How To Erect A Tarp Over A Tent

How to Set Up A Tarp Over A Tent

On your next camping trip, tarps are one of the most useful and adaptable tools you can bring along with you. They are affordable, simple to transport, and may be used for a number of purposes. They may, for example, be utilized to make your tent a drier and more pleasant place to stay by being suspended right over your tent’s floor. What is the best way to set up a tarp over a tent? The most basic tarp shelter, known as the A-frame shelter, is constructed by tying a taut guyline between two items above your tent and erecting it.

When camping in inclement weather, a tarp is an excellent method to provide you and your fellow campers with some protection from the elements.

There is no legitimate reason why you should not consider purchasing a tarp and learning about all of the different ways you can put it to use to your advantage.

Why You Need a Tarp

A set of Boy Scouts received tarps from the great philosopher Swanson, who responded with, “That is a canvas sheet,” when they were questioned about them. The thing with the greatest amount of versatility known to man. I guess that in the most severe of situations, it may be utilized to create a surface on which to create ‘art.’ If there is one thing we can take away from this wonderful guy, it is this: tarps are a fantastic tool, and just like any excellent instrument, we must learn how to use it efficiently in order to get the most out of it.

You Need a Tarp Because:

  • It’s possible that you’ll forget to bring your tent, in which case you’ll have another option for an impressive impromptu shelter to keep you safe from the rain and wind. You’ll need somewhere dry to sleep as well as a place to eat, cook, and make a fire. You can set up your tent on a tarp to provide an additional layer of protection between you and the ground. This will make it much easier to fold up your lovely, dry tent when the time comes. Packing up a dirty, wet tent into a car that is already stinky and damp is by far the least enjoyable aspect of camping for me. Another post we’ve published on why this is beneficial may be found here. The necessity of a tarp for sleeping has previously been emphasized, but I cannot stress how important it is to have one. Sleeping in a tent that is dry, warm, and well-ventilated will make a world of difference

Shelter Terminology

When you conduct additional study on how to enhance your shelter, you will find that this brief list of vocabulary relating to shelter construction will be quite useful. Ridgeline: This is the line that is established when you stake in your tent poles, and it is where you will be putting your tent after you are finished. The term “widowmaker” refers to dead trees that have not completely collapsed. It is best not to build your shelter below these. A-Frame Tarp Shelter: This is one of the most common types of tarp shelter.

Apparatus: The highest point of the structure you are constructing.

This may be defined as any construction that is constructed to block incoming wind from a given direction, such as the north.

Tightening or stretching out is referred to be taut.

How to Make a Simple A-Frame Tarp Shelter

It is being utilized without the use of a tent, but this adaptable shelter may be set up almost anyplace without the need for additional equipment.

Before you start:

  • Make sure you choose a location where there are several decent trees that are sufficiently apart from one another so that you may build your ridgeline on them. Ensure that there are no widowmakers above you and that all dead branches have fallen
  • If there are, call 911. Locate your site in a flat area with a modest slope so that any water that gathers on the ground will drain away from your site. Remove any further debris so that you can easily set up your tent

A-Frame Shelter Building

  1. Wrap your cordage around a nearby tree, pole, or any other structure that has been firmly fastened down to prevent it from moving. Locate another adjacent building to which you may attach the other end in order to form your ridgeline. Try to knot the cordage a little higher than you think it needs to be
  2. You can always alter it later if you need to. Make a flat surface for your tarp and stretch it out as far as you possibly can
  3. Stake down the tarp’s four corners with your guylines, using the holes in the tarp that were given. It’s important to do this with caution so that rainwater can drain away from the tent correctly.

Important Reminder: Take into consideration how the rain will fall from the tarp you have just made. When I was in my hammock, I utilized this strategy to keep the water away from me, but I made a mistake in estimating the tightness of my guylines. The pocket that I was using to store my phone overnight was working as a strainer for water, and my phone was acting as the spaghetti, with the water that collected from the tarp flowing right onto my iPhone 5 as a result.

Needless to say, maintain your lines as taut as possible. Consider dumping some water from a bucket over the tarp before you start to see how long the line will last.

After you Set-up

Create a “dripline” along the ridgeline of your property. An example would be a piece of rope attached to the outer edge of the tarp on the ridgeline, which is used to redirect water away from the lowest portion of that ridgeline, which is of course where the tarp is weighting down the cordage, and instead into a drainage ditch. The dripline should be tied on both sides of the ridgeline, about an inch or two from the edge of the tarp. The Prusik knot is the most straightforward knot to apply in this situation.

Knot Terminology

For your convenience, I have also included different knot-making terms that may come in handy as you continue learning about the knots listed below, as well as any new knots you may desire to learn in the future. Also, it’s always great to come off as if you know what you’re talking about! If you are tying your shoes, the working end of the rope is the section that is utilized to form the knot, such as the part of the laces that you hold in place with your thumbs as you tie your shoes. The end of the rope that is not being utilized to tie a knot is known as the standing end.

  1. This is often the portion of the structure that is attached to another structure, such as the ground or a tent.
  2. When you loop a rope over itself or cross two ropes over each other, such as in a sheet bend knot or a taut-line hitch, you form a tangle.
  3. When you begin to tie your own knots, you will need to know how to do it correctly.
  4. Making an additional twist in a loop results in the creation of an elbow.

Knots to Know

In any society throughout the world that has a history of relying on the sea for food and transportation, this knot may be found. To tie a rope to anything cylindrical, such as a tree or tent poles, you’ll need to use the double-overhand knot. This knot may be used to anchor a bear bag to a tree, to hang a hammock, and to create a ridgeline for your tarp shelter, just to name a few applications. For further information on how to tie this knot, please see the video below.

  1. By crossing one end of the rope over and over the top of the other section, you may create a “Q” form out of the rope. The working end of the rope should be threaded through the loop that you just produced from behind along the remainder of the leftover rope. This should result in the creation of a new and bigger loop adjacent to your “Q.” You will next wrap the short end of the end rope around the rear of the remaining rope and repeat the process, this time going through the little loop of the “Q” from the front. Pull the knot closed, and the bigger loop that has been made will be looped around the cylinder to which the rope is to be secured


By crossing one end of the rope over and over the top of the other section, you may form a “Q” shape out of the rope. The working end of the rope should be threaded through the loop that you just made from behind along the remainder of the leftover rope. Your “Q” should be replaced by a longer loop as a result of this. This is followed by sliding the short end of the end rope around the rear of the left over rope and repeating the process, going through the little loop of the “Q” from the back this time.

  1. To attach a rope to anything, make a loop around it and tie it off. Continue to pass the working end of the rope around and through your previously made loop

Prusik Knot

In order to make the dripline, you may use this knot.

  1. Take a little length of rope (it can be as short as a foot in length)
  2. Fold the length of your rope in half, and you’re done. Placing the loop’s end squarely above the guyline is recommended. Fold up the working ends of the guyline and thread them through a loop around the guyline. To prevent water from dripping onto the floor, tighten the knot with the working ends pointing down.


Bring a good tarp on your next camping trip, and you will not be disappointed with the outcome. The shelter may be used both as an addition to your existing shelter and also as a stand-alone shelter in certain circumstances. They are reasonably simple to come by at the shop, they are inexpensive, and they can be stowed in your car or bag without causing you to be concerned about the additional weight or space they take up in your vehicle or backpack. More information on the different applications of tarps when camping may be found in another post that can be read here.

How to Put a Tarp over a Tent? (4 Simple Techniques)

Have you ever been caught in the rain while camping and wished you’d brought a tarp to put over your tent to shield you from the elements? When going camping, it’s important to be prepared for any weather that may arise. Rain, wind, and other elements might very well be hurled at you and your tent. Even if you have a water-resistant tent, it might be beneficial to have an additional layer of protection. Tarpaulins are extremely helpful in such situations. Being prepared with a spare tarp on hand (as well as the knowledge on how to lay it up correctly) may make a significant difference while attempting to enjoy your next trip!

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Benefits of Having a Tarp over your Tent

An extremely adaptable material, tarps may be used for a number of tasks and are quite durable. Following are a few examples of the advantages of using a tarp, however this list is not exhaustive:

  • An extremely adaptable material, tarps may be used for a range of tasks and are quite flexible. Following are a few examples of the advantages of using a tarp, however there are many more.

Before setting up your tarp

Before you can begin putting up the tarp, you’ll need to prepare the area and your equipment, which includes the following:

  • Investigate your surroundings for any trees or poles that could be suitable for use as supports. In the case of trees, choose ones that are sturdy and well-studied in appearance (avoid dry, dead limbs that might snap quickly)
  • If you’re utilizing plants, make sure they’re well-watered. Take out the stones and fallen branches from the campground
  • Choose a location that is dry and clear of debris, if at all feasible. Inspect your supplies to ensure that you have enough rope or cable.

Keep in mind that a larger tarp is required to cover a 5 man tent as opposed to a 2 man tent, so make sure you carry a tarp that is the suitable size for your camping needs.

Setting up your tarp

Keep in mind that a 5 man tent requires a larger tarp than a 2 man tent, so make sure to carry a tarp that is the suitable size for your camping needs.

The A-Frame Style

The A-frame technique of erecting a tarp over your tent is perhaps the simplest and most expedient option available. It is necessary to have either two trees or two poles that are spread widely away from each other in order for your tent to be able to sit between them. The following are the actions that must be taken:

  1. Make a ridgeline along the top of the mountain. A ridgeline is a line of cord or rope that is tied between two or more trees or poles to form a barrier. Put a tarp over it to keep the weather out. Spread it out equally across both sides of the ridgeline, and make sure that the rope is running down the middle of the tarp to keep it from shifting
  2. The corners of the tarp should be pulled taut before being nailed into the ground to hold it in place.

It is critical to ensure that the tent is taut, as you want it to properly distribute the rain and allow it to run down on either side of the structure. What you don’t want to happen is for water to collect in a pool. In order to avoid this, you may attach a drip line to the ridgeline of the tarp, which will channel water away from the bottom area of the tarp and prevent it from pooling. Shelter from the elements with the CLASSIC A-Frame Tarp Shelter

The Wedge Style

It is strongly recommended to use a wedge-style configuration to provide maximum protection from wind, rain, and direct sunshine.

It is also an excellent choice for cooking over a campfire or with a gas stove since it will keep the heat in and the rain out.

  1. It is strongly recommended to use a wedge-style configuration to provide shelter from strong winds, rain, and direct sunshine. The fact that it will shield you from the rain makes it an excellent choice for cooking over a campfire or with a gas stove.

In situations where you want some protection but do not want to feel overly confined, the wedge line is an excellent alternative. Having said that, this configuration does not provide complete protection from the elements in all directions. A shift in wind direction might leave you vulnerable in a matter of seconds. The C-Fly Wedge Tarp Shelter is a traditional tarp shelter design.

