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.
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. Bungee cords without metal hooks have now been added to my collection. 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.
- 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.
- Tent footprints are particularly important for tents with unusual forms, since they allow for more accurate positioning of the tent.
- 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.
- (Yes, we have had to do this in the past!) Make sure there are no’spare’ tarp pieces protruding from underneath 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
Our camping equipment (as well as the rest of the family’s belongings) had accumulated to the point that we needed to purchase a trailer. When loading the trailer, tarps and other coverings are the final items to be loaded onto the roof, with polls, lines, and pegs placed beneath. Not only does the tarp give some additional protection for the contents of the trailer, but it also serves as my “emergency tarp” package. ‘Emergency tarp’ gear that I have on hand. Whenever it starts to rain, I can easily drape a tarp over the trailer and the car’s doors and boot.
Another crucial tip for pitching in the rain is to always take the inner tents out of the bag before starting the process.
Unless you remove the inner tents when you take the tent down, you run the risk of them becoming wet if you pitch your tent in the rain (or becoming wet if you have to take your tent down in the rain, or if you are at a campsite where the “departure time” is well before any tents have had a chance to dry out).
It is possible to swiftly set up the tent if you follow the two-step procedure. Any rain that does get into the tent is quickly wiped away with a damp cloth. You may then transport the inner tents inside the tent (from beneath your tarp tunnel, of course), and set up the tent in the dry.
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
A majority of the photos in this post were taken with a do-it-yourself attitude. I purchased some inexpensive tarps, tarp poles, guy lines and paracord, as well as some bungee cords. The tarp I’ve been using is a low-cost tarp, such as a construction tarp or an old groundsheet tarp that I have lying around. Even if this is fantastic for putting beneath the tent or in emergency scenarios, you may acquire tarps that are more attractive and easier to pack if they are made of the same material as your tent.
In the video below, we demonstrate how to set-up your own tarp using a tarp kit and some basic tools.
Want to learn more?
- Instructions on how to assemble a tarp kit in a logical sequence. More information may be found at: How to put a tarp up on your own. More information may be found here. What to do with your tarp if it starts to wind up a little. More information may be found here.
Get the Family Camping Planner
You will receive the family camping planner once you have entered your name and email address.
How to Camp With a Tarp Instead of a Tent This Summer
Mountain House is bringing you this article about tarp camping as a service to its customers. Mountain House’s extensive line of breakfast goods are produced from robust, protein-rich ingredients and are a delectable addition to any camping trip. What is the most enjoyable aspect about camping? To get started, you don’t need a ton of equipment or supplies. Many of the greatest campgrounds in the country can be accessed without the use of an RV, a car, or even a tent – yes, even without the use of a tent.
Learn the fundamentals of tarp camping, as well as how to make your tentless campground the envy of people around you, in this book.
Tarp camping is also commonly used to save money on otherwise expensive gear.
Why Tarp Camping Over Traditional Tent Camping?
Tarp camping allows you to enjoy the outdoors on a budget without having to invest in a multi-season tent or even a cheaper version that will only last a few of excursions. Tarp camping is a great way to save money on camping gear. By eschewing the use of a tent in favor of a tarp as a kind of shelter, you may give the great outdoors a fair chance while putting little of your own money on the line. Outdoor recreation is sometimes linked with expensive start-up expenses and an exclusive insiders’ club, making it difficult for newcomers to get into the industry.
In order to bridge the gap, tarp camping is a good solution since it allows individuals to camp without incurring a significant financial burden.
Does Tarp Camping Expose You to Wildlife?
While sleeping beneath a tarp theoretically allows you to be closer to the open air, campers should take the same measures to prevent near encounters with animals as they would if they were not sleeping under one. These precautions include reviewing bear box laws before to your night out, as well as ensuring that all food, rubbish, and otherwise smelly objects (toothpaste, lotion, etc.) are kept away from your primary camping area. If you follow these general rules, you should be able to enjoy tarp camping just as much as you would any other type of camping.
Is Tarp Camping Colder Than Tent Camping?
The simple answer is.possibly? Similarly to tent camping, tarp camping provides a thin layer of protection from the elements outside the tent. Your camp may be more or less exposed to the elements, depending on the kind of tarp camping you pick. Having said that, with the addition of a jacket or two and a good beanie, you shouldn’t be any colder than you would be in a regular tent. Tarp camping may be used to deal with a variety of weather situations, including rain, snow, and other damp circumstances.
Where Should I Set Up My Tarp Campsite?
