Survival Tarp

In an SHTF scenario in which you have to leave your home for any period of time, you have to keep in mind whether you have other places to take shelter or a bug out vehicle to crash in. Lucky for you if you have either, but what if you don’t? Or maybe the way to your bug out location is blocked? Your last resort would be a bug out location in which you will need to build a shelter of your own.


In this post, we will discuss why it is a good idea to include a survival tarp in your bug out bag.

Why Include a Tarp for Survival in My Bug Out Bag?

Tarps are one of the most versatile ways to easily make a shelter. Nearly anyone can set one up, and they are surprisingly durable against the elements. It is a popular tool among hikers and campers, some of which most prefer tarps over tents. A tarp is the best option if you do not have general knowledge on how to build traditional shelters— it’s simple enough to arrange and set up without much instruction.

Other Uses For Tarps In Survival Situations


The primary purpose of a survival tarp is to quickly put a roof over your head. It provides protection from the sun and the rain. Depending on the type of tarp, it can be durable enough to withstand string winds and heavy downpours, just as long as you tie it tightly and correctly. Above all, a tarp allows you to build a shelter in a matter of minutes.


Tarps can conceal you, especially at night, to avoid getting discovered by unwanted strangers, animals, or anything that can compromise your safety. In this case, you use camouflage tarps or any natural color that you think that might blend in with your location.

Keeping Dry

As mentioned before, tarps can provide shelter where you can keep yourself dry. You can also protect any valuable resources and equipment that can get damaged if soaked in water.

Ground Sheet

Tarps can be used to be an excellent barrier between your body and the bare ground. A high-quality tarp can protect you from harmful and annoying insect bites as well as moisture caused by cold temperatures and the rain. It is highly recommended to create an extra layer beneath you and the ground by using tarps if you are planning to lie down to rest or sleep. 

Water Collection

Dehydration is the number one enemy in any survival scenario. Fortunately, with the help of tarp to funnel rainwater, you can collect a considerable amount of water.

Hauling Loads

Tarps can give assistance in carrying loads which might not be easy to manage. You just have to make sure the tarp you are going to be using for the job is durable enough to drag around, or else you might rip your tarp. 

Types of Tarp Materials


Polyethylene plastic tarps are commonly used for the major reason that they are cheap. They are not guaranteed to last long and they are generally inconsistent in quality.


Polyester tarps are budget-friendly and considered as an average material for tarps in terms of quality.


Dyneema tarps are durable and have considerable weight material. It’s quite an expensive material, but you get what you pay for.


Nylon tarps are compact and lightweight which make them suitable for any survival situation. However, they can be expensive due to the high-quality grommets and other materials they’re made from. Again, you end up paying for quality, which isn’t a bad thing but just something to be aware of.


Tyvek tarps are also considered to be one of the best options for survival. Aside from being economical, it is designed to be durable and also features a moisture-barrier which makes it very useful. Unfortunately, the downsides to Tyvek are its stiffness, which can create a lot of noise and can be harder to arrange or shape according to your needs. Lastly, they are difficult to find with grommets for tying down. 

Size Differences

Generally, tarps come in rectangular and square shapes and many different sizes. Depending largely on the size and type of material your tarp is made from, you may find some to be tough to store. Obviously, larger tarps with thick layers can easily fill out serious space in your bug out bag. Because a tarp can get bulky and it might take up a lot of room, some preppers like to set them up so that they are strapped to the outside of their bug out bag. Even so, tarps do not add too much weight and are unlikely to slow you down when you’re traveling on foot.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, tarps are very versatile and can help us in many different ways in a SHTF or survival situation. Just always keep in mind that the type of material of tarp you’re going to use heavily depends on the specific use you have in mind.