Poncho Shelter: The Open A Frame
I’ve been a fan of this setup for years. When I go out in nature I want to see what’s around me, not the inside of a tarp or tent. If it’s chilly, and you have a fire, this structure retains a nice amount of heat. Finally, the structure itself is perfect for collecting water. When it rains, put a cup at the corner of the tarp and refill your supply.
To set this up you’ll need a ridge line, one pole, one guy line and four stakes. Attach the tarp to the ridge line, and stake it out like an A Frame, but leave one corner to attach a pole and guy line. I prefer this version when I go camping with a larger tarp, but when I’m limited to a poncho the wider version is my go to. Again connect the tarp to the ridge line, stake down three corners, then attach a pole and guy line to the fourth.
Now that you’ve seen the ridge line setup here’s how you can do it with poles. You will need three poles, three guy lines, and six stakes. Stake down the four corners and setup an A frame shelter, then choose a corner and add the third pole and guy line. You can rotate the tarp and set it up the same way. Stake down the four corners, add the center poles and guy lines, choose a corner and attach the third pole and stake it down.
With this next setup you can see a transition from the A frame into a fly. To put this up with a ridge line you’ll need a ridge line, two poles, two guy lines, and four stakes. Attach the tarp to the ridge line, and stake down two opposing corners, on the remaining two corners add the pole setups. Rotate the tarp to get a nice variation of the same structure.
To set up this structure with poles you will need four poles, four guy lines, and six stakes. Like the previous shelter begin by setting up an A Frame shelter, then attach poles to two opposing sides. And rotate the tarp for a little change.
Tarp Rigging (Knots) Links:
Setting up a tarp with poles
A Comprehensive Guide to Tarp and Tent Guy Lines
Tent Stakes & How to Use Them
3 Tarp Ridgelines: Tied, Toggled & Hardware
5 Knots You Need to Know