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GoLite Poncho Tarp


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In anticipation of an upcoming hike, I decided to give my shelter/sleeping system a look over to see if I could do anything to lighten it up. Now, I will admit, my ZPacks Hexamid tent is already pretty dang light and I am completely happy with it, but as it turns out, it is way overkill on this upcoming hike.

We will be hiking the 72+ miles of AT through the GSMNP, and per park rules, we will be staying inside the shelter systems, so a tent is total overkill on this trip, especially since I am focusing on carrying a "SUL" pack. So, I decided to give one of these Poncho Tarps a try.

I will admit, I think that this is a pretty worthwhile item to have. I mean, this is both my rain gear, as well as my "emergency" shelter, so it really cuts down on weight (even from my super light weight Hexamid... :) ). However, as worthwhile as I feel that the poncho tarp is, I am not so sure that I would want to carry this as my primary means of shelter, and on top of that, my rain gear too. But, for trips through the Smokies, where tents are illegal at shelters, this is a great option.

Anyway, at 9.9 oz for the GoLite Poncho Tarp, 6 ti stakes with stuff sack, guylines and polycro ground sheet, I managed to save just over 11 oz over the Hexamid and a Dri Ducks poncho. Woohoo!

Here is a video I did on it a few days ago:

As well, here is a link to a more detailed write up on my blog:

GoLite Poncho Tarp

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Looks like a nice setup (And at a good price) for trips where SUL is the goal, especially when shelters are the plan. The pitches look great. I think that if the forecast wasn't looking so good I might be inclined to take something with a bit more breathability in the rainwear department. Or something with insect netting in the warmer months. (Found out on our trip last weekend that the mosquitoes are out early this year) But for your upcoming trip this does seem like a perfect approach for sure.

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Aaron, yeah, if I knew that it wasn't mandatory to stay in the shelters, then I would go with something else. Although I do understand that things happen, which is why I am not so keen on going totally without a shelter, but for my "solo" trips through the Smokies, this just makes sense to me.

Saying that, I do plan to pick up a cuben tarp sometime along the way. I am debating either 6x9 or 7x9 in 0.51 or 0.75. I plan to use my cloudkilt as a wall on the foot end of the tarp so I should be able to block off the back end very well and shimmy down towards the foot end, giving me ample room at the head end. I just really need to see if a 6' wide, or a 7' wide tarp will work better with the cloudkilt. To do this, I will make one of each size using some inexpensive painters plastic to figure it out.

Of course, the cuben tarp will weigh less than the poncho tarp, but it will not be a poncho either...but still...it is eventually where I am heading...

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