As our readers might know, we at Redbeard Tactical are all about dependancies. Especially when it comes down to your third line of equipment.
Tarp, bivvy bag and poncho are pieces of third line equipment you will always need when you are out for prolongued operations or just a weekendender in the woods. I had experiences with multiple Tarps. Starting with the issued German „Zeltbahn“ Tarp, ranging over some aftermarket improvements to finally the Snugpak Stasha Basha. All those products are made of more or less rugged fabric and do their job well. But when it comes to weight and packing sizes they are all somewhat mediocre.
US based manufacturer Velocity Systems recognized this problem and made a lightweight Basha for one of their client groups. It’s made from a special impregnated pack cloth like material. It packs well and really fast into the supplied stuffsack (no folding required) while retaining some space for five tent stakes (I prefer MSR tent poles) and 15 metres of paracord.
I took the Velocity Systems Tarp to various exercises and weekenders to test it ruggedness, because I didn’t trust its material at first to be honest. After some months there are still no holes overall. It kept me dry during heavy rain, although I wouldn’t say it is as waterproof (in fact VelSys says this is a concealment Basha) as the Snugpak Stasha Basha, also I wouldn’t recommend to place it near any kind of campfire. It’s still a compromise after all. But it manages to keep you dry and protects you from wind chill while weighting almost nothing. Job done.
There are several reinforced attachment points all over the Basha. Velocity Systems decided to go for button holes instead of metal eyelets. This reduces weight and bulk and works great with the hasty „tent pole“ method of fastening. All seams are taped.
A feature I really liked, is the integrated hood, which is sewn into one of the corners. With the hood one can use the basha as a poncho or even as a quick bivvy bag. And this is where we got into dependancies. The Velocity Systems Basha gives you a really light weight product that even manages to fill two additional rules.
As already mentioned this is not the tarp to end all tarps. It’s on the ultralightweight side of products. And it really fills a niche on the market. I can take three VelSys Bashas for one of the more common products. Worn as a poncho it will protect you and all your gear from the elements.
When you decide to use the classic Basha configuration you can fit up to two persons and some gear under it. Packed into its stuffsack the Basha fits in a thigh pocket.
All in all, this product is a small revolution that frees some space and saves much weight in your ruck. It’s available in Multicam and there is also a mesh version available at the VelSys online store.
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