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Uses for Tarpaulins

3rd Sep 2021

It's fair to say that the ubiquitous yet ever humble tarpaulin is a virtuoso of versatility...

From saving lives and sheltering people in disaster zones, to waterproof covering or groundsheets around the home, the tarpaulin truly is the accessory for all seasons and can be found anywhere. But did you ever stop to consider what the top uses of this ever useful product are. Take a look below and discover the top uses for tarps:

Shelter, Humanitarian Relief and Emergencies

  1. Tarps are used in all corners of the globe to make temporary shelters, repairs for roofs and walls, and myriad other uses in disaster zones. This is perhaps the biggest use of tarps and the way in which you might say tarpaulins have really made a positive difference in the world. (See our recent blogpost on the development of the perfect tarpaulin for emergency relief work).
  2. Even in the developed world tarps are a crucial emergency resource when disaster hits or in the kind of refugee crisis we've seen lately in situations such as the 'Calais Jungle'
  3. Tarps are used extensively to provide protective and waterproof shelter, and covering for equipment, stores, provisions, firewood, fire itself - and many more things.
  4. Weather protection - Whether just sleeping under a tarp, creating windblocks or fending off the rain at your latest music festival, a bit of tarp protection can be just the job when the weather suddenly changes.
  5. Used to carry water - An actual life saver when people are in the most dire circumstances in survival or emergency situations.
  6. A stretcher. Again, a genuine lifesaver!
  7. Use to create a floatation device.


The camping applications for tarps are endless:

  1. Pitch a tent, temporary shelter or lean to. This can often be a great alternative to a full tent - and is easier to carry and to erect.
  2. Use to protect the bottom of your tent or as a groundsheet in all kinds of other situations.
  3. Span across trees or poles to use as a windbreak or other temporary protection against adverse weather. Can be strung up in seconds when the weather changes and is just as quick to put away when the weather clears again.
  4. Create a hammock. Just string it up between 2 trees, jump in and you have the perfect sleeping arrangement.
  5. Tarps are great for creating a shower area when in the great outdoors, or indeed for creating privacy dividers generally in communal areas.


Tarps are used in all kinds of ways in conjunction with vehicles:

  1. Used for covering equipment, goods and cargo - both inside trucks and in the open (flatbed trucks for example), or even as side panels for some kinds of trucks and vehicles.
  2. Boats and yacht covers - A tarp can make an excellent and inexpensive cover for all sizes of boat, yacht, dinghy or other marine vessel.
  3. Clear tarps can be used to quickly create a window in a boat or other vehicle.
  4. Tarps can even be used as very effective sails for boats, if perhaps your main sail fails.

Home and Garden

Tarps have endless uses around the home. From leaky roofs, to covering when decorating, or collecting leaves - and loads of other uses.

  1. Ground covering.
  2. Covering furniture, when decorating or performing other DIY.
  3. Covering patio or garden furniture through the colder weather.
  4. Coverings for bikes and cars.


This one often passes people by. Don't forget there's no end of fun to be had if you have a tarp handy:

  1. Wipe clean play areas for the kids - inside or out. Perfect for parties, and play days for the little ones.
  2. Use to build a fort in the woods on a nature day out with the kids and family.
  3. Slip n Slide! This is a great one! Just lay out your tarp, get the hose pipe on it and slip and slide to your heart's content.
  4. Ice Rink. In colder climes Backyard Ice Rinks using a tarp have become a big craze! They're created using a tarp or other plastic sheeting as a base.