After their successful Kickstarter campaign, Trip Tarp has launched their official gear organizing tarp at triptarp.com. I’ll admit that I’m one of those geeks who often lays out my gear on the floor for pre-trip planning and organizing. As a visual person, it’s helpful for me to see everything and make sure I’m not forgetting anything.The Trip Tarp fulfills that need. If you like to photograph your gear collection prior to a trip, the contrast of the bright green tarp against the gear is a perfect backdrop to isolate your gear items.
When I first saw the Trip Tarp advertised, I was eager to try it out, not only for the gear organization, but as a multi-use item. Tarps are not often seen as multi-use items, unless you subscribe to using a poncho tarp, but still, their usefulness is minimal. Trip Tarp was one of the first to explore printing on a tarp, and now there have been a few others who have tried printing trail maps and other useful information on tarps, hammocks, and accessories to extend their usefulness.
The tarp is small, only 60 × 84 in (152 × 213 cm), and is constructed of a PU-coated nylon that is trimmed with grosgrain ribbon. On each corner and mid point are sewn long ribbon loops. The tarp comes packed in a handy and durable Tyvek stuff sack. No guy line is included. The printing is only on one side.
- Fabric: 70D nylon, 300 mm PU coating, 80 DWR rating
- Weight: 8.6 oz (244 g)
- Dimensions: 60 × 84 in (152 × 213 cm)
- MSRP: $59
I’ve been able to use the Trip Tarp a few times now, the most recent was to help my Boy Scout son pack for summer camp. I was really pleased to see how useful it was to my son without any additional prompts from me. He organized his gear and checked off his list and I was able to quickly visually inspect prior to packing. For me, I like the contrast the tarp provides when organizing my gear for photo shoots.
In addition to having pre-configured sections for different types of gear, the tarp includes hints, tips, and recommendations to help make packing and gear preparation easier. They have distilled a lot of great information often found in verbose backpacking books into a single handy reference. Here are some example topics:
- Food supply considerations
- Leave No Trace recommendations
- Picking the right stove of fuel
- Backcountry safety
- Pet considerations
- Trip best practices (safety, notifications, etc.)
The more I looked at all the tips, the more appreciative I became to the thoughtfulness and thoroughness that was taken to put this tarp together. For trip planning, this tarp is about as perfect as you can get.
When it comes to multi-use, the tarp is limited. The material is light, but the PU coating is limited and not ideal for much more than a light sprinkle and sun shade. Maybe in an emergency, the tarp could be useful protection, but you’d really need to be prepared with enough guy line and stakes to make it useful. When I tried to use it with my hammock, pitching diagonally provided the most coverage, but even then the ridgeline was only 103 in (262 cm) long — just over 8 ft. I was able to use the tarp as a makeshift door on a larger tarp, which worked well. Still, with the low PU coating and lack of guy line, this tarp isn’t something I would bring on a trip as I can get more protection and coverage with a regular tarp.
|★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
|The tarp comes with tie-out points but no guy line or anchoring system
|★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
|Mass-produced, but even stitching and clean look with well thought-out features
|★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
|As a basic tarp, there is a lot you can do with it, but the product isn’t designed for hard core weather protection. It’s first duty is gear organization.
|★ ★ ★ ★ ★
|The design of the gear organization is excellent. Lots of great details and features.
|★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
|I think the price is a little high for the limited functionality.