I like having a hammock tarp with doors at the ends because they provide more wind and weather protection. Doors can reduce the amount of colder air flowing over, under, and around you. Doors can also increase the amount of usable space under a tarp in blowing rain.
However, hammock tarps with doors are significantly heavier than those without so it makes sense (if buying any new backpacking gear does) to get an ultralight cuben fiber hammock tarp with doors for the weight savings it provides. For example, a silnylon Warbonnet Superfly Tarp (MSRP $140) with doors and no guylines weighs 15 ounces while the Hammock Gear CF Tarp with Doors (MSRP $295) reviewed here weights just 6.5 ounces.
While that’s a big price difference, it is relatively inexpensive cost per ounce ($18.23) when compared to other ultralight gear tradeoffs you might consider. Anecdotally, it costs me about $25-$30 to reduce my gear weight by an ounce when purchasing UL gear, so this is a relatively inexpensive weight reduction in my experience.
Pros and Cons of Cuben Fiber
There are pros and cons to all backpacking gear choices, including cuben fiber. While cuben fiber tarps are strong and lightweight, they’re quite noisy in the rain when it can sound like you’re inside a snare drum. Most cuben fiber shelter material is also fairly transparent so it doesn’t provide much privacy, it doesn’t block daylight from filtering through, and you can “cook” underneath in direct sunlight if you don’t have adequate ventilation.
While potentially troublesome in a ground shelter, these issues are less annoying for a hammock tarp that you’d pitch under the protection and shade of trees. For me, the weight savings outweigh those other concerns, particularly in colder weather when I have to carry a hammock with an over cover, a warm underquilt, and a top quilt.
The Hammock Gear Standard CF Tarp with Doors is made using 0.52 ounce per square yard cuben fiber. I purchased mine with an 11′ ridgeline (10′ and 12′ are also available.) It is 8’6″ wide with a glued center seam, so no seam sealing is required. The tarp has a total of 14 guy-out points, two on the ridgeline, four on the doors, four on the side corners, and four on the side panels.
The tarp has a catenary cut – note the curved side wills and door in the photo above – which help maintain a taught pitch without wrinkles or flapping when compared to a tarp with square corners, and help to further reduce the tarp’s weight since less material is required.
All of the guy-out points have webbing that is bonded and sewn to the tarp to prevent leaks from needle holes and add strength. Hammock Gear also puts D-Rings on all the webbing, large D-Rings on the ridgeline and small beestie D rings on all of the other guy-outs. Beestie D rings can be used to capture a pole tip to create a porch. It’s also easy to use the beesties on the side panels to tie open one or more doors when you want more airflow through the tarp.
I really like the fact that all the plastic hardware is included with the tarp and not something I need to source on my own. But that’s my personal preference. You don’t strictly need D-rings on a tarp if it has webbing loops sewn on. I do find that’s it easier to change suspensions or tensioning systems when they’re attached to a plastic clip rather than to webbing directly, but that’s because I’m always tweaking and experimenting with different gear and situations.
While Hammock Gear sells some tarp hardware and cordage, it’s curious that they don’t sell a continuous ridgeline suspension system to go with their tarps. That would probably eliminate some confusion for hammock newbies.
If you’re interested in using a continuous ridgeline, I would recommend that you check out one of the variations sold by Dutchware Gear. If not, Dutchware also sells components like Stingerz, a wide variety of cordage, and Dutch Hooks that make a more static ridgeline easy to manage.
I really like the Hammock Gear Cuben Fiber Tarp with Doors because it’s so lightweight but still fully featured. While not a full four season tarp like the Hammock Gear Winter Palace, the end doors do help cut down on wind and airflow during the colder shoulder season months when I still want to use a hammock.
I chose to buy this tarp from Hammock Gear because it’s made by hammock enthusiasts for hammock hangers who really understand the needs of their customers. I think that’s an important consideration to keep in mind when choosing specialty camping and backpacking gear.
Disclosure: Philip Werner bought the product reviewed here with his own funds.
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