Essentially, this approach should be no different from your normal campground scouting. Try to find a location that is level, has some natural cover (if available), and provides some degree of protection from any immediate dangers (roads, well-trafficked trails, etc.). If you’re planning to set up a lean-to tarp camp, search for trees or other landmarks that can serve as good anchors for your shelter construction. In contrast to tent camping, tarp camping does not necessitate the creation of a certain campground footprint, allowing you to be more creative with your choice of location.
The Basics of Tarp Camping
Looking forward to your next tarp camping adventure? We’ve got you covered. In order to ensure that you have everything you need to get started, we’ve put up a brief how-to guide on tarp camping basics, covering everything from purchasing to setting up. Initial steps include gathering a tarp (and some rope). It’s possible that this is the simplest of all of the processes. In the event that you don’t already have a tarp lying around from an old house project or packing operation, you can certainly get one for a much lower price than the majority of outdoor gear now available on the market.
- The good news is that Traditional blue tarps are just as simple to use as the tarps created by outdoor companies, and in a hurry, practically any tarp on the market can suffice as your tarp camping rig.
- Tarps are available at REI in a variety of sizes and price ranges ranging from $5 to $60, so feel free to experiment.
- Just be sure you have a tarp that is at least 10 to 12 feet in length and 8 to 10 feet in width before you start.
- When it comes to rope, paracord or utility cord are the best options, and they can be obtained practically everywhere that offers outdoor supplies.
- In the majority of circumstances, traditional paracord should be sufficient to protect your shelter from the elements.
- Second, determine your system configuration.
The ability to tie your tarp camping equipment to the trees and set up a high-ceiling configuration may or may not be available depending on where you’re camping. However, there are several distinct approaches for successful tarp camping, which are as follows:
1) The easy-sleeper
Is it low-maintenance? Are you a hot sleeper? A tarp may also be used as a groundcover in some situations. If you’re not concerned about the weather and are willing to leave it open and free, sleeping on top of your tarp can be a good option for you. It will act as a barrier between you and any creepy crawlies and will give a little amount of insulation from the earth underneath you.
2) The lean-to
This is one of the most popular tarp camping setups, and it’s easy to see why. Small trees in your immediate vicinity or a handful of extra ropes tied to tether points can be used to construct lean-tos. With a lean-to shelter, you can look out of your shelter without being fully cut off from the rest of the environment. If you’re planning on tarp camping in rainy conditions, this is an excellent alternative because water will flow directly down the side of the tarp and onto the ground (just make sure it’s not uphill from you!).
3) The A-framer
When it comes to old-schoolers who want to reminisce about the good old days, the A-frame is the ideal option to relive your childhood memories in comfort. The A-frame is a fantastic alternative for people who want to camp in tight quarters since it allows you to fit into locations where you may not otherwise be able to camp. Using trekking poles or even stout sticks as major stake points for your A-frame shelter, use one at each end of your shelter to ensure a secure structure. Make a tarp over your posts and secure it on either side by using natural anchor points or your own stakes to hold it in place.
- Third, bask in the magnificence of tarp camping’s adaptability and adaptability.
- Consider trying different settings each time you go camping to see what works best for you in each place.
- The decision to forsake your tent may seem like a big commitment at first, but it will be well worth it the first time you catch a glimpse of the mountain sky from the comfort of your tarp camping home!
- It’s like having a gourmet chef in the bush when you eat Mountain House camping meals.
- Check out their ice cream sandwich and enjoy the sugar rush that comes with being in the wilderness!
- In our Year in Review, you may learn about the latest camping travel trends for 2020. Finding Free Camping in National Forests
- A Checklist for First-Time RVers
- How to Find Free Camping in National Forests
- With the Dyrt Map Layers, you can find free camping spots. The Ultimate Guide to Free Camping
- The Ultimate Guide to Free Camping
- Wifi for your RV: Everything You Need to Know About It
- Best Overland Routes in North America
- 7 of the best routes in North America
- 14 Wilderness Survival Tools You Should Have in Your Backpack If You’re Going Camping
- Here are some items to include on your primitive camping checklist:
15 Tarp Shelter Designs For Simple Camping Comfort
An item as adaptable as a tarp can come in helpful if you find yourself in an emergency circumstance and need to prepare for it. It will assist you in gathering water, camouflaging your supplies, and providing an excellent shelter in the event that there is nothing else available. Making a simple tarp shelter can keep your head dry, help you preserve heat, and give you a sense of security and protection when you are out in the wilderness. A polyethylene tarp will come in handy in a variety of situations, and you should consider including one in your bug out pack.
