When it comes to camping, you have two basic schools. For one, you have the minimalists: these are they who believe that the whole point of camping is to get in touch with nature at its most primitive. On the other hand, you have the comfort campers: these are they who believe it is possible to have a good outing in the woods without subjecting yourself to unnecessary discomfort and exposure to the elements.
You clearly see this distinction in a camper’s choice of tent. Comfort campers will opt for the privacy and seam-sealed safety of a four-season tent while the minimalist can make do with nothing more than a tarp. If you want to try tarp camping, it is important to know what you are getting yourself into.
What Type of Tarp Should You Buy
One of the main attractions of tarp camping is that you can cut down on the weight that you have to carry. Because you can eliminate tent poles, carrying a tarp can make your backpack much lighter, but it is important to buy the right tarp. While there are special lightweight camping tarps that you can buy, they can be pricey. Thus, if you are just starting out, you should probably begin with a vinyl tarp. It will be cheap to buy, fully functional, and will help you to decide if you like tarp camping enough to purchase a more expensive camping tarp.
Using a Tarp for a Tent
When you use a tarp, you are not constrained to find a space to fit the structure of your tarp. Instead, you can configure your tarp to fit the terrain or conditions present on your outing. For example, on a clear night, you can simply throw your tarp out on the ground to protect your sleeping bag from dew and ground moisture and then enjoy the stars unimpeded by the structure of a tent. You can set up an A-frame tent by stringing a rope between two trees, and if you only have one tree available, you can set up a funnel-like structure around the base of the tree. Thus, a tarp allows you to set up camp in a variety of places that would be out of reach if you only had a tent.
Tarp camping can provide you a connection with nature that you simply would not have with a tent. However, if you like having the walls a tent between yourself and the unknown dangers lurking in the wild, tarp camping might not be right for you. To get started, swing by a retailer like Billboard Tarps and see what they have available for campers.