Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Alpkit Rig 7 Tarp, Limited only by Imagination?



I've been pretty fed up the past 2 weeks as the snow has gone and been replaced by the usual dreich weather that we get here. I was having a look on some websites and when browsing the Alpkit site I noticed that the Rig 7 Tarp was back in stock. I'd looked at them before as they seemed a reasonably priced way of trying a tarp, my only previous experience being with a German army poncho. I went ahead and ordered it and as is normal with Alpkit it arrived very quickly.



The Rig 7 is the smaller of the 2 tarps that Alpkit sell and is a basic flat sheet tarp measuring 2800mm x 2400mm and weighing in at 520g. It has webbing loops on all 4corners with 3 reinforced pegging points along each edge, in addition there are 8 reinforced lifter loops, 4 along the ridge line and 2 lower down on each side.





The tarp is made from 2 pieces of siliconised nylon so there's a seam which runs across the tarp but this appears to be seam taped. The tarp came with a stuff sack but I'll replace it with something a bit bigger as it's a bit of a tight fit when guylines never mind pegs are added.


Basic A Frame

I had a 4 2mm dyneema guylines already made up and 2 4mm guylines made from the cord I'd bought in Decathlon a while back so with those, a assortment of pegs and my trekking poles I set it up. The 1st set-up was just a basic A frame which provides plenty of length but acts like a wind tunnel, I then tried what I think is called a cave which provided more shelter but less space, finally I tried a kind of long low ridge tent shape and added some lifters to create a bit of foot space.


Cave?


As Above


Low & Wide


As Above


As Above Inside

I didn't try anything else at that stage but after work during the week I added 4mm cord loops to all the attachment points to allow me to add the guylines to any point I wanted. I made the guylines with a loop on the end which I simply attach to the fixed loops as shown below.


4mm Main Guyline Attached to Fixed Loop


2mm Dyneema Guyline Attached to 4mm Fixed Loop

I wasn't working today and it wasn't raining so I took it out again to see what other configurations I could come up with. I tried a Flying V variation, at least I think that's what it was and another ridge tent shape with and without a beak. I'm sure there are a multitude of other variations so I'll have to search the Internet but for now it seems quite versatile.


Kind of Flying V I think!!


As Above


Ridge Style, Without Beak


As Above


Ridge Style with Beak, Additional Fabric held back by tying lifter loops together, they can be pegged towards the main guyline.

I'll keep playing with it but it's unlikely I'll use it just yet as I have a week off starting next Wednesday and there's a slight chance that I'll be able to get over to Scotland for a few days, probably around the Cairngorms. If that trip happens then I'll be busy once I return as I have a lot stuff to sort out just now. I'm looking forward to trying it though as I didn't have any problems as such with the army poncho.

21 comments:

  1. Richard,interesting post. I never knew you could make some many tarp shapes !

    Hope you a good trip to the Cairngorms
    Mark

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  2. this looks great, incredibly versatile. just back from the cairngorms, you should still find plenty of snow up there!

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  3. @ Mark It does look quite good, it feels pretty sheltered when pitched like a ridge tent and very spacious set up in what I think is a V shape.

    @ Robin it's quite good value although I've found a cheaper tarp, one that measures 3m x 3m but only weighs about 100g more. It's the DD hammocks tarp, Backpacking Light have them at £29.99 and you get a free Tarp CD Rom with loads of tips free. The CD costs £7.99 normally which makes the DD Tarp excellent value.

    @ David, they are quite versatile being flat but probably more difficult to get a tight pitch than a shaped tarp, the lifters do help though. Re the Cairmgorms, I've been watching the ski reports to see whats happening, looks like it's getting a bit warmer but set to drop again next weekend from what I've read.

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  4. Wow that is some interesting combos! Not a tarp person myself but love seeing them setup so well like that! ;-)

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  5. Gotta love the endless permutations that a tarp offers! While I have progressed from a burly flat Army poncho tarp to a catenary-cut spinnakar fabric one weighing less than 250g I can still pitch it like a lean-to with a couple of canoe paddles for a protected but social eating area then batten down the hatches in a closed ended A-frame configuration when it's time to hit the hay.

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  6. @ Jamie, they're fun up to a point, less fun I imagine if the wind picked up unexpectedly. I like the way you just peg a bit here and lift a bit there and if it looks right it possibly is right :-)

    @ Joe, strange but it never crossed my mind to try it with my paddles.

    To get the most benefit a superlight one is the way to go if tarps are your thing, at 520g once I add pegs and guys, a bivvy bag and bit of groundsheet I might as well take a tent but it's a cheapish way (more so the DD tarp) to see if a tarp works for me, I like the idea but might'nt like the reality.

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  7. @ Anonymous, Cats?, when I bought them I was told they were Husky pups, come to think of it they do have a funny sounding bark, sounds a bit like 'Miaow' do you think I may have been conned? ;-)

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  8. Great post and some awesome looking tarp configurations! I have a DD 3x3 tarp but have been looking at the Rig 7 as I like the slightly smaller rectangular shape. Nice to see photos of it in action, looks like there are loads of options with all the lifters etc.

    Jon

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  9. Hi Jon, well I haven't actually used it for real yet, there are plenty of options but unless you carry a load of short poles they're a bit redundant, would be great in a forest though. You say you've got the DD Tarp, if it's wider than you want could you cut it down a bit?

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  10. I'd thought about cutting it down, but so far haven't been brave enough to take the scissors to it! I usually end up folding the tarp before pitching to reduce the size which helps, but it would be nice to have it trimmed so I wasn't carrying excess material around.

    A while back I contacted DD Hammocks to ask if they would consider producing a smaller tarp for the solo hiker. They said they are working on some new tarps and whilst they aren't currently planning to make a smaller version they are aware there is interest in them and may consider producing them in the future.

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  11. Hi Jon, ever considered making a tarp? I bought silnylon to replace the groundsheet on my Phreeranger a while back from Bearpaw tents in the US, it wasn't all that expensive and a regular 'flat' tarp shouldn't (famous last words) be too difficult.

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  12. You've no idea how helpful this page has been today while wrestling with one of these!

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  13. Hi PTC, that's the tip of the iceberg to be honest, I was trying it out using canoe paddles and thats even more fun. I'm not sure I'd want to use it in the hills if the weather was bad but for low level or fair weather it could be fun.

    What I like about it is that the only rule is that there are no rules, pole it up at one end and let the creative instinct take over.

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  14. Hi there, I was thinking of ordering one of these rather than the DD, prinipally due to the greater number of attachment points, do you have it in dark steel or kelp? It looks black!

    I've just e-mailed Alpkit asking them to consider doing a half sized version of this. Think that would be brilliant.

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  15. Hi, mine is Kelp, it's quite dark but you should be able to see the difference between the tie-out reinforcement points which are black and the actual tarp itself.

    I think it's a really good tarp, plenty of tie-outs as I haven't found myself wishing I had more. Well worth the money IMO.

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  16. Many thanks for the colour help, the website, or the colour names was rather confusing, one will be on the way to me tomorrow, Line-Locks, and 2mm dyneema too.
    I already own a Hunka bivvy bag and that is fantastic, nothing worse than a too big bivvy I feel after comparing it to my old army one.

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  17. I've got that exact same tarp. Great to see the pitching combinations :)

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  18. Hi Tookie, I haven't actually used mine yet, good intentions an all that ;-)

    Have you used yours, how was it?

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  19. Just bought one of theses and looking forward to testing it next week in the lakes with a couple of treking poles.

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