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What is a Tarp

A tarp is a waterproof and windproof strip of fabric. Since 1906, the word tarp has been a common shorthand for tarpaulin. They are often positioned to act as a ‘roof’ type shelter to be protected from the weather. In comparison to a tent, a tarp is a lot lighter, has a smaller pack size. They offer a greater sense of openness/wildness and being part of the great outdoors.

Tarping has become increasingly popular in recent years and especially with those looking to reduce the weight of their pack to a minimum, or to have a sleeping under the stars experience when camping.

They are quick and easy to pitch and offer great versatility. A simple tarp can be pitched in many different configurations to take into account wind and rain direction. Other considerations that need to be taken are available hanging points such as trees or walking poles, and the number of people camping. They’re also used to make porches over tent doors or even cars.

When choosing which tarp to buy, you should consider;

  • Size – how many people and what will need to be protected underneath it?
  • Weight – if shedding the weight of your pack is vital, go for the specialist lightweight fabrics.
  • Eyelets/poles – for maximum flexibility, ensure is has well-positioned eyelets to assist with pitching.

There are so many variations of pitching a tarp depending on your surroundings and the weather. It is one of the most versatile shelters you could have. Below is video to show you all of the configurations for a tarp and their uses:

For those who like the idea of a tarp, but are heading to areas where bugs are a particular problem, the Terra Nova Moonlite Bivi with its mesh screen across the head may be worth considering too.