The Arrow Head Style

The arrowhead shape is ideal for storing supplies and equipment in a safe location, and it may also be used as a nice small shelter if the situation demands it. Here’s how to get it up and running:

  1. Create a ridgeline by connecting two poles or trees together. The line will follow the path of the desired entry. Place one corner of the tarp over the ridgeline and then peg the other corner of the tarp to the ground
  2. Pull the other corners of the tarp until they are tight, and then peg them to the ground to keep them in place until the next step is completed. Assuming everything was done successfully, your tarp should now be in the shape of an arrowhead.
See also:  How To Decorate A Wedding Tent

This is a relatively simple shelter to put together, and it’s ideal if you don’t have enough rope to put together a more elaborate setup.tarp shelter how to: arrowhead bushcraft pitch

The Teepee Style

A little skill is required for this one, but if mastered, it may give a considerably larger shelter with even enough space to stand up in.

  1. Place a pole in the center of the area where you want your teepee to be and stake it down. You may also use a tiny tree if the trunk is thin enough
  2. However, this is not recommended. Tie one end of the rope or cord to the top of the pole or trunk of the tree and peg the other end of the rope or cord to the ground, using many pieces of rope or cord. In order to ensure that your rope or cords remain tight, make sure that you have a sufficient number of them evenly spaced in a circle around the pole’s top. Place the tarp on top of the cables and wrap it around the entire structure. Make use of rope to keep it in the appropriate place

In order to get this look, a little more effort and resources are required. It may be as large and as tall as your materials allow, making it ideal for long periods of time spent outside in the elements. Canvas is also widely used for teepee type shelters instead of tarps, which is a more environmentally friendly option. Many DIYcanvas tents are constructed in the manner of a teepee.


That’s pretty much all for the most basic methods of putting a tarp over a tent that you can find. Tarps may be used for a number of purposes, from providing rain protection (which is especially handy on low-cost tents) to creating a larger covered footprint for cooking or socializing in inclement weather. These tent stakes are quite adaptable and can be used with virtually any style of tent (with the exception of roof top tents, of course! ), so I highly recommend that you bring a spare one (along with some rope or cable) with you on your next camping trip.

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Using a Tarp with Your Tent – Stay Dry While Camping

The use of tarps is a low-cost approach to make camping in the British climate a little more comfortable. In fact, when you go camping, you should have at least one tarp with you. During a recent camping trip, we were soaked to the bone. There has been a lot of rain. We were fortunate in that we had constructed a huge tarp shelter, which, along with a few windbreaks, provided us with a dry place to cook and relax by the fire. Other campers were only permitted to remain in their zipped-up tents.

We also bring a huge tarp to lay down on the ground, which is very useful when it has been raining or when severe weather is expected for the day. Although this is a “belt and braces” technique, it does prevent the bottom of the tent from sitting directly on the slick ground.

Practical uses of a tarp when camping

So, what is the purpose of a tarp?

  • You may use a tarp as an additional groundsheet if the ground is too muddy or damp to pitch your tent directly on it (just make sure all the tarp is tucked under the tent). Ideally, when it comes time to dismantle your tent, the floor of your tent should be nice and dry. There must be a place to cook, eat, and take cover from the weather. It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t be cooking in your tent. A tarp allows you to eat even while it’s raining
  • When erecting a tent in the rain, an improvised shelter will allow you to move your things into your tent while being completely dry
  • When it’s raining, make a bonfire and toast marshmallows. Make use of tarps and windbreaks to keep the heat trapped
  • Make a tent for your children to play in

More information about building a camp kitchen beneath a tarp may be found by clicking on the image below.

Building a Simple Shelter with a Tarp

There are several different ways to put a tarp together. The direction of the wind, the position of trees or other supports, and the purpose for which it will be utilized all impact the choice of form. Two straight tent poles, rope, pegs, and, of course, a tarp are all you need to construct a rudimentary shelter.

  • You will need to run a line between the two poles with the assistance of a few small children holding the poles. The surplus line is removed and nailed into the ground to assist in keeping the poles in place throughout the installation process. This is referred to as the ridgeline. Run a second line from each pole to the ground and pin it in place. You should have something that resembles a laundry line at this point. Besides the connecting line, which supports the two poles, two more lines are used to freely support the poles. Pull the tarp over the line to secure it. Run lines from the corners of the tarp to the ground and peg them in place.

You may adjust the peak of the shelter by repositioning the tarp. It is possible that you will require more tarp on the back of the shelter and less on the front. The front of the tarp can be placed towards the fire, allowing smoke to escape (and lowering the chance of accidents), while yet providing enough tarp to provide pleasant cover. The use of an apex can aid with rain run-off. Even if it is not raining, this configuration is effective in retaining some of the heat generated by the fire.

  • Consider what would happen if it rains severely for an extended period of time.
  • Maintain the tightness of the tarp to avoid bulges.
  • Bungee cords are used to cushion the impact of falls.
  • You will need to take down the tarp in a violent gale, of course, but depending on the wind conditions you may be able to keep your frame in place, making it quick and simple to put the tarp back up when the wind dies down.
  • Bungee cords have the potential to be exceedingly harmful.
  • People do have a tendency to close their eyes.
  • If you use bungees to spare yourself from having to tie knots, you should consider utilizing a device such as theWhat Knot instead of bungees to save yourself time.

Tarps as Groundsheets

It’s critical that you don’t pack your tent away if it’s raining. If you do, you will need to dry it out as soon as you reach home. That’s easier said than done — if not because of a shortage of drying space, it’s because it takes time when you have a busy home. However, if you can let your tent to dry out in the open air before taking it down, you will avoid this problem.with the exception of the area under the tent, which cannot be dried out by the air. A tarp or other groundsheet can save you a lot of headaches in this situation because just that will need to be dried when you come home from the job site.

