Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Ideas, advice, tips, and tricks regarding shelter, shade, tents, and camping. Yes, this includes RV's too.
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LeonardPotato
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Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Post by LeonardPotato » Sat May 13, 2017 10:46 pm

In my head I was going to build a tarp shelter with a flat roof. 16x20 tarp. 8 collapsible PVC poles that I built. I put it up for the first time tonight. This being the first time I have built anything like this.

I have some questions on how to improve some flaws in my design.

1. Not sure I can accomplish a flat roof with paracord only. Do I need to run PVC rails?

2. I was aiming for a flat roof because I thought it would do better in the wind. Am I right to think this would be The case? Or is this just not a concern because the wind will take either one down?

3. With the flat roof concept, I was not going to have a center pole, is That much tension possible, or am I gong to want one?

4. Was thinking additional tension could be created by making the tie cords a continuous line. So on one side the line would run from the steak. To pole, run through graments to pole then down to the steak on the other side. Anybody tried this?

5. any tips? This being my first shelter I don't know what I don't know.

Thanks for taking the time to read and respond.
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LeonardPotato
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Re: Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Post by LeonardPotato » Sat May 13, 2017 10:51 pm

Hello, me again.

PVC poles, will they sink into the playa? Would your advice some sort of foot on each pole.
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Re: Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Post by gaminwench » Sun May 14, 2017 12:47 am

Someone with actual experience will come along, but from what I've read/seen, PVC is not really up to the task.

Check out Black Rock Hardware, they've been perfecting the flat top structure out there for years.
Suspended Animation did a fab piece about rigging structures properly, a few years back.
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Re: Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Post by AntiM » Sun May 14, 2017 5:49 am

Pvc has the nasty ability to shatter in high winds, and bow under pressure. Prefect for monkey huts, terrible for rigid shade.

We had a flat top made of metal pipes, but it was really heavy. Eventually we went with tilted carports, which are essentially flat topped. If it rains, they fill with water. When MyLarry wakes up, I can ask him about the details of the structure.
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Re: Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Post by Roundabout » Sun May 14, 2017 11:02 am

You have not given enough of a description of what you built to be able to give you specific advice. Can you post a picture? Generally, PVC will not cut it for a rigid structure. And generally, yes you need to frame each side of your tarp with a pole. Most people use 1 inch EMT.
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Re: Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Post by fernley1 » Sun May 14, 2017 11:56 am

I use a 20 x 20 flat top shade structure on the playa. I use 1" EMT piping, with foot pads. For tarps, I use 1 10 x 20 and 2 10 x 10, lets wind pass through some. The 10 x 20 tarp I strap down so it won't blow up in the wind. All tarps are connected with bungee balls, and every corner is teathered down to a tie down point. Also every foot pad is screwed down to the playa.

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Re: Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Post by some seeing eye » Sun May 14, 2017 12:11 pm

Hey, great participation in our weird corner of the world of eplaya.

When you go to the tarp store, they come in sizes. If the wind gets under them it exerts a force of http://k7nv.com/notebook/topics/windload.html

length x width in feet x .00256 x (wind speed in MPH squared.)

Playa design force is 140mph for structure fail that could kill a medium amount of people, Category II https://www.washoecounty.us/building/Co ... ements.php.

16x20 is large and you can calculate the force. My experience with solid tarps is keep them small like 10x10 and move under them for shade, shelter them well among blocking structures on all sides like RVs, or make them into a monkey hut which has a lot of bracing and flex.

But hey, experiment!
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Re: Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Post by BBadger » Sun May 14, 2017 8:23 pm

Yeah, PVC is just going to shatter and fly away like a kite if it's not in a Monkey Hut type configuration, which is meant to buckle and bend.
If you want something collapsible and stronger, go for some EMT, or you can get something more ready made from places like Shade King or something.
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Re: Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Post by LeonardPotato » Mon May 15, 2017 10:17 am

Thanks you all for weighing in.

After my initial build of my shelter and taking your feedback, I seem to be deciding between two options, here are my thoughts...


I currently have about $150 - $200 invested in the shelter and would most likely need to invest and additional $100 - $125 to add all of the things I need. I would hope that this would be enough, but I am not sure if it would need further improvements from there. This would be a 16x20 shelter with PVC pipes which means it won't be as strong as the option below.

Or...

I can buy a pre-made one for $175 - $225 from ShadeKing and may just need some additional tie down support which I already own. This Shelter would be 10x15 or 10X20 so I would lose some square footage but it is built using metal (by people who know what they are doing) so there is less risk of additional cost and on-playa disaster.

Am I giving up and abandoning the BM principals by buying one?
Should I just buy one and mitigate the risk?

Thanks
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Re: Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Post by fernley1 » Mon May 15, 2017 8:26 pm

No, its good to buy a proven design. It would really suck if your unproven design failed, even worse if it hurt someone or yourself. And I also use a costco carport, lots of people do on the playa, and its a well proven design too.

