Survival and prepping uses for Tarps

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Quest Defender Tarp
Quest Defender Tarp
Survival Tarps and how to use them
In Brightside's 9 Survival myths that could actually hurt you, the author
reminds you to build a layer of ground covering to help insulate you.

A tarp is a multi-use survival item.
Look to survival tools that have more than one purpose. A tarp is
a versatile survival item that can be a hammock, a shelter, a
tent, ground cover, canopy for shade or sudden downpours and so
much more.

Tarps are great whether you're backpacking, hiking, camping, bike
packing, boating, picnics or on the beach. Make sure you have a
few on hand for an emergency.

Happy endings...
While tarps make excellent survival shelters and have infinite
uses, you may ultimately decide to carry a tent with your bugout
bag. Tarps won't protect you from the critters that come out at
night like scorpions and snakes, and it won't protect you from the
mosquitoes flying overhead.

More prepping articles...

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Survival tarps
How to use a survival tarp

Survival tarps and how to use them...
Tarp Diem! Seize the day with a tarp! A tarp is a good thing to
have if you're a prepper or survivalist and you'll want to own
several tarps. For survival purposes, tarps are mighty handy to
have in the car, in your bugout bag and around your home.

A tarp is a multi-use survival item and certainly a tarp can help
you be prepared for the unexpected. The primary use of a tarp is
for shelter building ~ both for emergencies and camping, but
there are many other uses of tarps for survival. Below is an
explanation of the kinds of tarps for sale and how to use them to

Survival and Prepping Uses for Tarps
Because a tarp is such an important part of prepping, we've
outlined the top things to look for in a tarp:

  • Pick a natural colored tarp. Your tarp should blend into your
    environment. Think in terms of brown or green for
    camouflage, instead of blue which will attract too much

  • Choose an all weather tarp. Not all tarps hold up in windy
    conditions, for example. Some are water resistant and not
    waterproof. Tarps can also break during frigid conditions (ask
    any trucker). Some tarps are breathable. Know your needs
    and your gear!

  • Find the right size. It's good to have a variety of tarps on
    hand in different sizes. 15x15 is a good size tarp to cover a
    tent, and 13x10 is an ideal size for a shelter-building tarp.
    Regarding thickness a tarp of 16 mil in thickness will protect
    your wood pile even when the snow and ice starts to melt.

  • Consider the noise. Some tarps are engineered to be
    extremely rigid while others are more flexible. Tyvek is
    extremely stiff and noisy and not something you want to use
    if you're hiding in the bush!

  • Pick the best tarp for your budget. Rugged bushcraft tarps,
    like Quest Defender tarp, has reinforced stitching and heat
    taped seams as superb defense against mother nature. it's a
    tarp that’s stronger, quieter, more compact, more versatile,
    longer lasting, and more waterproof than others. This tarp
    has tie outs, instead of grommets. Want something on the
    cheap? Choose Tyvek or Visqueen tarps at around $10.

  • Make sure it's made in the U.S.A. The Equinox tarp,
    pictured immediate right is inexpensive and made in America.

How might you use a tarp for your survival? What are some
alternatives to blue tarps? Here's a list to get your creativity

Prepper Tarp use #1. Pitching a survival tent.
One of the most basic survival uses of a tarp is for shelter. A tarp
can shelter you from rain, snow or frigid temperatures. It just
might be a lifesaving tool. That's why the best survival tarps are
all weather.

Every prepper should learn to pitch a survival shelter. A classic
scouting activity is to pitch a tarp tent into an A-frame shelter.
Using nothing more than a tarp, a tree, cordage and skills in
lashing it together is a vital survival skill.

Be sure to make your shelter breathable! The purpose of the tarp
is to keep away the baking sun and shelter you from the pouring
rain or snow. It's not to be air tight (or you won't be able to
breathe). Another method is the tarp combined with a pole
popular in bushcraft. Below are some considerations when
pitching a tarp tent...

  • Sometimes it's better not to pitch a tarp tent. Tarps are
    invaluable for ground covering and overhang of a
    prefabricated tent, but there may be times when you
    shouldn't use a tarp for any of these things. If you're out in
    the wilderness you might not want to pitch ground shelter at
    all because your best shelter may be up a tree and away
    from floodwaters, snakes, bugs and dangerous animals. In
    such a case, you can still use your tarp as a blanket.
  • Here are five emergency tarp shelters:
  1. Tarp Tepee
  2. Reflected Campfire Tarp Tent
  3. Lean To Tarp Tent
  4. Whelen Lean To
  5. Forester Tent

Prepper tarp use #2: Covering crops and firewood.
One of the lesser known uses of a tarp is to protect plants in your
survival garden both from the cold and the heat. Pioneers used a
Tarpaulin, which is a heavy-duty waterproof cloth. Back in the day
it was made of tarred canvas. Today such tarps are made of
polyester coated with polyurethane. Some are made of plastics
such as polyethylene. Specifically, a tarpauling is a material that
protects exposed objects or areas.

