Protected Site

As with any tarp or tent it’s worth choosing your camp site carefully. Somewhere protected from strong winds with a dry, comfortable and well drained ground,  and a handy water supply that isn’t likely to flood. In high winds beware branches falling from trees. This photo shows a tarp pitched near a sink hole: a great location but rare in the UK.

Sink Hole


January 4, 2010 at 9:21 am 2 comments

Improves waterproofing!

Black MountainsPart of the rational behind using a ShellTA as well as a conventional waterproof is because all waterproofs degrade.

The most obvious reduction in performance comes because the water repellency of the outer fabric is lost, because of dirt, abrasion, water pressure or contamination with water softeners. This causes the fabrics to become saturated and the inside is likely to reach the dew point, causing condensation and a loss of breathability.

Conventional membrane waterproofs may also be punctured, membranes can crack, abrade and delaminate and seam tape can peel off.

Some of these problems only manifest themselves in extremely wet weather and the ShellTA gives you another tool to reinforce your waterproofs in those rare extremely wet conditions. It provides a “defence in depth”.

January 23, 2009 at 10:36 am 1 comment

Improving venting with the ShellTA

furshellta-098When the inside of your ShellTA becomes wet (normal when layered over wet softshells in the rain) it tends to stick to inner layers that are already water logged. This reduces venting, insulation and wet weather breathability. However, when you wear the ShellTA over your sack, like a poncho, this seperates the fabrics and improves performance.

When you wear the ShellTA under your sack, ease the front fabric out from beneath your hip belt and shoulder straps to separate it from under layers.

January 21, 2009 at 9:48 am Leave a comment

What happens when the ShellTA fabric becomes saturated?

Like any waterproof breathable fabric, breathability stops when the fabric becomes saturated, however it remains waterproof. Wind will help breathability, even in the rain, especially if air is allowed to circulate through the ShellTA.

The fabric of my sleeve was wet before getting in the ShellTA

The fabric of my sleeve was wet before getting in the ShellTA

When you wear it over a wet waterproof the water tends to stick to the ShellTA, providing a useful drying effect. Once it is saturated this effect diminishes and air circulation beneath the waterproof canopy is the only way drying will continue.

January 12, 2009 at 6:13 pm Leave a comment

Why use a lunch ShellTA when it’s not raining?


Although the ShellTA is made from a thin waterproof fabric, with little inherent insulation, two people sat together inside can share a surprising amount of heat that would otherwise be lost to the atmosphere. It’s also a very simple way of adding extra protection for your legs, without the hassle of overtrousers …and it doesn’t need to spoil the view: each person can open their side vent to peer out and breathe in the mountain vista.

January 6, 2009 at 10:09 am Leave a comment

Protecting a Casualty

It’s unwise to move an unconscious casualty (or even a conscious one, depending on the injury), but they may still need protection from the elements (once you have completed the ABCs of first aid). Most 2 person mountain shelters are not big enough to adequately cover a prone casualty but the ShellTA can be spread out as a waterproof blanket. Use whatever is available, pegs, rocks, sacks or volunteers, to hold it in place without causing any further discomfort to the injured person. Use all the resources at your disposal to protect the casualty and yourselves while waiting for rescue.

Two ShellTAs, zipped together in poncho mode create a shelter nearly 3m long, which can provide protection for a casualty and two first aiders.

(Large clan tents, mountain shelters or bothy bags are used by most mountain rescue teams to provide an environment for multiple team members to stabilise a casualty. The ShellTA is not big enough for this role.)

For more on First Aid please try this site.


Thanks to Glossop Mountain Rescue Team for this image.

December 16, 2008 at 10:19 am 2 comments

Suspending from the hood

Large tarps can be made more stable in the wind by supporting the centre of the sheet of fabric. This is easy to do with the ShellTA: just larks foot a  long guy line around the hood, below the cord lock and use a trekking pole as an external strut, to produce a large, unimpeded living space. The hood transmits the tension evenly around the long neck seam.shellta-032

December 1, 2008 at 11:48 am Leave a comment

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