So after hours of fiddling and swearing and sewing and swearing more (swearing is one of my favorite pastimes, I consider myself a journeyman, closing in on mastery level swearing), my tarp is basically finished.
One thing that DIY teaches you is how shitty your current skill set is. Another thing it teaches you is that there’s always room to improve stuff, and somewhere along the way you can often apply what you lean to stuff you already have. Take these little beauties, for instance:
The black thing is called a “line lock”. You thread the cord through it and tie a knot in one end so it can’t slip all the way back through. the other end of the cord has a little mitten hook on it (the same type of little plastic hooks that hold gloves together). So pull the line out, put it around a bush or little tree, and clip it to itself (or a tent stake). The pull the shorter end until it’s tight. When you are ready to go, flip the plastic thing up and the line goes loose. Brilliant little thing. I used them for tie outs, and was so happy with them that I immediately retrofitted my Hennessy Hex tarp with these. Tying off four tarp stakes seems to take forever, especially in the rain, and when you have to readjust them.
Underneath you can see the view and how the thing turned out. I chose a seamless ridge line (top) so that there would be no leaky seams over my head in case I screwed up. Instead I have two shorter seams halfway down the side which can leak if I screwed up. Why the color choice? I chose a dark color for the top, because if you’ve never been in the woods and the damn full moon comes out when you’re trying to sleep, you don’t know the advantage of a dark roof over you. I put the red on the sides so it would be visible for a distance, in case I WANT someone to find my dumb ass lost or injured in the woods. Nothing says, “there he is!” to choppers like a HUGE swath of red in the green woods.
A few things I learned about 1 ounce calendared nylon:
The shit’s hard to sew. Try sewing a garbage bag to itself. A lawn and leaf bag… It just DOESNT act right in the machine. It wants to bunch up on the corners and go into the bottom pit of hell where the bobbin sits. Since this stuff is sort of made on the bias (little diamond shapes instead of squares when you look closely at it), it likes to stretch on the sides. So my seams came out a bit wonky. It’s hard to lay out straight, its hard to get long lengths to do what you want, and I had to fight it every step of the way.
Unfortunately You can see the problems in the finished product. It should be a nice even smooth shape, and I have taught areas and loose areas, and then the one edge on the left that’s like… “what happened?”
But, I was happy with the outcome, mainly because I didn’t just have to give up and throw the whole thing in the trash. It’s not waterproofed yet, but while I was hang testing it, it started raining, and it seemed to do pretty well.