Tarps are easily the most basic and most versatile items you can have on a camping trip. They are an inexpensive means of protecting equipment and people from the elements; and can be used to carry things if needed. They provide protection from rain and moisture, and can also provide shade from the sun.
Some of the top uses for Tarps include:
1) Tarps as Floor Protectors — When placed under a tent, tarps can be used to protect the floor of your tent from sticks, rocks and other objects which can damage or puncture the floor of your tent. Having a floor protector also helps prevent water from accumulating on the underside of your tent and keeps it cleaner for packing purposes. When it is erected it best to have a tarp that is just a little smaller than the footprint of the tent, so that if it rains, water will not accumulate between the tarp and the tent floor waterproof tarpaulin.
2) Tarps as vestibules — Use a tarp as a cover for the entrance to your tent. If your tent doesn’t already have a vestibule, this will allow you to sit in front of your tent in the shade and provides additional protection if it rains. It also provides cover for other equipment. To set up a tarp vestibule, use 4 tent poles, 4 lengths of rope, each about 4 feet longer than the tent poles and 4 stakes. You will need a tarp with grommet type holes in the corners. Put the tips of the poles through the holes in each corner of the tarp. Tie a loop in each end of each piece of rope, and use a rope on each corner as guy lines to tie off each pole, using the stakes to tighten the lines.
3) Use a tarp as a floor area for your vestibule — By staking a tarp out in front of your tent, under your vestibule, it provides a cleaner area for equipment storage and helps to keep dirt from being tracked into your tent.
4) Tarps as floors for screen tents — Depending on the brand of screen tent, tarps can be purchased that are ready made to fit the screen tent. Another option is to determine the size needed and find the tarp size that comes closest to the footprint of the tent.
5) Use a tarp as a canopy for your picnic area or food preparation area. As with usage number 2, you can tie a tarp out as a canopy over your food area using tent poles and guy lines. In addition to providing protection from the rain and sun, if you are around a lot of trees, it helps keep the area clear of falling leaves.
6) As a cover for firewood — If it rains, and your firewood gets wet, it can be very difficult to light a campfire.
7) As a truck bed cover — If you have a pickup truck, a tarp can be used to cover your equipment. Make sure it is well tied off, so that it does not fly out as you are driving down the road.
8) Use a tarp as a tent — This works in a pinch if you are going on a trip and someone doesn’t have a tent. Using two tent poles on the ends, in the center, tied off with guy lines, and staking out the edges of a tarp, can provide an impromptu A–Frame tent. A second tarp can be used as the floor of the tent.
9) Use a tarp as a rain cover for a hammock — Tying a tarp out above a hammock can provide a great sleeping arrangement for anyone who likes sleeping in hammocks. If you are backpacking, this can be a lighter weight solution than carrying a full tent. If you want something a little more stylish, tarps are available that are specifically made for hammocks.