5 Survival Uses For Tarps & Why You Should Stockpile Several

by | Nov 9, 2019 | Emergency Preparedness | 7 comments

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    Tarps can be essential in a prepper’s survival gear.  They are more useful than many realize and a great item to consider stockpiling and adding to your prepper supply.

    Not only do tarps have several important uses if disaster strikes, but they could be a valuable barterable item as well.  I don’t have to tell you that being able to trade something of value after the SHTF will come in very handy!

    Obviously, you can create a makeshift shelter if you are in a hurry with a tarp and some paracord. A “tarp tent” can be created by tying paracord to two trees and simply draping the tarp across the cord. But here are 5 other ways you can use a tarp in an emergency situation.

    1. Create a Shower Stall or Private Bathroom Area: You can create a small, private area to take care of your bathroom needs. This could be using a toilet or taking a shower.  To do this, tie the two end grommets along the short edge of the tarp to an overhanging branch to create a U-shaped curtain around a toilet. Drape a hose overhead for a shower stall.
    2. Build a debris raft: If you need to create a raft, use wind brush, saplings, and vines and create a large doughnut shape with them. Place this on top of the tarp, tie the corners of the tarp up, and secure with wraps of paracord.
    3. Make a Stretcher: If someone gets injured, it will be useful to be able to fashion a stretcher. With parachute cord and two long poles, you can easily make a stretcher to carry an injured companion.
    4. Gather Water: Funnel rain into a bucket using a tarp to increase your water supply. A light rainstorm caught in a 5×7 tarp will produce a couple of gallons of water.
    5. Added Warmth: a larger plastic tarp can keep warm! Don’t wrap yourself in a tarp as this will make you sweat, and you should avoid getting wet because you will only get colder. Instead, put the plastic tarp between two blankets. Then wrap yourself in the blankets. This sandwich will help you retain body heat.

    These are only five of ways a tarp can be useful in survival situations. There are many more things that can be created and made with tarps that make them worth owning as a part of your prepper gear. Many of the uses for tarps involve the use of paracord too, so don’t forget to grab some of that if you haven’t already!

    Preparedness is about finding many uses for your items and keeping those items that you know can be used over and over again.

    *This article contains affiliate links.


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      1. If you were reduced to scavenging, you would be using anything you could find.

        Also, it makes good sense, to think of improvisations.

        But, these woven, plastic tarps turn into Easter grass, under light use.

      2. Missed the biggest.

        I’ve seen severe storms take a whole section of shingles off a house. If you can cover it up fast, and keep water out, you can avoid a real sh!t sandwich, until a proper repair can be done. Have one of those mega size tarps and some one by two’s to nail it down with.

        If a hurricane or tornado hits and does major shingle damage, there may be a wait list for roofing materials and workers if hundreds of other houses are hit. There won’t be any tarps left in the stores either. Buy it now on sale, and store it for a rainy day.

      3. I’ve thought that a tarp of large enough size could also be used as the “skin” of an improvised Native American tipi style tent. The “lodge poles” could be any tall, straight thin branches or even some live saplings if they are tall enough and happen to be arranged suitably to begin with. Tipis have lots of neat features – among those they can be adjusted to provide added ventilation right at the ground level during warmer weather. Now granted, you are at more risk of creepy-crawlies getting into bed with you when it is set up that way, but then again the old tarp slung over a pole “pup” tent suffers from the same drawbacks, and arguably provides less shelter overall than a tipi. Since they have that hole in the middle at the top where the poles stick out, one can use a small fire for cooking or warmth inside. A smaller piece of tarp placed over the tips of the lodge poles and tied in place serves to keep rain and snow from falling inside, while still allowing ventilation if done properly.

      4. tarps suck id rather have a roll of plastic water cant go through.

      5. If you are going to bug out you want to get Camo Tarps, or camo printed tarps, or get a brown tarp and camo spray paint it to the color terrain you live by. You will want to be stealth camping, and you will want to stay hidden for your own safety. Only idiots buy bright blue tarps or blaze orange tarps, saying here I am come loot and shoot me and steal all my preps. You want to be hidden as much as possible Hidden and stealthy, means more safety and healthy. Go look at google sky maps of your own property. See how the colors of your junk in your yard sticks out. Stay hidden, stay under trees, watch out for deadfalls and hide your body silhouette and heat signature. St up a hammock and enjoy, requiring a layer of IR killing heat blanket under the tarp. They come in camo colors also.

      6. I got 10 of the smaller sized tarps at Harbour freight when they were on sale for a dollar. Never know when I might need them but they seemed like they will come in handy for many purposes in the future. Plus they always have the 20% off coupon available if a bigger tarp is needed.

      7. We’ve measured all our front facing exterior windows and have black tarps labeled on hand for every one, along with suitable nails and a hammer. If needed we could cover our windows on the inside with the tarps to keep light inside should that ever be required.

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