I finally took the plunge and purchased three Tentsmiths products. The poncho, the 6×8 tarp and the 9×9 oilcloth tarp. These have only just arrived this week so this will be a quick explanation as to why those products and close up pictures of the stitching etc with a more in depth review in later months after Ive had a chance to use them extensively. Dealing with Sarah Clawson at Tentsmiths was a pleasure. I was always kept up to date with the manufacture progress and tracking numbers for shipping.

We quickly weighed each item with a trigger pull gauge because that’s all we had available at the time. That and a paper bag.The poncho came in at 4.25lbs, the 6×8 at 4.92lbs and the 9×9 at 6.30lbs,for a very rough idea. They all felt very light compared to the Australian version oil cloth tarp I have which was made from 12 oz canvas and very heavy. The Tentsmiths I believe are made from 6.25 oz material.


I looked at several oil cloth ponchos but decided on the Tentsmiths as it was meant to be designed to use in conjunction with a Helikon Tex Swagman Roll. Id like to see if is is the case and if it could also be used as a cover in the bedroll configuration as well. I wanted an oilcloth poncho because Ive found many nylon brands to be lacking in durability and also wanted to aim for a more traditional style of kit. Another brand which was available to me had a cloth liner which would have made it only usable in colder climates. I like the idea of adjusting the use between attaching the outer and inner liner for hot and cold climates.

6×8 Tarp

Two reasons I like this size. I may eventually purchase another. As these were designed like the German ponchos to be overlapped and joined to form one larger tarp,( half shelter style). For when two people are carrying the same system. I purchased only the one as I wanted to make a bedroll out of it with a woolen blanket. (See video below)

I spoke to Mike Beavers at Fairbault Wool mills for suggestions on a Queen sized wool blanket for a bedroll and he made the following suggestions.

“If you’re looking for something that’s thicker than the Pure & Simple (and that will survive bushcraft activities), I’d skip the Highlander blanket. The wool is too fine in consistency and will likely snag and look messy quickly.

If it were me, I’d look at the Academy (which we make for the servicemen & servicewomen at West Point Academy), North Shore, and Minnehaha blankets. These are all midweight blankets that will stand up to the activities you’re describing very well. The Academy, North Shore, and Minnehaha blankets are all machine washable, as well”.

I decided on the Northshore stripe model which is to be my next purchase.

9×9 Tarp

I think if I were doing more hiking with an oilcloth I would have gone for the 8×8 but I really wanted to be able to use the tarp for as many variations as possible but mainly for constructing plow-point configurations. Hiking and staying under a tarp for weeks on end are two totally different approaches in bushcraft. Sadly I couldn’t afford both. The 9×9 is also recommended for the Pathfinder School Level 2 course.

Oil Cloth Bedroll

Instead of using toggles for the bedroll Id use paracord soft shackles method 4

6×8 tarp

Tentsmiths Tarps

Faribault Wool Mill


Closeup pictures forthcoming. I only just got out of hospital today after a three day stint from catching a virus. I drove my self to hospital when I caught Covid however the HMVP Virus knocked me about. 02 level dropped to 89% and heart rate to 40 bpm. I went septic with a temperature of 37.8, my normal temp is 35.7. Back on oxygen for a day and a half. It might take me a day or two to get back on my feet. I put this post together in my head when I couldn’t sleep and had to put it down on paper or screen before I forgot it.

reinforced stitching on 9×9
poncho loops
seems folded over
adjustment lacing on poncho
poncho toggles to match the swagman roll
another shot of the stitching on the 6×8