Half Pyramid Storm Mode with the ZPacks 6.5×10 Cuben Fiber Flat Tarp


Today I took my ZPacks 6.5 x 10 cuben fiber flat tarp outside to play with some more pitches. I had recently pitched it in a Half-Pyramid pitch and was quite pleased with the amount of room as well as protection it offered. At 6.5 feet wide by 10 feet long, you can imagine that this pitch opened up a lot of room underneath it. In fact, I can lay two 20 inch wide pads underneath it and still have a little play room, however, this does position one of the pads pretty close to the front opening…

Once I got the tarp set up in the Half-Pyramid, I started thinking about storm mode and trying to figure out how I could make it work. So, first thing, I buttoned down all 3 of the sides all the way to the ground. Surprisingly, this still allowed enough room for me to lay down and still not hit the walls. Although, there is a possibility that with a thick, fluffy bag, it may brush the wall, but not by much, and not enough to cause me concern. What did cause me concern though was the tall, front opening. At 6.5 feet wide, I had to extend my GG LT4 pole out pretty far to get the pitch right, which would allow lots of room for rain to blow in.

So, I grabbed my good ole’ Cloudkilt and got to work on attaching it to the front to form a beak. Some may recall that when I pitch the tarp in the A-Frame, I can also attach the Cloudkilt to one end of the tarp and close it off, then with a little thought, I realized that I could also attach it as a beak in the Half-Pyramid pitch. To do this, I simply used 2 of my longer guy lines on the back corners, which allowed me to pull them up and tie off the top corners of the Cloudkilt. Then I attached 2 of the shorter guy lines to the front corners, and these tied off the bottom corners of my Cloudkilt. Then I looped the pull cord in the Cloudkilt over the tip of the trekking pole. This actually made a pretty nice little beak, and one that I think would work if need be.

But, it didn’t end there…

I pulled out my new GoLite Chrome Dome umbrella that I recently got, opened it up and set it on the ground to fill in the gap at the bottom of the front entrance.  Of course this will take some tinkering with in order to keep the umbrella in place… but I think that it could be done pretty well.

So, I am pretty excited about the set-up, not to mention piecing all of the items together (multi-use). Of course I have not put it to the test, but I think that it would definitely be promising. Only time will tell…

Thanks for stopping by!


About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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11 Responses to Half Pyramid Storm Mode with the ZPacks 6.5×10 Cuben Fiber Flat Tarp

  1. Robin D says:

    Hi there Stick,

    I wonder if you’d be able to post a few close-ups of the panel tie outs? I have the same tarp but would like to add some panel tie outs and would like a bit of guidance, including getting eyes on how the guys at Zpacks attach their panel tie outs. Cheers.



  2. kwchannell89 says:

    That looks really cool. Do you ever have durability issues with cuben fabric? I thought I read that can rip easy, but can easily be field repaired with duct tape.


    • Stick says:

      I have not had any durability issues with cuben fiber, and feel very confident in using it. However, as with any other material, there are different weights. The lightest is 0.34 oz/sqyd, which is mostly used for baffles or even sleeping bags (however, I know some that use it for pants and even tarps…). Then their is 0.51 oz/sqyd, which is what all of the stock ZPacks tarps and shelters are made from. Next is 0.74 oz/sqyd which is what Six Moon Designs (I believe) and MLD like to use in their shelters. There is 1 oz/sqyd which is commonly found in some accessory pieces. Joe used to sell 1.26 oz/sqyd, but it is not available anymore. Then there is 1.43 oz/sqyd, which is a very strong material, and is actually used for backpacks. Then there is also a WP/B cuben fiber that is 1.42 oz/sqyd, as well as a cuben/nylon hybrid, which is the 1.43 oz/sqyd cuben with an nylon layer bonded to one side.

      However, this video should help shed some light on how easy it is to tear cuben fiber:

      ZPacks Cuben Fiber Material Comparisons

      However, the one thing that I hear is that cuben fiber is not very abrasion resistant. I use a 0.74 oz/sqyd cuben ground sheet in my Hexamid, and I will admit, it has not been used extensively, however, I can find no wear in it… So, I think with this sort of application, that is user specific…

      Hope this helps some.



    • kwchannell89 says:

      Interesting. Thanks.


  3. Kurthwood Parish says:

    That’s exactly what I needed Stick, thanks.
    I just want to see what you think is necessary for a hike and maybe I can drop a few more ounces.


  4. Kurthwood Parish says:

    Stick, I’ve been searching your site for a link to your winter gear list but I can’t find it.
    Would you mind posting or mailing me a link?


    • Stick says:


      I don’t necessarily have one certain gear list that I go by… they manage to change from trip to trip, even if they are in the same month… I am trying out new items often…

      Anyway, here is a link to the gear list for the hike that I did this past January, however, it was quite warm on that hike. So, at the last minute, I left my Marmot Helium sleeping bag behind and carried my 35 F Prodigy quilt.

      January Gear List

      Hope this helps some!



  5. JERMM says:

    Stick you might try inverting your cook pot over the opening around your trekking pole, not 100% waterproof but would deflect quite a bit


  6. More than good enough for just about any storm most of us are likely to encounter. In the end, DWR on your sleeping bag takes care of the rest.


    • Stick says:


      I think I actually prefer setting this tarp up in the Half-Pyramid rather than the A-Frame. It gives a much larger space to live under… And I know what you mean about the DWR on the sleeping bag… I remember a night in my Hexamid that I had spray coming in on me for a few hours. The bag was a little wet the next morning, but it dried out…



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