TARPS are one of the most important things to bring with you when you go tent camping. Camping is supposed to be fun, and rain doesn’t take that away if you’re prepared ! I learned the hard way, and it will never happen again. This post is about tarps for camping : What you need and how to set it up.
You need at the very least 2 tarps when you go camping. One goes under the tent to stop water from pooring under your tent floor, and the other goes above your tent for very obvious reasons.
The Ground Tarp :
Ideally this tarp will be just a little smaller than the floor of your tent. It will be placed on the ground, and you will install your tent on top of it. It helps save the tent floor from rocks, and if properly installed it channels rain water AROUND the tent instead of beneath it. It is VERY VERY important that if your ground tarp is sticking out the sides of your tent, you fold it under the tent. Otherwise, it will have the opposite effect of letting water in under your tent and pooling there under your floor! If it sticks out and you don’t fold it in, you’d be better off with no tarp at all.
The Roof Tarp :
This is the tarp that will go above the roof of your tent. I know, I know, your tent is waterproof and you even took the extra trouble of waterproofing the seams of the tent recently. Maybe you haven’t been stuck in a bad storm while camping yet. When it rains A LOT, water will find a way in. Maybe it’ll just be in the form of condensation, but slowly and surely it will make its way in. This is why you get the extra layer of protection from a Roof Tarp !
This tarp isn’t just an extra layer of protection from rain getting into your tent, it’s also going to be your protection from rain while your OUTSIDE of the tent. This is important, because you don’t want to be stuck in your tent if it rains for an entire weekend. Also, you need to be able to make food if it’s raining for a LONG time ! For this reason, this tarp should be EXTRA long. My Roof tarp is about 25 feet long, and 12 feet wide. I generally install it so that one end just barely makes it past the end of my tent, and the other end is a LONG covered area for when you exit the tent. (See the pictures if this doesn’t make any sense) It’s always sloped in such a way so that water always slides OFF the tarp into some section I don’t plan on using. (It’s very important not to let water accumulate on the roof of your tarp.)
Setting up the Roof Tarp :
There are many ways of setting up your roof tarp for tent camping, and it often depends on your surroundings, so you need to be prepared for anything and use your imagination. I do have some tricks to share however.
First of all, you need rope. LOTS OF ROPE. This should be in there with your tarps at all times.
I use a method of installing my roof tarps that is basically a trick stolen from my “Cable Guy” job. I tie my rope to some sort of heavy object. (A screwdriver, and couple rolls of electrical tape, a wrench, ANYTHING with weight) Then I find a “V” or “L” in branches of strong trees that will be able to hold rope that will hold up the tarp in that particular corner. I throw my screwdriver (which is tied to the rope) through that V. Hopefully it goes through the “v” and back down to the floor. Then you tie the rope to that corner of the tarp, and PULL. It will lift the tarp. You get it to the desired height and then tie that end of the rope to a tree. (with the weight removed) You do the same with all 4 corners. This means that you’re able to pull the tarp much higher than you would usually without the help of a ladder. Using this method, the Tarp can’t go DOWN because it’s being lifted by ropes on all 4 corners. You need to put a small rope in all 4 corners, which will be pegged to the floor. This is to stop winds from LIFTING the tarp.
Another Method, which is the one I see most people use is to simply tie the rope to a strong tree as high as you can. Usually you’ll pull your picnic table over to each tree to get as high as possible. The picture on the right is what i’m talking about. I don’t use this method because this way the tarp will only get to be as high as you can reach while on your table or whatever. My method allows me to pull a corner or side WAY higher that I could ever reach. The reason I like to have a side high is so that I can cook under it and the smoke will not get trapped anywhere underneath.
Feel free to look at my latest camping pictures. This one is from my camping trip at OKA National Park, This one is camping in Kingston at my sister’s off-grid home, and this one’s a quick camping trip at KOA on the south shore of Montreal.
The Beginner’s Guide To Getting You Started With Comfortable Tent Camping In 12 Easy Affordable Steps is quickly becoming the bestselling starting point for start-to-finish tent camping knowledge today. For under $20 you can have this valuable e-book (along with a couple of freebies) that has TONS of camping tips and tricks. Click Here !