Welcome to our guide on how to set up a tarp when camping. We'll explain 6 ways you can pitch a tarp and how to stop rain collecting on your tarp.
A lightweight tarp is one of the most versatile and handy bits of camping equipment you can own. It’s lighter than a tent, goes up faster when you’re caught in an unexpected downpour and lets you sleep out in the wilderness.
The biggest tip we can give you for pitching your tarp is practice, practice, practice! That way it won't matter what the weather's doing or where you are, you'll have a secure and cosy shelter up in no time.
Tie a cord to one of the corner tie down loops.
Lie the tarp flat on the ground where you want it and peg out the other three corners.
Raise the fourth corner using your trekking pole. Insert the pole tip into the rig point and tension by pegging out the cord that you tied on earlier. A longer pole (like the CarbonLong Single trekking pole) gives you more headroom.
Pitch away from the wind for the best protection from the elements.
Home prep - you can prepare your tarp at home by threading your line through any ridge risers you may have on your tarp. Attach a clipper to one end of the line and tie a prussik knot about halfway along the line with another clipper attached to it (There are plenty of videos online showing this knot). Now pack your tarp into a stuff-bag trying to leave the 2 clippers hanging out the top for a swift set up.
Find two trees that have enough room between them to pitch your tarp and choose what height you would like it. Run the clipper (without the prussik) around the first tree and clip it back through the ridgeline and attach it to the centre point of your tarp.
Now work your way along the ridgeline to the other end of your tarp, slide the prussik knot along the line so you have enough line to wrap it around the second tree and clip it into the centre point of this side of the tarp. Pull the prussik knot towards the tree to tighten.
Work the line around the trees to slide the tarp left or right to position it over your camp or hammock, then attach guys to each corner of your tarp and peg them out.
Peg down the long edge of your tarp.
Remove your front wheel.
Create a ridge line from corner to corner. Tie a length of cord to the corner you wish to lift, secure it to the seat post or saddle of your bike and peg out. Your bike should be at approximately 90º to this ridge line. The illustration below shows the setup from above.
Peg down the last corner making the tarp taught(ish)
Attach a long loop of cord to two lifter points, wrap this around your wheel, pull tight and peg out.
This set up can be replicated with two walking poles in place of a bike
Attach lengths of cord to the tarp at the leading corners and at the lifter tabs halfway along the sides. Loop around the top of your sticks and down to the sand.
Fill some dry bags with sand and attach the cord.
Scoop out a hole in the sand and bury the bag. You could also bury a stick (this also works on snow).
Quickly attach a cord to your Rig Tarp with our Clipper accessory carabiners.
Place your stuff bag over the top of the paddle.
Pull the drawcord tight around the paddle blade.
Attach a clipper to the end of the drawcord and clip on to any of the Rigs attachment points.
Peg out your paddle using a cord.
You can Larks foot the stuff bag’s drawcord around the webbing loops that cover the tarp, eliminating the need for a Clipper.
Pass a piece of cord through an attachment point.
Tie a big double overhand knot in the cord.
Trap the cord in your vehicle door.
If you have a set of F171 walking poles use these in the opposite corners to prop the tarp up.
Leaving this set up over a long period in bad weather can cause water to seep along the cord and ‘drip’ into your vehicle.
You can stop water collecting on your tarp in several ways. Here are our top tips:
I have be out sailing and returned hungry to my tarp and stove. I have only raw food that needs cooking. The sides of my tarp have to be raised because it’s too warm. There are so may mosquitoes they are a cloud in my tent. They leave me alone when I light the stove and get it to smoke inside a bit.
A chimney resting on the ground and with a clamp on the chimney under a stove or roof jack supporting a square tarp as a centre pole is so simple but not used by any of the tents you have listed. A pole support keeping the tarp above a persons head in each corner at midpoint between centre and tent corner. No doors are needed because each side can be lifted for entry or ventilation. A stove with inside baffle can hang on the chimney. I have been experimenting with centre pole chimneys for years. It is a concept that works so well but must be so radical to be accepted. I am 82 and the chimney centre pole idea might die with me. Google chimpac
Check out what I have done.
I have been using my chimney as centre pole for years.
I have a simple connector to hang a stove on the chimney.
I make the roof jack from 2 tin can lids.
A square tarp can be pitched to give more usable space than a teepee. All sides tight to the ground or all all sides raised to cool off.
Stove has a baffle that stops all sparks from burning tent and makes cook top hotter than the chimney.
Stove is always vertical, frying and boiling on top and broiling in an open top kettle under the bottom ash pan. Google chimpac
Fine but how do you keep the midges out? Serioulsy – the idea is great and I like the super-lighweight bit of a tarp, but you are surely not thinking that anyone in Scotland would use it? And again in reality the weather changes so quickly here that again a tarp is questionable.
Back in my old army days, we relied on duck down bags and a poncho. Never got wet neither did my doss bag
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