Monday, April 10, 2017

UST Hex Tarp Review

I have a habit of going camping in the very worst weather possible, and last week, backpacking on the Olympic coast was no exception. Normally, foul weather camping means the utter misery of cooking and eating dinner in the pouring rain. This time, though, I brought along the Hex Tarp by Ultimate Survival Technologies, hoping to be able to eat a bagel without it getting soaked in a sudden downpour.

In the past, as far as hiking shelters go, I have really only ever used a tent. After using the Hex Tarp that’s going to change - I can’t express adequately how nice it was to be able to get myself and my gear out of the rain.

Setting up was surprisingly easy once we found a suitable group of trees to tie the tarp to. The included stakes filled in where trees were not available to tie to. I was worried that the blustery coastal winds would be the death of the the Hex Tarp, but it held up very well indeed. We were able to cook and eat comfortably even when the rain and wind were at their heaviest. It was so wet, in fact, that we were able to fill our cooking pots and water bottles from the torrent of rainfall pouring off the corners of the tarp!

I initially thought that the Hex Tarp was a little heavy, but after unfolding it I found that most of the weight actually  comes from the generous supply of stakes that come with it.  If you knew you weren’t going to need many stakes, or any at all, you could leave some or all of them at home to decrease the weight to practically nothing. The weight of the tarp itself is justified by its impressive coverage area. My friend and I, with our packs and cook set were able to easily fit underneath with lots of room to spare.

One of the areas in which the Hex Tarp excels is versatility - in addition to using it as a cooking area/gear stash, you could set it up as an emergency shelter for the night, use it as a ground cloth for a tent, or wrap it around yourself as a waterproof blanket - the inner lining is reflective and insulating. That reflective coating lends itself to potential use as a signalling device in survival situations. You could use it as an ultralight replacement for a tent in bug-free conditions, or as a rain fly if you're camping in a hammock (which I plan to do in the near future).

Regarding value, the $40 price tag seems more than reasonable considering the quality of the tarp and variety of uses to which it may be put.

In conclusion, I have no hesitation in recommending the Hex Tarp to anyone looking for a robust and versatile shelter.

Find the Hex Tarp on Ultimate Survival Technologies website

Or find it on Amazon (affiliate link)