Poncho Shelter: The Basic Lean-to
There’s more to a poncho than just wearing it. With some cordage, and a little know-how, this wearable shelter can be elevated to a whole new level.
In this week’s video on poncho shelters we are going to focus on two versions of the Lean-to; the regular setup that we are all familiar with and its longer counterpart. I am also going to include how both shelters can be set up using a ridge line or poles.
Regular (Ridge Line)
Let’s begin with the regular lean-to, which is a classic, and is great for being used next to a fire. To set this up you will need a ridge line and two stakes. Choose one of the many ridge line options out there, and attach it in-between two trees. When setting up a tarp using a ridge line, attach the tarp to the line first and then stake out the two corners. If you need to adjust the pitch, you can either raise or lower the line and then adjust the stakes.
Long (Ridge Line)
If it’s too hot for a fire, and you are more interested in shade and a breeze, then rotate your tarp 90 degrees. Just like the basic lean-to attach the tarp to the ridge line first and then stake out the two corners.
Ridge lines are nice when there are trees but if there isn’t, use the poles you walked in with. You will need your two trekking poles, two guy lines, and four stakes to set this up. With ridge lines start with the top and work your way down, but with poles it’s a bottom up situation. Stake down the two lower corners first, and choose a pole setup, attach each pole and stake it out with guy lines using your preferred method. When staking out guy lines, use the corners of the tarp where the line is attached, as a guide to roughly point out the direction to run your line. To adjust the pitch just raise or lower the length of your poles and adjust the guy lines.
The long version is setup the same way. Stake down the two corners, attach the poles, adjust the pitch, run out your guy lines, and voila you have shelter.
As we all know space is critical, especially when waiting out poor weather. You have a hood, so you might as well use it. Pulling out the hood is a great way to give you more room under the shelter. To do this add a pole, guy line and a stake to your setup. Start by twisting the hood and tying it into a simple knot. Attach the guy line to the hood using a slip knot or simple loop knot, pull out the line and clove hitch it onto a pole that is elevated above the hood, then stake it out by using any number of regular hitches, friction hitches or hardware. This trick will work on any of these setups as well as other lean-to configuration, and it is essential for the setup of many tent-like structures that I will be covering in future videos.
Links to rigging videos:
Setting up a tarp with poles
A Comprehensive Guide to Tarp and Tent Guy Lines
Tent Stakes & How to Use Them
5 Knots You Need to Know
3 Tarp Ridgelines: Tied, Toggled & Hardware