They are available in a range of sizes and colors, and they will not put a dent in your bank account.
The process of building a tarp shelter is simple, and there are dozens of various techniques and patterns to make a decent shelter with only one tarp available. Before you construct a tarp shelter, take the following factors into consideration:
- The placement of your shelter is quite significant, and you should take some time to consider it before you begin construction. It is important to consider the direction from where the wind is blowing, or else your shelter will be blown away by the wind. If you intend to sleep on the ground, it should be soft and comfy. Rocks with sharp edges will keep you awake. Water should be able to flow off the ground if the land slopes slightly. It will be necessary to dig trenches around your shelter to facilitate drainage if there is no slope
- Otherwise, you will have to use a sloping surface. Take into consideration the shelter’s intended use and construct it to the appropriate size. Remember to take into account the weather and select a model that is stable and will not collapse if rain or snow is forecast
If you want to make any of the shelters shown here, a 10X10 foot tarp would work perfectly.
1. The A-frame tarp shelter
The A-Frame shelter is one of the most frequent types of shelter that may be constructed. A paracord tassel may be created by wrapping the rope around two trees. The last steps in constructing this temporary shelter include draping the tarp over it and anchoring it to the ground. The tarp’s roof will be angled at a 30-degree inclination, resulting in a ten-foot-long living space. The shelter will measure 8.6 feet in width and 2.5 feet in height. This shelter is well-suited for rain and snow runoff, as well as wind deflection and deflection.
2. The Sunshade tarp shelter
This form of shelter will require four anchoring points to which the paracord will be tied in order to be constructed. Designed to give 100 square feet of shade against the sun, this shelter is parallel to the ground and parallel to the ground. Because the water will pool in the centre, some people choose to use this style of shelter during heavy rains because it is simpler to collect the water. Support poles can be added at the corners to make the structure more stable. This basic sunshade tarp shelter will give the greatest amount of protection from the sun, but it is not ideal for use in cold weather or in heavy rain for an extended period of time.
3. The Lean-To tarp shelter
This is another shelter that is simple to construct and is excellent for diverting wind or giving shading in the summer. It is necessary to connect the tarp to the ground on the windward side and support it with the paracord that runs between the two anchor points in order to construct this shelter. In order to give five feet of height and eight feet of breadth beneath the shelter, the tarp should be pitched at a 30 degree angle. This is a “on the move” shelter since it is simple to install and can be dismantled in a short period of time.
The disadvantage of this shelter is that it does not have any sides or a floor to provide protection from the elements.
4. The tube tent tarp shelter
In addition to providing a floor, this robust shelter will keep rain from seeping in provided it is correctly anchored to the ground. If you want to create one, you will need to tie the paracord between two trees and drape it over the tarp, being sure to tie the opposite ends together. There will be three feet of breadth and nearly three feet of headroom provided by the sixty-degree walls. This should be enough space for a single adult to comfortably sleep.
5. The mushroom fly tarp shelter
While this shelter is quite similar to the simple sunshade shelter, it has a center support pole at the midway of the tarp to provide additional stability. It is intended to catch rain or snow runoff, and it is reasonably durable provided the four corners of the tarp are securely fastened together.
Depending on the length of the pole, you may make it as tall or as short as you require. Despite the fact that this shelter provides excellent rain or snow runoff, it does not have any sides to keep you protected from the wind or cold.
6. The cornet tarp shelter
This shelter makes use of the whole length of the paracrod, which was stretched from a tree to the ground for this project. It is necessary to drape the tarp diagonally over the paracord, with the leading edges of the tarp folding under to form the floor. The shelter’s corner must be oriented such that it faces the direction of the prevailing wind. In addition, you will need to tie off some drip lines above the entrance of the shelter to prevent rain from flowing down the paracord and into the structure.
There is a disadvantage to this design in that it does not provide a lot of head room, and if you are a very tall person, there may not be enough space for you and your gear.
7. The dining fly tarp shelter
This is the most popular design among campers, and it is a straightforward open-air shelter. It gives a reasonable amount of shade and headroom without taking up too much space in the vehicle. However, because to the lack of any sides, it only provides little protection against the other elements such as wind and sun. After being securely tied down and anchored, the dining fly may be used as a strong shelter, with the amount of headroom being determined by the height of the support pole. This is an excellent model for desert survival because to the fact that it provides ample ventilation as well as appropriate covering.
