Tarps are a life-saver when camping in the tough American climate. They’re inexpensive and incredibly versatile, so you should always bring one along with your tent or sleeping bag.
When the rain started, we quickly set up a tarp shelter and built some windbreaks. The other campers couldn’t stay dry in their tents because they don’t know How to keep dry when Camping!
Other Campers could only Stay in their Zipped up Tents
We also take a large tarp to place on the ground, especially when it has been raining and bad weather is forecast. This prevents our tent from sitting directly on the wet ground which in turn keeps us dryer inside of the tent as we camp out for days at a time!
Practical uses of a Tarp when Camping
So why do you need a tarp?
- You can pitch your tent on a tarp to protect the ground from getting wet and muddy when it rains. When you come back, you’ll have a dryer bottom of your tent!
- If you’re going camping, make sure to pack some extra supplies in case of bad weather. Weather can be unpredictable and if it does rain your tent might not keep the water out for long. A tarp will also let you cook outside even when wet!
- The importance of a rain cover when camping in the wetter months, which can be used to keep your gear dry and safe from any unexpected downpours.
- The warmth of a campfire is always welcome when you’re cold and wet. Build your fire up to trap more heat, with tarps or other items that can be used as windbreaks for the flames.
Building a Simple Shelter with a Tarp
- A tarp can be set up in a number of ways. The shape you choose will depend on the wind direction, where there are trees to tie it off or other supports, and what you plan to use it for.
- You can build a basic shelter using two straight tent poles, rope, and pegs. Thanks to the tarp you don’t need any tools or nails!
- The poles are pulled tight and the excess line is wound around them. This way, when you peg it to the ground tightly with stakes on either side of where they cross in a zigzag pattern like waves crashing against rocks at high tide, your tent will be safe from all windy gusts!
- Start by laying a rope across the ground. Now peg two more ropes on either side of your original one and you’ll have what might look like a clothesline! The only part that’s holding up these lines is because they’re connected with each other, but we can make it even better than this!
- Pull the tarp over the line.
- Run lines from the corners of the tarp and peg into the ground.
- The apex of your tarp shelter can be moved by you, depending on the type and amount of wind. For example, a high-wind area may require more coverage at back to keep out guests that come in from behind; whereas locations with less exposure might only need protection against front winds blowing smoke into campsites.
- When the rain starts pouring down, it becomes difficult to stay dry. Avoid large puddles that form by the tarp and keep them in mind when making your seating arrangements.
Bungee cords act as Shock Absorbers
Bungee cords are essential for tarps to endure windy days. Not only do they act as shock absorbers, but they also keep the tarp tight so that it doesn’t fly away or fall down in any sudden gusts of air!
If it is windy, you may be able to leave your frame in place and quickly cover the top of it with a tarp. Though if the storm gets too strong, then you will need to get down on ground level or even lower than that outside at where there are no potential hazards from falling objects such as trees and power lines.
- CAUTION: Take Care with Bungees
The bungees stretch to fit any size, but the hooks are not so great.
Bungee jumping is pretty dangerous. You have two hooks that can either catch an eye or cut your throat. People do lose their eyes all the time!
Tarps as Groundsheets – How to keep Dry when Camping
To avoid a wet tent, be sure to dry out your gear before packing it away. If you don’t have space in the house for drying things like camping tents and sleeping bags then look into purchasing an outdoor clothesline or invest in one of those portable indoor/outdoor racks where you can hang all of them up at once – they are very convenient!
It’s important to take care of your camping tent by letting it dry out before packing up. If you don’t, then there are high chances the inside will still be wet and have a stale odor after bringing it home even if you use only groundsheets or tarps under the tent for flooring!
When it comes to the groundsheets for tents, you’ll often find that they come with a footprint. This means that when establishing where your tent will go and what size it needs to be, place the footprint down first so as not to mess up any measurements!
Tent Footprints are Particularly useful for Tents that are Irregular Shapes
When learning to camp, you learn quickly how important the ground can be. Without a tarp or some form of flooring, it is easy for water and mud from outside to enter your tent through the bottom. For this reason, most people purchase an additional layer- typically in the shape of their tent’s dimensions – that they use as protection against wet soil during rainstorms and damp grass while sleeping on top at night.
If it is raining when you are pitching and the groundsheet starts to pool with water, avoid laying down a tarp or groundsheet before pitching your tent. This will only make matters worse by making that area wetter than others. You can wait until the rain slows again, or use some of those other large tarps as overhead protection so there’s less chance for water accumulation on one spot. We’ve had to do this once too many times!
Don’t have ‘Spare’ Bits of Tarp Sticking out from Under your Tent
When pitching a tent, always check for stones and thorns to avoid punctures in your tarp.
A groundsheet is not just important for the floor of your tent but also on top of it too! It will protect against water seeping under from small holes or tears which can lead to molding inside after multiple uses.
How to keep dry when Camping or Packing Up in the Rain
This summer, the family’s camping gear (and other necessities) was at a point where they needed to get an RV trailer. The last thing on top of it is always a tarp or two for extra protection and as my emergency kit!
My ‘Emergency Tarp’ Kit – How to keep dry when Camping
- I can quickly put up a tarp over the trailer and car doors when it’s raining so things in both don’t get wet. If I want to go inside without getting my clothes soaked, we should wait for the rain to stop before unloading everything from the vehicle into our tent home.
- In the event of rain, it is always best to take out your inner tent. While this may be an inconvenience in some tents (since they are now made with a single-layer design), our research has shown that two layers provide better protection against wet weather and humidity.
- If you are not careful, your inner tents can get wet and ruined if they stay when packing up in the rain.
Pitch your Tent then put up your Inner Tents – Don’t do it All in One
The two-step approach is perfect for those rainy days. With the tarp protecting your inner tents and providing a barrier from rain, you can easily get this set up in no time at all! As an added bonus, any water that does come into contact with them will just wipe right off.
Emergency Protection for your Tent
Camping in the rain is a popular activity for many, but not all. Sometimes it can be difficult to pack up your tent and move around with everything you need when you’re caught off guard by sideways or heavy rainfall.
Having an additional layer of protection like tarps from Coleman is great because they provide another waterproof barrier that will keep out any water coming at different angles than expected – whether on the side of hills or even underneath if conditions warrant such extreme measures!
What you need to get to create your own tarp shelter
A lot of the pictures in this post are using a DIY approach. I bought some cheap tarps, some tarp poles, guy lines, and paracord, and some bungees to create my own shelter or emergency situation. The best way to get these supplies is by purchasing an inexpensive kit that includes everything you need for your project!