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Thread: How Heavy Is Yours?

  1. #1
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    Default How Heavy Is Yours?

    Steve & I have been talking about doing some more expedition trips next year and with this comes discussions about gear.

    This year used a modified single skin festival tent to sleep in as it was lightweight, (1.8kgs) simple and easy to put up, but it is not ideal in strong winds and on our last night, the conditions were bad, I did discover a leak in one of the corners.

    Picture of it below. (Silver one in the foreground)



    Steve suggests I don't mess about and just buy a Hilleberg tent like the Unna, AKto or Soulo (http://www.hilleberg.com/home/products/solo.php), but at around 500 each, we are talking serious money here and well beyond my meagre budget.

    Now we do actually have a decent double skin 2-man dome tent that the kids use when we go away in the caravan, but it is on the heavy side at 4.3kgs, which is around twice the weight of the Hilleberg tents and my festival tent.



    Question is, am I being silly not using my bigger heavier dome tent for the sake of a couple of kg's? What do others use and are they around the same weight?

  2. #2
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    Investing in a decent tent is well worth it. Get something designed to stand the worst that our fickle weather can throw at you - dealing with leaking, or trashed tents in a storm, away from your car even, never mind out in the wilds, is no fun at best, and at worst could be a very serious matter. I think Hilleberg tents are about the best around nowadays - but I'm sure you'll get other strong recommendations. The advantage of expeditioning by canoe is that weight is less important than it would be if you were backpacking.

  3. #3
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    There's no need to spend a fortune on a Hilleberg (excellent though they are). You can get something decent from manufacturers such as Vango for a quarter of that price that will do the job fine and will be reasonably light and compact.
    This http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/banshee-300-p183912 would be spacious for one or this would be fine if you wanted to save some money and weight http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/vango-ba...0-tent-p140006
    I reckon using a single skin festival tent would be asking for trouble (especially in Scotland). There are lots of tent threads on here if you search, it's worth doing some homework and working out what your tent priorities are before buying. I have five different small tents for different circumstances ranging from geodesic dome tents (relatively heavy due to the extra poles but very strong) to ultralightweight tunnel tents (light but relatively fragile if not pitched carefully). Factors such as where you think you might be pitching are important as well, my most recent acquisition is a semi geodesic dome tent that is totally free standing meaning that at a pinch I could pitch it in a spot where I couldn't get any decent peg placements. I have to go to work now but I'll post some more suggestions tomorrow when I have more time (I'm a bit of a tent spotter so it's a subject close to my heart!)

  4. #4
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    I have a Hilleberg, but they are expensive. I would go for a decent strong 2man tent and dont worry about a kilo or two. I would be wary of larger tents as they do catch the wind more and on expedition a flat space for 4 tents to pitch can sometimes be hard to find. It does need to be big enough to get you and your gear in to escape midges, but not too big. That Vango Banshee 200 seems a good choice. Looking on GoOutdoors http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/hi-gear-sphinx-2-berth-tent-p146770 seems to be a good solid stable design with good reviews, but a bit more expensive.

  5. #5
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    My favourite tent for canoe expeditions is a flysheet first pitching (makes sure the inner doesn't get soaked while you're trying to get the tent up), free standing geodesic dome (means you can pitch on a pebble or sand beach if you have to), with enough head room so that I can sit up inside (can't cope with trying to cook / eat propped up on one elbow), but not so tall it won't stand gales (I'm sure I read somewhere, years ago, that max height for a stable geodesic is about 1m ?). My favourite tent is an old Phoenix - and you can't get those anymore ..... so, what's on offer nowadays Jurassic ? Look forward to your suggestions..... I'm going to have to replace the Phoenix sometime. I cycle camp with a Hilleberg Atko - but love the luxury of a bit of extra space when canoeing.

  6. #6
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    If you're talking about paddling trips where you have quite a lot of gear and one or two luxuries, the odd kilo or two doesn't matter much. If you're portaging miles across the wildest bits of Scotland, it obviously does!

    Hilleberg tents are superb, and one day I shall own one.

    For now though, my Vango Halo 200 will do just fine. Its not light at 3.5kg or so, but its quite compact and as I like to take fireboxes and wood etc, the extra couple of kg is irrelevant.

    I prefer a free standing model for canoeing, as occasionally you find yourself camped on shingle, gravel or similar where you cannot rely on the tension of the tent to make it stand up. I also liked the idea of lying sideways to the door, and indeed I've found this to be great, allowing you to brew up in comfort with the doors open, looking out over a lake.

