How to choose and use tent tarps

Tarp is the abbreviation for tarpaulin. Tarps are a great form of protecting your tents, personal items and your hunting and fishing and camping equipment from the forces of nature. There are two types of tarps to consider if you are looking for tent tarps or camp tarps. Do you want a canvas tarp or a poly tarp?

Canvas Tarps

Canvas is a very durable natural fabric sold in different grades, depending on how heavy you wish your tarp fabric to be. If it is for occasional use, then the lower grade may be suitable, but if you require a more hardy canvas tent tarp, then you will have to go for the heavier fabric. The higher the weight, the heavier the canvas will be. With this in mind, you will also have to remember that this camp tarp will be heavier to carry.

Canvas is the heavier of the tarps. Because of this, the choice of canvas for your camp tarp would be better if you are camping in windy areas. Also, because of its weight, there is less required to keep your tarp in place – although you will always need to secure your tarp when putting it up.

Canvas tarps are also a bit softer than poly tarps. There is more “give” or flexibility in canvas, so it will drape better over things that need to be covered. Because of its material and weave, canvas is easier to repair since it can be sewn rather than glued. Canvas tent tarps are also available in flame retardant material, which is definitely something you want if a campfire is going to be in close proximity to your tent.

Poly Tarps

These are made from polyethylene, which is not a natural fabric. These tarps are also sold with different grades, and the same applies with poly as it does with canvas tarps – the heavier the better and more durable.

There is one very particular advantage to using a poly tarp, especially if it is being used as a camp tarp. Poly tarps are much lighter than the canvas version. In fact, it is not unusual to use a poly tarp instead of a tent when you are looking for the ultimate in lightweight camping. If you’re out on a hunting trip, you already have a lot to pack and carry with you. From protective gear, hunting gear, survival knife and rifles and your best rifle scope, lugging around a heavy tarp for protection from the elements is definitely not something you would want to worry about. This turns your poly tarp into a tent tarp of a different kind.

Poly tarps do require more secure fastening when they are being set up. As this is a lighter fabric, it is more likely to be taken away by a gust of wind if not put up correctly. Therefore, when looking for the perfect tent or camp tarp in the poly kind, be sure it has enough eyelets for you to completely secure it to the ground.

Since poly tarps are synthetic, they will not require the repetitive waterproofing that canvas would need, and so they do not require as much maintenance as long as they are packed correctly. This is definitely a must to consider for hunting seasons.

A camp tarp is the ideal method of protection for cooking at the campsite, and it can extend your tent to provide a porch effect. Wonderful for relaxing, bird watching and just sitting back with a good book. When considering camping beyond your back garden, a tarp is a worthwhile piece of equipment to invest in, and once used will be regarded as essential for all camping adventures and outings.