Tundra Tarps

Heavy-duty makeshift shelter

Camping beside a windblown lake or a tundra riverbank, where the wind never really stops, is hard on tarps: grommets blow out, seams pop, and there never seems to be enough spots on the tarp to attach a line. Tundra Tarps are terrifically versatile, stout tarps. Instead of grommets the tarp is ringed with 3/4″ nylon ribbon with loops sewn in every two feet on the outer edge and interior seams. The sil-nylon material is stitched together using a single needle lockstitch with double stitched lapped ends — in other words, the cloth will fail long before the seams. The most delightfully ingenious innovation is a central “quad loop” that captures the end of a pole, staff, stick or paddle and hold it firmly in place so that when the wind lifts, the center support does not fall out.

After three years of canoeing, camping and backpacking with the Tundra, the tarp is still one of my favorite pieces of gear. I originally purchased one 10′ x 16′ tarp for a canoe trip to Canada with a crew of nine Boy Scouts. The tarp has sheltered a crew of nine in violent thunderstorms and been a palatial home for one on backpacking trips. There are cheaper options out there, but from my experience, none matches the true versatility and quality of the Tundra Tarp. Weighing a mere 2 pound 10 ounces, it does not add substantially to the load; there is also a 1 pound 10 ounce version available for an additional $80.00. Each tarp ships with 80 feet of polyester cord, a tube of SilNet sealant and a stuff sack. They are sized from 8′ x 10′ to 15′ x 15′.

The company will also sew your choice of colors, either a single color for the whole tarp or multicolored panels. My tarps are multicolored — orange, red, blue, and yellow — which makes them very easy to spot when canoing back to camp. I purchased a second tarp this summer when we added a second crew to our annual canoe trip. We’re going to get three more to outfit our entire Scout Troop this fall.

Quad Loop

-- Clarke Green 09/8/08

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