8. The wind shed tarp shelter
In order to build this style of shelter correctly, you’ll need to put in some practice time. For proper rain runoff, you’ll need to fold the tarp into thirds and make sure the leading edge of the roof drapes over the groundsheet a few inches over the ground. The primary ridgeline, which is extended between two trees, must be anchored by paracords to prevent it from shifting. In the bottom fold, where the back panel joins the groundsheet, a length of paracord must be inserted to keep the two pieces together.
The hanging roofline may also sag under heavy rain loads, allowing water to seep through to the groundsheet below.
9. The Fold-Over Wind Shed tarp shelter
Despite the fact that this design is identical to the classic wind shed, it provides additional covering by foregoing the need of a groundsheet. The angle of the roof and the footprint of the shelter are determined by the height of the paracord ridgeline on the shelter. Despite the fact that it provides excellent wind deflection and rain runoff, it does not provide total weather protection due to the absence of a floor, flaps, or sides.
10. The diamond fly tarp shelter
This shelter is designed to accommodate two people and is simple to construct. In order to drape the tarp over the paracord, you will need to tie it to a tree and the ground and drape it at a diagonal. In order to establish the total headroom and breadth of the shelter, the length of the paracord and the angle at which it is tied to a tree must be determined. Staked-in steep walls will shed rain and deflect wind if the walls are properly constructed. Similarly to the cornet shelter, drip lines will be required for this type.
It is possible to fit more than two people or additional equipment under this tarp depending on the size of the tarp, but the absence of a floor and flaps will make it difficult to keep the elements out. If the wind shifts direction repeatedly, the shelter’s integrity may be jeopardized.
11. The arrowhead shelter
Begin by supporting the center of two perpendicular edges using five-foot-long poles or by securing those edges to trees with paracord to form the foundation of the shelter. It will be necessary to stake the opposing corner to the ground in order to form a sequence of four triangles on the ground. It is anticipated that this design will give 35 square feet of living space and five feet of headroom at the entry point. Part of the flap will fold down and provide a partial closure. Paracord tie-downs must be used to secure the poles in place.
12. The half box tarp shelter
When you are finished, you will need at least four support poles as well as the same number or more tie downs to keep the entire structure together. The footprint offered is 25 square feet in size, and it is protected from the weather on two sides. Unless properly supported in the centre and taut from the sides, it will droop when subjected to the weight of water and snow. A quarter of the tarp is left unused and is folded up under the back corner of the truck bed. The right placement of this sort of tarp shelter ensures that it provides excellent shading throughout the whole day.
13. The barn stall tarp shelter
It is possible to construct this shelter with four five-foot poles for support or two poles and a paracrod that is linked to two anchor points. Both options are acceptable. The front is supported by poles, and the single 90-degree wall offers adequate protection, yet a high wind might cause damage to the entire building. This shelter offers a living space of 50 square feet, however it does not have a floor. Despite the fact that it is simple to construct, it does not give appropriate weather protection.
14. The Square arch tarp shelter
This shelter is shaped like an arch with a square top, as implied by its name. Starting with two parallel lines of paracord secured to anchor points approximately 3 feet apart and 3 feet high, wrap the ground cloth over the two lengths of paracord and fasten the long ends of the tarp with stakes. Repeat this process for the other side of the ground cloth. This is a decent shelter for those who live in small places, but the chances of locating four anchor points in close proximity are quite slim.
The dimensions of this shelter are three feet wide, three feet long, and three feet high.
15. The shade sail tarp shelter
Using only a tarp draped diagonally over a length of paracord linked to two anchor points, you can construct this simple and rapid shelter in minutes. Staple the tarp’s opposing corners to the ground using wooden stakes. This is an open and breezy shelter, and the lower the angles of the sides, the better it will deflect wind and give more shade.
The lower the angles of the sides, the more shade it will provide. It provides all-day shade and only only a few pegs and a few minutes to set up, but it is not weather resistant and will not keep you dry in the rain. When constructing a tarp shelter, avoid the following mistakes:
- You should avoid erecting your shelter over an ant nest or any other form of burrow. It is not recommended to build your shelter beneath or in the neighborhood of a dead tree. Attaching tarp lines to a tree that is standing alone or to a tall tree is not recommended. Whenever possible, choose the shorter tree among a group of higher trees. Set up your shelter above the high tide mark on a shoreline, but not below it. Avoid erecting your shelter on the crest of a hill or ridge. Do not construct your shelter along a river’s edge.
