A flat tarp isn’t always the shelter I pick, but it is my favorite. Most of the time I like the un-futzing of a mid for severe weather and pitching on snow, but like most people I’ll take a calm night with a colorful, visible sunrise 4 times out of 5. For that a tarp is ideal, as it keeps most of the wind and all of the dew off you, and provides for lazy coffee views from bed.
Here at Seek Outside our flat tarp is the DST, which is a 10′ by 10′ sil with tieouts every 2 feet and a big VX42 circle in the middle. It’s easy to get enamored with the utility of the later. Sticks, paddles, and just about anything can be pushed up against it to enhance liveable space and expand pitching options. Those features do make it a bit on the heavy side, 1 pound even, but also make it as burly and versatile as a flat tarp can get.
Flat tarps are also cheap, which along with the learning their use demands makes them perfect for ambitious beginners. The DST is on the expensive side, at 129, but knowing how well it is sewn, and by real humans (many of whom have been making outdoor gear since I was in elementary school) makes it seem like a bit of a bargain.
It feel luxurious to be living in a place where I’ll be primarily tarp camping all winter.