How to Set Up a Tarp

How to Set Up a TarpA tarp is a valuable piece of gear to have when backpacking or camping. Whether it's used as a ground cover, rain cover or shelter, don't be caught in the woods without one. Tarps come in a wide array of sizes and finding one to meet your needs should be easy.


Difficulty: Moderate

Setting up a Tarp as a Shelter

Things You’ll Need:
  • Tarp Bungee cords Rope Clamps Tent poles Tent stakes Long stick Hammer
  • Tarp
  • Bungee cords
  • Rope
  • Clamps
  • Tent poles
  • Tent stakes
  • Long stick
  • Hammer
Step 1
Figure out what purpose your tarp is going to serve so you'll have a better idea of how you will be setting it up. If the tarp is used as a standalone cover, you'll need it to be tied down more securely than if it's being used as a cover for a piece of gear or a tent.
Step 2
Stretch your tarp to its full size in the area where you'll be setting it up as a shelter. Choose an area that has trees so you'll be able to tie off your ropes to them.
Step 3
Tie a length of rope that will reach around the tree and then extend to a corner of the tarp through the metal grommet.
Step 4
Tie off your rope on one corner around the tree at the desired height. Repeat this step until you've tied all the corner ropes around trees. Make sure your ropes are tied tightly and the tarp is secure. If you don't have enough rope, you can use bungee cords. Use tent poles if you don't have enough trees.
Step 5
Raise the center of the tarp with a tent pole or long stick. This will prevent the tarp from collecting water.

Setting up a Tarp as a Cover

Step 1
Stretch your tarp and toss one end over the tent you are covering. Pull the tarp so each side is equal.
Step 2
Tie ropes or attach bungee cords through the metal grommets on each corner of the tarp.
Step 3
Stretch the ropes or bungee cords until they are tight and attach the other end to a tent stake. Hammer the tent stake into the ground.
Step 4
Repeat the above step until you've secured all four corners of the tarp. Make sure the ropes or bungee cords are tight and secure, holding the tarp in place.
Step 5
Use plastic or metal clamps to secure the tarp to each corner of the tent by clamping onto the tent poles.

Article Written By Joyce Starr

Joyce Starr is a professional writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawn care and gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.

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