How to Put a Tarp Over a Tent?

 How to Put a Tarp Over a Tent

Those who love to explore the unknown places, virgin or exotic locations, no matter if it is a snow-laden mountain or dense forest or tribal areas or rocky hill or barren island, anywhere everywhere. This is called the adventure which actually lives in your mind and always provokes one to come out of routine and boring life and enjoy the thrilling experience. I am sure, you’re probably one of them or you may not have any reason for following this article.

The Journey Begins

To go for this kind of uncertain journey, you cannot predict what you’re going to face there. Therefore, you need some essential things that should be filled in your backpack. From a smaller toothbrush to a bigger sleeping bed, there are so many things that often you would get confused about which one is not to be taken. One such most vital thing is a tent that can assure you to build a makeshift shelter that you need badly at a time when you decide to take much-needed rest in any hostile place. But if it is a rainy season, and you have to spend your days under the downpour, then your tent could hardly manage to keep itself dry and it may put you in trouble.  At this adverse condition, there is one thing that can help you to handle this situation, it is called a tarp.

Let’s Meet With A Tarp

A tarp is a type of waterproof sheet that is set up over a tent for various purposes. This touring is one of the vital accessories helpful and versatile but inexpensive material that must be taken while you’re out for hiking or touring.

 Such as keeping the tent dry while it is raining, even also keeps the tent cool by providing much-needed shed under the scorching heat of the sun. Apart from that, you can use it as a tent to stay in, if you don’t want to include a tent in your luggage to keep it light for hiking or traveling. While in your outings, you don’t need to be always in the same situation. There are different types of tarp available to match a different conditions and they could be set up differently.

How to Set Up A Tarp

As I’ve told that setting up a tarp over a tent doesn’t follow any single way but there are different ways to do this job. It depends on the condition of the place or the campsite, how much time you have, and what kind of accessories you have taken. Having trees close by your campsite helps you to set the tarp easily, but if you don’t have any tree nearby then you have to follow some different way to put on the tarp. In that case, you must have some accessories in your backpack to make it possible.

Now it’s time to go for setting up a tarp over a tent following all the possible ways.

Setting Up A Tarp Without Using Tent Poles

If you decide to set up your camp at a place where a lot of trees all around then it is very easy for you to put up a tarp there using ropes only. All you need to choose the spot and tie a rope to every end of the tarp and the other ends of every rope will be tied with a branch of each tree. Finally, tie all the ropes with each other to provide enough strength so that the tarp would not be loosened up easily. If you have to put the tarp a little higher so that the tent underneath could stand easily, then you have to tie the ropes with higher branches of the trees using carabiners and also some weight at the end of the ropes.

There would be a chance of tearing grommets at the ends of the tarp if they could not bear the extra weight that you put on to keep the tarp straight. In that case, you must use extra ropes to wrap the grommets and tighten them separately to provide them more strength to carry the load. There is another that is called the Cow Hitch knot also provides much strength to grommets.

If you want to give the tarp a tent-like finish so that it can drain out the rainwater, then you have to tie one end of a rope at the center of it and the other end of the rope should be tied with a higher branch of the tree.

Also, read:[Best Easy Way] How to Make a Pop Up Tent?

Setting Up A Tarp Using Tent Poles

If you’re out to have an adventure, and then you never expect everything will go in your favor or you’ll get everything whatever you need so easily. Suppose, you have to sift your campsite to a place without having any trees. Then the tent poles that you’ve brought along with you certainly going to come into action.

The number of tent poles that are required depends upon the size of the tarp. If it is 10’ x 10’ in size then you need 4 tent poles, one for each end. If it is bigger, then the number varies anything among 5-8. You may see a little drop in the middle of the tarp after finishing the tying. This may not a problem but if you want to raise the middle higher then you have to fix a pole in the center. This kind of shape helps you to drain off the water while raining. Besides, having a center pole means you can set up a tent quite easily underneath.

To set up a tarp using tent poles, a method should be followed by steps. Let’s follow them-

Step 1

Find out the suitable where you like to place your campsite. Then bring out and unfold the tarp that you have brought along with you.

Step 2

Move 3 to 4 feet away from each corner of the tarp. Take some ground stakes and set them a little distance from one after another, and then drive them into the ground using a hammer. Don’t drive them entirely into the ground but keep a little portion of each of them open at a 30° angle.

Step 3

Attach the sharp end of the tent pole into the grommet of each corner, adjust them according to the height that you required, and then you have to tie a loop with a rope of each corner. Wrap the loops around the end of the pole 2/3 times.

Step 4

You need to attach the other end of the ropes to the ground stakes and also you can adjust ( tighten or loosening ) tension easily by adjusting the ropes.

Step 5

Apart from all these, if you want to raise the tarp higher from the center, then you have to fix a center pole in the middle of the tarp. But there is a problem, in windy times it is hard to keep the tarp stable, and in this way, a puncture can easily be created in the middle of the tarp for having the center pole. To prevent this you have to fix the pole upside down to get the wider end on the upper side.

