Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Blue Shelter

After searching and searching for good materials here in India I finally pulled the trigger and ordered some goods from DIYGearSupply and Thru-Hiker.
Bag of goodies

My Goal is to create a 9x9 tarp, a bivy bag, a 32* sleeping bag, and an insulated vest.  The tarp seemed like the biggest and easiest so I started there.

So starting out I needed to decide on a plan.  I primarily based my design and procedures on the instructions found on DIYGearSupply.  I really wanted a catenary cut hex tarp but with the reality of camping mostly on the ground in this neck of India I decided that the square tarp was the most flexible and would work with the hammock, just not as sweet as the hex tarp.  I'm also planning a trip up into the Himalayas sometime this year so the hex tarp's usefulness is further diminished for my current situation.  See ya later sexy, here comes Mr. Utilitarian.

So first what I did was created a layout using the tiles on the ground and some masking tape.  Once I had it all measured out then I marked it with a sharpie.  A not of caution with silnylon, if you mark something, you will be able to see it forever from both sides.  I have a few marks for the tie-out reinforcements that I will be reminded of for perpetuity but as my first big project I'm okay with that.

After laying out the sil I cut out the reinforcement triangles out of the 200D nylon.  Then I got nervous and decided to make a stuff sack.  Electric blue wasn't my initial color selection but they had ran out of grey the day before I ordered and didn't have it until the week after I ordered.  Not very stealthy but as a white guy backpacking in India I'm probably not going to blend in too well anyway.

Tent stake stuff sack with some of the trimmings.
 I had read so much about how slippery the silnylon is and what a pain to sew so I wanted to test out my skilz.  It actually sewed pretty similar to the thin polyester I'm using to make my kids hammocks so it wasn't too bad.  I just had to go slow and pin a lot.  By pin a lot I mean use a lot of binder clips and bobby pins.  The bobby pins were great.  They were light, held the material securely and I didn't have to worry about punching holes in what will hypothetically be my rain cover and a frigid, tempest swept mountain side.

Not perfect but much better than I expected.
After I had marked out my tarp I cut it with my 100 rs soldering iron.  It did a great job at cutting and heat-sealing the fabric but I needed a 3rd hand to do it accurately.  I stayed pretty close to my black line so I'm happy with it.  First I made the hybrid felled/french seam to get the 2 main tarp halves together.  I was very happy with the way the center seam turned out.

Thankfully I have young kids to supply my hem edger.
 Then it was simply just putting the re-enforcement triangles where I wanted my tie outs and hem it up with a rolled hem.  I followed this article in relation to tarp set ups.  I went with 5 tie outs on each side (corner, quarter, mid, quarter, corner).  Once I had that set up I got sick and let the project sit for a week or so.  The next phase was definitely my least favorite.  Taking down the corners and putting the tie-outs down with the included D-rings.  I don't really enjoy repetitive work, which is all this was for that period of time.  Eventually, however, it was over and I had a near completed tarp.  I tied on some guy-lines and my tarp is now practically finished.  I still plan on some tie-outs on the sides and down the ridgeline to give me the most headroom/flexibility/storm worthiness.

Tomorrow on my morning run at the park I'm going to attempt to pitch BS with my trekking poles just because I want to.  I've been super happy how things turned out.  I think we're looking at about 8 hours of layout and sewing but it is hard to tell as it was done over a multitude of days.  Gear construction is a lot like machining.  3/4 of the time is spent laying out, planning, prepping.  Only about a quarter of the time is actually wielding the thread injector.  I'll post some pics if I get a chance to pitch the BS in the near future.  Off the Top Quilt!

Couldn't resist the opportunity for a campout in the living room.

1 comment:

Grandpa and Grandma F said...

hgreat achievement. I am so glad for you. The kids look great under it. One down.