Tarps for tripping

-- Last Updated: Jan-18-07 9:30 PM EST --

I have been considering buying a tarp/fly for use in canoe tripping, something lightweight and easily packable without taking up much room. I think the days of using blue Job Lot tarps with 3 or 5 grommets to a side are over (they never work). I very much like the looks of the Tundra Tarp made by Cooke Custom Sewing, and see that others liked it based in an archive search I did.

But I saw two others I didn't see any opinions on, and I'd like to know what others here think, if they have used them. One is the NRS "River Wing", which I saw used up in the Adirondacks last summer. The other is (I think) a Kelty "Noah's Tarp"...someone had one next to my site at Raystown this fall. Similar to the NRS River Wing.

Also (thought of this after my original post), it'd be nice to know if these things can be put up by one person without too much hassle.



Cookes iz good
I have one that is well used and it just keeps on truckin’. couple burn holes and some stains (bird poop full o’ blackberries!)but it works. you getz what youz payz for.


Give Pacific Outdoors a look-see also
I’ve been using one of their 10x12 (or so) lightweight tarps for a few years and it’s bomber. Packs fairly small, available in bright yellow or a mid green, and available in few different sizes. I like the yellow as it transmits more light under the tarp. have used it as a sun blocker in the desert and a rain tarp from here-to-there. My other is a much heavier, but much larger Madden Guide tarp, and WAY bomber.

Moss Wing
I have a Moss Parawing that works great. I can’t find it online anymore. I think MSR may now make it.



Kelty Noah’s Tarp
This is a nice piece that can be picked up for realtively low cost (under $80.00) from Campmor.com We’ve used the 16’ size for outfitting big group trips and it’s amazing…only weighs about 1.5 lbs and stows nicely. The 12’ is perfect for a small individual.

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Noah’s tarp …

– Last Updated: Jan-19-07 1:03 AM EST –

I have a 12 footer & a 16 footer.

I have had no problems with either of them.
I think that both were good, long term investments.
They are light weight to carry, are not that expensive, and I am of the opinion that they will last a long time if you use a little care with them. Have kept me, my wife, and varied friends dry in some heavy rains; have also kept us a lot cooler in the shade they offer. They hold up to the wind quite well, if correctly rigged; mine has never collapsed.

I use painter's extension poles(for paint rollers) with mine, instead of some of those flimsy, cheapie poles I've seen. I like the extra height they offer & they are sturdy.
I mounted paint roller handles on top of the poles, with all but about 3 inches of the roller frame cut off & ground down to a blunt tip. I insert the blunt tip on top of the poles into whichever grommets on the fly that I want to use.......depending on how I'm rigging the fly. I can easily set up either the 12 or the 16 footer by myself; the 16 footer does take a little more effort.

I suggest at least 20 feet of some heavier line be added to each grommet, instead of cheap nylon cord or para cord. What I use doesn't add that much more weight, and the extra length adds many more rigging possiblities. Can be easily daisy chained when not in use, and it comes in handy on occasion when the fly is not in use, and other needs for rope arise.


If the pole/rope description is as clear as mud; email me & I'll send you a few photos.

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noah and cooke
have both

The Cooke Tundra tarp (I have a 12x16) silnylon is well worth the money.

It does not have grommets( it has a plethora of nylon loops, which will not tear out) and is highly flexible, more so than my Noahs. The combinations of form you can make are endless.

The one gripe I have is that its hard to wrestle it into its sack after you use it. So I put it in a mesh bag (grocery store) instead.

But that might be partly due to the Noahs being only a nine footer. It gives scanty shelter and has blown down on me. To be fair that was a wind that picked up an 18 foot kevlar canoe and threw it twenty feet.

Noah’s Tarp 9 worked well for me
on a week long trip to the San Juans last year. I’ve been using it for the past 4 years, paddling and backpacking with no problems. Tons of room for 2 folks, 3 works , 4 would be crowded and wet in a driving rain.

I have set it up using a 1/2 kayak paddle on each end – in a pup tent format in a blowing, driving rain and stayed dry.

Nice product, cost effective.

I also have a bud that uses a Kmart cheap blue tarp and just replaces it every year or so. Tons of options out there.


Augusta, GA

Two camps on this subject
Great fodder for a campfire debate.

I am a Cooke’s fan - I have a 10x10 and a 15x15. I actually enjoy the archane art of stringing a ridge line and figuring out the proper vectors for a taut pitch. A flat tarp gives you the option of adjusting the cant, the overall heigth, and how close to the ground the windward side will pitch. Overall, I love the versatility. Have had both in small-craft warning weather on the Chesapeake bay, and both came out unscathed.

