View Full Version : Anybody used the para tarp/para poncho combo?

03-26-2005, 05:16 PM
I was just curious if anyone has used the Para tarp with the Para poncho enough to have a decent perspective on its functionality.

I am considering this combo over the Paratipi in my make believe planning of the "3000 mile foot hike"

I like the tarp for its small size and weight and for its ability to help shed unwanted condensation. I am sure the Parastove would heat it well and on this adventure I don't think that I would be going Canada or the Far North. As I would plan on being in the mountains in the late spring and Summer then migrating east accross the plains then swinging down through Arkansas where I would build a winter shelter and not have as harsh a climate to deal with.

Anyway, I thought maybe someone here had some opinions on that combo. Once I make my final decision on trip route and equipment I'll post it on the other thread. Thanks Dan

03-26-2005, 06:05 PM
I have not used this combo, and I am currently awaiting my Paratipi and Small Stove. I do have it in the plans to get 2 of the Paratarp/poncho combos for emergency shelters on day hunts from base camp. I am not sure on the weight issue and if you are going to gain anything with this combo over the tipi, but you will have more functionality. Using the poncho if it is raining, going with only the tarp if weather permits, adding the para stove for a psudo paratipi effect, using the tarp and cooking on the para stove just outside the awning, etc. However, the cost is going to be more for the tarp, poncho, para stove than for the paratipi/small stove combo (that's why I didn't get it first) and I think that you are going to have slightly less comfort as there will probably be drafts in strong winds and it may not be as waterproof as a tipi. I do like the idea of being able to combine two tarps and a poncho total.


03-26-2005, 06:22 PM
I have the paratarp, but not the poncho. I have used my paratarp (which I love) in conjunction with another small silnylon tarp; rigging it up in a similar fashion as the poncho. Of course, I can't use a stove with this setup. I can however, rig it up so that I use the small silnylon tarp to partially block off the front and then I can build a small fire in front of a small reflector in front of whats left of the opening.

I have often thought about getting the paratipi.

My analysis is as follows:

The paratarp is a great shelter in and of itself for overnighters or weekenders. More than that, and I start really wanting more space. Add a tarp in front and you do two things, you increase the retained warmth, but you also cut down on the "easily move in and out" factor. You are basically adding more clutter in front without gaining more all important move around room, and in my opinion - you need to make sure you really need it; and if you really need it - you'd probably be better off going with the bigger, roomier paratipi.

In short, since most of my use is on a weekend, solo basis where temps around 20 are as low as it gets - that paratarp with a small fire in front works great. It's light, small, cheap and idiot proof.

For longer term prolonged use in climates where temps below freezing are common - I think the paratipi would be a far better solution.

03-26-2005, 06:25 PM
Smackdaddyj, the functionality was what I was shooting for. I have the tarp and stove but not the poncho so no real added expense. There is a weight savings I will have to dig up my figures as I don;t have them in hand, and the size is quite a bit smaller( unless the poncho is larger than I think). I am not to concerned about drafts as In the winter I had planned on building a more substantial shelter. My goal was to have a system that would keep me reasonably warm and dry when in a climate where bugs are not an issue. For those buggy areas I will have the hammock. For bug free sleeping (ie. dealing with chiggers, and if you have never had a good case of chiggers you will want to be off the ground after your first major go around with them) you just can't beat it, and it is a lot more comfortable than most people give it credit. I know the old style of hammock was a real uncomfortable b@t#h that forced you to sleep in a bannana shape but these new ones allow you to almost sleep flat. I can almost sleep on my stomach in mine. I don't plan on spending a bunch of time in camp on this journey as it will be important to cover quite a bit of distance every day.


Woods Walker
03-26-2005, 06:32 PM

What are you going to save? 1 lb? Remember that paratipi weight includes poles unless you want to go on a daily pole hunt you are going to have to add the weight of a pole kit to that paratarp. If you want to save weight get carbon fiber poles. I think that bug net and the extra room will be worth it with the paratipi. I have been on the logging roads of Maine in the summer. Even with the paratipi I would cover any gaps in the pitch. I think that Para poncho and tarp would get you eaten alive. The bugs are like nothing anyone can imagineí. They sound like a high pitch scream in the woods. They covered my bug netting on my bug bivy. I bet if you pitch the paratipi right with bug netting attached it would be near bug proof. I too was considering the paratarp/ paraponcho but went with the Paratipi. I donít regret it. Remember on a long hike your shelter will be your home for a long time. Is an extra lb worth it?

