Friday, 21 September 2012

My DIY Tarp Setup No Knot Ridgeline System

Learn How To Make A Tarp Setup Using A DIY No Knot Ridgeline System


Anybody who has ever been wild camping and slept in a hammock or a bivi bag, may well have also used some form of tarp or basha to protect themselves from the elements.

This type of shelter, in it's simplest form is usually a ridgeline made of paracord, suspended between two trees on which a tarp or basha is hung to create an "A" frame type shelter, with the addition of two or more guy points.

There are endless ways to secure a ridgeline to your chosen tree's, but probably the most common method is to use an Evenk Knot (or hitch) at one end and a Taut Line Hitch at the other, which creates the tension on the ridgeline.

On a recent wild camp I was setting up my ridgeline in the rain and the light wasn't brilliant due to the dense tree cover, but continued to set up my ridgeline using the method mention above. I had no problems with the Evenk Knot, but when I cam to tie the Taut Line Hitch, for some reason, I was struggling to get the desired tension on the ridgeline.

I probably had three attempts to get the tension as I wanted it and actually ended up just wrapping the paracord around a lower branch and tieing it off there, as it was more convenient and I was getting soaked and needed the tarp up quickly.

Normally, this wouldn't be a problem, but on this occasion I struggled a little. Which got me thinking about an alternative tarp ridgeline system, that didn't require the need for any knots.

The more I looked into this, the more I began to realise that other people were not always comfortable with tieing knots or just preferred a no nonsense system that was quick and easy. Something you could maybe setup in the dark or in bad weather conditions (wearing gloves for example).

I then began to search for a solution and came across a range of products under the banner of Dutchware. These are basically innovative ideas that solve the problems of setting up a tarp, hammock, ridgeline etc. The guy who has more or less come up with these ideas is an experienced traveller and decided to design minimalist hiking gear tackling the issues we have talked about earlier in the post.

I became fascinated with these products and was really impressed with the simplicity of the way they worked. This guy has put a lot of thought into these products and I advise you to check them out as they are very good. To learn more about Dutchware visit their website.

However, having limited funds and the challenge of another DIY project, I decided that I would try and make my own version.

And so, I came up with the SPOOKSTA-RP1

Why the SPOOKSTA... well when I first designed it and cut the thing out, I dropped it on the floor and when I went to pick it up it landed as you see it in the photo. And it just reminded me of a spooky face and for whatever reason "oooh Spooksta !" was the first thing that came into my head.

The Spooksta basically works on the same principal as the Dutchware Tarp Flyz, but isn't made of titanium and costs a lot less... Much Less !!!

The SPOOKSTA-RP1 is the first version I came up with and as you will see from my video demo works relatively well. I incorporated the Spooksta with a similar hook (though much simpler in design) that creates the completed no knot ridgeline system.

The beauty of this system is that it creates a void area by each tree suspension point, which allows your chosen hammock suspension to hang freely between the ridgeline setup, avoiding any un-necessary rubbing of hammock suspension and tarp ridgeline, which may in time damage your kit.

This system can also be permanently attached to your tarp and stored in a "snake skin" or stuff bag, ready for when you need to setup your tarp.

I have no intention of producing the SPOOKSTA-RP1 on a commercial basis as I feel it is too similar to the Dutchware system,plus if you can afford it, you may as well go for Dutch's products as I do believe they are a great range of products.

I hope you have enjoyed this post on my DIY No Knot Tarp Ridgline System. And if it has inspired you to have a go at creating your own, please let me know, as I would be interested to hear your view on the subject.

P.S... Halloween is just around the corner, so beware of the SPOOKSTA !!!!! Ooooohhhhh !!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Yesterday I was thinking about casting similar jigs out of HDPE (or common PET bottle caps). One model to hook an underquilt under my hammock to the ridgeline, another to be both a hook and a storage mean for thin poncho tie-downs.

    I have to agree, hammock suspension and tarp ridgeline are often unwillingly crossed, and become noisy to the point when it's hard to sleep due to the rubbing. This won't make any damage in my case, but sometimes it was enough to loosen a peg to the point, when stronger wind was taking it out of the ground.