Most Effective Ways to use Tarps & Covers

When packing for a vacation into the great outdoors, tarps are a vital piece of equipment, serving dual purposes as both comfort and survival gear. A straightforward camping tarp can do various tasks, including shielding campers from the elements, acting as a makeshift raincoat, and collecting precipitation.

Not only are tarps helpful for lightweight camping, but they may also be used for day outings and beach relaxation. Not too bad for something that can be stored in a day bag and is resilient enough to handle the stresses of travelling. These ten suggestions for making the most of your camping tarps and covers result from years of experience, many possibilities for trial and error, and camping trips during each of the four seasons.

A Simple Bivvy Sack

Bivvies can be replaced with tarps as necessary. Invest some time into practising only one or two various designs of tarp shelters. On a faraway planet, on a night that was both stormy and cold. Your backup plan has to be reliable, efficient, and able to offer protection from the weather to be considered a viable option.


Once one has mastered a few simple and dependable tarp-pitching techniques, it is both entertaining and useful to practise more complex tarp origami to construct an overnight tent. This can be done by folding the tarp into various shapes. Be flexible and open to improvements, including implementing supplemental tools. Kayakers and hikers alike can put paddles to several uses, including employing them as single or “A” poles, depending on the situation. Taking the front tire off of their touring bicycle to use it as the framework for their tunnel tent is a method that is favoured by certain bikers. But I’ve discovered that flipping my bike on its side and threading the tarp from that position is much quicker than doing it the other way around.

Water Collection

To maintain your life, you will need to have some protection as well as water. You can take advantage of the situation if it rains for an extended period by constructing an improvised shelter, such as a tarp, under which you can wait out the storm and collect rainfall for later use in a low location. This is something you can do if it rains for an extended period. If an unexpected downpour takes place in the desert, it is feasible to make a pool by laying out a tarp and elevating the sides of the area with pebbles, logs, sticks, or any other equipment that has been discarded. Because of this, water will be able to gather in the pool. As the rain stops falling, the reservoir should be drained as soon as possible.


As long as the coating has not been perforated or abraded, heavy canvas tarps can be utilized successfully as ground coverings. It does an outstanding job of preventing you from getting wet. Still, its true value lies in its effectiveness against ticks when applied on grass, bracken, rotten leaves, and other cosmetically appealing yet tick-infested vegetation. The improvised ground cover makes it much easier to retrieve dropped food, preventing ticks from attaching themselves to campers and picnickers and ticks from attaching themselves to them. Make a sun lounger for the beach or the backcountry by cutting a few indentations to fit your body, elongating the groundsheet, and covering it with a thin towel or sarong. In warm weather, the fact that the tarp is waterproof might cause it to become sweaty and unpleasant to use.

Shelter for Wet Weather

The military makes use of multi-functioning lightweight backpacks and poncho tarps, as well as shawls. You may use one to shield your daypack from rain, snow, or other precipitation. During the night, they can function as a source of protection provided they are guyed and marked out. It is a lightweight alternative for minimalist hikers in milder regions, but its lack of waterproofing will be highlighted in wet and windy situations. You will need a lightweight waterproof jacket and pair of pants if the weather is expected to be terrible. Still, an authentic tarp is just as good in many ways, providing a larger bivvy at night and being easy to throw over oneself if a shelter is required during the day. If the weather is expected to be terrible, you will need to be prepared.


If the situation continues to develop, you might consider employing a large tarp for transportation. If you have a group of four or six very strong people, you can use the knot creases along the long edge as handles for the bag. Safely transport the patient along the entirety of the route. If you have received training as a Wilderness First Responder, it will be much simpler to decide whether it is best to leave a patient where they are and call for aid or whether it is more important to evacuate them as quickly as possible. Much time will also be devoted to discussing how to communicate with patients. By rolling the long sides of a shawl over two poles, it is feasible to make a stretcher that provides support along the longitudinal axis. This would make it possible for two individuals to carry a third injured person.