Tarp shelter construction is not rocket science, and with a little practice, anyone should be able to put one up on their own. In an emergency preparation situation, knowing how to make these tarp shelter layouts will come in helpful. Continue to be safe, and God bless you! Do you like it? Show your support by becoming a patron on Patreon! Let us work together to make the world a better place.
Tent? No Thanks. I Prefer Tarps.
I work at MSR, where I develop hardgoods such as stoves, snowshoes, and water filters, therefore I’m not an expert in shelter design. But I do have personal experience, as well as what I believe to be a very unique perspective on what constitutes the ideal outdoor house. Tent? No thanks–too it’s confined, too hot in the summer, too difficult to get into and out of, doesn’t provide enough fresh air, and has no view most of the time. Tarps are something I enjoy.
Why Choose Tarps?
In my experience, they do not seem to accumulate moisture in the same way as tents do. You may attach them to trees (no poles are required) and arrange them in a variety of configurations depending on the scenario. In reality, they’re simple to assemble and entertaining to play with. My recommendation is to not be terrified of tarps. I virtually always use a tarp, and I’ve only woken up twice in the course of my camping trip. Once, due to a lack of suitable locations in extremely severe rain (small stream going through the shelter).
My memory of badbug situations is limited to a number of instances in which a mesh insert would have been useful.
The MSR Rendezvous Sun Shield
When I went camping, I preferred the MSRRendezvousTM Sun Shield because I was generally remotecar camping or basecamp-style camping. Because it’s so large (17′ 7″ x 16′ 6″), it provides 200 square feet of protection, and you can stroll beneath it if you want. This is essential for when you’re hanging out with friends and drinking beer, or when the weather is bad. When it’s sunny, it provides excellent shade. When it’s windy, you may secure one side of the tent to the ground while leaving the other side open to give the impression that you’re still outside.
We used to position it up vertically in order to keep the wind away from the fire pit.
The Front Range and Twin Sisters Tarp Shelters
The Front Range and the Twin Sisters are two of my favorite lightweight options for camping or sheltering. Both are extremely lightweight, may be utilized with trekking poles, and are quite compact when not in use. The edges may either be fastened to the ground (or snow) or raised a few inches higher for optimum ventilation, depending on the weather conditions. I spent a week under the Front Range in the Lost Coast in northern California, where I was able to see wildlife. Despite the fact that the temperatures were high and there was little shade, I never woke up sweaty or gasping for air.
Another time, when I was looking for a less weight option, I slept under a Twin Sisters tarp in Camp Muir, near the summit of Mt.
If it hadn’t been for a little altitude sickness and the fact that I had forgotten to place snow on the bottom of the sides to keep the wind out, I would have had a good night’s sleep. The RendezvousTM Sun Shield provides protection from the sun. Posts related to this one:
- When a Bivy Sack is Better Than a Tent: The Art of the Bivy
- When a Bivy Sack is Better Than a Tent Build the Ultimate Winter Shelter with these Winter Shelter Building Tips. Make the effort to travel the distance: The MSR Thru-Hiker Shelter System is being introduced.
Earl Sherrard, MSR Engineer, contributed the story and images. The original version of this article was published on May 6, 2015. Earl reportedly spent a whole summer living out of an MSR tarp at a pond near his house, simply for the pleasure of being outside. Having learned the art of margarita mixing at the summits of mountains, he is also capable of building a fire in all condition, including in the snow at -14 degrees Fahrenheit. Earl joined MSR in 1999 as a mechanical engineer for the Marathon Ceramics project.
He’s climbed the Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington, and he enjoys deep-sea fishing when he has the chance.
Essentials for Using a Ground Cover Tarp with Your Tent
If you are planning your first camping trip, or if you haven’t gone camping in a long time, there may be certain things you are curious about as you prepare for your next camping trip in a tent. You’ll almost probably be thinking about what you should place under your camping tent, as well as whether or not you require a ground cover or tarp at all. Constructing a camp is a vital aspect of the camping experience, and because the camping tent serves as a shelter for your wilderness retreat, it’s important to assemble and stake your tent correctly in order to ensure your comfort.
Some people choose not to use a ground cover, although this is not recommended.
Observe the campground and choose a place that is higher than the rest of it to set up tent.