  1. These allow you to cover the underside of your tent and also assist you in pitching your tent since you can position the footprint where you want the tent prior to pitching, allowing you to get the location of your tent exactly perfect.
  2. Tent footprints are particularly important for tents with unusual forms, since they allow for more accurate positioning of the tent.
  3. Even if it’s raining when you’re pitching your tent and you’ve laid down an extra tarp or groundsheet, it’s vital to avoid letting a large amount of rainfall to pool on the tarp before you pitch your tent, as you don’t want to end up pitching your tent on a pool of water.
  4. (Yes, we have had to do this in the past!) Make sure there are no’spare’ tarp pieces protruding from underneath your tent.

In addition, it is crucial not to have any extra pieces of tarp jutting out from beneath your tent since they might gather water and cause it to run under your tent. When putting your tarp groundsheet, do the same thing you would when pitching a tent: look for stones, thorns, bumps, and depressions.

How to keep dry when Pitching or Packing Up in the Rain

We had to get a trailer because our camping gear (as well as the rest of the family’s belongings) had grown to the point where we couldn’t fit everything in our car.When packing the trailer, a tarp or two are the last things to go on top, with polls, lines, and pegs underneath.The tarp not only provides some extra protection to the trailer contents, but it also serves as my ’emergency tarp’ kit.If it starts raining

Emergency Protection for your Tent

The weather may be really terrible at times, with horizontal rain lashing at your tent and causing it to collapse. It is possible that your tent will leak some water if the rain comes from the side, or even from beneath if you are on a hill (yes, this can happen!) since the water is not flowing from the regular direction. Having a tarp in your emergency pack can save the day by offering additional protection to vulnerable areas such as doors.

What you need to get to create your own tarp shelter

The weather may be really terrible at times, with horizontal rain lashing at your tent and causing it to leak. It is possible that your tent will leak some water if the rain comes from the side, or even from beneath if you are on a hill (yes, this can happen!) since the water is not flowing from the usual direction. By giving additional protection to vulnerable spots like as doors, having a tarp in your gear can save the day.

Want to learn more?

  • Sometimes the weather might be quite terrible, with horizontal rain lashing into your tent. It is possible that your tent will leak some water if the rain comes from the side, or even from beneath if you are on a hill (yes, it has happened!) since the water is not flowing from the regular direction. Having a tarp in your emergency pack can save the day by providing additional protection for vulnerable areas such as doors.

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Tarp Shelter Tips for Rain and Wind While Camping

For those looking for multi-purpose, MacGyver-esque gear to use in the field or at home, tarps rank right up there with the likes of duct tape, superglue, and Bear Grylls. Check out these tarp tactics for surviving inclement weather no matter where you’re camping. 1. Hammocks are a necessary source of nutrition. If rain threatens your vitamin H supply, attach a rope a few feet above your napping spot and hang the tarp like an A-frame roof from the line like an A-frame roof Are you more of a purist?

  1. 2.
  2. There’s no need for a knot in this situation.
  3. 3rd, for added height, use folding tent poles to loop the rope around the tree many feet higher than it would otherwise be.
  4. 5.
  5. Have you misplaced a grommet or require an additional anchor point?
  6. 6.
  7. Cooking and competitive dance-offs can be done in the extra loft area created by opening your hatchback a little farther.
  8. To save on stakes, have a buddy attach the tarp corners directly to the rims of your vehicle.
  9. 8.
  10. Make certain that the tarp adequately covers the apex of your tent in order to ensure optimum runoff.
  11. 9.

Aside from that, the flapping of your sail-like ceiling may serve as the music to a sleepless night in the outdoors. It’s now your chance to speak. Please share your tarp-related advice in the comments section below.

How to Put a Tarp Over a Tent – Explore Useful Tips & Tricks

Having many days of rain can really put a damper on a week, especially when you’re camping with your family. While camping, if you know you’ll be in for some terrible weather, a tarp is a cheap option to protect yourself from the rain and, as a result, keep your tent from becoming wet. You and your family will benefit from the use of a tarp whether cooking outside or storing your belongings since it will protect you and your family from the elements and harsh weather conditions. The following question may arise in the minds of those inexperienced with camping equipment: How do you place a tarp over your tent?

A tarp has a variety of uses, and this article will show you how to place one over your tent to provide weather protection, among other things, in this article.

Unigear Hammock Rain Fly Waterproof Tent Tarp, UV Protection and PU 3000mm Waterproof, Lightweight for Camping, Backpacking, and Outdoor Adventure, Unigear Hammock Rain Fly Waterproof Tent Tarp, UV Protection and PU 3000mm Waterproof, Lightweight for Camping, Backpacking, and Outdoor Adventure (Green, 300x300cm)

  • Having many days of rain can really put a damper on a week, especially when you’re camping with the family. An affordable approach to protect your tent from the rain when you know you’ll be camping in inclement weather is to bring a tarp with you. Tarps can be purchased at most sporting goods stores. Making use of a tarp may give you and your family with some much-needed protection from the elements and harsh weather conditions, which is especially useful while cooking outside or keeping your belongings dry. The following question may arise in the minds of those inexperienced with camping equipment: How do you cover an atent? Never fear, we’ve got you covered with an answer. A tarp has a variety of uses, and this article will show you how to place one over your tent to provide protection from the elements. Based on my previous experience, I can recommend a tarp from manufacturer Unigear since it is reasonably priced, has UV protection and PU 3000mm water resistance, and is lightweight for camping, backpacking, and outdoor adventures. UNIGEAR HAMMock Rain Fly Waterproof Tent Tarp, UV Protection and PU 3000mm Waterproof, Lightweight for Camping, Backpacking, and Outdoor Adventure, Unigear Hammock Rain Fly Waterproof Tent Tarp, UV Protection and PU 3000mm Waterproof, Lightweight for Camping, Backpacking, and Outdoor Adventure (Green, 300x300cm)
See also:  How To Fix A Tent Zipper

So, what is the point of bringing a tarp?

