Getting shady on lake Hopom

In early June, we spent two days relaxing and swimming with kids by the lake Hopom. I also learned how to pitch a tarp.


Finding shade on lake Hopom




Even as north as in Finland, the Sun can be fierce for pale skin that has been hiding under all those winter layers for months. Packing our tarp and using it as a parasol seemed like good idea. Ours is a hexagonal shape with the longest dimension around three meters. The size is nice and it covers two sedentary adults keeping another eye on a poor sci-fi book and another on the playing kids.

On Saturday, I pitched the tarp on the first try and it was perfect. We had also taken two 2,5 meter long poles for support. The warm and smooth rock formed a perfect lounger and I fell asleep after swimming. 

The weather was beautiful again on Sunday. We moved our camp to a different spot on the shore and I started to look for suitable anchoring points for the tarp ropes. It was windy, my ropes were blown loose, and the poles fell over and over again. After one hour the tarp was up but at that point the shade had moved to a spot where the rock was sharp and uneven. 

The swimming and company was lovely so my tarp episode didn’t really matter. However, I put together a short list for myself and anyone who wishes to succeed in pitching a tarp in challenging terrain or conditions.

1. Coil your ropes. Loose cords will get tangled fast in the wind. They will eventually form a big tight knot that is incredibly hard to open. Coil the ropes and open them one by one just before you are about to fasten one.

2. Use only good quality ropes. You will be tying them around trees, rocks, and random objects. They must be able to sustain abrasion and pulling forces.

3. Carry extra rope and anchoring gear. Proper stakes and even rock climbing gear like hooks, different wedges, and carabiners can become handy when setting up a tarp on the ground.

Piknik spot: Lake Hopom, Loviisa, Finland