Tarps are versatile pieces of equipment, and it’s particularly useful to have one as part of your camping equipment.
So, if you’re wondering, ‘what is a tarp used for in camping?’ Or, what some of the common uses for tarp are to make your camping trip easier – I can explain:
What Is a Tarp Used for in Camping
Making Waterproof Shelter
Tarp is strong, durable, and most importantly waterproof. Wet weather and camping don’t mix too well, and you can ruin your trip if you get washed out.
Having some tarp in your backpack means you can always tie up some waterproof shelter to sleep under. Put up some shelter to cook under, and so on.
Protecting the Bottom of Your Tent
Rolling out some tarp to cover the floor of your tent will protect your tent base sheet from wear and tear, stones damaging it, and keep it clean.
You can use tarp either on top or below your tent depending on the weather and terrain you’re pitching up on. Either way, it’s a protective barrier that will extend the life of your tent.
Creating a Windbreaker
It’s a lot easier to hide from rain than it is wind. Even some of the simplest camping tasks are made a lot more difficult under windy conditions.
Tarps are great for making windbreakers. You can protect your campfire or stove flame, or just reduce the amount of wind hitting your tent and howling in the night.
Covering Your Equipment
Space is always a premium when backpacking or camping, so leaving a load of equipment out once you’ve unpacked it makes life easier more often than not.
Cover your stuff with your tarp, tie it down, and you have a nice waterproof package that isn’t going anywhere.
Protection from the Sun
I’ve talked about how tarps can keep you dry, warm, and protect you from bad weather. It’ll also protect you from the sun too.
Maybe you are desert camping, burn easily, want to keep those UV rays at bay, or just want some cool shelter. Tie up a piece of tarp and create that safe spot to relax away from the sun.
Why Is a Tarp Better Than Other Options?
I know what you’re thinking, there are plenty of other items that do similar things to tarps. Maybe not in the all-in-one versatile nature, but there are some other options.
Here are some of the reasons why tarps are the item of choice for experienced outdoors people:
Inexpensive and Durable
Tarps start at just a few bucks. If you look at other options for portable shelters, windbreakers, and flooring for your tent, you can’t beat this value.
In most cases, a tarp is going to last you a lifetime. You can’t beat that kind of value, it just keeps giving.
Weight is always a consideration when backpacking and camping. Again, looking at the choice between a tarp and all its versatile uses against the alternatives – you’re saving a lot of weight.
Fastpackers and ultralight backpackers commonly carry a tarp for this exact reason. That’s proof itself that there is no better option.
Ease of Use
If you can unroll, fold, pack, and tie some knots you can do just about everything you need to do with a tarp.
Even cleaning them is a breeze. Just power wash, soak or wipe them clean in a minute.
If this article hasn’t convinced you that you need to have some tarp with you at all times while camping, I don’t know what will.
Tarp is an essential part of any backpack or camping gear. There are literally dozens of other uses that I haven’t listed here, and I’m sure you’ll find it comes in handy more often than not.