High on the Mountain Top
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Ask me next week, British Columbia, sometimes., Canada.
Interest: Hiking, soccer, hockey, running, photography, dogs, camping, environmental protection.
Lordy. A three pound tarp? That's ridonkulous.
I use the MEC scout tarp and I absolutely love it. So much. I've used it for perhaps, um, 40 bag nights or so and it was in my backpack/used for 3 months in East Africa and the Middle East (used about 10 times, but still!) and it still looks brand new.
The only potential drawback with the MEC scout tarp is the very centre point where there is a tie strap (or whatever those loops are called) is not waterproofed as the thing is stitched on. It's very easily fixable though with some seam sealer or SILNET stuff which is what I used. No leakies since then.
I used this this on a 2 week excursion in the Rockies as well as a couple of beach trips. Worked like a charm. I stuck the Integral Designs silshelter bug net underneath and that way I'm protected from crawlies and precipitation. Quite easy to pitch once you know what you're doing, but bring enough ropes for all 8 tie outs.
In terms of packability my scout tarp gets down to about the diameter of a CD (maybe slightly larger) and about 4-5cm thick (including the 4 ropes [4m each] I leave permanently attached)
The siltarp is twice as expensive for a slightly greater area (and name brand). I believe it's 10cm wider and 10cm longer than the MEC scout tarp.
And now on to your criteria... I have tried with two people plus two backpacks and it's pretty good, but depending how friendly you are with your dog, not sure. I seem to recall there being a bigger model of the tarp at MEC - might've been a heavier one though. It all depends on how you pitch it. I've had it good for two people with enough headroom to sit up comfortably. If you pitch it like a one walled house there's easily room for three but that only gives you solid protection from one angle. Anyway, give it a try and if you have any more questions let me know.
Oh, yes, I have found that over the first few hours of the night the tarp tends to sag a little bit. I usually tighten the guy outs before I go to bed and then I'm good. Seems all sil-tarps do this though.
edited for further reviewing goodness
edit edit: my siltarp geekiness is shameful