How to Set up Your Ground Cover
Placing some form of ground cover or tarp beneath your tent is vital for ensuring the longevity of your tent as well as keeping it warm and dry throughout the winter. Different terrains need the use of different tents and ground covers, and vice versa. The following are some important considerations to bear in mind when pitching your tent and deciding on the type of ground cover you should use. Place a tarp under your tent in wooded or open areas, but make certain that it doesn’t extend over the edge of the tent while you’re not using it.
A tarp should not be placed underneath the tent when camping at the beach, but rather inside the tent.
Because water sinks fast into the sand at sandy campgrounds, you won’t need to put a cover beneath your tent unless you’re in a very shady position.
Keep the wind in mind as well, because wind makes it more difficult to keep a tarp over a tent in place and can also blow rain sideways, potentially through the side seams of your tent. As a result, position your tarps to provide the greatest amount of protection.
Tent walls were designed to allow for air circulation and are not waterproof; rather, they are water resistant. When you acquire the tent, make sure that the fly over the tent, as well as the floor, are coated with waterproof protection to keep water out. Make sure to put seam sealer on all of the seams of new tents, and to repeat the process once or twice a year or so before going on your first camping trip of the season.
Some tents have the option of purchasing a footprint, which is useful in some situations. These footprints, on the other hand, can be rather expensive because they are custom-made for each individual tent and provide the greatest fit possible. If you have the financial means to do so, it is a viable choice. When the weather becomes severe, you may use your tarp to provide additional shelter over your tent or surrounding your camp. Always utilize a ground cover under your tent, regardless of whatever choice you pick.
Ground cover or a tarp protects the tent from abrasive ground, which will wear down the floor of any tent, no matter how robust the material is.
[Updated] 26 Tarp Shelter Configurations You Can Build – Tactical.com
How adaptable is your hiking shelter on a scale from one to a tarp, and how much space does it take up? For any serious survivalist or outdoorsman, tarp shelters are an absolute must-have item. The versatility of tarps allows them to be utilized in virtually every situation, from two-day vacations to Joshua Tree National Park to multi-day walks over the Appalachian Trail. Tarps are lightweight, waterproof, and easy to transport. However, that is hardly the most appealing aspect about tarp camping.
In this post, we’ve compiled a list of 26 different tarp arrangements for your next camping trip.
In between, we’ve thrown in a slew of handy related lessons and hacks for good measure.
Here’s what we’ve got:
A Few Things To Consider When Setting Up A Tarp Shelter
Befor we begin, let us have a look at some of the elements that must be taken into account while selecting and building up your tarp shelter. These are as follows:
Weather and geography
The weather or environment will have a significant impact on the tarp configuration you choose. Suppose it’s raining severely and you need a camping tarp that’s completely enclosed, preferably with a groundsheet to avoid mud and water from getting in. Alternatively, if you’re in a dry and hot region, ventilation would be your main concern, and you’d need an open tarp structure that allows for the greatest amount of airflow. The topography of the region is also important, so you’ll need to be extremely clever about where you set up your tarp shelter to avoid being caught off guard.
If you’re in a location with a lot of trees, you may utilize a tarp setup with a ridgeline to keep your shelter dry. If you’re in a flat area, it’s preferable to utilize a setup that includes posts and trekking poles rather than a tent.
Knotting abilities are essential for constructing a tight tarp shelter. Do you need a refresher course on how to tie a knot? We’ve got exactly what you’re looking for right here. Please continue reading for a lesson on how to tie the most important tarp shelter knots and how to apply them in real-world settings.
Tarp dimensions and types
Tarps are generally classified into two categories: flat tarps and shaped tarps. tarps with straight edges and 90-degree corners are known as flat tarps, and they may be divided into two types: square and rectangle. Tarps that are 9×9 feet in size are the most frequent since they are large enough to accommodate one or two persons and are incredibly adaptable. The tarps used in the majority of the instructions in this page are square. Formalized camping tarps, on the other hand, are lighter and easier to set up, but they have a restricted number of configurations due to their specific design.
The Best Tarp Shelter Configurations For Camping, Hiking, And Survival
Now that we’ve cleared things up, here are 26 different tarp designs and setup techniques that you may use for both survival and the outdoors:
Basic knots and tarp setups
For those new to bushcrafting or lightweight backpacking, a refresher course on how to tie knots and secure ridgelines would be beneficial to you before you get started. This detailed video from MCQ Bushcraft features Mike’s technical expertise on knot-tying and how to quickly and easily fasten your tarp shelter. This lesson will teach you the fundamentals, such as:
- Making a reef or square knot for expanding paracord lengths
- Understanding the difference between bights and loops
- How to tie an overhand knot
- How to make a clove hitch for ridgelines
- The distinction between bights and loops Making half-hitch knots to secure sections while tying them down
- Utilizing toggles to construct stronger knots and ridgelines
- Creating quick-release knots
- Tying prusik knots
As an added bonus, the video demonstrates how to properly tie all of these knots and more. If you’re new to tarp camping and want to learn the basics, this guide is a wonderful place to start.
