3 Reasons A Tarp Is The Ultimate Survival Tool

Last weekend I went on an overnight backpacking trip at Cross Timbers trail on Lake Texoma.

It’s a rugger trail that is perfect practice for any mountain backpacking.

And as is my style, I cowboy camped aka slept outside under the stars without a tent.

But I did have my tarp with me because a tarp is one of the best pieces of gear to have on hand.

There are three uses for a tarp.

Shelter

You can use a tarp to make a shelter. There are many types of shelter you can make including versions that don’t require any trees.

You can make an A-frame, a C-frame, or even a teepee style tent.

A shelter isn’t only useful for protection against the rain, but you can also use a tarp to block the wind.

On my recent trip, I was using my tarp as a groundcloth because there wasn’t any rain.

But the wind picked up at 2 am that was so strong it blew my camping quilt off of me!

Frankly, I was happy for a cool breeze (though I did secure my quilt to my body) after a warm day of hiking but in winter temperatures, I would definitely have made a wind blocker.

Keep Stuff Dry

Not only can you use a tarp to keep yourself dry from the rain, you can use a tarp to cover wood, your pack, food, or anything else that you need to keep dry in a rainstorm.

Carry Stuff Including Stretcher

You can also carry stuff with a tarp.

Heck with some rope and some sticks you can create a makeshift backpack if necessary.

Thus a tarp is a very versatile item.

I would buy a extra-large tarp with a mylar side, sometimes referred to as a survival blanket.

Unlike the blankets you get for $1 that are like packets of aluminum foil, these are much sturdier.

Mylar reflects 95% of the infrared heat directed at it so it’s very useful in keeping you warm or cool when you flip the tarp over.

I also like to prep my tarps with 6-foot lengths of paracord pre-tied to the corner grommets which is a tip I learned from Dave Canterbury. This speeds up and simplifies your shelter construction.

If you want to learn more about camping with a tarp I invite you to read my book “Winter Camping With A Tarp.”

About Mark:

I once backpacked 100 miles in 90 days. After 25 years in IT, I wanted more adventure in my life. I want to inspire you to add more adventure too.

Thank you for subscribing to my content. I share content about camping, backpacking, and outdoor survival.

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I once backpacked 100 miles in 90 days. After 25 years in IT, I wanted more adventure in my life. I want to inspire you to add more adventure too.

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Mark Wilcox

Mark Wilcox

I once backpacked 100 miles in 90 days. After 25 years in IT, I wanted more adventure in my life. I want to inspire you to add more adventure too.

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