Mil-Tec Flecktarn Plane Tarp - First impressions

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Quixoticgeek

Full Member
Aug 4, 2013
2,480
8
Europe
Introduction:

I wanted a lighter weight tarp as an alternative to my genuine issue DPM basha (~1.1kg). Something camo to reduce my visible signature when camping. I've long been a fan of Flecktarn as a camo pattern for use near the forest floor in the UK, ever since I got myself a Flecktarn poncho a decade or so ago. (The Poncho incidentally while being really light - 200g - suffers from being 2050mm x 1050mm, making it not quite big enough to cover a full body when sleeping if there is any actual rain). Mil-Tec make an affordable, lightweight, flecktarn tarp. Most of you probably haven't had any interaction with Mil-Tec, they are a German company who make a wide selection of "military" and outdoor equipment. Somewhat akin to Highlander for the UK. Not the cheapest, but not the most expensive kit out there.

I asked a on here if anyone had any experience of Mil-tec tarps, and got exactly [thread=121883]zero responses[/thread]. So thought, well lets have a look, see if their tarps are worth the money. If you have a look at the Mil-Tec website you will see that they actually make a vast range of products, the shelter section of their site lists 174 products. From my limited German, I can find 3 different tarps on their site, each in a different weight, and each a multitude of camo patterns.

The tarp - First Impessions:

I decided to give their MEHRZWECKPLANE 'BASHA' NYLON FLECKTARN a go. Or Multipurpose Nylon Flecktarn Basha in English. I got it on amazon for £26.93 + £3.39 P&P. (£30.32 all in). The tarp in this weight is also available in olive green and black.

It's advertised as being a 439g PU coated nylon tarp that is 2.6m x 1.7m. Which is pretty much what arrived in the post. I popped it on the postoffice scales today and got: 453g for the tarp, and 14g for the bag. The bag it comes with is 230mm x 203mm, When it arrived it was packed thin enough to fit through the letter box, but the fabric is too slippery for me to fold it up on my own to the same thickness. Not that it's really an issue, it's compact, that's what matters.

The tarp comes with webbing attachment points along each long side, and 5 along the ridge, with the loop on each end doubling as the centre attachment point on each short side. There are also a couple of eyelets on each of the short sides. The main corner loops are reinforced with a triangle of thicker fabric, the loops along the ridge line are reinforced with a small piece of the same material as the main tarp. As well as the loops and eyelets, there are also press studs fitted. Male along one length, and female on the other length, so you can attach them together. The press studs are in pairs 50mm or so apart, giving you an overlap if you want to connect one of more tarps together to create a bigger shelter. If you and your friends each had a tarp, you could connect them all together for one massive shelter... The press studs are also compatible with my old poncho.

The fabric is a non-ripstop PU coated nylon.There is no centre seam on the ridge of the tarp, instead it runs across the tarp in the middle of the short axis. The webbing loops, reinforcement patches on the ridge line, and centre seam along the short axis are not seam sealed. This is something I will have to do myself in the next few days or so. The stitching is neat, but perhaps not the finest on the planet, there are some threads that have not been trimmed. You feel that the tarp is built down to a price level, rather than built to up to a standard. At around £30 quid delivered, that is to be expected.

With a set of 2mm dyneema guy & ridge lines, along with glow in the dark line loks, the full pack weight is 543g, ½ of the weight of my DPM UK basha.

The proof of the pudding will of course be in the eating, but my first impressions are that I don't think I've wasted my money. But time will tell. Once seam sealed, I'll take it on my next trip, and let you know how I get on. If it does prove to be up to the abuse of normal use. I may have to get myself another, so I have the option of a 2.7x3.4m or 1.7m x 5.4m tarp, when travelling with a friend.

Julia
 
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Quixoticgeek

Full Member
Aug 4, 2013
2,480
8
Europe
Finally got a chance to head out into the woods with the new tarp and have a play with it. So I can now give you a better review.


