How to Use a Tarp for Survival

by | Dec 14, 2022 | Shelter

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If you ask any experienced outdoorsperson what they consider essential bushcraft gear, quality tarps will often top the list. The reason being, tarps are an incredibly useful tool for survival. From providing shelter and protection against the elements, to signaling for help and collecting water, we’ll show you how a tarp can be a valuable addition to your emergency preparedness kit.

We’ll also provide tips for choosing the right tarp and accessories, along with how to effectively use it in a variety of situations. Most importantly, we’ll show you how to use a tarp for survival.

Why Tarps are Great Survival Tools

Tarps make great survival tools mainly because of their versatility. For example, a tarp can be used as a shelter or a ground cover to protect you from the elements. Or, a tarp can be used to send signals to rescue teams if you get lost, or even a makeshift stretcher for anyone stranded in your party.

Versatility is just one reason tarps are the perfect item for your survival. Tarps also happen to be extremely durable, with properties that allow them to withstand  extreme weather such as high strong winds, rain, and even snow. This makes them perfect for any climate you decide to venture out to.

Lastly, tarps are easy to set up and can be quickly deployed in an emergency situation. They can also be easily repurposed for different uses, depending on the situation. For example, a tarp can be used as a ground cover under your tent to protect against the cold and wet, and then be quickly converted into a shelter by propping it up with branches or other materials. Overall, tarps are an essential tool for anyone looking to be prepared in a survival situation.

What Makes a Good Quality Tarp?

Tarps are reliable. However, if you’re going to use your tarp for survival, you need to make sure you invest in one that’s good quality. There are a few key characteristics that determine the quality of a tarp, and they largely depend on the intended use.

For bushcraft, the tarp will be used outdoors and needs to be waterproof and durable. Meaning, a polyethylene or nylon tarp would be a good choice. This will ensure that the tarp can provide reliable protection in no matter the environment. 

Second, the tarp should be well-made, with reinforced corners and sturdy grommets or loops for securing the tarp. This will ensure that the tarp is able to withstand the stress of being set up and torn down. Finally, the tarp should be large enough to meet your needs, but not so large that it is difficult to carry or store. This is especially important if you’re backpacking or out in the country, where every ounce of weight matters. 

How to Use a Tarp for Survival

The following 5 methods are just a few of the ways that a tarp can be used for survival:

  • Shelter: A tarp can be used to create a shelter by propping it up with branches or other materials. This can provide protection from the elements and create a comfortable space to rest and sleep.
  • Ground cover: A tarp can be used as a ground cover to protect against the cold and wet. This can help to keep you warm and dry, and can also prevent hypothermia.
  • Signal: A tarp can be used as a signal to rescuers by making it into a large flag or panel. This can be done by attaching the tarp to a long pole or other object and waving it in the air.
  • Stretcher: A tarp can be used as a makeshift stretcher by folding it into a triangle and using it to carry a person who is injured or unable to walk.
  • Water collection: A tarp can be used to collect and store rainwater for drinking. This can be done by positioning the tarp on a sloping surface and directing the water into a container.

Overall, the key to using a tarp for survival is to be creative and think of ways that it can be used to meet your needs in a given situation. It’s also important to practice setting up and using a tarp before you find yourself in a survival situation, so that you know how to use it quickly and effectively.

Accessories to Go Along with Your Tarp

There are a few accessories that can be useful when using a tarp for survival. These include ropes or cords to help secure the tarp, stakes or poles to support the tarp, and a knife or scissors to cut the tarp if needed. Additionally, you may want to include a repair kit in your emergency kit, in case the tarp becomes damaged and needs to be patched. 

These accessories can help to make the most of your tarp and ensure that it is ready to be deployed in an emergency situation. It’s a good idea to practice setting up and using the tarp with these accessories, so that you are familiar with how they work and can use them quickly and effectively in a survival situation.

Best Tarps for Survival

When it comes to choosing the best tarps for survival, there are a few key factors to consider. First, you’ll want to look for a tarp that is made of materials that can weather the elements. For tarps that are great for use outdoors, you’ll want to look into the following options.

Some popular options include the emergency survival tarp from Coghlan’s, the all-weather tarp from Survival Frog, and the heavy-duty tarp from Rain-Mate. These tarps are made of durable materials and are available in a range of sizes to suit different needs. They are also easy to set up and use, making them a good choice for anyone looking to add a tarp to their emergency preparedness kit. It’s important to do your research and compare different options to find the tarp that best meets your needs and budget.

Brian Segal

As an outdoor enthusiast, I was drawn to bushcraft at a young age. I constantly find myself trying to learn and improve on my survival skills, and enjoy writing about everything I discover to help pass along to others.

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At Bushcraft Wild, our goal is to help people learn the necessary skills to reconnect with nature. From basic survival skills to recreational camping, we’re confident you’ll find a way to spend more time in the great outdoors.

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