How to Put a Tarp Over a Tent – A Detailed Guide

Tarps, as many of you may know, are very conducive items and can be used for many different purposes. So you should, without a doubt, keep a tarp with you on any of your next camping trips.

Apart from being immensely versatile, tarps are also very cheap and are easy to pack.

Putting it directly over your tent can make your tent an even more comfortable hub, and the tarp is also useful in making sure your tent stays dry.

Setting up a tarp for camping in harsh weather will keep you and your mates safe from the elements.

You can also hang up your tarp in a million different ways, but it ultimately comes to your wants, abilities, and the resources you have got at your disposal.

Tarps are something you should be carrying with you and should know how to use them effectively. Tarps can be your saving grace if you ever forget your tent, as they can act as an option for a quick shelter that will protect you from rain.

For the best sleep possible on a camping trip, you must have a tarp with you.

Pitching your tent on top of a tarp will act as an extra layer of protection between you and the ground.

Reasons Why you Must have a Tarp with You

There are so many merits to having a tarp over your tent. Of course, we know these days tents have waterproof features in them, but many experts still advise having a tarp over your tent.

A tarp gives you complete protection from rain and helps in keeping you and your items dry while camping. Another reason why you must keep a tarp with you because we know how unpredictable the weather is these days, so you should always keep a tarp with you.

Not to forget the dew that happens in the morning, which can play spoilsport if your tent is not waterproof.

Tarps also help in blocking the direct sunlight from coming inside and keep you dry as well and stop the wind from getting in.

Setting Up a Tarp For Camping

Setting Up a Tarp For Camping

There are many different ways you can set up your tarp in different styles. It all depends on where your campsite is and your own preferences.

Let’s now take a deep look at different tarp setup styles.

A-Frame Style

The A-Frame style and method is probably the easiest of all in setting up a tarp over your tent, and it takes very minimal time.

This style of shelter is a triangle-shaped shelter that is built in a way that makes sure your body heat stays close.

All you need is collected wood and tarp to build this type of shelter. The A-Frame style also provides good protection from rain or snow, and its angle lets the snow and rain get off from the tarp easily.

What’s even greater about this style is it is not very big, and it traps heat nicely since it is close to your body. Airflow is improved when there is a lot of space.

A guyline, four stakes, two trees, or poles are things that you need to achieve this shelter style.

Some steps you must follow are:

Step 1: Look for an area with two trees around 10ft apart, but it all comes down to the size of your tent.

Step 2: Then, tie one guy line around each tree four to five feet from the ground. Your line must be tight otherwise, it can sag.

Step 3: Now the middle of the tarp has to get in touch with the cord, and for that to happen, you must throw the tarp over the line.

Step 4: At last, you have to put the stakes on each corner and check if it is loose. With more stakes and straps, you can add to the shelter.

Checking if the tent is rigid is very important as you want the rain to distribute evenly and flow down on either side.

The Wedge Style

If you want top sheltering and protection from rain, winds, or direct sunlight, then you should go for the wedge-style set-up.

Since it provides very good protection from rain, you can easily cook with a campfire or a gas stove. The wedge style also gives nice wind protection and has a decent floor.

To achieve this shelter style, you will need three guy lines, six stakes, two trees or poles.

Some steps you must follow are:

Step 1: First, you have to lay your tarp on the ground and make sure it stays firm at the long side edge with the help of two or four pegs.

Step 2: If you have got loop cords for the bottom fold with you, then great, but if you don’t, then with the help of an additional rope, you can pull the fold-out.

Step 3: Then, make a ridgeline between the two trees and fold the tarp that’s left over the ridgeline.

The wedge line is very protective and safe indeed, but you are not given any protection from the elements in all directions when setting up your tarp in this style.

If the wind direction changes, it can put you in a lot of trouble.

Arrow Head Style

Another way of putting a tarp over your tent is the arrowhead style, which is best for keeping supplies and gear in a protected space. It can also act as a small cozy shelter.

The arrowhead style is a terrific design as it will give you 35 square feet of living space and five feet of headroom at the opening.

Some steps you must follow are:

Step 1: A ridgeline must be made with the help of two poles or trees. That line will then run along the entrance of your choice.

Step 2: All you need to do now is throw a tarp across the ridgeline and also make sure to push the other corner to the ground.

Step 3: Now keep on pulling the corners of the tarp until it is rigid and then push them to the ground so that they stay in place. If you have done it the right way, the tarp should be in the shape of an arrowhead.

This style is super easy to execute and should be your go-to if you don’t have the right amount of rope needed for a bigger setup.

Teepee Style

The teepee is certainly not easy, to tell the truth. It is a bit difficult. But, that being said, it gives a substantial amount of shelter with enough space to stand up in.

The teepee-style shelter has a brilliant and effective build to it because it sheds wind and rain very nicely.

Some steps you must follow are:

Step1: First, hold the pole up at the center of where you want your teepee to be. A small tree with a not-so-big trunk is also good enough.

Step 2: Grab hold of a few ropes or cords now, and then you need to tie one end of the rope to the pole’s top and push the other end to the ground. Whichever ropes and cords you are using, you have to be certain that they are tight and there is enough of them so that you can distribute them evenly in a circle around the top of the pole.

Step 3: The hard bit is over now; you need to loosely put the tarp on top of the cords all the way around. And, you can use a rope to hold it in the right position.

The teepee style asks a lot from you in terms of effort and resources. But since it can be as tall and big as your material allows, it is tailor-made for extended outdoor stays.