    At the moment I just have the one tent, plus a tarp. Ideally though, I would have a lightweight backpacking/long portaging one (under 2kg), something like the Halo, the tarp, and a bigger one with a wide front opening that could face a fire.

    The Banshee also looks good. If I were you, I'd be looking for something to complement the 2-man dome you already have, so maybe a lightish weight one like the Banshee would be perfect if the free-standing thing doesn't matter to you.
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  7. #7
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    Another vote for vango

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  9. #9
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    Vango tempest 300 @3.45kg . more room than the 200 ,not too heavy and will keep you dry in all weather

  10. #10
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    Nope your not camping on top of a mountain in a hurricane so a Vango or a Jack Wolfskin is fine and will stand up to everything canoe camping has to offer, both designed for European weather ie wet.

    anything from the 'expedition' range will work at a good price
    http://www.vango.co.uk/tents.html?ca...1_1,catid2_115
    I have had a banshee200 worked ok with some good features but prefer the Hallo, I have the 300.

    But for around the same money you can get a Jack Wolfskin my canoe camping tent of choice IMO better than a Vango but they do tend to weigh a little more.
    http://www.jack-wolfskin.co.uk/equipment/tents.aspx


  11. #11
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    I use a Vango Chinook 200. It is 3.7kg and quite compact when packed away but roomy enough when up. It is freestanding semi geodesic like the Halo. It was 90 from Go Outdoors as per Sinbads link so very cheap for a tent like that. I have got another Vango tent and have been pleased with that too.

  12. #12
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    One of my favourites is the Wild Country (before they split and becameTerra Nova) Solar 2 , Large porch with versatile openings.sideways sleeping ,2.55kg.
    Reviews at Buachaille.com. They do come up on a well known auction site - other auctions are available.

    I also have the Wild country Trisar which is brill. About 3kg . Torrential rain in France and a washout on our site but I was dry

    Used my Vango Delta 200 when we did the Wye, (rained every day). Another sideways sleeper.I think about 3kg?

    All have big enough porches to leave your wet gear in.

    Imho I think it is important to have a dry `cave` to get into at night especially if its been tipping down all day.
    So we beat on,boats against the current,bourne back ceaselessly into the past.

  13. #13
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    This is my set up a highlander forces 2 tent
    http://www.baselinesupplies.co.uk/ca...ent_P3606.html
    45
    and a decathlon tarp for 25 this set up gives me a space I can stand up in and a sleeping zone that will stand up to the worst weather .
    I can't see me ever needing anything else, this set up will work as both a basecamp and as a expedition tent.


  14. #14
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    2.2 kg.




    About 70 UK Pounds from MEC. Excellent tripping tent. Been outstanding in really foul weather as well.

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    I too have a vango halo 200 and I am very happy with it, and as Mal and Retro have said, the other Vango Tents in that range look good too. I've no experience of a Hilleburg for for canoe camping if I were to need another tent I'd almost certainly get a vango.

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    I've got the Vango Halo 300 which weighs in around 4kg. Its certainly a very good spacious design but disappointingly after less than a year, the inner has started to pull away from its entrance zips at a couple of points on both sides. I've patched it with tenacious tape which seems to be holding up at the moment.

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    That's a shame, first bad report I've heard of. I'm thinking of a 300 for a bit more space when I'm camping with my 13 year old son.

  18. #18
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    Steamerpoint,
    Your last question was the gist of your post.

    I have always believed that the canoe does the heavy lifting, unless you plan to portage alot. I don't portage any further than from the Jeep to the launch point - usually only a hundred feet or so. Push it right in throught the bushes. So, I bring a tent that is large enough to hold me, and all my gear, with the exception of the 100 pounds of firewood I usually haul along. It is a very common, workmanlike tent of old design: a Eureka Timberline 4 "pup" tent. The footprint is 7ft X 9ft and it has a rain fly. That's it. Bugger the weight. Bring on the comfort. It might not be the ideal for Scotland, though. All the wild images I've seen of the place appears quite tundra-like, but with hills, and full of blue painted savages. Indeed, the latitude corresponds to Ketchikan, Alaska!

    Where I live, it's more like Cornwall, I suspect, or Normandy. Plenty of drenching rain but usually not much in the way of really cold, piercing stuff.

  19. #19
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    Wow, big response, thanks everyone.

    I will revisit each of your recommendations again and look at them very closely.

