Emergency tarps and mountain hunting

Litehiker

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The recent LRH article titled "Gearing Up For Mountain Extremes" talks of how a Hilleberg tarp made life more bearable during daytime bad weather on a mountain hunt.

I've never thought about using a "bothy" tarp, as the British call it, for hunting. It is used more commonly for small group backcountry skiing for emergency shelter rather than for hunting.

I can see how Swedes and especially Norwegians or Finns would also use it in mountain hunting situations.

I use hiking poles for hunting and they (or skis) are important to give a tarp shelter some form and interior space. Otherwise above timberline you may be just huddling with a tarp over your party and their packs - still worn on their backs. This would at least keep the tarp and its condensation off your backs and clothing.

But I do carry a small (8' x 8') light silnylon tarp in my hunting pack for accidental overnighters. It is good only for one person but it is all I need for a more comfortable night or a more comfortable lunch time in a storm. I am now sewing stake loops to my little tarp for better wind worthiness. Two loops per side plus one in each corner (every 2 ft. including corners) is enough. I'm also adding two tie points in the center of the tarp. I carry 4 aluminum MSR Groundhog stakes and 50 ft. of light Triptease tent guy cord with that tarp. I do not want to be looking for sticks and rocks when a storm has moved in.

I could also see it used for a glassing shelter in bad weather so that the time is not wasted. I have seen a photo of a similar small shelter being used in rainy weather somewhere here on LTH. I think it has a "frame" of some sort.

Eric B.
 
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GoosePilot

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Anyone else use a small fly or tarp to block wind while glossing or temporarily get out of the elements?
 

P7M13

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I carry an aluminized vinyl wrap that I scavenge off high tech machines when they are unpacked. My current one is the size of a king size bed, folded it takes up zero space and weighs ~6oz. Keeps me incredibly warm and dry, allows my light bag to serve much lower than its 30° rating.
Condensate on the inside has been its only drawback.
On an aside, I have never understood "bag temperature ratings". A 30° rated bag at 30° ambient is one cold, shivering sleep.
 

Litehiker

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P7M13, I now carry an aluminized mylar emergency ivy sack in my hunting pack - just in case. But I like your idea fo that 6 oz. tarp you carry.

SLEEPING BAG TEMPERATURE RATINGS: Well, the world class bag companies like Western Mountaineering, Feathered Friends and Montbell tend to rate their bags conservatively. Others just plain lie.
But even in a conservatively rated class act bag your warmth can be dependent on your fitness level (i.e. metabolic level), mattress R rating and if you ate a good meal before bedtime.
 

ZAK13

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Jul 18, 2015
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I also carry a small 9'x8' foot silnylon tarp when I'm hunting out west. First time I tried it to block the wind up on a ridge I was mind blown at the huge difference it made while glassing. It was worth carrying it and the 20 minutes it took to set up, was able to glass the mountainside comfortably for a long while! Now I always take it with me.
 

IanCo

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Aug 24, 2018
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Colorado
I started carrying the Kifaru sheep tarp this year. Use it when the kids are along for picnics and have used it a couple times hunting. Nice to get out of the sun if it’s hot out or get out of worse elements. It packs pretty small and seems sillier not to have it in the pack.
 

Litehiker

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Ian, I like that KIFARU Sheep Tarp. minimalist but gives shelter on 3 sides.
I have a Tarptent Notch Li that uses my two hiking poles for support. Very stable in winds when I have it guyed out on both sides.

Your Sheep Tarp reminds me that I have an extra Tarptent Moment DW silnylon fly and main pole that I could carry for a similar purpose.

Eric B.
 

27 Gap

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If you're already using hiking poles check out the hyperlite stuff.

 

Litehiker

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Mojave Desert, Nevada
Gap,
Checked HL out and didn't like the cost of DCF stuff. I've already paid $600. for my DCF Tarptent Notch Li. My next $400. or so goes for a HOLOSUN 509T fully enclosed red dot sight for my RUGER 57 pistol.

But I'm going to look around for a well grommeted roughly 8' x 9' silnylon tarp that may fit the bill. Nevada's mountain weather can be quite unpredictable.

Eric B.
 

DNADave

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Jun 18, 2019
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Seattle
While this wouldn't help you during a glassing period, it would in case of emergency. When out for the day in the mountains (hunting or showshoeing), I often carry a North Face Backpacker's Bivy (https://www.backpacker.com/gear/gear-review-the-north-face-backpack-bivy) in my pack with a space blanket bag (space blanket sealed in a sleeping bag shape). The bivy weighs 24oz and is fully enclosed against the elements.
 

8x68s

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Apr 9, 2019
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Salem, Oregon
I carry an aluminized vinyl wrap that I scavenge off high tech machines when they are unpacked. My current one is the size of a king size bed, folded it takes up zero space and weighs ~6oz. Keeps me incredibly warm and dry, allows my light bag to serve much lower than its 30° rating.
Condensate on the inside has been its only drawback.
On an aside, I have never understood "bag temperature ratings". A 30° rated bag at 30° ambient is one cold, shivering sleep.
Many years ago I worked in the outdoor sports retailing business in a small shop that specialized in backpacking and mountaineering. Even the salesmen who worked for the sleeping bag makers couldn't explain the reason for inflating the bag temperature ratings except to say the ratings were based on sleeping with clothing on.. It doesn't make sense to exaggerate something so critical to a consumer's well being. I have always felt this practice was irresponsible.
 

P7M13

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Many years ago I worked in the outdoor sports retailing business in a small shop that specialized in backpacking and mountaineering. Even the salesmen who worked for the sleeping bag makers couldn't explain the reason for inflating the bag temperature ratings except to say the ratings were based on sleeping with clothing on.. It doesn't make sense to exaggerate something so critical to a consumer's well being. I have always felt this practice was irresponsible.
Froze my butt off on a glacier thinking I was GTG with a Kelly 20° bag and an ancient Thermarest. Put *all* my clothes on, even pulled out my emergency thermal bivy bag, the kind they put in lifeboats, and *still* shivered all night.
 

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