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Outdoor Equipment Supplier Straight Cut 10′ x 10′ Silnylon Tarp

Outdoor Equipment Supplier Straight Cut 10' x 10' Silnylon Tarp
Outdoor Equipment Supplier Straight Cut 10′ x 10′ Silnylon Tarp

If you like tarp camping or want to get a substantially lighter weight shelter without paying through the nose, I recommend you consider getting a straight cut square or rectangular silnylon tarp. They’re far less expensive than you might realize and provide you with a lot more versatility than so-called shaped tarps that can only be pitched one way.

Unfortunately, OES has gone out of business. I’ve left this post up because it has some good pictures of different tarp pitches.
Half Pyramid Shape
Half Pyramid/Cave Shape

Call me old school, but I also like learning different pitch shapes and picking the one that best suits my shelter needs, available campsite and weather conditions each night that I’m out on a trip. I think it’s an excellent skill to develop and I relish hanging on to the old ways before they’re lost in the sea of catenary cuts, beaks, vestibules, line-locs, and velcro.

Last year, I succumbed to temptation and bought another 10′ x 10′ silnylon square tarp from Outdoor Equipment Supplier which makes very high quality camping and hammock tarps. I ordered a straight cut model with side panel tie-outs on the outside and a pair of hang loops on the interior ridgeline for hanging lighting, bug netting or a nest. The total price was only $129, which I consider to be an exceptional value, particularly since the built quality is absolutely top drawer. Seam sealing is even included for free, making the entire tarp “break-in process” turnkey.

Dining Fly
Dining Fly Shape

All of the corners on OES tarps are reinforced, front and back, and come with nylon loops and plastic tie loops on each tie-out. They’re really built to last and the D-Rings set you up nicely to use Andrew Skurka’s McCarthy Hitch or the Trucker’s Hitch if you want a knot that’s simple to untie in the morning, but provides a very taught guyline.

Tie-out with D-Ring (Front)
Reinforced Tie-out with D-Ring (Front)

As you can see, the edges of the tarp are also sealed with sewn on hem. While this undoubtedly adds some extra weight to the tarp, my guess is that it also increases the tarp’s ability to withstand high winds without tearing between the tie-outs.

Reinforce Tie-out (Inside view)
Reinforce Tie-out  with D-Ring(Inside view)

The side panel ties-outs are similarly triple reinforced for durability and also seam sealed out of the box. I added them on my tarp because they improve interior livability on certain shapes,when the fabric weight of the silnylon and it’s large spread, causes the fabric to collapse a bit on the occupant. You can see this in the lean-to pitch below, where I use a stick to pull the panel tie-outs away from the normal 45 degree angle of the rear wall, creating a little more interior space.

Panel Pull-Outs in a Lean-to Pitch
Panel Pull-Outs in a Lean-to Pitch

The panel pull-outs are also useful on a simple A-frame pitch, again to create more interior headroom and resistance to wind deformation.

Panel Pulls-outs on an A-Frame Pitch
Panel Pulls-outs on an A-Frame Pitch

If there’s one thing I don’t like about this tarp it’s the position of the tie-outs. Although it’s a 10′ x 10′ square tarp, there are 4 tie-outs on two sides (opposite from each other) and 3 tie-outs on the others. That wasn’t what I was expecting when I ordered the tarp – probably my bad for not checking with OES before they sewed it. Pure symmetry is important to me because there are a few esoteric pitches that I like to set-up that require the 4 sides be mirror images of each other. But that’s my personal esoteric preference, despite that one nit, the tarp is still extremely versatile, as you can see by all of the other pitches I can make using it. In fact, this is just scratching the surface.

Lean-to with one side closed to block the wind
Lean-to with one side closed to block the wind

Weight-wise, the OES 10′ x 10′ silylon straight cut tarp weighs in at 21.4 ounces seam sealed, or a few ounces over 1 pound. That’s pretty good for a tarp that can easily fit 2 people and up to 4 if they’re scouts and you use something like the dining fly pitch or a Whelan variant. For $129, this is a good deal and a LOT of tarp for your money.

Disclaimer: Philip Werner ( bought this product with his own funds. 