    I weighed my double skin tent again earlier (Pictured below again) and it weighed 3.8kg without the pegs, which alone weighed a massive 0.5kg.
    Half a kilo for just the pegs!!!

    It might be that I just need to source some decent lightweight pegs as there seems to be a fair number of tents being used by canoeists that weigh between 3kgs & 4kgs.



    We put this tent up on the cliff tops near Cromer beside our caravan a few years back. When the winds picked up to around 45 to 50 mph later that evening, we took down the caravan porch awning and brought the youngest inside our 2-birth van with us, but our 14-year old (At the time) stayed in the tent that night. The next morning every other tent and caravan awning was down or badly damaged, yet our dome was unaffected, so I know it can cope with strong winds.
    The outer goes up first and the inner last, but it might be possible to pitch both at the same time.

    I still like the look of many of these tents though and anything close to 2kgs is truly lightweight.

  20. #20
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    There's a lot to said for the dome tent. Fasten it down well and even a cheap one will stand a good blow. I've seen them rolling and bounding like multi-colored beach balls, but the one I had years ago stayed put, even though the inexpensive fabric allowed rain to blow right through the weave.

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    I choose comfort and space over ultra lightweight - and pitching fly first is very important. You've already got a proven tent so change the pegs!
    http://www.backpacking-lite.co.uk/reviews/ultralight-tent-pegs-review.html

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    Thanks Keith. I have just been looking for some pegs online following your review, but before ordering grabbed my current pegs to check how many I need and what length they are. When I looked at them individually I was shocked how heavy they are. I have just weighed one of them and and it came to 45 grams!!! I could get 20-titanium (2 gram) pegs (If I could afford that many ) for the weight of one steel peg and still save weight!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by OutnBacker View Post
    There's a lot to said for the dome tent. Fasten it down well and even a cheap one will stand a good blow. I've seen them rolling and bounding like multi-colored beach balls, but the one I had years ago stayed put, even though the inexpensive fabric allowed rain to blow right through the weave.
    Yep, its all about the pitching with domes (and any other tent). As long as they have a few guys, and are pitched nice and taut, with pegs angled into the ground, they'll handle a heck of a lot of weather.

    Fly first pitching is a good one. The Halo, and quite a lot of other Vangos, can be pitched as one, with the fly & inner attached to each other. I've only bothered separating mine once, when it was VERY wet and needed drying out. I'm a little more careful when inserting and bending the poles, due to the extra weight being lifted.
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    I'm a big fan of the Karrimor Beta. It's a novel design that I think works very well - easy to get in and out of.
    I don't see weight as much of a problem as bulk. The Beta packs into a very convenient short bag. Weight is a bit over 3kg.
    From memory, the pegs that come with it are fairly decent. If they're not light enough I've got some aluminium V stakes you can have.

  25. #25
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    I think you've answered your own question Steamerpoint, just get some new pegs for your dome tent and you're sorted. I bought some ti pegs and tbh I think they're a waste of money (you can still bend them), cheaper alu alloy pegs will do the job just fine, save a lot of weight compared to steel pegs (which is what I assume you have now) and can be easily straightened when you do bend them.

    FWIW, I have a Vango Banshee 200 amongst my collection and it's a really nice little tent with one major flaw if you're six feet or taller it's just too short. The good news is that the newer evolution is longer (there are three evolutions of it, the first one pitches inner first, the second like my one goes up fly first or inner and fly together and the third one is like evo 2 but longer). Evo 1 will probably only be available second hand now, evo 2 is still for sale in some shops heavily discounted and evo 3 is the current longer version and can be distinguished by being "pointed" at the ends. Evo 3 is the one to go for.
    Like some of those above I went for the Chinook 200 (http://www.vango.co.uk/expedition/chinook-200.html) recently at the massively discounted price (a 270 tent for 90!). It's advantage is that it is completely free standing (as has been mentioned above), even the porches are supported by the poles so it literally requires no pegs at all to stand up. Reasonably sturdy and spacious but pretty bulky and fairly heavy at 3.7kgs. I bought this tent solely for canoe camping so that I can pitch it on beaches etc if needs be. The bulk and weight doesn't matter to me in the canoe. I used it in pretty wild conditions on our Gigha trip and it was rock solid in F5/6 winds and torrential rain. Just before I bought it I was going to buy a Hilleberg Staika (http://www.hilleberg.com/home/produc...ika/staika.php) but seeing the Vango at that discounted price and with similar features I couldn't resist a punt. If I was skiing to the north pole I would have gone for the Hilleberg though.

