Tarps & Their Varied Uses

Terra Nova Tarp in use. Click for larger image.

A tarp is basically a waterproof and wind proof rectangle of fabric. They often positioned in such a way to act as a ‘roof’ type shelter for the user to be protected from the elements above. In comparison to a tent, a tarp is a lot lighter, has a smaller pack size and offers a greater sense of openness and being part of the outdoors.

‘Tarping’ has becoming more and more popular in recent years, particularly with those looking to either reduce the weight of their pack to an absolute minimum, or experience a more wild / ‘sleeping under the stars’ experience when camping.

Tarps are quick and easy to pitch, and offer great versatility. A simple tarp can be pitched in many different configurations to take in to account wind and rain direction, available hanging points such as trees or walking poles, and the number of people camping. They’re also often 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 the tarp?
  • Weight – if shedding the weight of your pack is vital, go for the specialist lightweight fabrics.
  • Eyelets / poles – for maximum flexibility, ensure your tarp has well positioned eyelets to assist with pitching.


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.

If you’re still unsure about which tarp to purchase, then please do contact us and we’ll be glad to help.