Essential Gear

At Exzo, we believe there are two components to a successful hammock setup: insulation and a good tarp.  No matter what you do outdoors, two of the quickest avenues to unhappiness and danger are being wet and being cold.  Being wet is perhaps even more serious than being cold because being wet will inevitably LEAD to being cold.  For this reason, a good tarp is absolutely essential gear.  

Rectangular 8'x12' Exzo tarp keeping things dry in North Cascades National Park

Rectangular 8'x12' Exzo tarp keeping things dry in North Cascades National Park

Why is the tarp so important?

Obviously, staying dry is paramount.  However, for you to be a happy hammock camper, you need more than just a cover for your hammock.  You need livable space.  Many hammock tarps on the market fail to realize this key point.  This is important because your tarp is your only shelter.  You don't have a tent to get into to escape the weather.  Your tarp must be large enough to shelter activities like cooking, packing, and just sitting around.  If your tarp just barely covers your hammock, you have one place where you can escape:  inside your hammock.  No one wants to sit in their hammock and try to cook.  That's why a large tarp can make all the difference.  

The picture below illustrates this well.  Despite being deep in the North Cascades wilderness, which is well-known for days-long rain, this Exzo tarp provides plenty of room for cooking, packing, or changing into some new socks.  

A picture is worth a thousand words: livable space under an Exzo tarp.

A picture is worth a thousand words: livable space under an Exzo tarp.

The Standard

The Exzo Standard Tarp is what we believe represents the ultimate in simplicity, versatility, livability, and weight.  The Exzo Standard is a rectangular 8'x12' silnylon tarp with livability and versatility at its core.  Silnylon provides excellent waterproofness and durability while ensuring the tarp is light enough to satisfy the needs of backpackers.  The Standard weighs in around 16oz, depending on options.  There are plenty of guy line pull out points for nearly endless setup options.  It is large enough for winter weather protection, but small enough to not weigh down your pack.  Check out the setup options below for an idea of its versatility.

A-Frame:

Set up for optimal airflow and ground coverage.

Set up for optimal airflow and ground coverage.

A-frame setup for maximum airflow, headroom and ground coverage.

A-frame setup for maximum airflow, headroom and ground coverage.

A-Frame with tarp pulled out to create porch. This can also be accomplished with trekking poles.

A-Frame with tarp pulled out to create porch. This can also be accomplished with trekking poles.

Storm Coverage:

Set up for max storm protection, but still with good headroom and ventilation.

Set up for max storm protection, but still with good headroom and ventilation.

Inside in Storm Mode.

Inside in Storm Mode.

Winter Mode:

Winter Mode, even lower to the ground, for maximum wind protection, snow shedding, and warmth.

Winter Mode, even lower to the ground, for maximum wind protection, snow shedding, and warmth.

Sealed off low and tight.

Sealed off low and tight.

The Details

Another thing that sets Exzo tarps apart is our guy line and ridge line system.  Pulling knots from climbing, Exzo has adapted the amazing Prusik knot to guy line duty.  Using Prusik knots on the ridge and guy lines makes adjustment amazingly simple.  With this setup you can move the tarp along the ridge line in seconds, and guy line tensioning is a breeze.  

Tarp attachment to ridge line with Prusik knot and carabiner.

Tarp attachment to ridge line with Prusik knot and carabiner.

Quality that will last

Because Exzo gear is handmade, we can control every aspect of its quality.  Furthermore, because we use our gear hard, we know what lasts and what doesn't.  After two years of hard use, temperatures as low as -5*F, sustained winds of 40mph, and one run-in with a rogue stake on the end of a bungee equipped self-tensioning guy line, this brown tarp in the pictures is still holding up well (with a patch from that evil stake).  All tie out points are reinforced with fabric patches, and double bar-tacked.  Tie out webbing is reflective for easy nighttime visibility.  

After two hard years, this tarp still looks new.

After two hard years, this tarp still looks new.

Custom

Of course, custom tarps are also available.  If you want an ultralight summer tarp with minimal coverage, Exzo can do it.  If you need something huge to cover two hammocks, no problem.  Send us the specs.