  26. #26
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    Loads of good advice from everyone here, one thing I would add is this: If you're using a tent in the warmer months two entrances make for a nice bit of through-flow. I have two 'tent-porn' status tents (Macpac Microlight and Terra Nova Voyager) and as good as they are (very), they heat up pretty darn fast once the sun hits them in the morning. A nice lie-in soon becomes out of the question. Being a bit of a sloven, next tent I buy will have two entrances. Also very nice for sheltering from the midges up 'there' on a warm summer's eve.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jurassic View Post
    I think you've answered your own question Steamerpoint, just get some new pegs for your dome tent and you're sorted. I bought some ti pegs and tbh I think they're a waste of money (you can still bend them), cheaper alu alloy pegs will do the job just fine, save a lot of weight compared to steel pegs (which is what I assume you have now) and can be easily straightened when you do bend them.

    FWIW, I have a Vango Banshee 200 amongst my collection and it's a really nice little tent with one major flaw if you're six feet or taller it's just too short. The good news is that the newer evolution is longer (there are three evolutions of it, the first one pitches inner first, the second like my one goes up fly first or inner and fly together and the third one is like evo 2 but longer). Evo 1 will probably only be available second hand now, evo 2 is still for sale in some shops heavily discounted and evo 3 is the current longer version and can be distinguished by being "pointed" at the ends. Evo 3 is the one to go for.
    Like some of those above I went for the Chinook 200 (http://www.vango.co.uk/expedition/chinook-200.html) recently at the massively discounted price (a 270 tent for 90!). It's advantage is that it is completely free standing (as has been mentioned above), even the porches are supported by the poles so it literally requires no pegs at all to stand up. Reasonably sturdy and spacious but pretty bulky and fairly heavy at 3.7kgs. I bought this tent solely for canoe camping so that I can pitch it on beaches etc if needs be. The bulk and weight doesn't matter to me in the canoe. I used it in pretty wild conditions on our Gigha trip and it was rock solid in F5/6 winds and torrential rain. Just before I bought it I was going to buy a Hilleberg Staika (http://www.hilleberg.com/home/produc...ika/staika.php) but seeing the Vango at that discounted price and with similar features I couldn't resist a punt. If I was skiing to the north pole I would have gone for the Hilleberg though.
    The Chinook looks nice and for that price, I also feel you made the right decision.

    I'm going to set my dome up in the lounge this weekend (The SWIMBO will probably go mental though) and look at it again from an expedition point of view. I want to see if the midges can get in somewhere and if it can be erected with the inner and outer together for speed.

    If I get some new lightweight pegs, I should be able to get the weight down to 3.9 kgs which is a similar weight to tents used by other canoeists.

    My last three tents have all been silver. This is so that it colour coordinates next to my car and caravan when set up! No I am actually joking right LOL . It just turned out that way, but the real reason why I have gone for silver if it is an option, is that it reflects the sunlight better and makes for a cooler tent during the warmer months of the year. Plus you don't have to wake up at 6am when the morning sun hits your tent and super-heats it up forcing you to unzip doors etc. before going back to sleep!! Oh and my car colour was picked to match our silver caravan, but that's different!

    Right I'm off to setup an ebay search for a Hilleberg tent and a maximum price of 90! Wish me luck.

  28. #28
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    Sometimes you may want to stealth camp (particularly in England where wild camping is usually not allowed) which would be difficult in a silver tent. Not much you can do about that using the tent you have now but maybe worth considering if you decide to buy a new tent at some point (mine are all green for that reason). Also well worth considering is a tarp to extend your living space. You can often pitch a tarp with one end over the top of your tent and use paddles or trees to suspend the other end to make foul weather much more bearable (and sociable if you're with others). Tarps are pretty light and very versatile. The cheapest decent one I've seen is the Decathlon tarp (as seen in Unk's picture above) which comes with heavy steel poles and pegs that you can leave at home on trips when weight is a consideration (they're handy to have though and many tarps don't come with poles, pegs or even guylines so they add to the value of the package). http://www.decathlon.co.uk/tarp-khaki-id_2363223.html

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jurassic View Post
    Sometimes you may want to stealth camp (particularly in England where wild camping is usually not allowed) which would be difficult in a silver tent. Not much you can do about that using the tent you have now but maybe worth considering if you decide to buy a new tent at some point (mine are all green for that reason).
    Of you could just buy this: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Genuine-Army-Issue-Camouflage-Netting-7ftx7ft-Army-Camo-Net-/290822333793?pt=UK_SportingGoods_Hunting_ShootingS ports_ET&hash=item43b65ca561]

    Point taken though.

