Transparent Tarp Instructions

David Gardner over at Backpackinglight has these excellent instructions for building a see through tent from polycryo window insulation film which is freely and cheaply available for winterising your home. It is such a great idea. I hope he does not mind my sharing it here. The complete instructions are available here: It may not be the lightest or the most durable tent in existence, but it is one of the most interesting, and excellent for voyeurs. It is also a genius idea.

Some of these techniques are excellent and imaginative – and would also work with cuben fibre which would enable you to make a ‘no-sew’ tent/tarp out of that material which might weigh under 100 grams!

Here is all you need:

‘Materials & Tools:
Duck Double-Thick Patio Door Insulation Kit
Uline double-sided tape
Scotch “Tough” Transparent Duct Tape (their glow-in-the-dark duct tape works well too)
150 lb. 1 mm Spectra cord from
Ten 7/8″ nylon washers (1″ works well too)
1/8″ shock cord
Blue masking tape
X-acto or utility knife
Sharpie pen
Measuring tape
1/8″ steel rod or tent stake
Propane or butane torch or stove’

Final weight: 11.2 ounces (320 grams).

You’ll need to tie another 10 feet or so of the Spectra cord to the ridge line tie outs so you can pitch the tarp. Also, since I often camp in the high Sierra on flat rocks or shallow sand where tent stakes are useless, I also attach about 3 feet of Spectra cord at each corner and side tie out with a little knotted loop at the end, so I can make big adjustable loops to put around rock anchors that I have collected.

The finished product (an earlier version with different tape) pitched:

‘It is truly amazing to be able to fall asleep while looking up through your shelter at the starry sky. It’s also nice to know whether that critter sniffing around your shelter in the middle of the night is a bear or just something small like a skunk.

Total cost: About $30-$40, depending on where you get your materials.

Total time to construct (including taking pictures): Two hours’

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