5 Basic Tarp Setups
And now for the fundamentals. The following setups are covered in detail in this must-watch tutorial:
- Thestealth tarpis used when you want to remain low and unnoticeable
- Thetipi tarpis used when you need more headroom
- And thebasic A-frame tarpis used in a variety of outdoor and survival circumstances. Plow point configurationfor when you need a quick but durable shelter and.
- Tarp tentfor when you want something sturdy but are unable to set up a ridgeline
This tutorial is rather in-depth, and it goes through the advantages and disadvantages of each setting.
A Closer Look At The A-Frame Tarp Shelter
Creating an A-frame tarp shelter is one of the simplest shelter designs you can create. You can set it up quickly and take it down quickly when you need to disassemble your camp. The A-frame is similar to the basic lean-to, but it is superior because, while the A-frame does not have a groundsheet, it does include two walls and a roof, whereas the basic lean-to does not. Your tarp, some heavy-duty cordage (550 paracord, for example), and some trees to tie a ridgeline to are all you’ll need for this shelter to function properly.
If you want to make your A-Frame more sturdy, you may do so by draping it with two tarps that are different widths.
5 Intermediate Tarp Shelters For Backpacking and Survival
If you thought the last compilation was all about the fundamentals, this video will push your abilities to the next level. Using this guide from UglyTent Bushcraft and Survival, you will learn how to build five different tarp tent designs that may be used for trekking or bugging out situations. Using this video, you will be able to set up the following items: tarps in a square arch arrangement This set-up is compatible with the majority of rectangular mosquito nets, making it ideal for summer camping trips with the family.
- If you believe the ridgeline is too narrow, you may always place a stick between the two ridgelines to extend the space between the two ridgelines.
- A lean-to tarp shelter for Whelen This is a variant on the lean-to style of construction.
- Adirondack This type of tarp layout is similar to a lean-to, but it is more roomy because to the presence of a long center pole that provides additional headroom.
- It’s incredibly big and well-ventilated, but it also has excellent runoff and drainage.
- The only drawback is that it does not come with a groundsheet.
This is equipped with a groundsheet and may be completely enclosed to keep you safe from adverse weather. Configuration of a star tarp This is a no-brainer of a setup. All that is required is that you fasten the tarp’s corners and hold it up with a pair of trekking poles to complete the project.
Ultra Lightweight Tarp Setups Without Ridgelines
Are you considering jumping on the ultralight backpacking tarp bandwagon? Here’s a video that will walk you through the process. When you’re out in the backcountry, this short and sweet video from REI shows you how to set up an ultralight tarp in four simple steps. The following combinations are demonstrated in this video:
- A-frame tarp shelter– this variant of the A-frame shelter makes use of trekking poles instead of a ridgeline to keep the shelter in place.
- A-frame with a closed end provides more protection against the wind and inclement weather.
- Wind-shed — This shelter is excellent for providing protection in dry, windy conditions. Because it is totally windproof on one side and entirely open on the other, you may take advantage of the abundance of room, ventilation, and of course the view that it provides.
- Trekking poles and some guy wires staked to the ground are used to construct this version of the C-fly, which is similar to the A-frame. Even while this gives a great deal of room and protection, it also necessitates a large number of stakes.
If you don’t want to rely on your trekking poles to keep your shelter up, there’s an additional instruction in the video that shows you how to build similar shelters using ridgelines and trees instead.
Tarp and Bivy Setup
If you’re wanting to cut weight from your backpack, setting up camp with just your tarp and a bivy is a typical and simple method for setting up camp. In this video, the tarp is mostly used as a rain fly to keep the bivy dry and protected from the elements. If you want to learn how to build a real bivy out of your tarp, have a look at this instructional video.
C-Fly, Envelope Tarp Setups And Their Modified Versions
Because they’re comfy while still being simple, floored tarp designs such as the C-fly and envelope have become popular among lightweight and minimalist trekkers. Moreover, these setups are quite adaptable; you can easily modify them to produce more durable pitches by just altering a peg or two on either side. This lesson will teach you how to create the fundamental frames as well as the modifications that go with them.
