One of the most basic pieces of camping equipment that you’ll see nearly every camper carry with them is a good old standard tarp. Some are old, some are new, some are tattered and torn but nearly every camper you see has at least one packed for their camping trip.
Much of the benefit of bringing a tarp with you is that it can be used for just about anything you can imagine. You can lay the tarp underneath your tent to keep moisture from seeping up from the ground. A tarp that has been tossed over top of your tent can keep the rain and dew off. It can be used to to cover your equipment such as your grill, bicycles, boxes and containers. Tarps can also be used to block wind from your screened dining tent on days when the wind is blowing cold through the campground. You can use it to keep your wood dry or to line the back of your truck to keep it from getting scratched or to collect dirt from used camping gear.
They’re not expensive to buy and are known to last a long time. A good tarp can be made of canvas or of polyethylene, vinyl, or mesh. Most have grommets inserted on the edges to assist you when covering your camping gear and you need to tie the tarp. They generally have strongly reinforced edges to keep them from tearing and most can take quite a beating. If you’re in a humid area, vinyl tarps will resist mildew and they are flame resistant. Most will resist oil and stains.
If you don’t have a tarp already packed with your camping gear you should consider getting one. Add it to your camping checklist regardless of whether you are an RVer, a cabin camper, a tent camper, someone with a pop-up, or just planning to sleep out in the open. You’ll find many uses for that tarp before you return home.