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  1. Looked lika a very nice tarp, and at a very nice price.
    Cool that you posted some different pitch methods too.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Looks like a great product. I’ve been debating on trying out tarping…or at least experimenting with the “quick pitch” setup of my current tent (cuts weight from 3.8lb to 2lb). I live in PA, where winter is really the only bug free season. Based on my research, it seems like adding a bug net or nest almost negates any weight savings from using a tarp. How do you deal with bug protection when using a tarp like this?

    • Bugs are always a problem with tarps. It seems that I always get one or two bites. But that doesn’t stop me.
      1) The tarp itself is bug proof. You can get some protectionwith a low pitch and closed ends. Often a diagonal with the ends all tucked in after getting under a tarp will deter bugs, but in warm weather, this may be hot.
      2) As Earlylite says, a bug bivy helps. I find that my tossing and turning means I end up with an arm or hand leaning on the netting, though.
      3) Permethrin on your cloths will kill/deter many bugs.
      4) A splash of DEET or Picardin on your head, hair, neck and face keeps most night time insects away.
      5) A small fire about 10” away from your sleeping area will draw many bugs to the light and heat…leaving me mostly free of them.
      6) An insect ring, the kind that smoulders for an hour or longer. Most smoke will deter even the most stubborn bugs.
      7) A light spray of bug reppelent around your sleeping quarters will fend off a lot of bugs before they get close enough to bite.
      8) Wait till the evening cools somewhat before turning in. Cool contitions slows the biters down.
      9) Wipe down with a damp cloth to remove residual sweat, dead skin cells on your body. Some of the bugs (like house flies) are drawn by smell.

      Sleeping under a tarp means a layered approach to bugs. There is really, nothing that will stop all the bugs. Some are drawn to IR radiation. Some are drawn to movement. Some are drawn to carbondioxide (exhaled breath.) Some are drawn to chimical signatures in sweat or dead skin cells..Most, simply are not around at night, or slow and not really guick to bite. Sleeping under a tarp can be nicer and lighte. With a layered approach I don’t usually get more than one or two bites per trip, even in spring black fly season. The willingness to put up with a few bites in a week is often the best defense and can keep you much happier in the woods.

    • Most of my hiking is along ridgelines and I rarely have problems with bugs using a tarp. Once I had a bumblebee think my bag was better than it’s hole in the ground, otherwise it hasn’t been much of a problem. Haven’t been in the NE to experience black fly season, but I have some netting to cover the top half of the bag if I anticipate a bug problem.

  3. I agree, Brian provides an excellent product at a pocket friendly value. As well, he is great to deal with! I have a straight cut 8×10 sil tarp that I got from him a few years back and it has been a great tarp

  4. Do you prefer square tarps? I have an 8 by 10 and many times I wished it was square. Did you consider a 9 by 9 or an 8 by 8? A 10 by 10 looks gigantic!

    • I have an 8′ x 8′ and it’s a bit small. A 9′ x 9′ would be better for backpacking. I got the 10′ x 10′ for tarp demos just because it is so big. I do like square tarps better than rectangular ones, but there’s still a lot you can do with a rectangular shape – just not pyramids (low tetra).

  5. True, the square is more flexibel. That said, I do like my GG TwinnTarp, it’s just flexible enough to accomodate some variations and IMHO, just about perfect in every other way …

  6. I have had one of the OES Maccat tarps for a while and I love it. I originally got the tarp for hammocking so it’s huge (12″x10″ I think) but really light. The quality is still excellent even after 2 years of steady use. I guess I would have less options because of the cat cut style but it’s plenty versatile for my needs.

    Oh yeah, I second a bug head net if the “skeeters” get bad.

    Phillip, I bet Brian would add some more symmetrical ties, if you asked him too.

  7. Unfortunately OES is no longer in business

  8. Philip, my Scout unit is in the market for an approx. 10 ft. x 12 ft. tarp light enough for backpacking. With OES having closed, do you have an alternate supplier you would recommend for larger, group-sized tarps? Thanks!

  9. Where can I buy this 10×10? The links above don’t seem to have it listed.

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