Another shelter set up that I like is the humble tarp.  It is extremely versatile and can be rigged in a number of ways.  I
mostly use it for solo trips, but you can fit two comfortably if need be.  The size that works best for my set up is a 9 x 12.  
When pitched it will look like a pyramid tent with the peek pulled forward.

I like to set up tarps using sheer pole instead of relying on trees and a ridge line.  Trees that are perfectly spaced, where
you want them, and cleared out between are rarely found in the back country.  Being able to pitch your tarp where you
want allows you to pick the best spot to build your fire, find a sheltered spot from bad weather, or get the best view.  A
good tarp will have a heavy loop peek sewn on one side that allows you to set it up with poles.  It should also have
attachment points that not only help secure the tarp but also aides in the configuration of a diamond shelter, lean-to, A
-frame, or a bedroll.  The video will show an example of what the tarp looks like when pitched as a pyramidal or tarp tent.  
You can also view a picture tutorial of a few different set ups that can be used.  
Woodsman Tarp Set Up
The Woodsman's Tarp
Canoe Camping Shelters
When it comes to canoe tents there are a few things that I look for.  A tent should be easily set up, have enough floor
space for storing gear & sleeping, to walk in and out of freely, and be able to warm the tent with a fire.  This last point is
what really makes the difference in surviving a cold night and feeling as if you belong in the outdoors.  The tent style that
works best for me is the pyramid tent, and it looks just like it sounds.  It has four sides that meet at the top or apex.  The
corners are pulled out and staked to the ground.  At this point you can put a single poll in the center or attach two polls to
the outside and lift up, which creates a suspension system.  If you are lucky you can also attach the apex to a tree branch
if it is strait overhead and eliminate the poles altogether.  The doorway is cut down the middle and across the bottom
forming two wings.  The door flaps should overlap at least 6" inches.  I prefer to have the doors extra long at the bottom
so I can stretch them out and stake them to the ground creating a wind brake.  You can also add a small awning above
the door.  You have the option to purchase a tent with or without a floor.  Tents without floors usually come with a 12” sod
cloth on the inside. I prefer to have a sod cloth and have a removable floor.  It gives me the ability to;  pull the floor out to
shake it clean, build a soft sleeping spot out of leafs or boughs and throw the ground cloth on top, or use it as a tarp for
another purpose. The best material for this type of tent is a lightweight canvas that been treated with fire retardant. The
beauty of canvas is that it breathes while keeping out the weather.  In addition, it will help reflect the heat from the fire and
keep you warm all night. The size of the tent will vary according to ones needs and the size of the group.  I use a 8’ x 8’
and is a great size for two people and gear, where a 10’ x 10’ is a good size for 3 - 4 people.  If the group is larger, then it
is best to bring extra tents.  Most modern tents lack most or all of these qualities; they close you off from the outdoors and
traps moisture inside which makes for a very cold and damp sleeping environment.  Most of these issues are tolerable in
the summer time, but down right miserable when the temperature begins to drop.  In addition, there are very few that I
have found that I would call “easy set-up”, and if you break or lose a pole, needless to say, you are out of luck!

The pyramid shape of the tent makes it resilient to all kinds of weather conditions.  Water will run easily off the steep
sides.  It has little effect by the wind because the largest part of the tent is close to the ground.  Also, it is a natural for
winter camping for the snow can not build on top and collapse your tent.  The tent can be heated in two ways, a fire built
in front between the two door wings or a small pack stove on the inside.  A stove jack needs to be added to one wall so
you can run a stovepipe through.  The only drawback to the tent is that the door slopes back and must be tied closed
during times of rain, which is where the awning is a nice feature.  Considering all of the advantages, this is a small
inconvenience.
The Pyramid Tent
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