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  1. #1
    Senior Member kitsapcowboy's Avatar
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    Cool The Cowboy Badlander All-Weather Hex Tarp with Half Doors

    Even during periods of "good" weather, here in the Pacific Northwest most of the year presents one with an opportunity to test and compare weather protection options. This week has been no exception, and have been exploring and experimenting with new tarp concepts.

    One of the weather protection features I have become interested in is a single "all-weather" tarp option that balances weight and packed volume with efficient protection from the elements and ease of deployment and use. Many hammockers use a hex tarp year-round, while others opt for a full winter tarp with doors in all but the fairest conditions. Some like the idea of detachable beaks or doors that provide more full enclosure when necessary.

    I think Brandon at Warbonnet Outdoors, a proven innovator with his wonderful hammocks, has done a real service to the hammock camping community by advancing the concept of using integrated half-length doors on an otherwise conventional hex tarp with his popular Thunderfly and Minifly offerings. These Warbonnet tarps eliminate the majority of door management hassles while presenting versatile, functional options for configuration, and with their light weight and excellent coverage on the vulnerable areas near the gathered ends of the hammock, such tarps may be the best of both worlds.

    In truth, there may be no perfect middle ground. I see very few one-size-fits-all solutions to hammock camping, because each camper is different with an individual set of priorities and preferences for gear. This truth is at the crux of the "hang your own hang" (HYOH) ethos. With hammocks, as in life, there are always trade-offs to be considered. I believe the best one can do is understand one's own needs and biases and then make intelligent gear decisions respecting them, maximizing the positive aspects while minimizing the problems and inconveniences.

    After a couple of years of hammocking in all kinds of nasty weather, I know my own preferences in hammock tarps. One of them is the option for full or nearly full enclosure of my tarps in bad weather, ideally by staking them directly to the ground in "storm mode" to minimize the effects of gusts and backsplash from precipitation hitting the ground. My other strong preference is trailworthiness -- for tarps and outdoor gear in general; I like things to last, especially if I go to the trouble of building them myself. Therefore, if I plan to DIY myself a relatively lightweight all-weather hex tarp, I still want it to have the benefits of strategic reinforcements in critical areas to weather the worst of that Mother Nature may throw at it.

    My concept was a half-door hex tarp using the full width of standard waterproof fabric for the panels with a compact 11-foot ridge line, pairing the convenient and effective end coverage of the Thundefly and Minifly with the ample coverage of the Superfly. I added in some typical "Cowboy-approved" elements for extra reinforcement and versatility, and I christened my new tarp the Badlander.

    In cowboy slang, a badlander is an inhabitant of a wide-open area that is prone to extreme weather, especially places that suffer the ravages of wind and water; he is self-sufficient and practiced at survival in rough conditions with only a minimum of carefully chosen practical essentials. In essence, this description was my mission statement for this experimental DIY hammock tarp project. Here was my result...




    Type: All-weather hexagonal hammock tarp with abbreviated doors (compatible with optional double internal pole modification)
    Materials: Ripstop by the Roll 1.1 oz Silpoly, 300D pack cloth, 1" and 1/2" poly grosgrain ribbon, Mara 70 thread, misc. hardware
    Ridge Line Length: 132" (11 feet)
    Width: 114"
    Footprint (with half doors shut): 36 sq ft (6' x 6')
    Weight: 14.1 oz (400 grams)

    I missed my intended weight goal my just 4 grams, as I wanted this tough little tarp to tip the scales at 14 ounces; it almost did.

    It packs down very well into a small stuff sack that I made from silpoly scraps, compressing to the approximate size of a large grapefruit.

    I used my time-tested folded grosgrain standing seam ridge line for the two-panel construction of this hex, but I went with 1" ribbon instead of 1.5", which requires a bit more precision and care when assembling the tarp halves.

    There are three different tie-out techniques used on the Badlander. Each ridge line tie-out integrates 1/2" Beastee Dee rings into the ends of the folded grosgrain, supported by a large 300D rectagular patch and a saddle of reinforcing grosgrain to provide support against strain in all vectors at these critical points. The main side tie-outs use downsized 300D pack cloth patches in conjunction with conventional sewn-through grosgrain and a leaner, meaner version of my favorite two-way hardware combination with LineLoc 3s and Beastee Dee rings at all four corners, providing both convenient adjustment and compatibility with 0.344" internal poles for severe conditions. The half door corners were inspired by Warbonnet; they use my clumsy inerpretation of grosgrain edging to mount 1/2" Beastee Dees.

    I love the half doors! So far my favorite way to use them is tied out to the tree or ground in "fire and forget" mode; they are easy to duck under when entering or exiting the tarp and provide superior end coverage. They can also be clipped up out of the way or folded under; I found a simple double mitten hook provides a nearly weightless, very convenient means of securing them, and the same hook can clip the doors closed in a loose fashion without the need for an extra guy line, which also allows them to wrap gently around the suspension triangle of a bridge hammock without undue fluttering in the breeze.