Handy uses for a tarp

Tarps are not only intended to keep you dry, but they also have a myriad of other applications, making them an extraordinarily versatile piece of equipment that everyone should have on hand.

  • Apart from keeping you dry, tarps have a slew of other applications that make them an extraordinarily adaptable piece of kit that everyone should have in their arsenal of survival supplies.

How to put a tarp over a tent

Apart from keeping you dry, tarps have a slew of other applications that make them an extraordinarily flexible piece of equipment that everyone should have on hand.

Precautions to take before setting up your tarp

Before you begin, you should ensure that the following conditions are met:

  • You choose a location where there are several nice trees that are sufficiently apart from one another so that you may build your ridgeline on top of them. Check the area above you to make sure there are no dead trees (also known as windowmakers) in the area above you
  • Choosing a level piece of grass with a modest slope can help to ensure that any water that gathers on the ground will drain away from your location. If possible, make sure that you have cleansed the area of any debris or dead branches in order to sleep more comfortably! In the end, you don’t want anything to harm the tent or stick in your back when you’re sleeping.

How to build a shelter over your tent with a tarp

  • To build the ridgeline, wind your cordage over a neighboring tree, pole, or any other sturdy structure and connect the other end to another sturdy structure in the same area. Make careful to knot the cordage a little higher than you think it needs to be
  • You can always modify it later if it becomes necessary. As much as you can, lay your tarp on top of the ridgeline and spread it out
  • Secure the tarp’s four corners by securing them with guylines via the holes produced by the guylines. Make certain that the tent is taut so that rain may flow away from the tent properly if necessary.

To make the ridgeline, wind your cordage around a neighboring tree, pole, or any other sturdy structure, and then find another nearby structure to attach the other end to. It’s important to knot the cordage higher than you believe it needs to be; you can always make adjustments later if you need to. Make a large tarp and stretch it out as much as you can on top of the ridgeline; Secure the tarp’s four corners by securing them with the guylines that came with it. Make certain that the tent is taut so that rain may flow away from the tent properly.

After setting up

As previously said, driplines are critical to the effectiveness of any tarp installation. That being stated, when you have set up your tarp, you must establish a dripline along the ridgeline of your building. Quite simply, a dripline is a piece of rope that is attached to the ridgeline and hangs outside the tarp, and it is responsible for diverting the water gathered on the ridgeline when it rains. Simply attach this dripline to both sides of the ridgeline, about an inch or two from the tarp, and you’ll be ready to go!

Bowline knot

In the event that you are a frequent camper, it is possible that you have some valuable knots stored in your brain.

Even if you don’t know what this is, it’s a simple concept to learn and may be applied while creating your ridgeline.

  • Placing the rope over your left hand with the free end dangling down is the first step. A little loop should be formed using the line. The free end should be brought up to, and passed through, the eye from the underside. Retrace the length of the line around the standing line and back through the loop
  • Pulling on the free end of the knot while holding the standing line will help to tighten it.

In summary

A tarp is an exceptionally handy and adaptable piece of kit that you should have on hand if you’re planning a camping trip away with your family. A tarp may be used for a variety of different purposes and has a variety of advantages. Besides keeping damp weather at away, they can also give you with some respite when it comes to cooking outside in bad weather. There is no need to spend a lot of money in order to stay dry on your trip, but if your tent fails, you’ll want a backup plan that will keep you and your family’s spirits up.

How to Properly Set Up a Tarp for Rain or Shade [Over a Picnic Table]

Most campsites necessitate the use of a tarp, which may be used for a variety of reasons, including protection from the elements and shade from the sun. Setting up a tarp, on the other hand, might be difficult. Putting up a tarp over a picnic table, especially in an area where there are only a few trees, might be extremely challenging to do. In this tutorial, you will learn how to set up a tarp in the most efficient manner. The way I’ll discuss for setting up your computer is quite basic and straightforward.

Equipment Required to Set Up a Tarp

Several objects are required in order to set up a tarp to provide shade over a picnic table, a tent, or an open space for a picnic:


It is around 8 feet long by 6 feet broad to be considered a normal picnic table. As a result, you’ll need to acquire and transport a tarp that is larger than those specifications. I normally use a 12 x 16 tarp to provide plenty of extra covered around the picnic table for things like camp chairs or keeping coolers cool in the shade during the summer. Similar to this, while setting up your tent, make sure the dimensions are at least as large as the footprint of the tent you intend to use under it.

Tarps may be found at your local hardware or outdoor supply store.


A tarp requires two sets of rope of varying lengths and kinds in order to be correctly assembled. A single, main rope is used to hang the tarp from a tree branch. This rope is tied to two trees at opposing ends of the tarp to protect it from falling. For safety reasons, I recommend that you purchase at least 100 feet (30 meters) of 3/16-inch nylon static rope because trees can be located widely apart. The secondary ropes are used to secure the tarp to the ground at the corners of the tent.

These ropes must be thin, but they must also be robust. You’ll need four ropes that are all the same length. I propose a parachord rope with a diameter of 1.8 mm and a length of 65 feet (20 meters). Cut the rope into four sections that are each 16.4 feet (5 meters) in length, then tie them together.

