Tarp Tips: Quick Shelter for Rain, Wind or Saving Weight

As far as versatile, MacGyver-esque gear is concerned, tarps are on par with the legendary likes of duct tape, superglue and Bear Grylls. Check out these tarp tricks for battling foul weather wherever you camp.

1. Hammocks are an essential nutrient. If rain threatens your vitamin H, tie a line a few feet above your nap sanctuary and hang the tarp like an A-frame roof. More of a minimalist? Tie the line a few feet over your tent’s footprint for an ultralight summer shelter.

Tarp Tips

2. Wrap the roof line around a barky tree a couple of times and let friction do the rest. No need for a knot here. If you get bored, just tie a walnut to the loose end and watch chipmunks play tetherball.

Tarp Tips

3. Pro tip: For extra height, use folding tent poles to wrap your rope a few feet higher around the tree.

Tarp Tips

4. A Prusik hitch—or sliding knot—is an easy way to secure tarp grommets to your rope and quickly handcuff a freeloading cooler thief.

Tarp Tips

5. Lost a grommet or need an extra anchor point? Just twist some tarpaulin around a small rock.

Tarp Tips

6. If trees aren’t your thing, hang the tarp off the back of your ride. Pop your hatchback for extra loft and enjoy a rain-free workspace for cooking and competitive dance-offs.

Tarp Tips

7. Conserve stakes by having a friend tie the tarp corners directly to your rims. Blame said friend if you accidentally drive off with shredded tarp in your axle.

Tarp Tips

8. For extra living space, hang the tarp off the front of your tent for a makeshift vestibule for wet packs and muddy sneaks. Make sure the tarp amply covers the apex of your tent for proper runoff. More moisture kept outside means less mold on the inside.

Tarp Tips

9. Use those extra tent stakes for tightly tying down the front wall of your tarp. Otherwise your sail-like ceiling might be the flapping soundtrack to a sleepless night in the wilderness.

Tarp Tips

Now it’s your turn. Share your tarp tips in the comments below.