavier than a tarp at very most. I would take it way over a tarp setup. But I hate all floor less shelters so take that for what itís worth.

Offline Tim in Wa.

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2023, 05:36:11 AM »
if bugs are an issue I pitch my tarp low like the lower picture 92xj posted and burn a few inches of mosquito coil on a small piece of foil on the low end of the tarp

Offline boneaddict

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2023, 08:07:20 AM »
They work

Offline boneaddict

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2023, 08:08:56 AM »
Even with bugs, or at least until a bear raids your camp.   Ironically the first thing he sampled.


Offline 7mmfan

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2023, 08:25:56 AM »
Thanks for the input guys. I wasn't even planning on a tarp if the weather was right, just sleeping under the stars. My MSR Mesh House weighs about exactly 1# with it and 6 stakes if I don't bring a footprint of some form. Maybe I'll just plan on bringing it as insurance.
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Offline Mtnwalker

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2023, 08:50:58 AM »
you could try something like the borah ultralight with the chest zip. sleep on top of the mesh part then if bugs get bad just pull it over your head and zip it... :dunno:

Offline GWP

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2023, 09:54:04 AM »
There will be bugs.
That fun feeling minimal camping when you are jerked out of a sound sleep as the cold body of a big spider crawls over your face in the middle of the night is priceless.
 :IBCOOL: :yike:
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Offline PacificNWhunter

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2023, 10:07:35 AM »
Usually Iíll try and kick out the area I plan on setting the tent up inÖand then give it a few min to see if I disturbed any ants or other bugs that may be around. Especially if your setting up on grass, dirt is a little easier to tell if something else is living there.Iíve found they get out it as easily as they get in. Never had bugs ruin a trip or keep me from getting decent sleep.

Offline Rob

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2023, 10:31:32 AM »
I woke up to my buddy luring chipmunks under my tarp.  He was sitting on a log tossing fruit loops towards my setup.  As the chipmunk got braver he tossed a couple under my tarp.  Woke up staring at one of the little buggers. 

My buddy was pretty please with himself.

I worry more about the flying insects being an issue over the crawling ones.
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Offline 7mmfan

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2023, 11:04:58 AM »
Yeah it's mosquitos that I'm really considering. I sleep in a floorless shelter frequently, that doesn't bother me at all. I'm just envisioning snuggling into my sleeping bag for a goods night sleep under the stars and spending the whole night swatting mosquitos away.
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Offline Rob

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2023, 12:56:10 PM »
Yeah, my older Fly creek tent is 2.5 pounds with footprint, tent, fly and stakes.  That has always seemed weight worth packing during mosquito season.  Nice to have extra room over a bivy, and to be able to escape the bloodsuckers and flies.
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Offline Stein

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2023, 01:13:18 PM »
There will be bugs.
That fun feeling minimal camping when you are jerked out of a sound sleep as the cold body of a big spider crawls over your face in the middle of the night is priceless.
 :IBCOOL: :yike:

I woke up to a mouse crawling over my face once.  Call me a weenie for bringing a tent, doesn't bother me a bit.   :chuckle:

Offline 7mmfan

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2023, 02:21:16 PM »
I have had mice running around on me quite a few times, oddly doesn't bother me any. The big hairy spider would get my attention.
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Offline 92xj

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2023, 02:45:42 PM »
Thanks for the input guys. I wasn't even planning on a tarp if the weather was right, just sleeping under the stars. My MSR Mesh House weighs about exactly 1# with it and 6 stakes if I don't bring a footprint of some form. Maybe I'll just plan on bringing it as insurance.

You'll regret that when you wake up covered in dew.  The tarp/lightweight bivy, in my opinion, is superior than a heavier weather proof bivy by itself.  The weight compared to each is close enough, but having a dry area in the morning to sit, drink coffee, put on boots, glass from is super nice.  Lightweight bivy keeps you and the bugs separated, keeps you and your sleep system wrapped up like a burrito, doesn't get super hot like heavier weather proof bivys and the tarp keeps you dry and also out of the sun later in the day if needed.  Just some more thoughts to think about.
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Offline Oldguy

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2023, 02:55:45 PM »
Any Recommendations for decent light weight tarp? Want something that will last, not a plastic sheet.

Offline pickardjw

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2023, 02:59:27 PM »
I'll be buying a Seek Outside DST for this summer to use with my Borah bivy. Lots of good reviews on the DST. Multiple pitch options to use with the reinforced center patch so you can adjust for different weather conditions. It's not the lightest tarp out there but does seem to be the most versatile in that aspect.

Offline 92xj

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2023, 03:02:59 PM »
Any Recommendations for decent light weight tarp? Want something that will last, not a plastic sheet.

