Most of the equipment I like to demonstrate needs to be lightweight and be able to pack just about anywhere. I do not like to weigh myself down with a lot of gear while I am in the field. This will aid in conserving body fluid as well as calories. To be able to combat this upfront with our load out will aid us that much more should we find ourselves in a wilderness situation. The way to look at this is simple; would you rather carry a 13 oz tarp or a 5 lb tent? I will always go for the lighter of the choices and save myself a bunch of pain later. One of the biggest reasons I am a huge fan of Eagles Nest Outfitters is because of their packaging. Everything they sell comes in such a lightweight compact package that it can be carried anywhere without worry. In the desert, weight is a huge concern. I am always telling people to keep your load light and choose items that are lightweight, small enough to fit in a pocket or a small pack, and forget the kitchen sink.
The ENO Pro Fly Rain Tarp; it fits the bill on being lightweight and packable as well as being able to be compressed even further if need be. Coming in at a mere 13 oz it will take of my shelter needs leaving me to be able carry more water if need be. The simple fact of having a 10’ 6“long by 6’ 4” wide piece of rip stop nylon with me opens the door to many different possibilities. The fact that this is impregnated with silicone makes it that much more ideal for those uses. First off, it is waterproof. Second, it will protect against rips from snags.
In the past, I have wrapped up in a tarp and slept underneath a juniper tree. This “burrito” as I like to call it allows for several layers with trapped air space in between keeping me that much warmer. The silicone-impregnated material will stop the moisture from absorbing into the material. This can spell bad news when using nylon on the ground even if you are insulated from it. This is usually done when a simple A frame or lean too is not enough. When combined with my Gore-Tex jacket and liner, M65 field pants and liner, beanie, scarf, and wool poncho I find that I am very warm and very comfortable through out a cold night. In the photo, you can see my son getting some shuteye while wrapped up in the tarp. He is lying under a juniper tree using the duff as insulation. This is piled up thick and made into a bed. I am very partial to gear like the ENO ProFly Sil is that there are no perfect survival scenarios. If you should find yourself in a wilderness situation, you may not have time to search out that perfect spot. You may not be in an area that has sufficient resources to build a shelter. This lightweight tarp will be on hand when I need it. I know I can trust this tarp to keep the elements at bay until I can get home.
One of my favorite ways to utilize a tarp like this is while setting up camp. I am a hammock sleeper; I tend to hate sleeping on the ground if I do not have to. This being the case I will set up my hammock underneath the tarp making a very nice and cozy shelter area. I find that I will do this even in winter by using an insulating mat between the hammock and my bag. During the summer, this set up is very well ventilated allowing me to stay very cool, in winter this must be combated by using the mat and heavy sleeping bag. I have been very comfortable well below freezing using this type of set up. It is true when I say, once you start sleeping in a hammock you will not go back. In the photo you can see how I chose to set up the tarp. I set it up in conjunction with my ENO Single Nest hammock.
The day I tested this tarp there were some storm clouds moving in. Unfortunately, all we got was a slight drizzle. However, I find setting this tarp very easy. There are lines included and already attached to all the securing points. These are also set up with tentioners that only require a simple pull of the line and you are good to go. Even the unique design of the tarp itself is functional. It will allow for a very tight tarp when finished. Just remember to get some stakes because this tarp does not come with them. In addition, the seam at the top will need to be sealed before use. I have done this in the past by mixing silicone seam sealer with some mineral spirits. This is brushed on and allowed to dry. Do this outside where the open air can vent the fumes. That is my preferred method but you can use plain seam sealer with good results.
For the price of 149.95, I think I am getting a great bargain on a tailor made tarp that can be utilized in so many different ways. When it comes to the equipment that we decide to carry and use it needs to be durable and above all we have to be able to trust it with our lives. Whether we are camping, hiking, or adding to our survival kits this tarp is one I would consider. In the pack, in the car, or even in your cargo pocket this tarp will fit anywhere you need it.