Ground Stakes

For the purpose of securing the secondary ropes to anchor points in the ground, ground stakes are employed. Four heavy-duty stakes are required for the installation of a tarp. Pro-tip: Tents typically come with additional pegs, which may be used to set up a tarp if they are not being used for your tent.


It is necessary to use a knife to shape the ends of the sticks so that the tip of the stick may fit into the grommet hole in the corners of the tarp. If you’re searching for a camping knife, I recommend that you read my in-depth essay on how to choose the finest camping knife.

Wooden Sticks

In order to give you plenty of head space, I use sticks that I foraged from the woods near my campsite to prop up the ends of the tarp. For your camping trip, look for sticks that are at least one foot longer than the height of the tallest individual in your company. Also, make sure the sticks aren’t too thin, otherwise they’ll bend under the stress of the tie-down ropes, which would be disastrous.

Tarp Set Up Considerations

If your campsite is loaded with trees that aren’t too far away from one another, or if your picnic table is centrally positioned with trees nearby, you can choose to tie the ends of the tarp directly to trees instead of using stakes. Tie the tarp at one end higher than the other to guarantee that any rainwater is funneled to one side of the tarp. Additionally, always slant the tarp in the same direction as the ground to prevent channeled water from running through your dry region. Some campgrounds, on the other hand, feature trees that are far apart, while all you truly need are two trees.

Shaded Areas

Trees typically provide a lot of shade, and it’s only when the sun is at its highest point in the sky that you’ll need to seek shelter. As a result, choose a location for your tarp that isn’t already protected by the surrounding trees. The use of tents or hammocks in a shaded area between trees is highly recommended.

Proximity to Fire Pit

It is not suggested to place a tarp directly over a blazing campfire or fire pit (unless your survival depends on it). This is due to the fact that, although tarps (including polyethylene) are not very flammable, if they are exposed to a flame, they will burn (Reference). Even little embers drifting through the air can land on a tarp and melt the cloth, causing microscopic holes to appear in the fabric that allow water to soak through. If the fire is too close to the ropes, the heat and embers might cause harm.

Step 1: Set Up Primary Rope

Look for a place where you can set up the tarp between two large trees. If necessary, relocate the picnic table so that it is sandwiched between two large, robust trees. To guarantee that there is enough of head room under the tarp, knot the primary rope as high as you can reach it while tying it. Make certain that the rope is taut and does not sag.

Step 2: Hang Tarp Over Primary Rope

Hang the tarp over the primary line in the same manner as you would a laundry line.

Place it over the picnic table so that it is centered over the table. Tie the secondary ropes to each of the grommets on each of the four corners of the frame.

Step 3: Attach Secondary Lines to Ground Stakes

Attach the ends of each secondary line to a ground stake with a piece of twine. Each stake should be driven into the earth with a rock. Stakes should be angled such that the point of the stakes points back towards the center of the tarp. The tarp should be shaped like a “A” when it is properly draped and staked out. Initially, the ropes do not need to be too tight — they will be tightened later on.

Step 4: Support Tarp Corners with Sticks

4 sticks should be measured and cut such that their lengths are at least 1 foot longer than the tallest person on the team. Using a knife, shave the tips of each stick so that they can fit through the tent grommets by an inch and a half. Each tip should be placed inside a grommet. Then lift the tarp and place the sticks beneath each corner of it. Each secondary line should be tightened if necessary to ensure that the tarp is taut at each corner. It is possible that this post contains affiliate links, which will help to fund this site at no additional cost to you.

How to Tarp Over a Tent With No Trees

Have you ever arrived at your camping site with the intention of erecting a tarp over your tent only to discover that there are no trees to tie the tarp to? I have, and it took me a long time to get the correct answer after conducting a hurried Google search, but I eventually did find it. Today I’m going to provide some advice on how to tarp a tent when there are no trees around. The best alternatives if you don’t have any trees to provide height for your tarp are to utilize an adjustable pole or a sturdy branch as a temporary solution (if you can find one).

You will also require man wires or paracord to hold that end of your tarp up.

Recommended Gear

A robust and water-resistant cloth, the Unigear Tent Tarp is designed to protect your tent from inclement weather such as heavy rain and strong winds. Price Check:

Adjustable Universal Telescopic Tent Poles

If you don’t have a tree to tie your tarp to, these poles are a perfect alternative to using a tree to hold it up. With a height ranging between 180cm and 220cm, this should provide enough height to cover the majority of tents. Check out the price:

Reflective Cord Guy Line 13 Feet/ 4M Long

They are really useful for assisting you in creating some resistance in order to keep the poles erect and the tarp well wound. Price Check:

Bungee Cord Balls

These bungee cords are excellent for holding down your tarp while also allowing a little amount of flex to prevent any damage to your tarp during transportation. Price Check:

Why should I use a tarp over my tent?

The use of a tarp over a tent is an excellent method of protecting yourself and your camping location from the weather. The fact that you are camping in a bivvy sack makes it even more convenient.

Shelter from the rain

Placing a tarp over your tent is an excellent method to provide additional protection for your tent if the weather turns bad. If you are unclear whether or not your tent’s waterproofing is enough and you do not have the time to waterproof your tent, placing a tarp over your tent will ensure that you do not find out the hard way! Instead of the rain falling directly on your tent, the polythene covering that you have placed over it will become soaked.

Consider the implications of that for a moment. Not only will you not have to be concerned about your tent leaking, but you will also have a dry tent to pack away in the morning if it does rain during your camping trip. I believe that this is a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Shelter from the wind

Using a tarp to shield your tent from the wind is an excellent method to keep your tent safe from the elements, as mentioned above. This is especially important if you are unclear about the strength of your tent. The only drawback is that, depending on the type of cloth you choose, the wind blowing your tarp can be a bit annoyingly noisy. As a preventative measure, be sure to draw the tarp tightly to minimize the impact. Aside from that, don’t lay it totally flat against the wind, since this will almost certainly result in the tarp being ripped off the ground.

