Before my February 7 degree hike I reviewed the Chill Gorilla tarp – the replacement for my older Hennessy Hex tarp. I was pleased with it in general.
First, the Chill Gorilla is a bulky tarp. The same bulk as the older hennessy hex tarp, about twice as bulky as their smaller silnylon tarp, but it has more coverage and the fabric is heavier. It packed well for its size.
The first night I put the tarp up I had some issues with my lines. Not Chill Gorilla’s fault at all, but the tarp has some weight to it, and if you’re using a continuous ridgeline, just throwing some lines around the tree and pulling doesn’t work the best. The solution would have been some Dutchware Tarp Flies, which I had on my other tarp and didn’t want to move. So, my bad, but know that hanging the thing can be an issue.
Unlike the Hennessy tarp, the Chill Gorilla has no pockets for the tie-out lines. This was sort of a pain in the butt during my trip, as I was fighting lines when hanging the tarp.
Once hung, the tarp was large enough to offer plenty of protection from the elements, and I was using a 10’6″ hammock with a ridgeline. Because of wind and cold, I put a Grizz Beak door on each end. the beaks worked very nicely on the Chill Gorilla, providing coverage all the way around and leaving me with no way in, so I crawled under one side on all fours. The tarp is black, and although it doesn’t keep out all light, it does a nice job at darkening your sleep experience if there’s a full moon or something.
I used 4 tie-out stakes. I just wrap the line around my MSR Mini-Groundhogs. I really want to put some line locks on the end though. I have them on my silnylon tarp and love them. Just tie off the stake and pull. You have a weight penalty of maybe 5 grams for 4 of them, but you get much easier setup when it counts, like in rain or snow.
Packing up was as easy as putting up. I had to shake off the ice (it was 7 degrees) from the inside from condensation, but the ice wiped right off. I didnt really worry about the lines, just tried to stuff them in before my hands froze.