Tarps and tents

Tors Homepage


Also visit my gallery With Pictures from some  of my trips outdoors. Click Picture below.

Tarps and tents

Easy to carry and quick to set up


A tarp for shelter is often enough for most of us when out in the woods.

Most of us is out in rather nice weather anyway.

The tarp does not have to be expensive. A green plastic tarp bought at any gas station is more than enough. I mostly use the 4 X 6 meter version.

It is rather bulky but weigh almost nothing.

And it is so cheap one could store (bury it or lay it under some rocks) it on a nice campsite until next time one comes by not bothering wether someone steal it or the mice eat it.

I also use a tarp wich used to be the roof of an A frame tent I had as a kid. It is 2 x 3 meters and enough to make a small tarp shelter in good weather. It packs quite small (picture above).

This tarp was sadly destroyed in hard wind during an outing fall 2008. Guess it was a bit old and weared.


The “Mountain tarp” from Jerven (Wolverine) I highly recomend.

It is expensive, yes, but it i a very good and strong tarp with lot of uses. It could be used as shelter, poncho, "space blanket" and emergency shelter. Most of this is also shown at Jerven`s homepage.

A tarp (Mountain tarp from Jerven) setup is shown right.

I`ve laid the tarp out between two neighboring rocks (natural shelter).

The rocks give shelter from the wind and also the rain. The tarp gives aditional shelter from the rain.

A tarp could be used for many types of shelter. Only your imagination is the limit.

Many of you own a US GI poncho or similar. These can also be used to make shelter.

Make an A frame from saplings and strap the poncho over it or you can do as shown on the picture below. Use some paracord/string and two Y shaped sticks. Lay the poncho over the string and peg it to the ground.

Remember to close/tie off the hood. Lay branches on ground for bedding and add sidewalls if needed.



The most commonly used tent in Norway is the tunnel tent.

This type of tent stands in strong winds and are fairly waterproof.

And you can have your stove out in the vestibule.

This is very important in winter.

Yes, I know there are warnings about burning a stove in your tent but in -30 degrees one wants the heat it provides.

Another thing which is neat is that you can dig out the snow in the vestibule, making more space and most important a cold level.

This is where I place the stove. Warm air raises, cold air sinks.

Make sure the tent is big enough.

This is very important in winter conditions. Most two man tents have barely enough space for one.

I own a Wild Country Zephyros 2 (Terra Nova).

This tent has room for me and my rucksack and not much else.

Can`t for my bare life see how two grown men could fit in this tent at all.

No matter what tent (type or brand) you choose; make sure you know how to set it up.

When you buy a new tent; erect it on Your lawn.

Make sure all parts are present and that you learn how to set it up in the least amount of time.

This may save Your life when a storm brews in the Mountains.

Almost all tents I`ve seen comes With a too small pack bag.

This may not be a problem in fair weather, but you will soon discover that it is hard to put the tent in a thight bag in winter conditions.

Do yourself a favour and buy a dry bag large enough (or better; make one yourself) to fit Your rolled up tent and use it instead of those thight bags the tent was delivered with.


The LAVVU is the old tent home of the saami people, reindeer herders.

In earlier times it consisted of reindeer hides or wool cloth laid over several interlaced poles (anything from 10 to 20 poles) making a cone.

Just like the American tipi, but slightly lower, to ward of the wind better.

Nowadays they use a piece of canvas, plastic or a ready made one of polyester/cotton.

Like the one on the picture to the right. (It is a one-pole version from Venor).

The lavvu`s force is the fact that you can light a fire inside the tent. It`s warm in winter, and provides a mosquito free tent in summer.

And besides, one can smoke meat or fish in it.

Just hang it up inside the tent and the smoke from the fire will do the rest.

But it is important to adjust the draft in the tent to prevent it beeing filled with smoke.

Let air in by lifting the tent canvas a few Places. Preferably avoiding a draft where you are seated.

The downside of these tents are that they are quite heavy. My on pole version weighs 6.7 kilos. But they are often used in winter and then it is packed in a "pulk" (snowsled).

The one pole lavvu`s are also not so good in very strong wind, not a high mountain shelter in other words.

The traditional lavvu`s with wooden poles are more suited in heavy wind.

Traditionally the kitchen area is straight ahed from the door (right at the picture right side).

And one never moves over the kitchen area.

The wife and children are traditionally seated to the left and the man and the guests are seated on the right side.

The fire wood is in front of the fire (near the door) with the thick end of the wood always pointing at the fire (this has as far as I know no practical reason).

The traditional floor was made of birch branches laid from the kitchen area to the door in a roof tile manner. The thick end pointing at the door and hidden beneath the branches (picture above right).

This is again covered with dried reindeer hides.

In an emergency the lavvu can be made of spruce limbs laid over a cone shaped frame. Use 4-5 meter long poles. You can use anything from 4 to 20 poles if you like.

It depends on how big a shelter you want.

If you then cover it with dirt it almost becomes a “gamme”, see below at long term shelters.


The last couple of years I`ve begun to use hammocks.

Not the kind most People have in their garden, but hammocks With Integrated mosquito netting designed for camping.

Hammocks are fairly easy to set up and you are not dependent on level ground.

You are however dependant on threes.

And those are scarce many places in the North.

I find hammocks comfortable, but it is not for all.

I bought my first hammock, a Hennesy Expedition A-sym, in 2004.

I used it once, it was OK, but it didn`t really catch on.

But many years later, in 2012, I introduced the hammock to my daughter.

She liked it so much I had to buy another one (DD Frontline hammock) so we could go hammock camping.

I really liked the DD hammock for its easy setup, and side entry and it has caught on in the Family.

A New DD Frontline hammock is purchased for my wife.

I will however not use a hammock for Winter camping.

The underblanket, closed tarp and all the nic nacs (wich I don`t have) needed for Winter hanging seems to outweight even my lavvu.