    With the half doors staked out beak-style the Badlander winds up being about a full foot wider than the Thunderfly, and with the half doors pulled coplanar on a slightly wider pitch the tarp casts as rain shadow well over 7 feet across for plenty of protected real estate.

    More testing is warranted, but so far, so good with the Badlander! Construction details, additional photos, and field reports to come. Thanks for reading...
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    Last edited by kitsapcowboy; 03-24-2018 at 21:40.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Benson Burner's Avatar
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    The Cowboy Badlander All-Weather Hex Tarp with Half Doors

    Very gorgeous. I like your write ups. Very thorough. I agree, being out here in the PNW. I have a several tarps (depending). I was curious about getting a 12í hex rather than 11í with mini doors. And use my beak if itís in between tarps. Itís a good comparison. 11í mini door vs 12í hex. But not to take away from your incredible build. I like your write up itís Hyoh for sure. Your tarp look like a great option.


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  3. #3
    Senior Member kitsapcowboy's Avatar
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    This DIY project report was submitted to this forum for ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. Use any methods, ideas, or inspirations contained herein strictly AT YOUR OWN RISK. I accept no responsibility whatsoever for any injury or harm that befalls others owing to information presented here, and I accept no responsibility for any errors the post contains.

    I do not in any way advocate that others should do anything I have presented here; this thread is strictly DOCUMENTATION OF FACT. Readers beware.

    There is a lot of great information on Hammock Forums available from members with much more substantial experience, better ideas, and better methods than mine. SEEK IT OUT.

    Thank you for your attention.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member kitsapcowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benson Burner View Post
    Very gorgeous. I like your write ups. Very thorough. I agree, being out here in the PNW. I have a several tarps (depending). I was curious about getting a 12í hex rather than 11í with mini doors. And use my beak if itís in between tarps. Itís a good comparison. 11í mini door vs 12í hex. But not to take away from your incredible build. I like your write up itís Hyoh for sure. Your tarp look like a great option.
    Thanks, BB; I am glad you enjoy these reports.

    On finding the perfect tarp, I think sometimes it's about the journey more than the destination...

    (FWIW I am consistently torn between a pole-compatible 11'x10' hex with add-on beaks and a 12'x10' full-enclosure rectangle (e.g., my DIY Cat Tangle) as my INCH hammock tarp ("I'm Never Coming Home"). It is too soon to tell where the Badlander really stands compared to these tarps, but it's a potential contender as a hassle-free lightweight alternative.)
    Last edited by kitsapcowboy; 03-24-2018 at 17:13.
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  5. #5
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    Beautiful tarp! I'm both inspired and green with envy.

    I remember discussion of your grosgrain ridgeline, but I don't remember where I saw it.

    Any chance you could repeat your process or point me in the right direction?

    Between you and Jellyfish I have no trouble staying motivated.

    Many thanks.

  6. #6
    Senior Member kitsapcowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiceCaller View Post
    Beautiful tarp! I'm both inspired and green with envy.

    I remember discussion of your grosgrain ridgeline, but I don't remember where I saw it.

    Any chance you could repeat your process or point me in the right direction?

    Between you and Jellyfish I have no trouble staying motivated.

    Many thanks.
    Thanks for your kind words of encouragement.

    I think the discussion of the ridge line construction takes place in my Xenon Wide Winter Tarp thread, which was my first attempt at the technique.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member mrcheviot's Avatar
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    Nice work, thanks for experimenting! When you get a chance some more (distant) pics of internal view w/ the doors closed would be cool - in the fourth pic it's hard to gauge the volume you're hanging in.

    I've been giving some thought to door configurations lately as well, I have just over 9 yards of silpoly that I'm itching to do something with. Leaning towards experimenting with a single full vestibule end, but I agree that WB's new designs offer something different & interesting.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member kitsapcowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcheviot View Post
    Nice work, thanks for experimenting! When you get a chance some more (distant) pics of internal view w/ the doors closed would be cool - in the fourth pic it's hard to gauge the volume you're hanging in.

    I've been giving some thought to door configurations lately as well, I have just over 9 yards of silpoly that I'm itching to do something with. Leaning towards experimenting with a single full vestibule end, but I agree that WB's new designs offer something different & interesting.
    Thanks. The basic shape of the tarp is no different than your standard 11'x10' hex, similar to a UGQ Hanger 11 Widebody, but mine has Warbonnet-style doors tacked on, about the same size as those on the Minifly. The half doors are designed come together with vertical edges more or less right below the RL tie-outs when the tarp has a 72" transverse stance and a 48" rise.
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  9. #9
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    Your tarp looks great. I’ve been trying to design one for myself. Would you happen to have a drawing of the dimensions that you could post?

  10. #10
    Senior Member kitsapcowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winnie View Post
    Your tarp looks great. Iíve been trying to design one for myself. Would you happen to have a drawing of the dimensions that you could post?
    Thanks. Below is a rough diagram of my approximate cut blank dimensions (includes allowances) starting for a full-width 4-yard run of standard waterproof fabric (i.e., grey areas get cut away). Cat-cuts are optional. HTH...

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