Tarp, with guys attached, separate ridge line, and ten alpkit Y beam pegs. Lots of space in there. All cordage is 2mm Dyneema, with glow in the dark mini line loks:
bagged_sm.jpg


A simple pitching in the "standard" A setup so many of us use:
aridge01_sm.jpg


The corner has a reinforced corner with a pair of poppers, a webbing loop, and an eyelet:
cornerloop01_sm.jpg


Along the edge there are lots of poppers that allow you to connect tarps together, there is a slight over lap of about 2" if you connect two tarps together this way:
poppers01_sm.jpg


The poppers have a hollow centre so if you want you can fit a thin guy line through it. You won't fit paracord in there, but you will fit the 2mm dyneema I use. This picture also shows the central seam. It runs across the tarp, rather than along it like many use. This seam isn't sealed or taped:
poppers02_sm.jpg


Along the ridge there are 5 webbing loops:
ridgeloop01_sm.jpg


They each have a small patch of reinforcing on the underside, this stitching is not seam sealed:
ridgeloop02_sm.jpg


There are also webbing loops along the sides too:
sideloop01_sm.jpg


The view out from underneath the tarp:
underside01_sm.jpg


Had a bit of an experiment today with a new way of rigging my tarps. Rather than keeping the tarp attached to the ridgeline, I tie it on when pitched. This increases the versatility, but it means the central point isn't easy to attach without threading on. So as an experiment, I've used a simple length of dyneema, and a pair or prussiks to hold it in place. It's not quite as tight a pitch as if I threaded the tarp onto the line, but it's a suitable compromise.
ridgerigging01_sm.jpg


Of course, I bought this tarp specifically for it's camo pattern, to reduce the visual signature of my camp. So how well does it stand out in the British woodland? Not bad. It suffers from the usual issue a tarp does, giving off a shine and it's shape more than anything else, but unless you are looking for it you're most likely going to walk past camp.
camo01_sm.jpg

camo02_sm.jpg



That's the assembly. One of the key features of a tarp like this is it's versatility. So while I was out in the woods with the tarp and the camera, I decided to have a play with the various ways I could configure this tarp. We've seen the basic A setup above. In all of these photos the sleep matt I've used is a German folding matt, to give you an idea of the space available in each config.

A simple lean to, this attaches the ridge prussiks to the eyelets that are just along the short ends, to give a lean to, which can shed an amount of rain from the front:

leanto01_sm.jpg


With two walking poles, a lean to with one end closed can easily be setup:
openside01_sm.jpg


If the weather is a bit harsher, with stronger, changeable wind and rain. Then closing the shelter down on 3 sides helps a lot. The fittings on the tarp make this very easy:
openside02_sm.jpg


Single pole setup for when it's really blowing a hooly. Not the most roomy it could be, but for a small and light tarp, it's surprisingly roomy:
sidepitch01_sm.jpg


Basic diamond shape. Not sure when I'd use this setup, but it certainly works:
diamond0_sm1.jpg


Finally a wing setup, I had the ridge line still in place, so used that instead of a pole which would have worked as well. Very low profile for windy conditions, at the cost of reduced interior space:
wing01_sm.jpg


The tarp seems to be made well enough, it's certainly built to a price. The lack of seam sealing may be a concern, tho I will wait for a decent rain storm to confirm for sure. But it's light, versatile, and the camo pattern works well enough. Don't think I've wasted my money yet. Time will tell.

Julia
 
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bert333

Settler
Jan 15, 2008
699
6
Earth- for awhile longer...
I loathe to say this but... you got the cheapo version-
The one I would recommend you look at/buy is here and is made by TacGear- quality kit
If you have two of them, they can join up using the poppers
If you have just the one, you can close the poppers to make a 'bag'.
Specs:
25 anchor points: 8 eyelets for tent pegs etc. 14 circumferential webbing loops, 3 webbing loops on the topside. Reinforced vertices. Circumferential press buttons, allowing an overlapping buttoning.

- Material: 100 % waterproof ripstop nylon
- Size: approx. 1,70 m x 2,60 m
- Weight: approx 650 g
If you want to see one before buying send me a pm - I am in Kent.
 
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Quixoticgeek

Full Member
Aug 4, 2013
2,480
8
Europe
I loathe to say this but... you got the cheapo version-

If you want to see one before buying send me a pm - I am in Kent.

That I did. But with full knowledge that was the case. I was curious to see what you get for a 450g, 30 quid tarp. If it fails me withing a couple of trips, I learn something. If it lasts me a few years, I learn something. As I said, it's built to a price.

