Fortunately the Internet has a wealth of information on using tarps in the backcountry. A few choice links will be posted at the end of this article.
I've been tarp camping for decades and it's my preferred choice of shelter. That is when I'm not Cowboy Camping, that's sleeping out under the stars.
If you're considering taking the plunge here are a few thoughts to consider.
Flat vs. Shaped Tarps
I classify tarps into two formats, flat or square tarps and shaped tarps. Flat tarps are the traditional tarp that's generally square and flat. In the last few years a number of variations have been tacked on to tarps to overcome some some of the inherent problems with flat tarps. These variations range from adding simple weather beaks to fully shaped tarps that provide full 360 degree protection.
At Six Moon Designs we offer Shaped Tarps because they offer the greatest amount of protection per ounce. They are also the the easiest to setup and get a taut pitch.
Location, Location, Location
- Water Drainage - Site selection is critical with the use of tarps. Because a tarp lacks a floor, you need to ensure that water drains away from your campsite. So pay close attention to how the water flows. The last thing you want is to wake up at 2 am lying in a puddle of water.
- Natural Wind Breaks - If you can locate a site that has a natural wind break, either with boulders or vegetation, you'll have a more comfortable nights sleep. With flat tarps you'll need to locate the door on the side of the wind break. This way if the wind shifts in the night, you'll still have a level of protections.
- Overhead Protection - Camping out in open fields always makes for nice photos. Particularly as the sun begins to set. However, these locations are the worst for setting up your shelter. Sleeping under open skies can be as much as 15 degrees colder than sleeping under forest canopy. In addition you're much more likely to wake up in a condensation laden tent.
External Tarp Pages
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 June 2010 07:19