Others here favor wings. Fewer stakes & guylines to fiddle with, and you have the option of pitching them in the middle of a clear field with no nearby trees. IMHO they are not as versatile in a blowing wind, unless you upgrade to the MSR Pavilion (I think that is the circus tent sized one).

Some folks like dark beer, some like light pilsner.


I prefer to Trip at home…
…in my den with the Black Lights and posters, listening to Jimi…don’t need no Tarps in here man…peace…(I really only trip in my head man ya dig?)

But on kayak camping trips, I have several, a 5X 8 poncho tarp, a 10X10 and 2 9X12’s. (1 9X12 is Sil-Nylon). The Sil-Nylon packs the smallest, and weighs the least, and has multiple tie downs, both loops and grommets; the trade off: Sil-Nylon is extremely flammable (Use it where embers from the fire won’t land on it).

i have two tarps…
a EMS hyperwing (sort of a copy of a Moss Hexawing)…a caternary cut tarp…like it…two poles…or strung betwixt the trees…no complaints except it is a little bulky…

& a Dana Designs Hattarp (http://tinyurl.com/2br8lb)…this one is cool…a tarp with a zip 2/3rds around…nice-not completely caternary cut-tarp…good size (104x118")…six sided (the not completely caternary cut part)…unplanned overnight???zip that zipper shut and you have a two person bivy sack…

quite easy to use too…

like it…

Moss sold many of their designs
Moss Inc. of Maine no longer makes their magnificent Moss tarps. I stopped at their Belfast facilitiy to find out what happened. They sold their camping line of designs to Cascade Design, of which MSR is a part, I believe. Moss parawings were well made, and I found them still in use by many Maine campers. They looked almost new, filling me with false hope that I could find one.

another nod to noahs
tarps - but I will say when the rain started blowing (vancouver island trip) theee was not a lot of shelter until the tarp was brought down on all 4 sides (as opposed to the cheap square blue one I carried, which did better in the blowing rain, maybe just due to shape?).

The noahs packs small - I carry one to put my tent under, and beater blue tarp for a kitchen/hang out area.

Amazing the difference a few tarps can make in the wet.

Kudos to Noahs
I have the large one, and it was an excellent piece of equipment last summer. We had one day that the wind blew, the rain poured, and we were perched on the rocky side of a cliff. We sat in our chairs with our fresh brewed French Roast, underneath watching the wildlife go by. We were warm, dry, content, it doesn’t get any better.


Check here
www.owareusa.com Good stuf here.

Integral Designs SilTarp (8x10)
Check out a SilTarp from Integral Designs. My 8x10 weighs one pound with all the lines I use attached. It packs down to the size of two tennis balls. It’s pretty nice.

I also have a Noah Tarp, which is easy to set-up and it was inexpensive.

I have a couple of others, but the two above are ones that get a thumbs up.

Kelty Noah tarp gets my vote
I used it for 6 nights in Alaska while kayaking and the only change I would make is to use four poles instead of 2. Other than that it worked great seeing it rained all but one afternoon. Nothing that was not meant to get wet, got wet because of the tarp.

Gonna depart from the regular
forum crowd once again. Noahs ark sucks…own one. Look, I camp in the wettest part of the country and I have thousands of sea kayak miles under my grumpy ass. Get yourself some basic nylon tarps a tGI joes, whatever, and pre attach parachutte cord to every grommet. Put a button on the center (rock w clove hitch) and secure the tarp via truckers hitches or taut lines. Carry tarps in a stuff sack thaf goes in front of your toes in the cockpit.

What I dislike about Noahs Ark is the cut…it’s harder to pull it taut in the real world. Not worth the $. I still use old tarps over it…

Re: tarps for tripping
The way I pitch my Cookes results in much more tripping than the way others pitch their wings.


Snow Peak is showing a new tarp/tent
in the 2007 catalog that looks very interesting.

Penta Ease, it is a one man tent, mesh on one side that can be set up with one pole. When combined with the separate Penta tarp it looks like a good shelter that could be used several ways depending on weather conditions. purchased as a pair, tarp and tent together for 169.00 on sale. Not sure about quality but generally Snow Peak sells good stuff.

They are not showing the dimensions on this web page but it’s over 8 feet long and 48" wide and is big enough for one person with gear.