Also read: How to Stay Cool While Camping?

Setting Up A Tarp Using Ridgeline

If you want to give the shape of your tarp like a peak of a roof vertically right from the middle then you have to set your tarp using a ridgeline. This type of method is applied to the tarp with a bigger size. Besides, this provides much stronger than the other type of setting. Moreover, as it is required to tie the rope with two trees that fall in one line and as the load is going to be divided between them, then none of them has to bear the entire load of the tarp, so it doesn’t fall apart easily by the gust of wind during heavy downpour keeping you safe inside.

To do this job you have to maintain the following steps-

Step 1

The two selected trees must be laid in one line facing each other. The distance between them should be gone with your requirement, which means what size do you need to accommodate all your belongings inside.

Step 2

You have to take a rope with a larger diameter (ridgeline) and then throw it to a branch close to the trunk which should be usually stronger enough to take some extra load.

Step 3

Now, you have to lift the rope up using one end of it to your desired height where the tarp to be suspended so that you’ll get enough space underneath to set up a tent quite comfortably. If you want to do it more efficiently, you have to fix two biners at the ends of the tarp so that you just need to move the rope following the line bringing the biners at the right point.

Step 4

Next, the ridgeline is kept in place and it needs to be tied off ensuring the rope is close to the trunk of a tree. After that, the rope is allowed to go to the other end.

Step 5

If you’re thinking of using an extension, let the lighter rope go through each of the center biners.

Step 6

When the rope is lying on the ground spread the tarp over it and while doing this you must make sure the tarp is well-positioned to get an equal balance from each side of the ridgeline.

Step 7

Finally, it is time to elevate the tarp by lifting one end of the ridgeline. Once it reaches scheduled height, the tarp has to be tied using an overhand knot to get the best result. Join the loop to the biner and then send the rope around the other tree and again back through the biner.

Step 8

Once the suspension of the tarp and the setting of the ridgeline is done, you have to go for securing the corner ropes, and to do this you should use a cow hitch.

Step 9

After the tarp is being opened and all four ends are extended the height and the angle of the tarp can be varied by adjusting the tension of the corner ropes.

Also read: How To Pack A Tent In A Backpack

Putting Up An Extension Tarp

Having a single tarp over the tent doesn’t always solve your need. Sometimes you need extra protection over your head, or you need to cover some extra ground to get much-needed extra heat from the campfires, even sometimes you need some extra space to accommodate a large group of people. In all these cases, you have to put on an extension tarp despite having an existing one.

To make this possible you have to go through this process.

Step 1

To install the extension tarp, you have to attach some lighter ropes to all 4 ends of the extension tarp.

Step 2

When the tying is done, raise the extension tarp to the height that you have required.

Step 3

Now, the rope ends should be tied to the trees to secure the extension of the tarp. It is not that you have to look for any strong trees for this purpose. A small tree or a bush with a little strength is quite enough for it.

Step 4

Now, fix one end of two ropes to the lower corners of the extension tarp and the other ends will be tied with different bushes so that your extended tarp is easily spread out as per the angles.

Also read: [TOP 10] Best ZIP Together Sleeping Bags For Couples

Advantages Of A Tarp

Setting a tarp over a tent has its benefits. Let’s find out some of them.

1. If you have bought a new tent, then you always keep looking to protect it from early damage from being scratched or leaked. A tarp over it can act like a second shield that protects the tent from these troubles.

2. If you’re out for camping during rain, there would be a definite chance to face a heavy downpour with a gust of wind if you’re in a hill area or a rainwater forest. If that so, then it is difficult for a tent only to keep you dry and also this condition perhaps could collapse the whole tent. Having a tarp means, it can take some of the pressure of wind only to save your tent.

3. If you have to place your tent under the pines, then there must be a chance of pine needles or acorns to fall on the tent roof leaving a number of holes there. If you may put on a tarp over your tent hopefully you may get the much-needed protection.

Disadvantages Of A Tarp

1. Sometimes, a good proportion of moisture may come from the sweat and breathe of the people living inside the tent. Or, if your campsite is beside a stream the humid air may get inside of your tent making you condensate. In those cases, you should not put a tarp over the tent which prevents fresh air to come inside.

2. When you sleep at night a little number of water drops you exhale usually go out through the vents of the tent. But if you have a tarp over the tent, then the drops of water may be trapped inside leaving you in a humid and suffocating condition inside.

3. If your journey starts during the favorable weather, then you may consider twice including a tarp with your other accessories as it adds an extra load along with your heavy backpack.


Despite having a tent along with your backpack, you cannot deny the worth of taking a tarp as an extra support to handle the hostile situation if required. A journey towards an unknown destination is always a challenge to face, as you never guess what is going to come on the way. Therefore, if you are prepared as much as you can if you are equipped with almost every sort of accessories that you could arrange then surely your journey will not only become tremendously successful but also will be a joyful experience that you remember throughout your life. Bon Voyage!!!

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