Richard Bucker

Not a terrible shelter but not great either

Posted at — May 11, 2018

Let me start by describing where I am in the process of developing my shelter. Shelters are a primarily personal thing. It depends on what gear is available, your skills, and the environment you plan to visit. This being late spring in Florida (May) I have to deal with heat, bugs, and rain; which makes a tarp and net tent ideal.

This tarp is a 9x9 Silnylon with linlocks around the perimeter. It packs down well.  My only complaint is the seam seal. The tried sealer sticks to itself and peals off the tarp with ease. One thing I like about this size tarp is that there are some interesting configurations. Two that come to mind are a bivy as the tarp can be staked to the ground and then rolled over like a 34 burrito. The other configuration I like is similar to the burrito but rather than staking down the open end leaving it open in lean-to fashion.

The silnylon is sold in bulk with a 6ft width. Which means that the tarp would not have a seam. I like that option a lot.


I struggled to get the stakes in the ground with the poles in near vertical with just the right amount of tension.


One thing I think I realized is that these BearPaw Wilderness Designs makes custom or on demand gear. That means there’s always a chance for manufacturing defects. It could also be user error or that the tarp needs to settle before I get a flat lay. But there is a crease and the tarp is flapping in a light breeze.


This pole represents a few different things. First of all BPWD does not offer a way to use tent poles and if they do it’s not clear were or how. I rigged something up that seems to be working well for the tarp and the net.

Sadly the linelocks have slipped a few times but that could be the cordage… and I hear Andrew Skurka in the background whispering about cutting off the linelocks because you never know what size cordage you’re going to encounter.


UPDATE I just tightened some lines and the tarp is getting flatter. I’m not sure it’s ideal yet but better.

This is clearly not my ultralight camp setup but it is reasonable for short hikes or maybe group camping. I should be able to get a second person under the tarp.