View Full Version : Tarp Snakeskins

2007-01-22, 18:56
Made some snakeskins for my rectangular silnyl tarp.

Made it much smaller than the HH snakeskins or the dimensions shown on Just Jeff's site or Jacks'R'Better's site. Only needed a 5" diameter.

Used nylon mesh the first time around. At $1/yd it was a cheap way to experiment. Found out that I couldn't use the mesh for the tarp snakeskin - way too fragile - poked a few holes in the mesh with my fingers. In pulling the mesh off, it tore off the end.

Looked for a stronger mesh at the local fabric store. All of their mesh was about the same, just different mesh sizes. In looking around for a substitute, I found 100% polyester chiffon. The stuff is way stronger than the nylon mesh (at least the local stuff), extremely light and very strong, at least compared to the mesh, and still breathes like the mesh.

Made the snakeskins. A plain 5" tube, no taper. Works great. Only needed 12" of fabric, 6"/snakeskin, bought 1/2 yd to be safe - $2.00.

If you want to make snakeskins for your tarp, that chiffon works great -- and it's available in other colors than black. Anybody for Chartreuse snakeskins? Maybe a hot Pink? I got kind of a grayish purple. The cheapest.

I used scrap ripstop nylon for the hems and cable ties for the opening on one end as suggested on the Jacks'R'Better site. Thanks for that suggestion, Peter Pan I think. I was going in circles for about a day trying to find something to use and finally decided to check Just Jeff's site and followed the link. Makes for a great snakeskin.

2007-01-22, 20:11
Is there any purpose of a snakeskin on a tarp other than keeping the inside of your pack dry? I thought about sewing a mesh pouch on the back of my pack to carry my tarp in. I guess they would still keep the back side of the tarp from getting drenched and then wetting your top quilt.

Just Jeff
2007-01-22, 21:56
Two big advantages. First, it's a lot easier to hang your tarp in windy conditions if it's in the skins. You can at least get the ridgeline tight before it starts whipping around. But the other reason is why I like them - I can hang the tarp at night but leave it in the snakeskins if I'm not expecting rain. Then if I wake up to some sprinkles, it's really quick to pull back the skins and drop the tarp over the hammock while I stake it out. I like sleeping w/o a tarp whenever I can, and this puts me one step closer to staying dry if an unexpected rain moves in.

But they're not really needed...just something convenient to carry sometimes. On my last few trips I've just stuffed the tarp in my outer mesh pocket and didn't bring the skins, though. Not really a decision I made...just didn't feel like looking for the skins when I was packing.

2007-01-22, 22:11
Is there any purpose of a snakeskin on a tarp other than keeping the inside of your pack dry?

MOST Definitely YES for me. It also has absolutely nothing to do with keeping the tarp from shedding water on anything else. That is why I used netting and then chiffon - they both let the water drain off the tarp while packed.

First I keep the tarp OUTSIDE the pack at all times. Doesn't make sense to me to put something wet inside. I wanted the snakeskin to breath just like the tarp stuff sack - having something wet all scrunched up just hasn't worked out for me.

I decided on a snakeskin because it makes hanging the tarp a whole lot easier. Just like with the hammock and a snakeskin, the tarp and the tarp hanging/ridgeline cord are inside the snakeskin except for the cord ends.

That gives me a long roll to handle when it come time to hang the tarp.

I can pass one end of the hanging paracord ridgeline around a tree and clip the micro-carabiner back to the cord. Then walk to the other tree playing out the snakeskn with cord and tarp inside, pass the other end of the rope around the tree, loop it around the Figure 9 gizmo, pull tight and secure. I now have the tarp and ridgeline hung - just a few seonds to accomplish. Reattach the tarp ridgeline tie outs to the prussik loops already on the ridgeline cord, adjust the prussik loop positions to center tarp and pull taut. I now have the tarp all rolled up and strung between the two trees. No hassle so far. Nothing to unpack/unstuff. I then pull the snakeskins off the tarp and have the tarp draped over the ridgeline cord just as I like it (it could be equally be done with the tarp hanging under the ridgeline cord in exactly the same manner), pull the corners out to get the stake positions, put the stakes in the ground, tie the guy lines (4 or 6 stakes/guylines depending on if I do the middle tie-outs) and I'm done.