    The tarp sounds like a good idea too. I guess much depends on what is required in terms of portaging. As you say, if you are just sailing/ padding up to a beach and then set up for a night or two, then yes great, get a nice camp setup for comfort, socializing, cooking etc. Having some weather protection would be excellent. Our last night in Scotland was rubbish in terms of weather and with no where to escape the rain, everyone just retired to their tents for the evening, yet we had done a lot that day and it would have been great to chat about it over dinner together.


  30. #30
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    As far as I'm concerned, a tarp has become a key part of my camping kit, thanks entirely to taking up canoeing.

    Having that shelter, in any weather, especially when you have a firebox to sit in front of, in a comfy camp chair.....with a few bottle of ale, or maybe a wine box, after cooking your food on the fire with a nice iron skillet or even a Dutch oven, with hot drinks on tap from the kelly kettle, before retiring to your tent with its nice thick Thermarest and extra-toasty sleeping bag.....are you starting to see why that extra kg or 2 is not really the issue!?
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  31. #31
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    are you starting to see why that extra kg or 2 is not really the issue!?
    In that case, maybe I should bring our larger family size dome tent, which we still have in the garage somewhere!

    Sleeps 6 with a large communal area in the centre.


  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steamerpoint View Post
    The tarp sounds like a good idea too. Our last night in Scotland was rubbish in terms of weather and with no where to escape the rain, everyone just retired to their tents for the evening, yet we had done a lot that day and it would have been great to chat about it over dinner together
    That's exactly what the tarp is good for, it gives you a sheltered area to cook, chat etc (and store kit that you don't want in your tent). I always carry one on trips as they take up hardly any space and weigh very little. I actually have five different tarps as well as the tents I mentioned above (not to mention the hammock!) The last night on our Gigha trip we were subjected to really heavy driving rain and F5/6 winds but we were snug and dry under the tarp which we rigged between the two tents and we stayed up until 11pm chatting (and drinking ). Without it we would have just retired to our individual tents as you say.


  33. #33
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    Right, you've convinced me, a decent tarp will be purchased too.

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    I've a DD 3x3m tarp - it looks to have more fixing points than the Quecha one but doesn't come with poles... I got my 1.8m poles from amazon for about 11 from memory. If I was starting over I'd get a 3x4.5m tarp and 2.1m poles as the extra space justifies the weight and bulk. All four of us spent a week camping in the Lakes and Shropshire like this - the tent was just used for sleeping and storage.

    The flat pack kitchen and cool box are optional

  35. #35
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    As Davy 90 says the DD tarps are the next step up in tarp chic! I have the DD TarpXL (http://www.ddhammocks.com/product/tarp-xl) and it's great (but a bit more expensive than the Decathlon/Quechua tarp).

  36. #36
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    Ah, I see this thread is now moving in the direction of tarp envy....

    It is important to know some of the more necessary tarp set ups;



    The "great hall" - two or three tarps surrounded by sleeping wings (tents)






    "Circling the tarps" - for defence against marauding groups of fishermen or kayakers.






    A tarp should, of course, have central heating




    (This photo also illustrates the fact that lightweight tents are not necessary, as Martin's fishing bivi in the background was about the size & weight of an Old Town Pack when packed away)



    The "tramp camp" - all tarp set ups will quickly look like you are protesting about the building of a new road across sensitive downland.






    The "grandstand", - tarps set up in parallel for spectating






    "Santas Grotto" - found in strange woodlands in the right season







    (Sorry, gone a bit off topic, but is is important to educate!)
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    Ah, I see this thread is now moving in the direction of tarp envy...It is important to know some of the more necessary tarp set ups;
    (Sorry, gone a bit off topic, but is is important to educate!)
    As Richard Nixon once said "he who is without tarp is without wisdom". I'm still living in the hope that that nice Milton Keynes bloke will organise another polycotton SOTP tarp group buy at some point (I missed out previously ). While we're on the subject of tarp envy here is my take on the PWC midge tarp (surely the ultimate Scottish trip accessory).

  38. #38
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    More Tarpage

    I can see this could warrant its own thread

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    Hot weather set-up:





    Cold weather set-up (with smiling bow-mate.....):



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