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Why a Tarp is an Essential Camping Bit of Kit

4th Mar 2022

With travel abroad still presenting issues for some, and others having found they just enjoy staycations - UK excursions may still be the order of the day this coming summer. Post-pandemic, camping has enjoyed a huge revival in popularity and it might now be the favoured option for many of us. And as we've shown in several past blogs camping with a tarpaulin is a great option. A Tarp Tent really can provide a great alternative to a traditional tent – and there are lots of advantages to this option.

You might naturally assume that a  Tarpaulin would be a less suitable option, but a growing number of outdoor enthusiasts have been realising that that’s really not the case at all. You might think a tarpaulin wouldn’t offer adequate protection from the elements or that they would be difficult to set up. However some of our previous blog posts show clearly that’s not the case. Tarps are truly versatile when used as shelters. Whatever your particular circumstances and needs, your one single tarp can offer a wealth of options.

So now that you’ve realised the amazing adaptability and uses of your tarp, what are the other advantages?

  1. Get closer to nature and experience camping the way it used to be. Many tarp shelter configurations will have one or two areas that are open to the elements allowing you to wake to that beautiful sunrise or morning dew. Weather permitting, this can provide a much less sanitized experience than a zipped up manufactured tent, and allows you to experience camping more akin to the traditional ways of our ancestors and forbears. in recent times camping forums and websites bear witness to this, with many reporting their positive experiences of this more back to nature approach.
  2. Lightweight and space saving in your pack. Tarpaulins are constructed of extremely light, yet strong and waterproof materials. These can take up less room in your pack than a modern tent, especially as the fact that you can anchor your tarp shelter to or between trees means you don’t need to take loads of heavy tent pegs with you. Anything that saves weight and space in your pack is a total boon to any camper.
  3. Versatile and easy to construct. We’ve touched on this already but this point can’t really be over-emphasised. Not only can you build your tarp tent any number of ways (see previous blogs for examples) - and some of them can be put up in seconds, but a tarp can also be used to create extra sheltered areas for cooking, recreation or privacy, and can be used as groundsheets, or to protect your fire or equipment from the elements.
  4. Economy. Tarps are available in a range of types, sizes and prices from just a few pounds upwards, depending on the size, quality and thickness required. By comparison a tent of similar size and quality is likely to be far more expensive, while still of course being less versatile (a tent really only has one use). Therefore a tarp can be a fantastic option if you are on a strict budget.
  5. You’ve learnt a skill that can save lives. Using a tarp or similar sheet to make a shelter is a skill taught by just about all the armed forces of the world. Often known as a Basha or Bivi in the forces, a tarp literally can be a life saver if you are caught unawares dangerously exposed to the elements (not to mention potential uses such as makeshift stretchers), meaning learning this skill could save lives if you ever find yourself in such a tight spot in the future.