Tarp Camping - Things to Consider
- Poles - When tarp camping, something you have to consider is what you're going to use as poles. If you're hiking somewhere heavily forested you can always just use the trees at your campsite or even rig up some deadfall as poles. Another excellent option, however, is to bring trekking poles along with you. They're useful for hiking and can also double as poles when tarp camping, making them a great dual use item.
- Bugs - Another thing to consider when tarp camping is that you'll be exposed to bugs at night. Depending on where you are and the season this may or may not be a problem, but bugs can ruin an otherwise good nights sleep, so it helps to be prepared. You could, for instance, just wear a head net inside your sleeping bag. You could also take along a lightweight bug bivy, attach a pyramid bug net to your camping tarp, or even use a tarp, such as the GoLite Shangri-La 1, with its specialized bug net attachment.
Tarp Camping - Different Kinds of Camping Tarps
- Poncho Tarps - The most versatile camping tarp you can take with you in to the outdoors is a poncho tarp. Poncho tarps can be used as a poncho for rain gear, and also as a tarp to keep your dry at night. Be careful though, because poncho tarps can only do one of those things at a time. When you probably wont need rain gear, however, they make an ideal camping tarp choice. The GoLite Poncho Tarp is one popular poncho tarp.
- Rectangular Tarps - The basic tarp setup is a rectangular tarp, which can be pitched in a variety of different ways. It's a versatile design and is useful as a tarp, but also as a potential ground sheet, pack cover or even emergency bivy bag. The White Lightnin' Tarp from Granite Gear is a good example of this style.
- Shaped Tarps - There are also shaped tarps that are specially designed to work as a camping tarp and provide maximum protection from the elements. They often go right down to the ground and include a door. Some, such as the GoLite Shangri-La 1, have attachments that can be purchased to provide protection from mosquitoes and other creatures found in the outdoors when tarp camping. The Shangri-La also comes in a number of different sizes, including a 2, 3 and 5 person version.