Friday, 02 May 2014 20:32

Alpkit Rig 7 Reviewed

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There's a few myths about using tarps, starting with the one that a tarp is a lightweight alternative to a tent. Quite simply it isn't! By the time you've combined the weight of tarp, waterproof sleeping bag cover and the guys and pegs you still need to keep your shelter upright you'll find there's considerably lighter tents available.

Using a tarp is more about the experience than the weight or cost. It's about being as close as possible to your surroundings while still having a shelter to protect you from the elements. Compared to a tent there are positives and negatives; ventilation and condensation just aren't issues with a tarp but to counterbalance those advantages there's no protection from midges. A tarp can be set-up in places tents wouldn't fit, but a wind direction change can turn a shelter into a wind tunnel.

What you get with an Alpkit Rig 7 is a 280 x 240cm rectangle of 30D siliconised nylon. You don't get any pegs or guys and you don't get any poles to hold the tarp up. While some would question the lack of guys and pegs (you're not going to get far without them) you need to understand how a tarp works to understand why they're not included by default. The answer lies in the 8 reinforced lifters arranged over the outside of the fabric; each of these can be used to lift sprecific areas of the shelter according to the space available and pitching style desired. Combined with the 16 reinforced holes along the edge of the rectangular sheet the lifter points give the user multiple configurations using any number of guys and pegs. If guys and pegs were supplied with the Rig 7 the question would be how many pegs and how many and what length guylines? Would you expect a line and peg for every possible pegging point or perhaps half a dozen pegs and a couple of guys which would only allow the simplest of configurations?

The first job, then, on receiving your tarp is to source the essential extras and not surprisingly Alpkit offer a selection of cords and lines for guys and pegs of all types. You can also get mini carabiners which are a great help when attaching guys to the lifter points - although we sourced some alternative fig of 8 style clips online to fulfil this task. Unless you're going to camping in the woods or have an alternative such as paddles you're also going to need some form of pole or poles. Walking poles are the ideal and obvious choice but if you don't use walking poles you can buy telescopic "bivvy poles" online designed specifically for the job.


With tarp, guys, lifter clips and pegs in hand what you've got is an extremely flexible shelter that goes up quickly and can be configured to fit almost any space large enough to sleep in. Faced with a multitude of pitching styles it makes sense to practice a few in the security of your garden before using on the hill. Some of the configurations have names like the "A" or the "Flying V" but in practice you set-up the best configuration for your location,surroundings, and the all important weather conditions. Tarps have an amazing capacity to catch the wind so it's important to position your tarp with the entrance on the lee side of the prevailing wind on open ground, though you can use walls or similar structures to provide protection and support where available.

The Alpkit Rig 7 is a particularly well designed tarp with the 8 lifter points well positioned and more than enough perimiter peg points to suit any situation. The 30D silicon coated nylon is reliably waterproof and the lefter points and perimiter pegging points are well made and very well reinforced. As with any tent flysheet it makes sense to seam seal the main seam which runs centrally down the rectangular sheet although our sample came well sealed out of the bag. Talking of bags the Rig 7 comes with its own stuff bag, but be aware its a tight fit to get the tarp back in the bag - though by no means impossible.


At £50 the Rig 7 is considerably cheaper than most, if not all, of the competition despite the quality and design and while we're relatively new to using a tarp we can't see any reason why you'd want any other tarp. That's not something we say very often about any outdoor kit but it does say a lot about the product and the manufacturer's commitment to affordability without compromise on quality.


Price: £50

Weight: 512g

Colour: Blue, Yellow, Red, Green

Features: 2-4 man lightweight tarp.

  • 30D siliconised nylon.
  • 8 hypalon reinforced lifter rig points.
  • 16 hypalon reinforced exterior rig points.
  • Stuff bag.
  • Does not include guy ropes or poles.



16 hypalon reinforced exterior rig points. 8 hypalon reinforced lifter rig points. Adaptable to suit multiple pitching options

Cons: Combined weight with a bivvy bag can be greater than a lightweight tent Does not include guy ropes or poles. Stuff bag slightly too small

Last modified on Sunday, 23 October 2016 13:34
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