  • Protect plants from a cold snap. Drape a tarp over plants in
    winter to help them make it through the winter.

  • Shade crops during a heat wave! Sun is good for plants,
    but some plants require ample shade. Protect your harvest
    from overheating or damage from the sun by pitching an
    awning with the tarp. Many shade-loving plants are shallow
    rooted. Root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, beets and
    turnips grow in partial shade. Herbs grown in shade include
    coriander, garlic, lemonbalm, mint tarragon, thyme and

  • Covering firewood. As your firewood seasons you need to
    keep it protected from the elements with a tarp.

  • Covering for hay bales. Help your livestock by using tarps
    to protect their hay bales from the elements. Be sure to tie
    down tarps securely over the hay bales and don't leave them
    flapping in the wind. Farmers use a heavy-duty hay tarp for
    bales of hay. Below is a general guide on tarp use for hay
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Above, Kullcraven Bushcraft shows you some of the many ways to use a
tarp for survival, starting with how to use a poly tarp to collect water.

Kullcraven Bushcraft shares the following tarp tips:

  • Water collection: Using a tarp for scooping water or a  
    holding pool may get you the water you need to survive.

  • Debris and resource collection: Use a tarp to haul stuff.
    Getting wood to your campsite, carrying clay for chinking
    your shelter, foraging edibles and more is all made easier
    with the help of a tarp.

  • Cordage. Check out the technique for cutting a tarp into
    cordage, how to make a reverse wrap and more.

Prepper tarp use #4: Covering during building repair.
A tarpaulin provides shelter against the elements, wind, rain or
sunlight for campers, but this also provides emergency roof patch
material for homeowners!

Another use of a tarp is for covering windows or roofs that need
repair. Preppers a resourceful bunch and can use tarps in a
variety of ways to fix things:
  • cover a leaky roof ~ a tarp makes an excellent emergency
    roof patch
  • patch a broken window, too
  • cutting a tarp into strips for cording

Consider also, Tarp tape for repairs.  Whatever you use Gaffer
Power on, it holds it down solid but is very easily taken off,
leaving no residue. The adhesive will not peel back up. Your gear
will remain protected and completely undamaged.

Prepper tarp use #5: Flotation Device.
You can make a floatation device with help from a tarp. Here's
how to use a tarp as a flotation device.
Tarp use for hay bales
Prepper tarp use #3: Collect water.
Tarps repel water, but they can also help you collect water. Use a
tarp to gather water in an emergency and here are some ideas:

  • How to collect rainwater from your tarp with a water pit.
    You can trap rain with a tarp for survival. To harvest water in
    an emergency situation, dig a large circular pit, line it with a
    tarp. Next, weight the tarp with large stones or even heavy
    branches, then wait for the rain. Rainwater is clean and safe
    to drink, but it's better to filter this water if you have a
    filtration device as some debris may fall into your water pit,
    including bird droppings. Also, the water will go stagnant in
    just a few days. Remember this when the dark clouds gather
    and you're out of water: you can make your own mini
    reservoir using your tarp! Hopefully you have another tarp for

  • Scoop water. If you're a clever bushcraft type you can use a
    tarp to scoop water. Below, Kullcraven survival shows you
    how to do just this.
Heavy duty tarp
Above, Tervor Rasmussen  [rovides a detailed video on "How to make a
Hammock Tarp.

Prepper tarp use #9: Hauling stuff.
A tarp is useful for collecting food you forage or from a hunt.
Indeed it is also useful to help you haul the deceased.

Prepper tarp use #10: Make a survival stretcher!
On the trail if you have someone injured who needs
transportation for help a tarp can come in handy. A tarp is good
for triage ~ and here's
how to use a tarp to make a stretcher.

How will you use a tarp?
The list is endless! Use a tarp for whatever you need

Alternatives to Blue Tarps
On this page, you'll find a nice selection of alternatives to blue
tarps, which would attract too much attention when SHTF. Go
beyond the ordinary blue tarps with alternatives including
sliver/brown, green/brown or a white tarp for snow!

A tarp alone won't keep you completely dry. On the bright side,
having a tarp is better than not having one in an emergency
provided you know how to use it properly. If you use a tarp to
build a lean-to structure, make sure you build a layer of
insulation as suggested below by!
Prepper tarp use #6: Camouflage a car.
As a survivor, you'll want to hide your stuff or at least protect it
from the elements so that it will last longer. Better stay away
from bright blue tarps, which are highly visible. Right, camoflauge
netting tarp is a clever disguise for an entire vehicle! Start with
the netting tarp as a base, then add branches and foliage to help
you hideout

Prepper tarp use #7: Ideal for car survival.
Pack a tarp in the car as you'll find several ways to improvise:
  • Tow a car out of the mud.
  • Wrap a cargo bag on the roof of your car.
  • Wrap a hypothermia victim to keep in body heat.
  • Make an emergency rain poncho.

Prepper tarp use #8: Improvise a hammock.
A tarp with strong grommets, like the one pictured right, is ideal
for making a hammock.

  • Here's how to craft a hammock.
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