This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, I’ll receive compensation at no extra cost to you.
Selecting the Right Tarp for Your Needs
There are several different types of tarps on the market. Each one has pros and cons when it comes to use for shelters, packing in a BOB or keeping in your home or car. You need to first identify the purpose for the tarp and look at all other possible uses, especially if you’re bugging out on foot for any distance. Weight in that case plays a huge role in the best possible tarp to use.
Size is important when it comes to tarp. You need to have a tarp that accommodates the whole family or several smaller tarps. The larger the tarp or the more tarps you have, the more you must be concerned about weight. Military ponchos are the right size for a small shelter for one and can also create a larger open end shelter for four. It doubles as rain gear, ground cover and is already camouflaged to help conceal your location. The larger the tarp, the more difficult it is to carry. The larger the tent you create, the longer it takes to set up and that can mean disaster when you’re on the run.
The length of stay and your weather also makes a difference in the type and size of tarp to carry. If you’re going to be on foot for a few days to get to a permanent location with a building, you only need the tarp to last a few days, so lighter weight tarp can be used. Some survivalists even use heavy duty construction garbage bags and fill them with leaves or pine needles then sleep inside like a sleeping bag. Tarps with grommets are easiest to use, since you already have a place for the para cord or stakes. A tarp tent can be made with a 9′ X 12′ tarp for two adults depending how you configure the tent and if you use part of the tarp to cover the ground.
There are all types of materials, with the cheapest being poly blue or brown tarp. Go for the brown, it’s less conspicuous in the woods. Reflective tarp will help keep out the sun and insulate the inside, but it also can give away your position. That can be dangerous when there’s civil unrest. Egret nylon tarp is rip-stop nylon with a coating of waterproof urethane. It has grommets every three feet. This tarp only weighs 2 pounds 9 oz. for a 10’X12′ piece. The color green is perfect for hiding in wooded areas.
You can use tarps for other things besides your tent. A tarp can be used as a flotation device. A camouflage tarp can be used to hide your car if you’re bugging out in a vehicle. It can make an emergency rain poncho, hammock, catch rainwater, act as a litter or as a tow strap when a car gets stuck on the boogie out of town. These light weight survival tools have a number of uses and should be part of your survival kit and bug out bag. Carry one in the trunk, because even if there isn’t a major disaster, it can be helpful for those smaller personal disasters when you’re on the road.