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About Camping Tarps

Elvis Elvis

Camping tarps have many uses but the two main ones are protection from rain and for shade. I always bring a few with me on every camping trip.

If you are ever caught in the rain, just take a walk around your campsite. You will quickly realize that people that do not hang up tarps are stuck in their tents. If not in their tents then they are wet.

Getting wet can really make you uncomfortable and you may end up not enjoying your trip at all.

The best procedure is as soon as the tent is up, which should always be first, start putting up your camping tarps.

I usually hang one over the tent and another one to cover the eating area. One of the benefits of a camping canopy besides rain and shade is they keep debris off of things.

Twigs and other things are always falling off trees. They will land on your tent, on you and even in your food.

You must take care in how you hang them. If not done properly, water will collect in the middle, rip the tarp and come crashing down. This may even damage your tent and you don’t want to be inside it when this happens.

If at all possible, use trees to anchor all four corners of the tarp. Start with the two lower corners, then tie off the other two corners higher than the first two, so there is an angle to the tarp. It’s also a good idea to have the lower side facing the wind. This will help direct the wind over the tarp.

About Camping Tarps

If there are no trees in the campsite then the only other thing you can use are poles. Hopefully you brought a few with you just in case.

If not, then you will have to find something to make poles out of in the woods. You will need two poles to make a lean-to. Use tent pegs or rocks to secure one side down and the poles to raise the other side.

This method works well and creates a good angle for water runoff. Make sure the wind is coming from the low side.

They can also be used as a wind break, but you must be careful how you tie off. Tarps are only as strong as the grommets that you use to tie off from. A strong gust of wind can put enormous stress on the grommets.

Here’s a good idea to help reduce that stress. Use a counter weight on one end. Tie a rope on one of the high ends. Throw the other end over a strong branch and tie a heavy weight on it. As the wind stretches the rope, it will lift the counter weight which will reduce the stress. When the wind dies down the counter weight will lower itself and the tarp will tighten up.

Kinds of Camping Tarps

There are e few different kinds of tarps that are suitable for camping.

The most popular is the nylon blue tarp with brass grommets.

  • They come in many sizes for all your needs.
  • Also, they are very lightweight and can be used by the backpacker. You can fold them up into a fairly small package.
  • They are very strong and should last several years and are cheap to replace.

There are other lightweight tarps like the MSR E-Wing which is only six ounces and packs up to the size of a beer can. However, it is very expensive at $80 and is best for the hiker that goes tarp camping and only need minimal protection.