03-26-2005, 06:36 PM
A pair of lekis will make an excellent dual use replacement to single use tent poles.

Woods Walker
03-26-2005, 06:36 PM
Dan I have a hennessy hammock and it is the best 3 season shelter I have ever used.

03-26-2005, 06:37 PM
Catfish, I agree with you in that its great in your described situations, but I think that the paratipi is almost to much shelter in this situation of having to cover 3000 miles on foot mostly self sustained. I carried, and slept in my paratipi almost every night of my 30 day ramble and a lot of the time I could have cared less if I had any more room than what it took to lay out my sleeping bag.

The Paratipi is great in the winter especially when there is so much darkness to wait out before morning and the temps get quite a bit colder but for this trip I just can't quite make up my mind. Hopefully everyones feed back can help with the decision making process. Dan

03-26-2005, 06:49 PM
"They sound like a high pitch scream in the woods. They covered my bug netting on my bug bivy"

Woods Walker, thats exactly why I am also taking the hammock. I would spend 3/4 of my nights in it and I would only use the tarp in the early spring and fall when the bug problem isn't so extreme, and the nights were cooler than I like in the hammock. Unless I was in the mountains out West, I think I would be scared to use the paratarp or the paratipi in the Summer around where I live.


Woods Walker
03-26-2005, 07:06 PM
I have been in my hammock down to 20's without any issues. I use a Z rest to prevent cold back. For me sleeping in the hammock is almost as good as my own bed.

03-26-2005, 07:17 PM
Woods Walker, what fly do you use on your hammock? I have the standard sil nylon but have been looking for someone who has the oversized fly and what their thoughts are on it. When you are sleeping at 20 degrees, what temp rating of sleeping bag are you using?

Have you ever pitched your hammock on the ground? I have thought about doing this when it is cold outside. Maybe gathering up a big pile of grass and leaves and pitching it just a foot or so off the ground but with the grass and leaves providing insulation and dead air space under an around the hammock. Any thoughts on this? Dan

Woods Walker
03-26-2005, 09:12 PM
I used a 10-degree bag down to the teens and it worked well. I have also used a 32-degree bag down to the 20ís without much problem. With out the Z rest I would freeze. Wind more than cold (up to a point) is the real problem. I use a 10 X 10 sil nylon tarp and pitch it at a sharp angle with the hammock low to the ground. That blocks lots of wind. Even with this set up during our Norí Easter storms I still get cold from the wind. I have never used the hammock on the ground. The thing is so comfortable hanging I do a lot before I sleep on the ground. I like the Idea about putting insulation under the hammock that is low to the ground but in bad weather things that seem easy turn out to be very hard. Getting a pile of grass and leaves is easy in my back yard but it just does not happen during a snowstorm. I think Hennessy is coming out with a cold weather system. They have it for one model but not mine yet. Another useful thing are the snakeskins. Not so much for the easy packing of the hammock but to prevent water from running down the rope. This is the only time I have ever gotten any water in a hammock. For deep cold winter the heated shelter like the tipi rules. Going to bed warm and not having frozen boots is just fantastic. But for everything else I use the hammock and an alcohol stove. Even better I use the HOBO stove. Here is a very good one that is even better than the zip stove because it does not need batteries. The trail stove. I did make a battery-powered fan for it but it is not needed. You can make a hobo stove yourself but with the price of stainless it is cheaper just to buy the thing. The coffee can bit just sucks next to satinless steel.


Almost forgot.During rain storms in warmer weather I hang the Hammock high and use the larger fly. This way I can hang out under the fly like a tarp camper.

04-02-2005, 10:45 AM

I am interested in using something like the trailstove in your link. Have you used this one? If so, what is your opinion?

Also, you mention that it is much better than a coffe can stove. Why is that? Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks.

04-02-2005, 02:43 PM
That's a cool link WW. For $20, I might give that a try.

04-02-2005, 06:53 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Originally posted by Woods Walker:
Another useful thing are the snakeskins. Not so much for the easy packing of the hammock but to prevent water from running down the rope.</div></div>Woods Walker Sorry, I'm not up to speed here. What is/are "snakeskins"?

Also, the stove you mention is something I discovered just recently and definitely plan to get (when they're available again!) I was wondering if I rivited just three short arms inside approximately 2.5 down, I might be able to marry the set up to take a Pepsi G stove during those times when everything around is really soaked wet and I'm equally cold and in a hurry.

Your thoughts regarding this idea?

04-02-2005, 08:03 PM

I'm a big hammocker myself for summer months. Snakekins are tubes of silnylon that are threaded onto the each end of a hammock rope. The idea is that the hammock is wrapped up and slid into these tubes when packing up, so it ends up looking like a long sausage. When its time to deploy the hammock, you tie each rope to a tree, the pull the snakeskins back allowing the hammock to deploy from the tube.

The bottom line is that it keeps your hammock clean and dry while setting up and taking down. Otherwise, if you are in rainy, muddy conditions, when you go to set up a hammock, you tie one end to a tree, while the other half is laying in the mud or getting rained on. The whole thing is inside a tube of silnylon until you are ready to deploy it and get in. It also makes it neat to pack - no ropes or ties to get tangled.

Here is a link to the ones that I use : Python Skins (http://jacksrbetter.com/index_files/Products%20List_files/Snake%20Skins.htm)

BTW, I use and highly recommend their "weathershield" system. Its a top and bottom layer for hammockers made out of the same material as Frog Toggs. I'd be happy to answer any questions about it if anybody is interested.

Woods Walker
04-03-2005, 10:13 AM

I have used the trailstove and it is very good. The only thing I would add it a metal X for the top. I made one for it. The stove works much better with an X support. I also made a fan for easy operation. But it does not need it. The little trailstove comes with a plastic tub so I can blow the fire back to life. So even if the fan I made screws the pooch on me the stove will work just fine. A coffee can is made out of crap mild steel and it will rust and all sorts of bad things will happen. The trailstove is made out of heat resistant stainless steel maybe 306 however I am not certain of the grade. Also the ventilation on the trailstove is much better than your standard coffee can hobo stove. The materials alone will cost you more than the 19.95. The only thing to remember is that a wood stove needs air so donít over stuff it.

Woods Walker
04-03-2005, 10:21 AM

"was wondering if I rivited just three short arms inside approximately 2.5 down, I might be able to marry the set up to take a Pepsi G stove during those times when everything around is really soaked wet and I'm equally cold and in a hurry"

No need just flip the trailstove over and put the soda can stove on the grate. The stove will act as stand and windscreen.

Catfish is correct on the snakeskins. However I do like the looks of the larger ones. Mine are a pain sometimes to work.

04-03-2005, 02:49 PM
There is no advantage to a trailstove over a small open fire with a backpack grill. Trust me I've used BOTH extensively and you WILL boil water faster with an open flame.

The trailstove will emit sparks just like an open fire. As a matter a fact 'Trailstove' recommends building a fire on the ground to start the fire in the stove. You just started a two step process.

A friend of mine started building a fire in (or under) his Trailstove and I built a small open fire and used my grill. I was eating my ramen noodles BEFORE his water started to boil! BIG difference in time.

It (Trailstove) is alot nicer than a hobo stove but a packers grill and small fire is faster and EASIER to maintain in reality.

A small fan might be nice, but it is just ONE MORE THING to mess with.

K.I.S.S. technology is the best IMO.

Woods Walker
04-03-2005, 07:50 PM
I find that any well made HOBO stove is better than a small open flame. I use a cotton ball to start all fires.I burn much less wood and for that amount of wood used much more heat. However I have used the small open fire with grill and find it works fine. I have a home made HOBO out of stainless that comes apart so I can make it higher or lower based on the size of the pipe body. The heat out put is so intense that I can't get with 2 feet of the thing for long.

