Sunday, September 20, 2009

Stuff Sack

I've been searching around for the right supplier for silnylon as I sell more and more tarps.  A really great salesman was kind enough to send me some samples for free so I could play around with them and get a feel for their different types of sil.  So I made some stuff sacks with Ultrasil (red) and Skylite (blue).  Both are nice fabrics with similar applications, and coated both sides.  The weight's were no different from each other, but the skylite feels a little thicker (must be the type of coating).

I plan to seam seal one of each with a thick layer of silicone and give them water tests next. 

A simple stuff sack is pretty easy to build yourself.  Here is the way I do it.  Note: the drawing is for a double ended stuff sack ("black bishop sack"), just sew the bottom closed like the side if you want a standard stuff sack like the ones pictured above.  "Black Bishop" sacks are nice for tarps or hammocks so you can leave the suspension loops hanging out each end - just put one end up, and pull the rest out of the bag on the other end, leaving the bag on the suspension line.

I also like to add a loop of 3/8" gross grain so you can hang it upside down (this way if it's in the rain the opening is down and it won't fill up with water).

A. Cut out your rectangle of cloth - twice as wide (+1") and as tall (+2") as you want the bag to be.
B. Fold corners as shown and roll hem, this gives you a nice finished channel for the draw cord. 
C. Sew the end closed, turn inside out and sew a line parallel to the one you just did, about 3/8" away (this gives a finished edge on the inside so it can't fray).  Add a drawcord and cordlock and you're in business.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Custom Tarp

This is the most recent tarp I've been able to put together.  It was a custom build for a great guy I met at a local rope/tarp/tool shop.  I went in looking for some guy line for tarps and in talking it turns out we have a lot of the same interests in getting out into the woods.  He introduced me to Survival Topics (check it out if you have a chance) and even gave me a firesteel and striker.  Great guy.

So, here's the tarp.  It's a 9'x6'6" with 1.1oz coated ripstop nylon - in woodland camo. With stuff sack it weighs in at 9.4oz.  It's big enough for hammocking, but this one is going to be used for the ground.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Moxie's New Friend

We've got two large dogs.  They sleep in the bathroom (we have a huge bathroom) and the air can get a little thick in there with the two of them so we often have the window opened about 4 inches.  This evening as my wife and I settle down to relax we hear Mia (the Rottie/Dalmation mix) freaking out - which is not an uncommon thing - but this time it's a bit more than usual.  I go check it out and find the window has been opened to about a foot and a half and no Moxie in sight (the black lab).  He had knocked out the screen and escaped.

Moxie's not the sharpest tool in the shed.  He saw what he thought would be a nice new friend sauntering by the bathroom window.  Turns out they weren't going to be close friends.  I'll let pictures say the rest.


These pictures do not do it justice.  He was in a rough spot - and his freaking out only made it worse.  He's on his way to the vet with my wife now, and Mia is very concerned here, she won't stop whining. 

The worst of it is, I bet he'll do the exact same thing again given the chance.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I've been building gear for over a year now, and because I enjoy it so much I tend to make a good bit more than I need.  Eleven hammocks and six tarps, a bivy sac, two underquilts and more stuff sacks and stoves than you can shake a stick at - and I got to the point where I decided to do some extra work and turn this hobby into a self-sustaining project.

I'm testing the waters with tarps.  I've just sold two 11x10 silnylon tarps and will use that small profit to purchase material to make more.  If those sell (and I've already got orders pending), then I'll use that profit to purchase even more material and seriously look into starting a small cottage industry.  It's exciting, a lot of fun, and a bit scary, but I'm doing something I love and if I can find a way to be at least moderately successful and continue to build quality outdoor gear, I will.

I still consider myself new to this, I'm slow (it's a one man operation), and I won't be pumping them out en masse, which is why I am keeping the prices very very low compared to the competition.  And I don't want to hurt the competition either - there are some very good tarp builders that support the Hammocking community (no, you don't need to hammock to utilize tarps - they work for ground dwellers just as well) and I will continue to point people their way.  But if you find yourself in need of a super lightweight tarp, toss me an email and we'll go from there.  Right now I am not in business, but likely headed that way. 

The one pictured here is my 11x10.5 Oversize tarp.  There's a write up on it's design a few posts down the list.  I sold the prototype for $85.00 (it was used once).  Subsequent versions will likely go for $95.00 shipping included to the cont. 48 states.  Prices are not all worked out yet.

I also sold an 11x11 tarp, a prototype, for $80.00.  Subsequent versions will be closer to $85.00 shipped. 

These two were both cat-cut (catenary curves on all outside edges between tie-outs).  It's a fairly grueling process, but it makes the tarp pitch nice and tight - no flopping around in the wind.  You can get a good pitch with rectangular tarps as well, just not quite as nice.  On both of these tarps they are sized so that the ends can swing in to seal out the nasty weather.  These pictures do now show it fully closed (needs a slightly steeper pitch to do so).  

I'll post again with available tarps, colors, and pricing when I get things together.  To any and all - thanks for your interest.  And if you want to build your own feel free to toss me questions, I'd be glad to share what I know.