7 x 7 Poncho Multi Tarp

This is an addendum to the post Secrets of Shelter. I know some of you just didn’t believe my claims about the 7′ x 7′ tarp so I dug out my old one for a bit of a photo shoot. This 7′ x 7′ tarp can be used as a ground or hammock shelter or as a poncho – and weighs just over 120 grams.

I have pitched it about 1 metre high at the peak as shown. That is a 6′ x 4′ blue poly tarp under it. Can you see that there is more than enough room to shelter sideways?

Poncho Tarp

You will be lying well out of any possible rain from the rear (ground end) of the tarp.

Poncho Tarp

However you can lie length ways as you can see. In this case there is (just) enough room for two to shelter.

Poncho Tarp

Here it is pitched as a hammock tarp. There is a foot of clear coverage at each end of the a hammock. This is a single Hummingbird Hammock.

Poncho Tarp

It is even more obvious when I lie in it.

Poncho Tarp

Sitting/lying sideways as you would for a lunch stop there is ample shelter for two and the opportunity to make a hot cuppa under the shelter. Spot is clearly in anticipation of some lunch (or love). He does love hammocks – this may be one of their disadvantages if you travel with a dog!

Poncho Tarp

Here is Della trying it out (without Spot’s ‘help’). You can see (I believe) that there is plenty of room to be safely dry under even such a small tarp. I believe two could hang side by side if they needed to using their raincoat/s perhaps to close off (at least) the ‘weather end’. You could certainly hang in two tiers as we used to do.

Poncho Hammock Tarp

This is my original ‘Holeless Poncho (photo circa 2000)

Poncho Tarp

As you can see, you don’t actually need a hood as you can pull it up over your head like this. There is room under for a pack.

Poncho Tarp

Just by itself you can pitch it like this. This would be commodous safe dry shelter for Della (5′):

Pitching the Poncho as a Shelter

You could pitch the 7 x 7 model in the same way if you were under 6′ and required more extreme shelter.

We made these two old tarps over 20 years ago. They have had much use but are still fine.

When I make my new model of this 7 x7 tarp in the Ripsopbytheroll’s .77 oz/yd2 Mountain silnylon so that it will only weigh a bit over 120 grams I will fold the extra couple of feet under when it is worn as a poncho. I will probably sew a hood and waterproof zips on it too as well as some ‘belt’ loops so you can tie a bit of cord around your hips to prevent its flying up in really windy weather.

You will get some idea of what I mean it to look like from the post Pocket Poncho Tent (See photo below). Now you are going to stay dry in that, aren’t you?

ultralight poncho tarp tent

This 7 x 7 shelter does not set up quite so neatly as the Pocket Poncho Tent but the latter cannot be used as a hammock tarp whereas this one can. (The diagonal of a normal poncho is not long enough to shelter a hammock). It is also lighter.

Another interesting DIY square tarp/tent which can also be used with a hammock is the 10 x 10 Tarp (Below)

Likewise the Grey Flyer

I will probably also sew a tie-out right in the middle of the shelter so that you can tighten  the pitch when you use it as a tarp.

You can make two of them with 21 feet of fabric. (I suggest you order 7 1/2 yards of fabric though as it can be cut not quite square. You can use the scraps for stuff sacks etc. It is kind of pricey at US14.95 per yard. You may prefer the slightly heavier .93oz/yd2 Membrane Silpoly at US$7.50 per yard. It is a little wider too so that you will be able to make the two tarps 7′ 41/2″ on a side which might suit you better if you are extra long. They will each be about 40 grams heavier (160 grams – 144 grams at the 7′ width) if that worries you. These weights are material only.

Ordinary 1.24 oz/yd2 Silnylon is US6.75/yd. The 7′ tarp will weigh 192 grams in it – I already have a roll (which cost me <A$4/yd from China) so I will probably make one up in that when I get a chance, but you can see the best option is the Membrane Silpoly. Two would cost A$28 at the price I paid, $14 each! Much cheaper than you could buy any similar shelter for anyway. Time you bought a sewing machine (with your savings on this one project) and began to DIY.

I am assuming that you understand you need to make two because you are cutting one whole length in half to make one, so you might as well make two and make use of the other half. Something to give for a friend/spouse.

I will post designs soon.

I envisage carrying this ultralight shelter/raincoat as an emergency item in case of a failure/loss of a tent or raincoat on a long trip. Or Della will carry it and I the main tent – in case we are ever separated. Bad things do happen. At under 150 grams it could prove a lifesaver.

I imagine people will want to make one though anyway for use in Ultralight Hunting or Hammock Hunting especially for overnight trips. Adding a 200 gram hammock gives the option to camp just about anywhere the end of the day finds you.

Maybe you can see in one of the photos that Della is lying on a Themarest Neoair Women’s mat in it? I have slept on one in the hammock at a measured minus 9C on the verandah (just for testing purposes). The coldest night we have experienced here at Jeeralang Junction. I was delightfully comfie and warm. I suspect up the bush I have been in even colder conditions. I just use my normal Montbell sleeping bags and down jackets etc when I need them the same as if I was in a ‘tent’. No difference.

See Also:

Holeless Poncho Shelter

Secrets of Shelter

Pocket Poncho Tent

DIY Stuff Sacks

Ultralight Deer Hunting

Hammock Hunting

DIY Tents


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