Shelter from weather – The versatile camping tarp

What is a Tarp?

A Tarp or Tarpaulin is essentially a large sheet of material that has weather proof properties.

What are it’s uses?

A Tarp has many uses when some kind of barrier against wind, rain, snow, direct sun or even the ground is needed. It is mainly used as a lightweight shelter in wet and windy conditions but can also be used as shade against strong sunlight.

Who uses it and why?

A Tarp is used by people in many different outdoor activities and situations. They are common in the military for sheltering and concealment but also used by campers, woodsmen, hunters, fishermen and survivalists.

A Tarpaulin is considered one of the main items you should have if you are prepping for emergencies! They are often used as part of a BOB (bug out bag) or get home bag where you need the survival basics but don’t want the weight of an average tent! If combined with a Bivvy bag would make an effective shelter against even the wettest of conditions.

You can get tarps that are cheep to buy, low quality and quite large that some people use as ground sheets or as a “disposable” main over shelter. Sometimes campers and festival goers would buy these and leave them behind when they are finished with it’s purpose. We do not condone the practice of leaving camping equipment behind after you have used it as it spoils the environment and leaves work for someone else to do!

Different types of tarp.

Tarps come in a variety of sizes, materials and colours but all satisfy the basic need to provide a barrier shelter. The military uses a kind of Tarp called a “Tarp basha” which is a relatively small size at under 3×3 meters. They features many carry and attachment points consisting of fabric loops and eyelet holes for tying Parracord webbing or for the use of Basha poles. Larger sizes of 3×3 meters and over are available for if you need more of a shelter or if you are using a hammock as a sleeping solution.

Tarps that are specific to camping and other outdoor activities have different features and quality of material in comparison to a Tarpaulin that might be used in construction or agriculture. Tarps for camping and the outdoors are made with lightweight materials and fine weave – to 190T of Polyester with PU (Polyurethane) coatings for added water resistance. Other Tarpaulins are described as “heavy duty” and are heavy and cheaper to buy for the size due to the lower quality of manufacture and material used. Camping and outdoors specific tarps have many attachment loops and eyelets and often a set for creating a ridge-line style shelter.

Here are a small selection of camping and outdoor leisure Tarps: