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5 Tarp Hacks That Will Improve Your Camping Experience


Camping philosophies vary widely, from the minimalist outdoorsmen who require nothing but a backpack to glamping fanatics who prefer to create a luxury experience in the woods. Whatever your preference is, though, there are a few things you shouldn’t venture forth without, and a tarp is one of the most important. They’re inexpensive, lightweight, and most of all you can use them in dozens of different ways. If you’re planning a camping trip in the near future, check out these 5 tarp hacks – they may just change the way you camp.

Build A Wind Barrier

Whether you’re trying to keep a fire blazing or just feeling a chill in your tent, it can be useful to have a way to block out wind while camping, and tarps offer the perfect solution. Bring along a few and hang them between trees to create a wind barrier at your site. You can even surround the site on all four sides for greater privacy and warmth, especially in the evenings.

Shade Yourself From Sun

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Some people like to wake up early while camping, but for others, this is a vacation and that means sleeping late. So what should you do if the sun is waking you up to early? While you could place a space blanket over your tent to block out the light, a tarp may be more effective – and it will provide an added barrier if it starts raining. You can also rig up a tarp between trees to create a shady lean-to while out exploring.

Protect Your Tent

When you set up your tent, you should always look for a flat area free of debris so that you’re not forced to sleep on rocks and twigs. If you can’t find a clear spot, though, or you’re just worried about your tent’s integrity, consider putting a heavy-duty tarp down under your tent. According to, vinyl tarps are tear and abrasion-resistant, so opt for one of those when placing a tent, rather than a poly or canvas tarp, which is more likely to rip and leave your tent base vulnerable to damage.

Tie It Right

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Most of the time you’ll only need one tarp, whether you’re covering your tent, keeping your gear dry, or even quickly assembling an emergency tent. What if you want to gather a big group of friends in a shady spot, though? Rather than buying an expensive shade tent for your party or barbecue, grab a bunch of tarps and connect them using tie-downs to create a huge shade panel. You can then suspend your tarps from the surrounding trees to create an inexpensive and expansive gathering space.

All Fun And Games

One of the best parts of camping is having an opportunity to play like you’re a kid again – and all you need to create an epic grownup slip and slide is a tarp. Just lay out your tarp, get it wet and give yourself a running start. Ideally, you can even set up your DIY slide to end in the nearest lake or watering hole. You may have outgrown the classic slip and slide, but there’s no reason you can’t still enjoy the fun.

Tarps may not be the most interesting piece of camping equipment, but they’re undeniably one of the most useful items you can pack. As you get ready for your next camping trip, then, grab a few. They won’t make much of a dent in your budget or your backpack, but they’ll completely transform your camping experience.