Depends on your budget.
I know, most think "Tarp, nothing special", but the world of tarps is rather large and prices can be $25-$400+

seek outside
Bearpaw wilderness design
Hyperlight
Mountain Laurel Design
ZPack
Amazon
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Offline Oldguy

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2023, 04:18:05 PM »
Thank you 92xj
I found just what I need on Bearpaw Wilderness Designs.

Offline 92xj

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #22 on: February 09, 2023, 04:19:45 PM »
Thank you 92xj
I found just what I need on Bearpaw Wilserness Designs.

Roger that.
I am sure you will hear negatives and positives about bear paw.  I have had multi dealings with him and have had zero issues. I don't think much can go wrong with a plain ol flat tarp.  I enjoy mine from him.
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Offline Stein

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #23 on: February 09, 2023, 05:09:58 PM »
For flat tarps you can also make your own.  I bought the material and just sewed the sides over and added tie outs and reinforcements on the corner.  It cost about 1/4 of having someone do it for you and you can get the exact size, material, color, guy lines, etc you want.

Offline WapitiTalk1

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #24 on: February 09, 2023, 05:28:52 PM »
Any Recommendations for decent light weight tarp? Want something that will last, not a plastic sheet.

Depends on your budget.
I know, most think "Tarp, nothing special", but the world of tarps is rather large and prices can be $25-$400+

seek outside
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Hyperlight
Mountain Laurel Design
ZPack
Amazon

Take a look at VIAM Outdoors and Lite Outdoors also.
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Offline 92xj

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #25 on: February 09, 2023, 05:34:48 PM »
For flat tarps you can also make your own.  I bought the material and just sewed the sides over and added tie outs and reinforcements on the corner.  It cost about 1/4 of having someone do it for you and you can get the exact size, material, color, guy lines, etc you want.

Any chance you bought your sewing machine off Amazon?

Thinking about taking the plunge and getting a machine for some home made stuff.  Wanted to modify a pack, build some shelters, etc .
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Offline boneaddict

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #26 on: February 09, 2023, 06:21:48 PM »
Mine is a parachute, Idabooner salvaged made back in like 1975.  I guess the materials have held up.

Offline Shawn Ryan

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #27 on: February 10, 2023, 01:32:15 PM »
I do the no-tarp bivy regularly. I've bivied on the North Slope of AK in early summer with it when the mosquitoes were horrendous--no problem inside the bivy, all zipped up.  For me, the netting/physical barrier is essential and I wouldn't rely on chemicals.  Sounds like others have had success with chemicals.

Offline Stein

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #28 on: February 10, 2023, 01:50:56 PM »
For flat tarps you can also make your own.  I bought the material and just sewed the sides over and added tie outs and reinforcements on the corner.  It cost about 1/4 of having someone do it for you and you can get the exact size, material, color, guy lines, etc you want.

Any chance you bought your sewing machine off Amazon?

Thinking about taking the plunge and getting a machine for some home made stuff.  Wanted to modify a pack, build some shelters, etc .

No, I have a Sailrite for thick stuff but for a tarp I used a home machine.  It's super easy to sew through.

Offline boneaddict

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2023, 07:31:26 AM »
Ants bother me more than skeeters.   

Offline GWP

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #30 on: February 12, 2023, 08:20:28 AM »
Ants bother me more than skeeters.

Yes! I forgot about them! Great fun to be all camo'd up hiding in a bush with one foot on a red ant when it is warmish. Been there, done that!
Cuterebra are NOT cute!

Offline Okanagan

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #31 on: February 12, 2023, 09:16:45 AM »
Iím in the flat tarp brigade. 

A cut down/homemade mosquito net wads tiny and lightweight and worth its weight in gold.  My mosquito net makes a bug free space only around my head and upper body. It simply drapes onto the ground sheet around me and onto my sleeping bag about my waist point, with only the part over my head tied/rigged up.  I want mosquito buzz away from my ears, even if they canít get in to bite. 

Most of my backpacking has been well away from places other people camp, so havenít had a mouse bother me for years.  A spot where backpackers regularly camp means critters from mice to deer get used to raiding backpackers and their gear/food.  By deer seasons in the mountains, there are so few mosquitoes that I donít us a net.

For more than one person, I carry a full size bed mosquito net from REI.  Rig it sideways to the sleepers and tie up one side, (which is over the heads when rigged sideways).  Let the rest drape to the ground and close/flatten any open spots.  Three reasonably friendly men can sleep side by side with head and upper bodies in the bug free space.

