Shade Structure Info

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Trevor's Thoughts and Musings

If you are camping, you will want to put your tent under a shade structure. If your POD doesn't already have a shade structure, this info is for you.

First off, a good shade structure will make you much happier Burner. It'll be your home at Burning Man. It can also be an art projecty-sorta thing; create a shade structure you can be proud of.

If you search around the internet, you'll find various shade structure designs. I've tried several; some have been failures. Windstorms are common at Burning Man. They will tear some structures apart, and carry others into the air like Dorothy and Toto. Design is important.

So here's my recommendation:

Build a 10 x 20 metal frame that you assemble like Tinker Toys. Here's what you need:

  • 13 of the 1 3/8" inch metal fence post poles from Home Depot. (approx $10 each)
  • metal connecting joints from http://tarps.com (see info below for exact items)
  • 1 10x20 silver-coated tarp, also from http://tarps.com

The silver-coated tarp is attached to the metal frame by bungee cords, zip ties, or rope. The corners of the metal frame are roped down to rebar stuck out at an angle.

This whole project should cost $200-250. Split amongst the people in your POD, and it's pretty cheap.

I've seen people try to build these with PVC and it doesn't work very well. With the metal frame, you can use it year after year. And the silver-coated tarp is about as dark as you're gonna get.

NOTE: If you have 2 of these 10x20 structures, you can place them 10 feet apart from each other and tie a tarp between the two of them; now you have a 30x20 square of shade.

Last year we had very good luck with sloping tarps off the sides and creating a tunnel of a bunch of these linked together with walls going to the ground on either side. This created an excellent shaded area which was pretty resistant to the dust and winds and we could chill in there even during storms.

Direct links to the product pages on tarps.com:

In case tarps.com is out of some items, here are some alternatives (generally a bit more expensive):

(note from Dusty Lashes: Have used these guys for several orders, great customer service, makes things right, just saying)

Here is a great place to order Tarps, with really reasonable prices: The Tarps Wholesaler. The silver heavy duty tarps are what I use.


Look for flat-top designs, you don't want any steeple in your frame, as that just catches the wind. The completely horizontal top offers almost-no resistance to the wind.

Here is a copy of my hardware order from last year.

Product Name: 9 inch Black Ball Bungees

      Item#: BB9 
      Unit Price: $0.27 
      Quantity: 40 

Product Name: 1 3/8 Flat 4 Way Center Side

      Item#: F4J 
      Unit Price: $6.00 
      Quantity: 2 

Product Name: HDX 10x20 8 oz. Poly Tarp

      Item#: HDX1020 
      Unit Price: $28.00 
      Quantity: 1 

Product Name: 1 3/8 Flat 3 Corner

      Item#: P3J 
      Unit Price: $5.50 
      Quantity: 4 

Product Name: 1 3/8 Tubing Splicer

      Item#: FCJ 
      Unit Price: $3.00 
      Quantity: 11 

Those are last year's prices.


Trevor

JOSH and CODY Shade Diagram

Hello wonderful friends. Here is a diagram of how to put the structure together and WHY do i want all this!

The main reason is that by using a similar shade structure to others, you can connect them together! YES!

Here is the original "POD" from 2010 which helped launch a more together way fo doing shade:

Shade Structure PDF - Step by Step instructions on how to build the shade described above.


britelite says .....

Shadecloth Good and Bad

Tarp blocks the sun, but captures heat. Because shade cloth is a mesh, heat rises up and out, and you'll also catch any cool breeze out there. Camouflage netting is not good shade cloth. It has a 50% rating, which means that half the light gets through. We've had it in camp and its really bad. You'll see it on Playa. Feel sorry for those people. Silver mesh is much better. Make sure you check the rating; there is a huge difference between 60% and 80% shade cloth. The gold standard is 90% shade cloth. Its used to mimic rain forest conditions on farms. It only comes in black, which doesn't look good, particularly when covered in Playa dust. Comfort over style. It really makes a big difference. How good is it? I could have fine siesta's with my mattress out of the tent, under my ugly 90% shade cloth. I bought my 90% shade cloth from www.greenhousemegastore.com

Although camo netting sucks, camo support systems are great. The key feature is that the support system fits into the trunk of a car, because the poles break down into 4' sections. The spreaders on top do a great job distributing the load over a large area of fabric. These camo support systems were real cheap when they came back from Iraq in large numbers. I expect you'll still easily find plenty on ebay. Of course, if you have a truck, 8' and 10' steel pipe is the way to go.