See also:  How To Keep Bugs Out Of Tent

How do I hang the tarp over my tent without trees

When there are no trees around, an adjustable pole is the quickest and most convenient option to set up your tarp. The amount of wood you use will be determined by how many poles you want to bring camping with you.

One pole tarp shelter – Closed-End A-Frame

If you just have one pole, you will need to use your tarp to make a shelter. What you require is a closed-end a-frame, which we will design for you. In the photo above, you can see that the tent has been put up flat to the ground, which indicates that it is intended for ground sleeping. To elevate this over your tent, you would simply use guy lines drawn tight from each of the corners that you are staking down, as seen in the picture below. This will allow you to elevate the level of the pole that is being used for tensioning the rope.

One pole tarp over tent setup guide

  1. Tying down guy lines or paracord to each corner of your tarp will keep it in place
  2. Ensure that the rear guy line is in the proper place (but do not tighten it yet)
  3. In addition, stake the two side guy lines into the ground (again, do not tighten these just yet)
  4. Make sure you insert your adjustable pole into the tarp and secure it into place
  5. Remove the guy line from the pole and draw it to full tension at an angle opposite that of the rear guy line. Place a stake in the ground at the intended spot to hold the guyline in place. The additional guy lines should have their tension adjusted to create a robust and safe shelter.

Two pole tarp shelter – A-Frame

In the event that you only have two poles available for laying up your tarp over your tent, the A-Frame design will be ideal for your needs. As you can see, this design is fairly similar to a regular tent configuration, with the exception that it is elevated off the ground this time. It is once again necessary to ensure that your guy lines are taut and that your poles are set at the proper height in order to accomplish this height.

Two pole tarp over tent setup guide

  1. Tying down guy lines or paracord to each corner of your tarp will keep it in place
  2. Stake your guy lines into the ground on one side of the tarp (not the end where the poles will be) and tie them together. Insert one of your adjustable poles into the tarp and tie it down with a guy line to keep it in place
  3. Step 3 should be repeated at the opposite end of the tarp
  4. Make sure that the guy lines on the opposite side of your tarp are secure and that they are staked into the ground. Go around the tarp and make any required adjustments to the guy lines to ensure that the tarp is taut and secure

What if I don’t have a pole?

If you don’t have a tent pole with you when you’re setting up your tent, there are a couple of alternatives you might consider. None of them will be ideal, but they might nevertheless give you with some useful shelter in the short term:

  • Instead of a pole, you can use a stick or a branch. Your replacement pole will need to be both long and robust in order to be effective. Ideally, you should locate your sleeping arrangement near a hill and take use of this to gain the necessary height from one end. Make use of a mound of rocks to provide the illusion of height. To do this task efficiently, you will require a large number of rocks. In this case, a dry stone wall would be ideal, but it might not give you with enough height to put a tent on top of.

How to stop your tarp falling down

Instead of a pole, you can use a stick or branch. Your replacement pole will need to be both long and sturdy in order to be effective. Placing your sleeping arrangement near a hill and taking use of the elevation gained from one end can help you acquire the height you require. Height may be added by stacking a few rocks together. In order to do this task efficiently, you will require a large number of rocks. In this case, a dry stone wall would be ideal, but it may not give you with enough height to put a tent on top of.

Use the right cord

It is critical to use the proper sort of cable to ensure that the tarp is properly secured. It is necessary to use a cord or rope that is both sturdy and does not have excessive give. It is OK to use an elasticized cable as long as it is not excessively flexible. The best cables to use are as follows:

  • Paracord is a strong and sturdy rope that may be used for a variety of tasks. Ideal for fastening a tarp to a wall
  • Guy lines are the ropes that are used to support tents. Although it is thinner than paracord, it is still quite strong
  • Strong Bungee Cord– This will need to be pulled as tight as possible in order to prevent the cord from flexing excessively. If the tarp is too flexible, it will not hold its shape properly.

Use the right knot

Paracord is a versatile rope that is both strong and secure. Suitable for anchoring the tent’s tarp; and Guy lines are the ropes that are used to hold tents together. However, while being much thinner than paracord, it is quite robust. This will need to be tightened to the greatest extent feasible in order to prevent excessive flexing.

If the tarp is too flexible, it will not hold its shape properly;

Don’t leave a flat spot on the tarp

Make certain that your tarp is positioned at an angle over your tent. You should not lay the tarp flat on its top since water will accumulate on top and weigh the tarp down if you do so. It won’t take long for your tarp to become heavy enough to pull the pegs out of the earth and entirely pull the tarp away from the ground. That’s a great way to get soaked beneath your tarp in a hurry!


So, how do you tarp over a tent when there aren’t any trees to anchor your tarp to? The simplest method is to utilize adjustable poles to raise or lower yourself to the desired height. Alternative solutions, such as the use of boulders, are available; however, they are more difficult to set up and are not as stable as the use of steel poles.

Why You Need A Tarp Over Your Tent (and how to set it up)

So, I’d want to make a small confession about myself. In fact, I enjoy watching bushcraft movies, and when I went camping last year, I thought it would be a fantastic idea to use a tarp to cover my tent. The good news is that it was somewhat successful. Bad news is that it looked horrible and didn’t taste particularly well. So, what exactly went wrong? If your tent is smaller and does not have a porch, you will need to cover it with a tarp. A tarp offers a covered space away from the weather for you to sit under or cook under, allowing you to extend your camping area further than would be feasible with a typical tent that has little to no porch or awning area to sit under or cook under.