Offline hoppsxc140

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #32 on: February 14, 2023, 11:30:28 AM »
Iíve found hammocks to be semi-enjoyable for off the ground, and bug proof.




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Offline Gettin Birdie

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #33 on: February 14, 2023, 11:58:14 AM »
Anyone use Tyvek for a groundsheet, I've carried around some in my rig for years, but never actually used it as I always had a groundsheet, but super lightweight, that I'd throw it in the pack if necessary. 

Offline Stein

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #34 on: February 14, 2023, 02:41:41 PM »
I have two, one is the old Tyvek and one is the newer material (1443R) that seems to be as strong or stronger, lighter and less bulk.

Make sure you wash it before you cut it to get the shrink out as well as the crinkly noise.

Offline Shawn Ryan

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #35 on: February 16, 2023, 03:48:50 PM »
Anyone use Tyvek for a groundsheet, I've carried around some in my rig for years, but never actually used it as I always had a groundsheet, but super lightweight, that I'd throw it in the pack if necessary.

I've used house-wrap for years in a floorless tent. Works well.

Offline Gettin Birdie

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #36 on: February 18, 2023, 05:58:41 AM »

Make sure you wash it before you cut it to get the shrink out as well as the crinkly noise.

Thanks, didn't realize you could wash it, but makes sense on the sound aspect.

Offline ridgefire

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #37 on: February 28, 2023, 07:08:56 PM »
I have used a Kifaru Paratarp paired with a Ti Goat Raven Omni bivy with great luck. Really compact and light and you can set it up pretty much anywhere. You can also use the bivy by itself if you are not expecting any weather. The bivy has a waterproof bottom and bug netting around the head to keeps all the bugs out. If I remember correctly, the total weight is just over a pound.

Offline spin05

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #38 on: May 19, 2023, 02:11:03 AM »
Thanks for the input guys. I wasn't even planning on a tarp if the weather was right, just sleeping under the stars. My MSR Mesh House weighs about exactly 1# with it and 6 stakes if I don't bring a footprint of some form. Maybe I'll just plan on bringing it as insurance.

We did this once up in Baker. Woke up pretty wet from the dew. You go to bed thinking theres no way theres going to be dew and wake up wet.   Maybe just our bad luck

Offline 7mmfan

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #39 on: May 19, 2023, 07:45:04 AM »
Thanks for the input guys. I wasn't even planning on a tarp if the weather was right, just sleeping under the stars. My MSR Mesh House weighs about exactly 1# with it and 6 stakes if I don't bring a footprint of some form. Maybe I'll just plan on bringing it as insurance.

We did this once up in Baker. Woke up pretty wet from the dew. You go to bed thinking theres no way theres going to be dew and wake up wet.   Maybe just our bad luck

I should add, that the area I plan on sleeping is in the timber. It's dry in there. I've done the sleep under the stars in the open and wake up soaked in dew before, I learned that lesson!
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Offline CasterlyRock

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #40 on: May 19, 2023, 08:55:59 AM »
Hammock. plenty of trees to  use around here. Fully enclosed and off the ground and a super comfortable sleep, for me anyway. The pricey ones are very light.

Offline 444Marlin

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #41 on: May 20, 2023, 10:23:47 PM »
I don't think mosquitoes or flies are ever a problem for me at night when I'm sleeping.  It's during the daytime they bother me.

Everything is a trade off and there's no free lunch.  If you want to go ultralight with a tarp, then do it and be prepared that stuff might get a little wet, and bugs might get on you.  You need to be mindful of where you camp more than anything (if you're with a tarp, tend or camper)...and if it's a bog or a grassy field, it's going to have more bugs than not.  Or if it's a breezy, semi exposed dry area...it might be a little more pleasant.

Permethrin treat your clothing.  And a bandana.

My tarp is a 20-ish year old Sil-nylon tarp from Integral Designs.  I don't think they are in business any more.  If I needed a new tarp I'd go with some of the new sil-fabric designs, probably leaning towards Seek Outside.

Offline Stein

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #42 on: May 21, 2023, 09:52:19 AM »

Make sure you wash it before you cut it to get the shrink out as well as the crinkly noise.

Thanks, didn't realize you could wash it, but makes sense on the sound aspect.

If you go that route, wash then cut if you care about the final dimensions.  It will shrink some.

The newer Tyvek is soft from the factory and lighter.

Offline robescc

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Re: Tarp Camping and bugs
« Reply #43 on: June 07, 2023, 02:07:26 PM »
I thought about going this route, but I like my Seek Outside tents. They are really lite weight and keep the bugs out if they are close enough to the ground. I also have a piece of house wrap that I put my sleeping pad on. 
I hunt therefore I am.

 


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