Shade Structures for Camping

Submitted: Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 10:10
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Hello, I was hoping for some help in what to buy as a shade shelter for our camping trips. We are looking for a structure that is 6m x 3m or so that is simple to set up (one of the ones that folds up & down really appeals) that is going to be relatively sturdy in the wind as well as being water proof. Any suggestions, I have done the rounds of the caravan park on our most recent trip last week and there seem to be a heck of a lot of options.

Look forward to your help,

John
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Reply By: Member - Fred B (NT) - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 10:22

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 10:22
Over the years I have seen and tried a large number of different "structures". Most are heavy and bulky, or have too many pieces that never seem to fit properly, or have parts that fail.

So, my advice is to stick to a good quality tarp, some decent poles and a couple of cross bars. Easy to clean and store, don't take up a lot of space. After you have set it up a few times you will be surprised how quick and easy it is.
regards
Fred B
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Follow Up By: Member - Royce- Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 10:53

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 10:53
I agree with the tarp. Cheap and can be replaced easily.
A few extendable poles and guy ropes.. no probs.
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Follow Up By: Member - Vic S (VIC) - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 17:34

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 17:34
I also agree with the 8 x 3 tarp ,8 adjustable poles, 4 adjustable cross poles and 12 guy ropes. 6 mt for the roof and 2 mt overhang one end or one each end.Ours has held well in high winds is easy up and down.
Vic
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Follow Up By: OzTroopy - Wednesday, Jan 06, 2010 at 11:45

Wednesday, Jan 06, 2010 at 11:45
And a tarp can be used for sooooooo much more than just a shade cover ...... something to consider when loading the vehicle with todays paraphenalia of camping junk.

I always used canvas but the prohibitive cost of quality has lead to more frequent use of those silver/green dura rig plastic types ... with the following modification.

Some 25mm or larger - nylon webbing sewn across the tarp, negates the need for cross poles .... simply anchor one end of the webbing and and slip the other end over the pole ....

I use very heavy duty poles and ratchet straps instead of the dodgy camping store poles and guy ropes ... and the plastic tarp still survives well without stretching / eyelet damage.
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Reply By: Member - cuffs (SA) - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 10:25

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 10:25
John, I have an Oztrail Compact Gazebo, it can be up in a couple of minutes easier with two people, although the sides take a little longer. I use it more for out door events, watching sports or rally's when in one location all day, than camping.

When camping for a couple of days I use it as a kitchen and keeps out the flies, in high winds I drop the height to half way and you can still sit under it, then tighten the guide ropes.
AnswerID: 397548

Reply By: Volvo driver - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 10:33

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 10:33
never found any that were 'relatively sturdy' or 'water proof' either LOL,
once the wind comes up they were all fairly useless..but the easiest to pull down..and the best overall..was a heavy poly tarp about 4 x4mm that had a reinforced hole in the middle for a long tent pole and a tent pole on each corner,

looked like an older style tent without sides, still caught the wind though, the good part about it was you only had to drop the centre pole and one corner pole and it was down, once the wind nicked off, a few seconds and it was up again,

it was brilliant sitting under it on warm days, half the c'van park would congregate under it on hot days...terrific to cook drink under etc etc

had the other commercial type with frames but watching those get blown around the joint in high winds waiting for someone to get speared wasn't a good feeling
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Follow Up By: Member - MUZBRY(Vic) - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 11:36

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 11:36
Gday Mr Volvo Dvr
That's not a very wide tarp....
Murray
Muzbry
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Follow Up By: Member - Leave_enough_space - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 17:20

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 17:20
Not very long either?
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Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 12:09

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 12:09
I've just bought a dome-shaped shelter - 4.2 x 4.2 metres - 17 sq m instead of the 18 of 3 x 6.

It can be set up totally independant of any trees.

You can buy it from Rays Outdoors for $299 - or from ALDI at $189 normally, $149 while on special.
AnswerID: 397566

Follow Up By: Boobook2 - Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 07:43

Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 07:43
How big is it when packed up Mike?
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Follow Up By: Member - Mike DID - Wednesday, Jan 06, 2010 at 10:04

Wednesday, Jan 06, 2010 at 10:04
It's 110 x 20 x 15 cm in its bag.

Fits between the wheel arches in the back of the Pajero.
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Reply By: dionbremner - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 12:20

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 12:20
One we've used for a few years now was a $40 special from Kmart. It is a shaped tarp, came with poles and pegs. It is starting to stretch now but it has a lot of use. See here for a look at it. For the money and it's quality it has been brilliant.

I basically agree with those who have said a tarp and some poles are the best - all the parts are replaceable and available anywhere and it is flexible. No two camping spots are the same - sometimes you need a windbreak, other times a rain shelter or combination of both. A tarp and poles let you build something on the spot that suits the situation.

Cheers
Dion
AnswerID: 397567

Reply By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 12:38

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 12:38
John, I use the plain tarp with 4 poles concept also. It is low cost and versatile.
My tarp is 6m x 4m so it can be erected as a 4m x 4m roof with the spare 2m hanging down one side as a wind-break. If weather is worse I add another tarp on a second side as further protection. It only serves as the cooking and seating area when camping as we sleep in the back of the Troopy.

For quick overnight stops we just hook the tarp to the Troopy roof-rack and use two poles.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 13:11

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 13:11
Hi Allan, are you using the 'cheapo' blue plakki from Bunnings, or are you using a quality fabric?

