Tarp shape

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Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
I have had a very interesting look at some sites for tarp manufacturers and am curious about the best shape. Now catenary cut tarps are best for a taut A frame pitch but are not flexible enough for other styles of pitch. Ground dwelling only BTW.

That lead me to thinking about flat tarps and the best shape.

I have an 8' square tarp and it pitches a huge cave pitch for me and my gear (suitably spread out of course). I recently used a flying v pitch for two of us with bivvy bags and it had plenty of room for two and sacks. We were perfectly dry in the rain and because of the prevailing wind / slope / pitch location most of the rain missed the bivvy bags even though the feet were not sheltered. The only thing was that it made the tarp really high and prone to wind problems if the direction changes or it is changeable it made for a big sail effect. That made me think about getting a smaller tarp.

Al well and good but what size. Now a rectangular is good for an A-frame and perhaps a cave. A square would be good for a cave, a-frame and flying v. However I have seen the BPL-UK solo tarp in a flying v on theri site and that is something like 2.7m x 1.5m. It also had a nice bit of an extra side screen when pitched as a flying v I thought.

So I am still at a loss as to what sort of size and shape make for the most practical tarp option. I am probably going to go for one of the BPL-UK tarps when they come in. I was going for the micro tarp and only use in flying v but the solo is very light too and allows for more shapes. Anyone got any advice? Is the 2.7m x 1.5m solo tarp any good?

My options I reckon.


The last one is almost ruled out as I have a kathmandu basha at 8' square and about 600 off grammes so not much heavier.

The top option is a solo only and mostly in flying v. The second option is a solo, full cover tarp, quite light and could feasably make a 2 man tarp in flying v pitch at a push with bivvy bags too (which I always carry with tarp camping.

What do you guys think?
PS saving up for MLD tarp one day. Dream on!!


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 7, 2007
East Lancashire
My main tarp these days is a DD 3 x 3m.

It allows me to set up according to the prevailing conditions:

  • Cave for wet & windy
  • "A" frame or lean to for general use
  • Diagonal with a hammock (although I use a 4.5 x 3m DD for hammocking these days)
  • Flying V
  • The list goes on...