Here are 5 DIY Elastic Tarp Tensioners anyone can make.
Rain, snow and high winds can put a lot of strain on your tarp or rainfly, especially on its tie out points. Some materials such as silnylon tends to sag when wet, and paracord is known to stretch under tension. Besides spending the cash on a Cuben Fiber tarp or tent, you can add tension your line using a variety of different friction knots and hardware. You can change the cordage on your guy and ridge lines to either Lash-it or Zing-it line, which are extremely strong, light weight, and they do not stretch like paracord. Or, consider adding a little spring to your setup with elastic tensioners.
The purpose of an elastic tensioner is to add tension to your guys if the material begins to sag or if your line begins to stretch, and they conform to the give and take of high winds, so you won’t tear your tie outs.
Bungee Cords are one of the easiest kind of tensioners to setup and many people use them as a substitute for their guy lines. When choosing a bungee cord, shop around and test them out. Some bungees have little elasticity and others will stretch, but they lack the strength to pull back to shape. Try finding something with both stretch and strength.
If the hooks on the ends of your Bungee Cord makes you nervous about attaching them to your tarp, a simple remedy would be to cut the hooks off and tie a Loop into the bungee cord. They can be hitched onto your tie outs and then your guy line can be hitched onto the loop. I have tried this with both bungee and shock cord with good results.
Shock Cord tensioners seem to be pretty common amongst tarp enthusiasts. Tie two figure of eight loops in your guy lines about eight inches apart, then take your shock cord and feed it through both loops, tighten the shock cord to the point just before its maximum stretching point, and finish it off with a simple knot.
As an alternative to using your bungee cord in a loop, try Clove Hitching a 6 to 8 inch piece of bungee cord onto your guy line. Form two loops the exact same way with the working part on the top of each loop. Then tuck the second loop under first loop and slide one end of the bungee cord into the loops and tighten. Then stretch out the cord along the guy line to a point just before its maximum stretching point, mark that spot, and clove hitch the other end of the bungee onto it. I like this one because it is simple, quick to tie, and you can add the elastic tensioner anywhere along the line that it is needed.
In a previous video I showed you how to make a Thera-Band Tarp Tensioner. This tensioner is definitely more difficult to make compared to the other methods, but it is one of my go to’s when setting up my tarp. Here is a quick summary of how you can make your own. Choose a strong, lightweight line that does not stretch under tension and tie a figure of eight on one end of the line. Feed the line through a section of Thera-Band and pull the band about an inch over the knot and lash it down on the loop side of the knot, then roll the excess band over the lashing to make it look nice and lock the lashing into place. Stretch the elastic tubing along the inner cordage until it the tube reaches it’s near maximum stretching point, tie another figure of eight loop at that point and repeat the same process on this side.
Keep your eyes and ears open and your powder dry!