To take down (wet or dry): undo tie outs and pull stakes and stow, then roll the tarp in a manner similar to the hammock, pull the snakeskins from the positions at the end of the tarp on the ridgeline cord and untie ridgeline tie outs from prussik loops. I now have the tarp in a long tube. I unsecure one end from the Figure 9 gizmo and walk to the other end, folding the tube with tarp and ridgeline cord into a neat bundle as I go. Unclip micro-carabiner, wrap exposed ridgeline cord ends around folded bundle to secure bundle, secure ends and strap bundle to outside of pack. Tarp and ridgeline cord is bundled and ready for easy deployment tonight.

I did it for a long time with the tarp in a stuff sack: first tie the ridgeline cord using the micro-carabiner and Figure 9 gizmo (a knot before the Figure 9), pull the tarp out of the stuff sack (hopefully the end ridgeline tie out stayed on the top where I put when I stuffed the sack - this doesn't always happen given Murphy's Law and the perniciousness of nature and how bad the weather is - how badly the tie is misplaced is directly related to how bad the weather is :-) ), tie the middle ridgeline tie out to the prussik loop on the rope, walk to the other end, trailing the tarp out of the stuff sack and tie the opposite tie out to the second prussik loop. Adjust the prussiks loops to center the tarp and pull taut. Pull the tarp over the rope (I like the tarp on top of the ridgeline paracord). Then I can get to staking and tying out.

Now all of that as opposed to the snakeskin use of simply walking from one tree to the other.

The snakeskin just makes it sooooooooooooooo much easier and faster. This is especially appreciated when the weather is bad and I can hang the ridgeline cord and the tarp all at the same time without rooting around for the blasted ridgeline tie out. It is also sooooooooo much easier to strike the tarp and pack it. I don't fight getting the tarp into the stuff sack. It always seemed that the tarp was twice as big as when I took it out and the stuff sack is twice as small.

2007-01-22, 22:44
Well, sounds like I need TWO sets of snakeskins, I've dawdled on making some for my hammock because of the thickness of the KAQ. I read on WhiteBlaze (maybe it was you Jeff) that you need a pair about two inches larger than the Python skins for the KAQ.

Just Jeff
2007-01-23, 08:00
That wasn't me...I just know that the KAQ won't fit in my Python Skins. Personally, I'd like about 2" added on to the PS for the Nest to fit easier b/c I don't need that much compression. So if I were making some for the KAQ I'd try my first set about 4" bigger than the PS and see how that works.

But I was also thinking about making one long tube with a drawstring at one end...just pull it over the whole thing and close the string instead of having two skins. Dunno if it would be any better or not...just something that's been bouncing around in my head.

2007-01-31, 00:33
Take-a-knee...like your KAQ? Thinking about ordering one...

2007-01-31, 00:55
Yes, I'm quite pleased with my KAQ, it has been too warm until recently here in GA to give it a proper test, but I plan to do so soon. The loft is just what Patrick (the maker) says, right at 2in. I'm 5' 8" so I ordered the small and it fits well on my HH ULB. Since I can use the small their isn't much of a weight penalty for me compared to a down underquilt. Last spring I spent several nights in it with my Jardine top quilt but it was already in the upper 30's here so it wasn't much of a test for the KAQ. Jeff and some others at White Blaze have used theirs into the 20's, I think. I just recieved my new Feathered Friends Rock Wren bag and I'm looking forward to testing them both.

Just Jeff
2007-01-31, 08:41
Blackbishop just used one into the 20s at the Mt Rogers campout for Hammock Forums. I've used mine into the 30s but I'm pretty sure I could get into the 20s with it.

Here's my writeup on the trip (http://www.tothewoods.net/HikingPicturesMtRogers.html)...it has pics of some of the setups and a link to the HF thread discussing the trip if you want to ask folks about their KAQs.

2007-02-08, 00:56
OK, thanks for the info guys. Looks like Patrick is not taking new orders as of yet.