Few pieces of camping equipment are as versatile as a tarp. So, instead of leaving it sitting at the bottom of your camping box, take it out and see what you can do with it. Not sure where to start? Here are 15 ways to get creative at the campsite.
1. Protect the bottom of your tent: The most basic use of a standard poly tarp is to protect the bottom of your tent from sticks or stones that can rip or puncture the material.
2. Create a makeshift shelter: If your campsite doesn't have a wooden shelter, it's helpful to create a covered space for your kitchen items and coolers. You can use any kind of tarp for this, though a simple poly tarp will do the trick.
3. Protect your tent in rain: In the event that you forget or lose your rainfly, a tarp is the next best thing. Set your tent between two trees, and use branches to tie the tarp above.
4. Cover your equipment: Whether you're equipment is in an exposed truck bed or propped on the ground next to your car, strap a tarp over the top to protect your gear from rain and inclement weather.
5. Create a sleeping shelter: When camping without a tent, you should know how to use a tarp; this will be your best bet for staying warm and dry at night. String the tarp between two trees for a hammock shelter or an A-frame tent.
6. Shelter your hiking lunch break: Because tarps are so light, you can toss one in your day hiking bag and use it for a lunch shelter. Bring a mesh tarp to protect your group from the scorching sun or poly tarp for shelter from the rain.
7. Block wind in your campsite: Particularly winding days at the campsite are less than ideal, but hanging a tarp from trees can block some of that. You can also block the wind from your fire at night, or your kitchen area during the day.