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Re: Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Post by Popeye » Mon May 15, 2017 9:51 pm

Am I giving up and abandoning the BM principals by buying one?
Should I just buy one and mitigate the risk?
No you are not giving up. You don't plan on sewing your own tent or building your own camp stove do you? All though some have. :o Build what your skills and interest lead you to build, but have a reasonable assurance that it will work.

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Re: Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Post by DoctorIknow » Mon May 15, 2017 10:33 pm

ShadeKing certainly has it all, but it may be worth it to you to consider BlackRockHardware.

I just checked the site, and they have not yet sold out, which always happens at some point.

Of big importance in choosing BRHardware is that you must pick up the Shade Kit in Oakland.

I believe what makes BRHardware unique is that 12' (twelve feet) is always one of the dimensions.
This involves three extra 2' EMT pieces and three connectors to the 10' EMT's.
Why should they go to this trouble and expense?
Because it was designed by intelligent Burners who understood that the geometry of that extra 2' makes a much more livable space.
It is quite noticable.

Instead of hunting down possibly low quality EMT at Home Depot, they have a reliable source. And I know the shade top they provide is excellent, and I'd be nervous about buying sight unseen over the 'net.

Also, all the legs they have are made to be used with rebar. Although many people, myself included, go to the extra trouble of using lag screws and ratchet straps to tie down, they say it is unnecessary with their system, which, as said in this thread, is playa proven for over a decade.

They do the custome fabrication of the legs themselves and this is their description of the legs:
(6 pc) 8′ long, 1″ EMT leg poles with a set nut (bolt included) welded at the base.

They include the rebar, and here are their assembly instructions:

Once all stakes are driven, lift one leg, inserting the re-bar into the pole. Tighten the bolt to the re-bar, then tighten the lock nut against the welded nut attached to leg. This will keep the bolt from jiggling loose. Repeat with remaining legs.

Good luck, and wherever you get a flat top, get three sides of woven shade cloth, not solid tarp.

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Re: Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Post by legionvr6 » Fri Jun 09, 2017 5:18 pm

Little late to the party but my camp is considering going with a flat roof setup as well. Current plan is to use metal connectors like this
http://www.ptmtarps.com/1-4-way-flat-roof-side/
along with 1" metal piping at 10 feet long each and foot pads. Also planning to mostly use camo netting for the roof except right above key areas. Trying to minimize this thing turning into a sail since we hope to setup a 40X40 shaded.

Hope that helps in any way. This is a first attempt and is only on paper for the moment

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Re: Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Post by Joeln » Fri Jun 09, 2017 5:58 pm

fernley1 wrote:I use a 20 x 20 flat top shade structure on the playa. I use 1" EMT piping, with foot pads. For tarps, I use 1 10 x 20 and 2 10 x 10, lets wind pass through some. The 10 x 20 tarp I strap down so it won't blow up in the wind. All tarps are connected with bungee balls, and every corner is teathered down to a tie down point. Also every foot pad is screwed down to the playa.
Yep, this is proven technique. Camo net or aluminet are great for letting some breeze in and being less of a sail. Doubled camo net makes a bit denser shade which is nice.
Here's a camp with 20X60 flat top structures using Fernley's method and there's much bigger ones out there.
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Re: Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Post by legionvr6 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:49 pm

For those that have built flap top canopies from off the shelf components. Do you drill out a hole in your EMT pipe for the eyelet screw? The connectors have an eyelet screw that holds onto the pipe via pressure. In normal conditions I don't think there would be an issue but burning man isn't exactly normal. We plan to use a tie down at every vertical let to create a slanted outside wall (all the way around except for the entrance.

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Re: Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Post by Popeye » Mon Jul 24, 2017 2:14 pm

The compression from the eyebolts works fine, after it is finger tight stick a screwdriver in the eye and give it an extra twist or two. I think drilling would just create more work, moop and it would be hard to line the holes and the bolt up. Probably be looser and if flexing the EMT bent the bolt the joint would be hard to dismantle.
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Re: Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Post by legionvr6 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:22 pm

thanks for the input!!!

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Re: Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Post by Roundabout » Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:06 pm

Just play 1/2 to 3/4 turn with the screwdriver after getting the eyelet finger tight. More than that risks collapsing the EMT.
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Re: Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Post by lowrocker7 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:23 pm

I had thought those eyebolts aren't necessarily meant to handle a lot of force or be super tight. Then again I always ratchet each corner from roof to playa, which is holding things together. Combined with the dynamic tension from attaching the roof tarp with ball bungees, or maybe doing running rigging (continuous) paracord, you get a lot of structural strength without a huge need for those eye bolts being super strong. Then again, that that system you're discussing only calls for screwing the foodpad down rather than guylines. hmm

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Re: Flat roof tarp shelter, advice needed.

Post by motskyroonmatick » Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:33 pm

The secured shade cloth holds the whole top together. I welded up my own connectors long before I found out about the premade ones and I have never had one come apart and it doesn't have any eyebolts or pins. Tightening the eye bolt on to the conduit gives the frame a little more rigidity. You won't get that if it goes in to a hole in the conduit. You may not be able to disassemble cause the threads would be so buggered up if it goes in to a hole.
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