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Submitted: 05-18-2006 by Jsaults
I have used a Cookes 10x10 tarp for several years, but I developed a longing for a 15x15 to better shelter a small group around a picnic table. The smaller tarp performed flawlessly, so I expected as much for the larger. I put the Big Guy (WesD calls his the "Big Top") to use on my recent trip to the Chesapeake Bay, and the weather provided a serious test of materials and construction.
What a tarp! Small Craft Warnings were posted by NOAA for three days of our trip, and the Big Guy kept us dry and comfortable. It is large enough to allow me to sneak my backpacking tent underneath adjacent to the table, making for dry transitions from after-dinner socializing to snug sleeping quarters. Dan Cooke had recommended seam-sealing only the center pole patch, and his advice was good. No seepage was noted from any seam, and the only moisture to enter was via wind-blown spray.
Why a nine? It doesn't set itself up in the rain. Other than that, this is as close to perfection as any piece of camping gear can come.
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