It’s not that simple!

Tarps are excellent for increasing the size of your shelter area or even for creating an additional tented space within your camp.

What Is A Tarp Shelter?

To begin, it is necessary to define tarp shelter, which is a difficult subject to answer in its own right. Tarp shelters, to put it simply, are sheets of waterproof cloth that are draped over a person’s head and shoulders to keep the rain off of them while they are under cover. Tarps have been used by bushcrafters for generations, and in recent years, they have grown increasingly popular with campers, with particular tarps being marketed for use with ordinary compact camping tents, which are becoming increasingly common.

The possibility to avoid paying additional fees for campers who bring a tarp into a site is a significant perk for them!

If in doubt, always check with the site owners first, but most will allow you to set up a tarp shelter area over your tent or on your pitch if you do it in a reasonable manner.

It has happened so many times when we have been camping as a group that the rain has come in and we have all withdrawn to our own tiny porches, shutting off communication and dividing the group.

A Guide for First-Time Campers on How to Plan Their First Camping Trip What else will you need for your first trip? Are you wondering what else you’ll need? See this post for more information!

How To Set Up A Tarp

So far, you’re a fan of the tarp concept? Great! Now I’m going to show you how to ACTUALLY put it together such that it remains up and provides you with some protection from the rain.

Preparing to set up your tarp

You should do a few things before you begin to ensure that your tarp is properly put up before proceeding with the rest of the instructions.

  • Determine if you’ll be utilizing trees or poles to support your tarp before you begin. Make certain that the trees you plan to use are sturdy and will not fall over in the rain (these sorts of unstable branches are referred to as “widow makers” since they have a history of falling on people)
  • If you plan to use flowers, make certain that they are fragrant and not prone to wilt. If you’re going to be employing trees, make sure your camping location is free of obstructions. You don’t want stones and branches pushing their way through the groundsheet of your tent. Inspect your guy line or cordage to ensure that you have sufficient length.

Which Tarp Setup To Go With?

Although there are several possibilities when it comes to tarp setup, the following are some of the most straightforward:

The A-Frame

A common ‘flying’ A-frame configuration. There are several other types of A-frames available, but the most common and easiest is the A-frame, which consists of a ridgeline (a line of string connected between the two poles or trees) with the tarp draped over top and pegged out at each corner. Putting up an A-frame is rather simple, and it may be staked into the ground for additional tent area or flown as a “flying A-frame” shelter as high as you like (or as high as your poles and cable allow!) for collecting and cooking below.

If you set the height too low, you risk burning or melting the material, especially if you’re using a groundsheet kind of plastic material rather than a canvas material.

The Lean-To or Wedge

A lean-to tarp shelter is a terrific place to relax and enjoy the shade while keeping the sun at bay or sheltering from the rain. The added plus is that you can build a fire (or at the at least an agas stove) opposite the shelter to keep you warm and dry while without melting or burning the tarp. The difference between a lean-to and a wedge structure is the size of the roof or the rear. Having a longer back will help keep the rain off you more effectively, but using a wedge-shaped tarp cover will also give some protection from the front.

The Arrow Head

This shelter was given its name because of its form, which features a triangle-shaped entryway that leads to a point at the end of the shelter’s length. The arrowhead can be constructed with a ridgeline or with two poles supporting the front of the arrowhead. The arrowhead-shaped shelter is ideal for storing additional equipment and may even be utilized as an emergency tent shelter in an emergency situation if necessary. This form of shelter has several advantages, the most notable of which is the additional cloth that can be put below the shelter to serve as a groundsheet.

The Teepee

Despite the fact that it is not a tarp teepee, it is a very impressive structure nonetheless! The teepee shelter is another excellent option for serving as a spare tent or a place to keep your belongings. Because of the folding of the sheet beneath and the use of a door-like aperture, this style of shelter is essentially a teepee shape. It is constructed with one main pole and pegging out from the bottom. Teepee shelters may be built broader if you want to create a more social gathering-oriented structure.

Will Rain Pool On My Tarp?

Tarps are an excellent method to shield yourself from the rain, but you must carefully consider how you will set up your tarp and if it will provide adequate protection from the rain. Any tent fabric, even mesh, will pool if it does not have a chance to drain away from the cloth’s surface. To fight this, avoid having any flat surfaces, and rig up a rope to help drain the water off the surface of the water table. Set up your tarp in an A-frame form, and the water should readily drain away; however, you may want to check the centre of the tarp every now and again for standing water.

The presence of pooling water may be unavoidable, and you may have to keep prodding it from the inside in order for the water to drain, but employing a string drain can help to urge the water to run off.

The reasoning behind this is that the rope would direct the water down into the ground rather than pooling, thus it should work for light rains.

How to Survive and Thrive While Camping in the Rain Camping in the rain might be a bit of a disappointment, but if you handle the situation correctly and prepare properly, you’ll have a fantastic time. More information may be found in this post.

What is the purpose of a tarp under a tent?

In order to give an additional layer of insulation and to prevent water from rising from the ground, you may place a tarp beneath your tent. However, you must ensure that the tarp fits correctly or that it is tucked securely under your tent before doing so. Water’s inherent characteristics cause it to flow and collect in pools. Just the other weekend, I decided to put a tarp under my tent to provide an extra layer of water protection and ended up making the situation worse because I didn’t fold it under properly, causing the water to pool in my porch and it was a miracle that I didn’t have my phone plugged in because my plug sockets were submerged in 2 inches of water.

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