On boil times with an X support that little stove can boil water within 4 minutes. I have NEVER gotten a small open fire to do that. With a cotton ball I could have that trailstove running before you set up the open fire with grill making noodles. Also overstuffing the stove with fuel makes it work SLOW! I find that any hobo stove burns wet wood better as the sides reflect the heat into the fire much more than any open flame.

I have nothing against the Open fire method. For me a small wood burning stoves are much faster and use much less wood than an open fire. But then again maybe I am just good with the little stove and bad with my grill/open fire.

Think about it:

Heat is reflecting from the sides back into the flame of better combustion. Ventilation is from under the flame and in the case of my home made one from the side and under. Air is forced up though a channel increasing the up draft and Directing the heat. There is NO way an open fire of the same size can make more heat. Now the question is how big is a small flame?

If I can get this camera working again I will take a photo of my home made one.

Woods Walker
04-03-2005, 08:32 PM

I think that cause for your friendís small wood burning stoveís slower boil time is ventilation. I made an X support for my trailstove. I used thin stainless (20 gauge) and welded an X. I place cuts in it to stay on the top. If some one does not have a welder (I have been using my friendís shop more than he has in the last few months) a cut can be placed in the X to snap it together. Then the cook pot or fry pan will be a ĺ inch above the top. This allows flame to lap around the pan and creates the updraft that feed the fire. Air is in every way just as important to any fire as wood. Without an updraft any wood stove will fail. I did the same to my homemade one too.

04-04-2005, 03:44 AM
I agree the Trailstove NEEDS modified! The X-support is a good Idea (shouldn't one be supplied with the stove)?

There is ALSO a fine line between overstuffing it (snuffing out the flame) and under feeding it (flame/fire goes out).

Less messin around with an small open flame IMO, and the grill is smaller, lighter and can also be used to cook a fish, chop or steak over an open flame.

Don't get me wrong, I own a trailstove. For $20.00 its hard to beat and not a waste of money once it's modified. But you still have to play with it more than an open flame. IMO

Woods Walker
04-04-2005, 07:04 PM

Have you ever tried cooking directly on the hot coals? I do it all the time and it is great. Your are correct about the fine line between flame and smoke out on any small firebox. One big problem I have living in the Northeast is that open fires are frowned on. Often they are not allowed or can be only set up in campsite fire pits not the trails. That is why I have spent a lot of time working on HOBO stoves. My homemade job consists of two stainless steel collars. The bottom one is a stainless hole stock welded to a ring. It is supported above the ground by 3 short legs. The top collar is has an x in it. By putting in any cut 5 inch stove pipe I can make the firebox larger or smaller. Even with the smallest section of pipe I used the firebox has over twice the volume of the trailstove. So I can run it much longer and it does not clog. The heat that comes off the darn thing can be brutal. It gets so hot wood combusts before it can even smoke. So I get very little smoke compared to an open flame. I am going to post pics of all my HOBO type stoves in a new topic later this week.

04-04-2005, 07:31 PM
Woods Walker:

I look forward to your post. I am really interested in your homemade model. The one thing I'm leary about with the trailstove is that I'd prefer something that folded up flat for packing. Instead of a round cylinder, I'm thinking about making something out of rectangles that can be made into a square stove or opened up like a reflector to reflect heat into my paratarp, used as a windscreen for a gas stove, etc.

Anyway, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words so I look forward to seeing your design. I have a friend who is a metal worker, and if I can show him a picture or sketch, he can usually make me something out of scrap laying around.

Woods Walker
04-04-2005, 07:56 PM
I think my homemade one could fold up flat if I use stainless steel foil for the short stovepipe body. I will work on the photo. I will also post some with the stoves running. Including some fans I made. The fans I created force hot air into the fire for that blast furnace effect. The same thing that makes the zip stove work so well. I use a computer fan. They have never failed me and if they ever did I don't need to use it. But with a real small fire box like a trailstove or zip stove the fan makes the thing run fantastic. With a 3-stage switch I can even increase or decrease the heat in seconds.

With luck I will have the photos done in about a week. I have tried to overstuff my homemade one using a larger tub body (14inches). The thing was so hot it turned the wood into gas and sounded a bit like a torch. It was cool. The current body I use and will photo is about 6 inches.