How To Set up a Tarp Canopy

To set up a tarp canopy, you need a tent tarp, ropes for guidelines, stake, and tent poles or sticks.

Follow these steps if you will tie your tarp to a tree:

Step 1: First, check if there are trees that have some space between them so that you can hang your tarp canopy. Go for trees with limbs if you are not an experienced bloke.

Step 2: Get your first rope and throw it over the limb which is at the highest so that it can support the top of the tent.

Step 3: Now, take the rope, wrap it around the tree, and make sure it is firm.

Step 4: Now repeat the above-mentioned process with the other end of the rope to the other tree.

Step 5: In between two trees, you need to spread out the tarp in the area where you want it to go. Then, lay it on top of the rope, which should be lying on the ground.

Step 6: With the help of another piece of rope, attach the tarp to it.

Step 7: Go to the first tree and pull the end of the rope on that side tightly to pull the tarp up with the help of the rope’s tension. Then, repeat this on the other tree.

Step 8: After all this, your tarp should be hanging like a sheet over a rope suspended in between the trees.

Step 9: Now, tie the ropes to all four corners of the tarp and look for other things in the area to tie these ropes to.

Step 10: Properly secure the ropes now and see if your tarp is at an angle so that the rainwater can easily runoff.

Follow these steps if you will set up your tarp canopy on the ground:

Step 1: You have two choices, you can use tent poles that you can purchase separately or may get them with your tarp, or arrange sharp sticks roughly of the same size.

Step 2: Now, you have to start by spreading out the tarp that you are working with. And then roughly lay it in the place where you wish to set it up.

Step 3: It is very easy to tell where your stakes should be when it is all spread out. After this, push the stakes down into the ground a couple of inches away from the touchpoints on your tarp. To form a “backbone,” you should position them on either short side of the tarp, in the center.

Step 4: Now, you need to go around the tarp and hammer the stakes into the ground on each of the four corners, about a foot from the tarp. Then hammer the stakes about a yard away from the sticks or poles that are already there.

Step 5: Take the guideline at one of the two tent poles or sticks and loop it around the stick. Now, stretch it down to the stake in the ground a few feet away from the stick and once again loop it around.

Step 6: You must repeat the above-mentioned process on the two corners on either side of the center pole you just attached.

Step 7: Repeat the process on the rest of the three stakes with the help of the rest of the three guidelines out there.

Step 8: Now that all the lines are in place, you can now go back around in the exact order in which you tied them in and tighten them up so that they stay rigid.

How to Set Up a Rain Tarp For Camping

It all depends on the weather at the end of the day. Regardless of that, many people will need a tarp to be set up to shelter themselves from the rain or from the direct sunlight as well.

To be honest, it is not very easy to set up a rain tarp, but the steps that we will enlist below will certainly be of great assistance to you when you set up your rain tarp.

To set up a rain tarp, you need a tarp of the right dimension, two ropes of various lengths and types.

You will need 30 meters of primary rope, which you will use to hang the tarp. And 20 meters of secondary rope to tie down the corners of the tarp to the ground.

You will also need four heavy-duty stakes, a knife, and wooden sticks.

Things to Consider Before Setting Up a Rain Tarp

Number of Trees and Location

If there are trees close to each other in your campsite, you can easily decide to tie the ends of the tarp directly to trees.

To ensure rainwater funnels go down to one side, just make sure to tie one end of the tarp higher than the other. If your campsite doesn’t have trees that are not close to each other, don’t worry because you only need two trees.

Shaded Areas

We all know trees provide us loads of shade, but you only that shade when the sun is boiling in the sky. That’s why you need to choose an area for your tarp that’s not already sheltered by the trees.

You can use a shaded area between trees to easily set up tents.

Is it Close to the Fire Pit?

You don’t need to set up a rain tarp directly over a fire, but it is because tarps, although not being highly flammable when they are exposed to any sort of flame, can burn.

Little embers moving lightly through the air can melt the fabric of the tarp by landing on it that may create small holes through which water can seep.

Your ropes can also be spooked if they are left too close to heat an ember.

This is why you must make sure that your tarp and your ropes maintain a good amount of distance from the heat of the campfire.

Steps to Follow to Set Up a Rain Tarp

Step 1: First, you need to set up the primary rope. Find an area where you can set up the tarp between two trees. You can reposition the picnic table if you have to so that it is placed between two robust trees. Make sure the rope is tight, and when tying it, tie it as high as you can reach to have lots of headroom under the tarp.

Step 2: Then, like a clothesline, hang a tarp over the primary line. Position it nicely so that it stays centrally over the picnic table. Also, tie the secondary ropes to every one of the grommets.

Step 3: Now, you need to tie the ends of each secondary line to a ground stake. With the help of rock, you can pound each stake into the ground. For the tip to point back towards the center of the tarp, you need to angle the stakes well. When all of it is done, the tarp looks like an “A.” The ropes don’t have to be very tight as they will be tightened later.

Step 4: At last, you have to measure and cut four sticks so that their lengths are at least one foot longer than the tallest person out there. With the help of a knife, you need to shave the tips of each as in that way, and one inch can fit into the tent grommets. Then, place every tip inside the grommet, lift the tarp, and nicely position the sticks under each corner. To make sure your tarp is rigid, all you need to do is tighten each secondary line on each corner.

Final Thoughts

We hope our in-depth guide on how to put up a tarp over a tent will help you put up your own tarp. Follow all of the steps that we have mentioned above, and you will be good to go.

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