Tarp questions (1 Viewer)


Jun 15, 2017
8811 breezewood drive Pittsburgh pa 15237
Hey all, I'm planning on using a tarp on my travels instead of a tent to save weight but I have some questions. I tried searching for them all over the site but couldn't find anything that would answer my questions. Okay, now to the questions:

1. I've heard tyvek house wrap makes for a good light weight tarp, I got myself something from a construction site that seems exactly the same but isn't from the tyvek company, do you think it will be as durable and effective or is that specific to tyvek?

2. If that tarp won't be good enough what else could I use that would be good enough? I really want it to be super cheap or free, light weight in my pack, to not stick out like a sore thumb when set up in the woods, and obviously for it be waterproof (no duh).

3. As basic as this sounds, how do you make a rain shelter from a tarp??? Really, I kinda couldn't find much on this here. It just has to keep us dry from rain, that's all.

4. How much tarp will I need? Like dimension wise. It'll be for three people.

That's all of them, if you have any answers or just any tips at all that'd be great. Thanks everyone!
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StP Supporter
Jun 14, 2016
Cincinnati ,OH
YouTube how to make a tarp shelter,hundreds of videos. I would think it would be easier for each person to have their own tarp as opposed to one giant one for three. I always burrito it at night in the rain. Or if it's day time make a little shelter I can sit under.


I deleted myself

Pretty good starter video. For bad weather I tie one corner to a tree then I stake down the other three sides.

If you are using an improvised tarp without tie outs you can wrap a pebble in the corners of the tarp and then tie a slip or jamnot around the pebble if that makes sense.

Then a truckers hitch or marlin spike etc to the stake. Bowline and Truckers hitches are the most important shelter knots and prussiks help too. All very simple knots. Here's a beginner knot video. Its on STP no worries about viruses.

I rock 10x10' tarp but I'm a big guy. If u are smaller u can get by with less.

Truckers Hitch



Mastering the Art of Houselessness
Staff member
Dec 12, 2014
Northern Arizona
Ah, the tarp shelter the pinnacle of outdoor living.

Any plastic wrap that is black, that you find from a construction site will be as good as Tyvec.

Personally, I wouldnt fuck around with anything other than an actual, grommeted, tarp. Remember, that is the only thing thats going to save you from driving rain or snow, sometimes at 60 MPH if you are on a train. Go to Walmart, go to the outdoor section,, and buy either the green lightweight, or brown heavy duty, 8'x10' tarp. $15 MAX.

Also buy camo paracord, probably about 50-100' of it. $5 max.

My personal setup for a shelter is running a low hanging taught line between 2 trees, draping the tarp long ways over it, and having short lines attached to the gromMets on alL 4 corners to either stake or Rock down. This will from an "A-frame" shelter. Then I lay cardbord, a sleeping pad, or another tarp down underneath and you are completely covered from the elements, as long as you make sure the open ends are not facing into the wind.

I wouldnt mess around with anything smaller than an 8'x10' tarp, but I'm also 6'1". Remember, you should have a littler exTra on each end to make sure your gear/boots/bag has a place to hide as well.

Desperado Deluxe

Apr 20, 2010
I have an 8x10 camo tarp and use a single 50ft? Piece of para cord with a loop on one end

bring the looped end around a tree about 4 ft up and bring the other end of the cord through the loop. Bring the cord straight out from the tree and tie it to a rock or stake it Down. Drape the tarp over it and stake the grommeted ends of the tarp to the ground (tent stakes or sticks) as tight as you can get the tarp. Viola shelter.

you can also use two lines from the tree to make it more spacious by folding folding the cord in half using the middle as the loop and pulling the two ends through and staking them in about 45 degrees or so apart to support the tarp better. Haven't exactly done this but should work in theory.

Never cut your cord and avoid making knots in it (except for the loop)

Hobo Mud

Nov 25, 2015
Columbia, Tennessee
You simply can not go wrong with a tarp. Light weight, easy set up, many different shelter style's can be made from this simple material. I can't stand tents unless it is a situation to which I am not traveling such as camping for a weekend.

Tents to me are heavy, cumbersome and are easy to damage and it can be a pain in the rear to replace the parts depending on your location. As stated that are many youtube videos that will show you how to set up different types of shelters using tarps.

i offten use mine to make a hammock. The possibilities are endless with a tarp. Safe travels.

Desperado Deluxe

Apr 20, 2010
Thank you all!!! Im currently on the look out for an 8x10 brown poly tarp because of your advice and if I don't find one I'll just buy one. Thanks for the advice!!!
Wallys sometimes has woodland camo one for around $10. Avoid the double layer ones save yourself some weight.

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