I would be interested in seeing your version tho. Would you be interested in coming along to the BCUK Kent group? Where in Kent are you?

Julia
 

Idleknight

Forager
Aug 14, 2013
245
0
United Kingdom, Near Hinckley
Nice photos, I like Flecktarn, when I used to be a regular airsofter I used Flecktarn kit later in the gear. The moleskin was much thicker, so I was able to charge through brambles without getting scratched, also it works very well in our woodlands, better concealment than other camo's. I havent any experience of Mil-tec tarps (tempted now to get one though) but have had positive experience of their other products like backpacks which I have used, but like the tarp they are priced at the right level.
 

Bowlin

Full Member
Nov 19, 2013
167
0
Luton, Bedfordshire
Great pics and write-up, many thanks for sharing. I'd be very interested in seeing how this tarp copes with wet weather if you'd care to report again?
Cheers
Steve
 

Quixoticgeek

Full Member
Aug 4, 2013
2,480
8
Europe
Great pics and write-up, many thanks for sharing. I'd be very interested in seeing how this tarp copes with wet weather if you'd care to report again?
Cheers
Steve

Fear not, I fully plan on going for a walk when it rains next, setting up my tarp, and sitting under it with a book to see how it copes...

Then, depending on if/where it leaks, will ponder if I need to seam seal it.

Julia
 

fluffkitten

Full Member
Mar 8, 2014
123
1
Nottingham
I'm looking forward to seeing how well it works out for you. Looks well made for the price and is a brilliant size for a ground dweller like me, if you don't find any major gotchas I might buy one. :)

Only thing that bugs me about it is the lack of seam sealing.
 

Joonsy

Native
Jul 24, 2008
1,483
0
UK
but it means the central point isn't easy to attach without threading on.

Nice informative post. You don’t need to thread the cord through the loop to attach it, just push a bight of cord through the loop and tie it back onto itself with a couple of half hitches (or knot of choice). It will sit better if you just tie the bight/loop back over one strand of cord only but it doesn’t really matter if you tie back over the two strands. Photos below show the bight tied with a slipped overhand knot for easy untying, however this way it is best to tie the ends of cord to supports after tying this knot, if the ends of cord to supports are already tied two half hitches would be better (in regards to tensioning that is).
tarp025.jpg


tarp032.jpg


Slipped overhand, just pull the large single loop to undo it quickly and easily.
tarp005.jpg
 

sunndog

Full Member
May 23, 2014
3,567
471
derbyshire
Julia, any chance of a pic of it in the stuff sack with it in you're hand or something to get a better idea of the pack size please

I wouldn't mind small'ish mid weight tarp without going into silnylon territory



Cheers......adam
 

Quixoticgeek

Full Member
Aug 4, 2013
2,480
8
Europe
Nice informative post. You don’t need to thread the cord through the loop to attach it, just push a bight of cord through the loop and tie it back onto itself with a couple of half hitches (or knot of choice). It will sit better if you just tie the bight/loop back over one strand of cord only but it doesn’t really matter if you tie back over the two strands. Photos below show the bight tied with a slipped overhand knot for easy untying, however this way it is best to tie the ends of cord to supports after tying this knot, if the ends of cord to supports are already tied two half hitches would be better (in regards to tensioning that is).

It's an approach I have considered, but I discounted it. It gives you a fixed point point for the tarp, meaning you can't slide the tarp along the ridge. I've found it useful to be able to do so in the past, when there was a rock under my bed. It also means you can't attach the tarp after you've tensioned the ridge.

Hence why I went for the technique I did, sure it adds about 1g of line to the package, but I think the benifits are worth it.

Julia, any chance of a pic of it in the stuff sack with it in you're hand or something to get a better idea of the pack size please

I wouldn't mind small'ish mid weight tarp without going into silnylon territory

Sure. Will have to wait till day light.

Julia
 

Tonyuk

Settler
Nov 30, 2011
911
63
Scotland
That doesn't look too bad, i've seen a few bits of kit from the likes of mil-tech, webtex etc.. and they've all been terrible. You seem to be a lucky one. Seal the seams with a mix of clear bathroom sealant and thinners and it'll help keep the water out.

Tonysco
 

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