Some time ago I received a tarp for testing. I took my time to do it right as I like to ‘torture’ equipment to see what I can expect from it when shit hits the fan. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t intend to break it deliberately. I just wanted to use it like I normally would and see what fails first.
The tarp is about 3 m long by 3 m wide (10×10 ft) and weighs approximately 800 g or 1.8 lb. So it’s a large, but relatively lightweight, square piece of waterproof cloth.
It’s said to be waterproof up to 600 mm of water or have a 600 mm hydrostatic head. This seems like a rather poor water resistance compared to many other tarps and tents of which even the cheapest ones easily reach 2000 or even 5000 mm. But this is a separate matter and I’ll get back to it later.
The main job of a tarp is to keep us dry. But this one has at least one more feature borrowed, as far as I know, from the military. It can be used as a stretcher to carry an injured person. It even has special reinforced loop-like holders. The fabric seems quite thin (which is probably inevitable considering its low weight) but when folded in half, it’s actually really strong.
I didn’t have enough man power to test it properly but I did manage to stretch it between two trees and use it like a hammock. The first attempt ended up as a failure with me landing on my ass. That was , however, my own fault as I overthought it a bit and attached the para cord incorrectly. It tor the tarp’s edge a bit but it was still usable and I tried again. This time everything went to plan and soon I was dangling few inches above the ground. I only weigh about 80 kg (176 lb) and I’m not sure how well it would work for a heavier person.
So we know the tarp can be used for carrying heavy objects. But that’s an extra feature. What about its main job? Since it wouldn’t rain here, I had to produce an artificial rainfall. And it was a heavy one. I used a garden hose pouring water from close distance for good several minutes. The tarp took it well. Or so it seemed at first. On closer inspection, it turned out that the main heavy duty tape wasn’t sealed at all. After asking about it, I was told by one of the distributors that this was just a prototype and the issue would be dealt with in the future.
Honestly, I don’t think it should be left for later. Something like this should really be taken care of before testing. Especially that it defies the main purpose of every tarp – keeping rain out. Saying ‘we’ll do it later’ just isn’t doing it for me because the devil is in the detail. Unfortunately. So it isn’t so much about when you’re gonna do it but how it’s gonna be done. And at this point, one of the most important parameters of the tarp remains a mystery.
Despite that, I decided to continue my tests and see how the tarp feels when setting it up and so on. It’s huge, soft and light, which makes it easy to work with. Overall, I like the idea. It’d be interesting to see the finished product and how it takes the everyday use and abuse.
What’s interesting is that it already seems to be available at http://tierone.pl/tarp-3×3-wz93-kolltex-p-1483.html and costs roughly $39 or £25.
Maybe only the one I got hasn’t been finished..? Maybe it’s a different model..?