Category Archives: Backpacking

Makings of a poncho tarp

As I’ve gradually upgraded my backpacking gear to lighter-weight options, it finally became cost-effective for me to consider a cuben poncho tarp.  Last fall, I sold my down bag, and with the proceeds I was able to purchase materials to make a down quilt and bivy.  I recently saw Matt Kirk’s recent design and was inspired to take a stab at making my own cuben poncho tarp (thanks Matt!).  Now that I have a bivy to somewhat shield my insulation from blowing rain and shelter condensation, I was able to sell my 8×10 myog silnylon tarp to buy materials to make this smaller and lighter tarp.

This new tarp made from cuben fiber is roughly 70×104 inches (much better coverage than the skimpy MLD 52-inch-wide cuben poncho I had considered purchasing ).  And it weighs 4.75 oz (I haven’t seam sealed the hood yet) of which I am very satisfied– this piece of gear will replace a 16oz rain jacket and a 16 oz tarp!  However, being substantially lighter, it does bring some “limitations,” and it will require proper use and care to work successfully.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to test the tarp out via some fishing trips or perhaps a smokies-section fastpack of the Benton MacKaye Trail some time this year.

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