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Extended Adirondack Tarp Shelter.

The “Wayland Shed”

For some time now I have been using a square cotton tarp, set up on the  diagonal, to build a simple lean to shelter for Winter use when I'm not  using a hammock. This works well and has been dubbed by some as the Adirondack pitch, due to a resemblance to the public shelters built  along the famous trail there.

Wayland Shelter-2 - © 2017 - Gary Waidson - Ravenlore

When using this shelter in snow conditions, I tend to attach a small extra tarp sheet on one side of the front to form an annex and reduce the spindrift that enters from that side. This also works well, but requires careful attachment to make a  good seal and is prone to coming apart in strong wind.

The first  time I travelled to the Norwegian Arctic in Winter I was hit by repeated thaw/freeze conditions which effectively turned this cotton tarp into a stiff unmanageable sheet of ice and canvas and adding considerably to  the flight weight on the return journey. This prompted¬  me to use a poly builders tarp on my next trip which was so cheap that I didn't even  bother flying back with it, donating it to a local camping centre in  Jokkmokk instead.

The background was set then for me starting to think about ways to improve this basic set up and after experimenting with some scissors, a  sheet of paper and a roll of Sellotape I was ready to make this extended version of my Winter shelter that I tried out for the first time at a  small meet in the Peak District.

Loaded to Leave - © 2017 - Gary Waidson - Ravenlore
Wayland-Shed-Cutting - © 2017 - Gary Waidson - Ravenlore

The construction is made from an 18'x12' poly tarp which is a fairly standard size and requires a 6'x6'  section to be cut from one corner. This section is then re-attached onto another edge to form an additional awning that can be folded down to cover the front opening if necessary, much like a traditional Baker tent.

The raw cut edges where the section was removed are taped  together, leaving a small hole for a ridge line or pole at the top. This forms a much stronger version of the walled annex that I found so  useful by adding a second sheet in snow conditions.

Wayland-Shed-Pitching - © 2017 - Gary Waidson - Ravenlore

The seams are joined using waterproof gaffa tape, which is again cheap and easy to  obtain. This is also used to re-enforce any raw cut edges, the guying  and support points to reduce the risk of the tarp tearing in windy conditions.

Wayland-Shed-1 - © 2017 - Gary Waidson - Ravenlore

It had a fairly good testing for this weakness on the Peak District meet as I set myself up on an exposed ridge with the back of the shelter facing into the prevailing wind.

Somewhat predictably, the poly tarp was a bit noisy in the wind, hail and rain that we had that weekend but the structure remained standing and the tarp suffered no damage.

I filled in the gaps along the bottom edges with loose leaves much as I would use snow in the Arctic and this made it cosy and draft free to the extent that Rob dubbed it the “Wayland Shed”

Wayland-Shed-2 - © 2017 - Gary Waidson - Ravenlore

As an idea of costs the tarp was  delivered for about £17 and I used a £2 roll of gaffa tape in the  construction. All the cordage was stuff I had lying around and though I took the poles with me on this occasion, in most Boreal forests, finding poles suitable for the supports would not be a significant problem.

All in all, a cosy, secure shelter for around £20 can't be that bad and is easily repairable on site with a bit of gaffa tape on hand.

For trips abroad, where I often return with more than I left with, it's also not the end of the world if I do not fly home with it. There is always someone who can find a use for a spare builders tarp.

 

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