Cheers.
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Follow Up By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 13:55

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 13:55
John, My larger one (roof) is good quality silver/green, probably from my local camping store and is in good condition. The smaller one is also silver/green but lighter duty and has a number of wear holes in it. It came with the vehicle so I don't know its history.

Because of space limitations we used the smaller, lighter one at the Woodford Folk Festival recently and the holes made themselves very apparent! I plan to promptly replace it with a heavy-duty one.

I also have a really heavy-duty khaki canvas tarp that I use as a ground sheet and could double as rain protection if we have to sit out a cyclone! LOL

The cheapo blue ones are about as good as newspaper!

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 14:10

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 14:10
Many thanks for that Allan. I'll go down to Ranger/BCF and see what the go is.

Cheers.
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Reply By: Member - Cantiva Clay (NSW) - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 13:33

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 13:33
Agree with Allan B, bought a Bunnings Tarp and poles and ropes at a camping store, all up 4 poles 8 ropes and tarp maybe $97. Have 2 size small and large can attach to roof rack, trees or anyone standing still long enough. Bunnings have a really good quality tarp that's 3 bonded layers silver one side black the other - silver reflects the heat and sun. About $29 for a 6x8 $39 for a 8x10 (I think) and they double as liners in the back of the wagon. They are heavy to fold but follow the creases and your right, also they take a punishment - the tool box hasn't rubbed holes in it yet. The cheapo woven ones are a waste of time, they fray in the wind and are not the most waterproof...you get what you pay for! I threw both the cheapo and "quality cheapo" out after 6 months!
AnswerID: 397576

Reply By: CJ - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 13:57

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 13:57
Have to add my vote for a tarp.

Good quality tarp,
It is versatile as you can set thee poles nice and high on hot dry days to keep the radiant heat out, or low in rain. You can choose your slope and angle to suit the sun, wind or rain or a combination of the above
In extreme weather you can set it up son you can put your tent under it
For the record I tried several other structures including the domed Coleman and although some are good, nothing beats the old tarp
Hint, do not go too big as setup difficulty increases exponentially with size

CJ
AnswerID: 397580

Reply By: Member - Duncs - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 18:38

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 18:38
Over the years I have used a number of different "gazebos" or shade shelters when working out doors. We have a great big truck to carry them in so space is not a problem, and as the boss I have a couple of handy lads to put them up. Just as well they are all huge and heavy.

They all work pretty well on a still sunny day but if the rain comes or the wind gets above a gentle breeze they are useless.

When camping, if staying in one spot for a while I put up a tarp. Mine is 9m x 7.5m I use about 16 poles and hang it over the Trak Shak. It is a good quality silver and green tarp with seat belt webbing sewn into the hems. It has withstood some pretty solid winds. Think south coast NSW in summer with the big southerly buster coming through. I use inner tube rubber as shock absorbers on all guy ropes. It takes me and my son about 1hour to put up and about 30min to take down. On a hot summers day it is worth every drop of sweat spilled putting it up because it keeps the Trak Shak and me cool.

Duncs
AnswerID: 397623

Reply By: StormyKnight - Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 22:53

Monday, Jan 04, 2010 at 22:53
Oztrail would be the way to go, all you have to do is visit the next dog show in your area & you will see hundreds of gazebo's!



We have the 3m x 3m version of the above & it works very well & is OK in moderate wind too. In addtion you could tie guy ropes to each corner if you were going to leave it up & unattended, but since it is really very simple to drop it down on its legs, or as we do at the dog shows is remove the canopy part if we leave them up overnight if we are not there to supervise.

The 3x3 I can put up myself, the 6x3 would need two people at least I would say, but may one person can do it with skill.

I also lubricate the sliding components with silicon spray as that makes it 100 times easier to put up & fold down.

As a bonus the 3x3 version can fit across the floor well in front of the 2nd row seats in the Prado!

Make sure you get the heavy duty version, the poles are a little thicker & as such stronger.

Cheers
AnswerID: 397673

Reply By: Member - Carl- Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 07:57

Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 07:57
Hi John

Another place to try is the local netball competition oval. Netball teams use them all the time for shade for kids between games. The might have good information on where available in your area and prices etc.
AnswerID: 397694

Reply By: Member - Allan B (QLD) - Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 08:58

Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 08:58
You will also find them in a range of brands & sizes at any markets.

I saw some Oztrail models at BCF the other day. 3m x 3m @ $250 and 6m x 3m @ <$500 I think. Didn't ask but wouldn't be surprised if you could get sides for them too. The legs had feet with a couple of holes for pegs. Looked pretty solid and well-made.

Thought it looked a good idea and if I didn't already have tarps and poles I would consider one.

Cheers
Allan

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AnswerID: 397704

Reply By: The Landy - Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 09:03

Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010 at 09:03
I bought an OzTrail, 3mx4.5m, set-up from Anaconda recently. Although this was more for use in the back yard etc rather than for camping. For camping we have always used a tarp, which is very easy and takes up little space.

Having said that I am going away with a group next week down on the South Coast so I've thrown in the OzTrail......it is very easy to erect..but comes with a weight / space penalty especially if touring.

I'd go a tarp for 'normal' touring....

Cheers
AnswerID: 397707

Reply By: Member - Mike DID - Wednesday, Jan 06, 2010 at 10:38

Wednesday, Jan 06, 2010 at 10:38
Bunnings current flyer lists a Party Pavilion Gazebo for $149.

It's 3m x 6m and uses 6 poles. It shows walls only on one side.

I/N3190687
AnswerID: 397878

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