Henry Shires' Pacific Crest Trail Hike


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Setting up the Tarptent

The Tarptent sets up in about 1 minute. However, it takes a little practice to get it taut with maximum interior space. The important hing to understand is that when properly pitched, the roof swings forward from the vertical pole about 3" in back and 5" in front (6" for a Tarptent-for-2). The side view should look like this:

The best way to set up the Tarptent is to stake the long low side first. Pull the material taut and stake both ends. If you have not yet attached guylines to the pullouts, do so now. Now slip the rear pole into the grommet and loosely stake the rear and rear left pullouts. Set the pole vertically and try to stake it so that, when taut, the left and right rear corners swing about 3" forward from the pole. Walk to the front and repeat with the front and front left pullouts. The front corners should swing about 5" forward from the vertical (6" for a Tarptent-for-2). Walk around the tent again and adjust the pullouts so that the Tarptent is taut. Now stake the side pullouts to reduce flapping and increase interior space. The most important staking points are the front and rear poles. Stake them as tightly as possible. The fabric will take the stress.

Tip: Pitch the Tarptent so that the rear faces into the wind and rain. Any mist that gets though the netting will be light and fall to the ground adjacent to the netting.

Tip: Place a small, flat rock under each pole to prevent it from sinking into the soil.


Seam Sealing the Tarptent

Mix some GE Silicone II Clear Sealer and mineral spirits in an empty tunafish can. Use a popsicle stick or screwdriver to swirl the silicone and mineral spirits together. It takes a little while to create the slurry. When you have made a paintable slurry, use a small paintbrush to coat the outside (top side) of the roofline seam. If your tarptent has a beak, also seal the seams at the apex, roof, and velcro patches. Pitch the Tarptent as taut as you can get it before applying the sealer and then leave the Tarptent pitched for several hours while the sealer dries. If you want, you can paint the other seams around the pullout points for extra strength.