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  1. #1

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    Using external poles for spreading tarp pull-outs

    My bridge hammock (WBRR) is growing on me, but I have to learn how to set up my new tarp to accommodate it safely for the winter season. My new 13' Superfly is now seam-sealed, thanks to all of you for your great advice on that!

    I was wondering about getting a pole setup to attach to the pull-outs on the side of tarp instead of the traditional method (although perhaps my hiking poles will work well for that - I do have enough guyline and stakes for the job)

    Do those of you who have used such poles prefer them to staking the tarp's pull-outs? Why or under what circumstances?

    Finally, will the Dutchware poles, stated at 53" (including tips) be long enough?
    https://dutchwaregear.com/product/tarp-pole-mods/
    Thanks,
    ~TC

  2. #2
    New Member
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    I may be a little confused about your question. Are you talking about using a pole to attach to the tarp pullouts to give you more room under the tarp?

  3. #3
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    Ah I think you're refering to the poles in your link. Missed the the first time. I have the same setup as you and I just use my trekking poles to pull out the sides. I like the idea of the poles in your link. Ive heard that they can start to wear on your tarp where they rub laying across the top. Not sure how severe or how quick though.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benjo75 View Post
    Ah I think you're referring to the poles in your link. Missed the first time. I have the same setup as you and I just use my trekking poles to pull out the sides. I like the idea of the poles in your link. Ive heard that they can start to wear on your tarp where they rub laying across the top. Not sure how severe or how quick though.
    If you use a one-piece ridgeline, the poles will be over the top of it and not in contact at all with the fly. Another plus for the one-piece is that you can get it pretty tight without subjecting the fly ridge to excessive stress. What's a few more grams, especially when we're talking about big flies with doors and bridge hammocks!
    Last edited by TominMN; 09-29-2022 at 07:02.

  5. #5
    cmoulder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TominMN View Post
    If you use a one-piece ridgeline, the poles will be over the top of it and not in contact at all with the fly. Another plus for the one-piece is that you can get it pretty tight without subjecting the fly ridge to excessive stress. What's a few more grams, especially when we're talking about big flies with doors and bridge hammocks!
    Yes, let the tarp ridge line prevent abrasion.

    hex_standard_trek_pole_mod_small.jpg
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  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Another option is to join the panel pullouts together and run the common guyline to poles/sticks anchored on the ground to achieve the same effect; here's the video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHuUmNOwBAw

  7. #7

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    Thanks for replies so far everyone.

    Who has experience with using both side pull-out options: (1) the traditional guylines and stakes compared to (2) the bars/trekking poles? I wonder what the veterans see as the pros/cons of either method and which way they ended up sticking with. I'll probably try the trekking poles first since I have them and am planning on doing a continuous ridgeline for my tarp, which I'll put above the tarp per recommendations here.

    Thanks all, ~TC

  8. #8
    cougarmeat's Avatar
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    tinktheman12 - a consideration is rainfall and snow load. When you see photos of tarps using the external pole mod, imagine if you will, a deluge of water - like a real rain storm contrasted to a passing sprinkle or short-lived squall. Poles, because they often create a flat-ish area on top, can cause the tarp to collect water rather than have it run off. So you end up with a swimming pool on top of your tarp. That adds to the load/stress the tarp has to take but more importantly, when and where that pool of water decides to dump can be ... inconvenient.

    I have set up a tarp and was surprised that I created a situation where a large pool of water collected and dumped on my shoes when the wind blew the tarp into the side of the hammock and the shoes were right at the edge. It's those experiences that encourage me to pay attention to where the water will run off. Remember, there is no rule that the tarp ridgeline has to be level. Having a bit of an angle from one end to the other helps with the runoff.

    A similar consideration can happen during snowfall. Instead of sliding off the side of the tarp, that flat top can accumulate snow.

    When you use tie-outs, you usually have more control over the shape of the tarp sides. If I have to be broadside to the wind, I'll more likely use the panel pull-out to secure the windward side of the tarp.

    That said, I mostly use external pole mods. I'm kayak camping so the extra weight/bulk of those skinny shock-corded poles is nothing. They go in the same bag as my telescoping poles for porch mode. I also know what kind of weather I'll experience (more important when you are crossing 3 miles of water) and I don't plan trips where I'm going to get buckets of water.

    A little bungee on the tarp side pull-out (not the panel pull-outs, though that can have bungee too), allows the tarp to change shape a bit with a wind blast and spill some of the wind, then spring back to shape. Same if water is accumulating. Bungee might allow the pitch to deform a bit so water spills before a lot is accumulated, then the tarp returns to its original shape.

    So in good/mild weather, it doesn't matter. In more extreme weather you need to pay more attention to where the rain/snow will go and how easily it can slide off the tarp.

    I use a continuous ridgeline so the poles go over the ridgeline and don't touch the tarp ridgeline itself. In the winter, I may run the ridgeline under the tarp because there is no concern that water will run down that line and under the tarp. The line under the tarp gives more support if there is a snow load potential. We all know to watch for dead branches overhead. But in the winter a perfectly healthy branch can dump a bunch of snow all at once.
    Last edited by cougarmeat; 09-30-2022 at 13:04.
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  9. #9

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    Another question about this 13' WB Superfly of mine.
    It has two hook points on ridgeline inside (maybe 3-4ft from end of ridgeline?). I have no idea what these are for. Can anyone help with explaining that? I've tried looking around and don't see anything on their website or shug's videos (#2 source for sure!), and I am too new to know exactly what they might be for. Just hanging a headlamp?
    ~TC

  10. #10
    all secure in sector 7 Shug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tinktheman12 View Post
    Another question about this 13' WB Superfly of mine.
    It has two hook points on ridgeline inside (maybe 3-4ft from end of ridgeline?). I have no idea what these are for. Can anyone help with explaining that? I've tried looking around and don't see anything on their website or shug's videos (#2 source for sure!), and I am too new to know exactly what they might be for. Just hanging a headlamp?
    ~TC
    Could be for stringing a line to have space to hang some stuff.
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