Tarp Setup For Hammocks
Hammocks and tarps combine to create a very lightweight and adaptable combination. Without having to set up a cumbersome tent or spend the night on squishy ground, you may enjoy the outdoors without having to sacrifice comfort. In the summer, it’s very useful for camping trips, especially if you want to visit locations with a lot of trees. As a result, which do you set up first: your hammock or your tarp? Start with the larger of the two things, according to Mike from MCQ Bushcraft, who recommends starting with the tarp.
It is critical that you choose the appropriate location for this setup to be successful.
Make sure to stay away from old, rotting trees that might topple down; never connect your ridgelines to them!
Once your tarp is up, all you have to do is hang your hammock and enjoy the fresh air.
How About A Hammock Inside The Tarp?
What if you want to sleep in a hammock inside your tent but don’t have a lot of space? This guide will teach you exactly how to go about it. The hammock is actually placed within the tarp, and although while it is not completely hanging in the air, it still serves as a fantastic sleeping bag, complete with a mosquito net to keep the bugs away while you sleep in the hammock.
How To Tie Strong Guy Lines
Your tarp shelter is only as safe as the guy lines you use to anchor it to the ground. Guy lines are required for pinning your tent down. They help to keep your lines taut and your shelter from drooping or collapsing during the storm.
It is discussed in this video how to attach your man lines using various knots, hitches, and pegs, all of which have been tried and proven over the years. These also make it possible to swiftly erect and deflate your tarp shelters as necessary.
How To Set Up A Tarp Without The Cordage
Are you out of cordage? However, with the assistance of some tree limbs, you may still erect a tarp to protect yourself. Hacking, sawing, and a few modifications would be required to ensure that the branches you’re using do not pierce your tarp during the process of building it. It isn’t the most adaptable shelter available, but it is adequate for its intended use.
Quick Tarp Set Up Trick
Here’s an easy tip to help you secure your lines without the use of knots: use your fingers. When you don’t feel like tying knots to hold your grommets in place, you may always use a stick to accomplish the task. It’s hardly a magic trick that can save your life, but it can come in useful when you need to get to safety quickly.
How To Fold A Tarp In Seconds
For those who aren’t familiar with the proper technique to fold a tarp shelter, the task might be a real nuisance. This short and fast video will show you how to fold a square tarp in seconds and keep it neat and orderly in your pack while on the trail. Actually, the key to this “magic trick” is a really straightforward one. If you find the video to be too quick, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you:
- Lay your tarp entirely flat on the ground and keep your position in the center of the tarp
- Begin by grabbing the left and right corners of the tarp from the center
- While you’re holding the left and right points of the tarp together with one hand, use the other hand to keep the center point of the tarp together. Pull all three points in the same direction at the same time.
Following the stretching out of the folds and creases, you’ll have a nicely folded tarp on your hands.
How To Set Up A Tarp Shelter For Winter Camping
You don’t believe you can go winter camping with a tarp shelter? Think again. Reconsider your position. Camping under a tarp shelter during the cooler months is possible with the correct setup, clothes, and equipment as well as a large roaring fire, provided you have the right equipment. It should be noted that this video is intended more as documentation of a solo backpacking trip than as a straight-up tutorial; however, you can still learn a lot from this backcountry adventure, including how to build an effective firelay, construct a bushcraft chair, cook a hot meal, and of course, sleep comfortably during the winter.
Enclosed Tarp Setups For Bad Weather
Lastly, but certainly not least, we have a guide that shows you how to put together a number of different enclosed tarp arrangements that you may use in inclement weather. These configurations are a little more difficult than others, but they’re quite stable and can withstand heavy winds and rain without breaking down.
Whether you’re camping for enjoyment or bugging out for survival, having a tarp helps you to be more flexible with your setup and carry a lighter load overall. They can be manufactured of durable materials that will protect you from the elements, whether it is raining or shining. What distinguishes them from tents is that they can be modified and designed to meet your specific requirements. For those who are unfamiliar with tarp shelters, it may take some time to grow acclimated to them. Comparatively speaking, tarp setups require more skill and practice than tents, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll have learned a highly important ability that will serve you well on many camping excursions and even in survival scenarios.
The next time you go camping, try not to bring your tent and see if you can make it through a few of nights with nothing but your tarp for protection. Please let us know how it went in the comments section below!
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?
- 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:
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.
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.