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How To Make a Tarp Shelter – 15 Designs

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Having in your survival bag a versatile item like a tarp will come in handy during an emergency situation. It will help you gather water, camouflage your supplies and it will provide a good shelter in case nothing else is available. Improvising a basic tarp shelter can keep your head dry, it will help you conserve heat and it provides a sense of comfort and safety.

A polyethylene tarp will go a long way and you should definitely get one for your bug out bag. It is lightweight, durable, draft-proof and waterproof. They come in a variety of sizes and color, and they won’t burn a hole in your wallet.

Making a tarp shelter is easy and there are dozens of different ways and patterns to construct a suitable shelter with only a single tarp.

Before you make your tarp shelter you must consider the following:



The location of your shelter is very important and you should stop and think about it before building your shelter. The direction from which the wind is blowing should be taken into account or your shelter will sail away. The ground should be comfortable enough if you plan to get some sleep. Pointy rocks will keep you awake. The ground should slope slightly for the water to runoff. If there is no slope, you will have to dig some trenches around your shelter to aid drainage. Take into account the purpose of the shelter and make it as large as it needs to be. Consider the weather and chose a model that is stable and won’t collapse if rain or snow are expected.

For all the shelter examples provided here, you can use a 10X10 foot tarp.

1. The A-frame tarp shelter

The A-Frame shelter is probably the most common shelter one can make. It can be made by stringing the paracord between two trees. Draping over the tarp and staking it down are the final steps required to make this common shelter. The 30-degree angle of the tarp’s roof will create a ten foot-long living area. The shelter will be 8.6 feet wide and 2.5 feet tall. This shelter provides a good rain and snow runoff and a good wind deflection. The downside of the A-frame shelter is that there is no floor and if you haven’t stretchered the paracrod tight enough, there will be sagging in the middle.

2. The Sunshade tarp shelter

To create this type of shelter you will need four anchoring points to which you will tie the paracord. This is a shelter parallel to the ground and it’s designed to provide 100 square feet of shade against the sun. some people use this type of shelter during the rain because the water will pool in the middle and it’s easier to collect it. To make it sturdier you can add support poles to…