Paddy O’Connell was in Montana with his friend Erik for the opening of Beartooth Pass. The two had planned to ski for three days and camp at night in the woods near a creek.
During their trip, the area was getting pounded with wet snow. At the lower elevation where the two were camping, it was raining. According to Paddy, it was a “garden hose flow” type of rain.
Both skiers had tents, but the rain was so heavy, they were unable to keep their tents dry inside.
Luckily, Erik came prepared for this adventure and had a huge tarp. They tied the tarp to four different trees and moved their tents underneath. The tarp kept the tents dry so they were able to enjoy their time skiing and camp in a dry location.
Stay High and Dry
Even though these two weren’t exactly in a life-or-death situation, it would have been a long, cold, uncomfortable few days had they not had the tarp to keep their campsite dry.
The fact is a tarp is an extremely useful piece of gear that can serve a ton of different purposes — which is why you should definitely have one as part of your survival supplies. Not only should you have one stored in your home with your emergency gear, but you should also keep one in your car.
Of course, tarps come in all different sizes. I recommend keeping one that is at least big enough to fit your entire family comfortably underneath it in case it is the only thing keeping you dry.
That being said, here are my top five reasons you should keep a tarp in your vehicle, which will hopefully convince you to get one today.
- You can use it for shelter. If your car were to break down and you needed to leave your vehicle or couldn’t stay inside, you could use a tarp to provide at least some shelter from the elements. All you need is something to tie the tarp up to, like trees.
- You can carry things. Whether you need to move a person or firewood, a tarp can make the lifting and transporting a lot easier. Simply have two people, one on each end, and carry the tarp like it’s a stretcher.
- You can use it to collect water. Obviously, water is critical to survival. If you were stranded in your car and found a water source, you could use a tarp to collect and contain the water for drinking. Of course, you will want to filter the water if possible. A tarp can also help you carry water from its source to your family in case they are unable to move.
- You can hide your car or gear. If you are simply lost and get stuck somewhere, then you probably want people to see your car. On the other hand, if you were bugging out during a dangerous event, you may want to ditch your car or gear and a tarp can help hide it (if you have the right color tarp).
- You can build a hammock. Depending on the situation, if you have to spend the night outdoors, you’ll probably want to be off the ground. Sleeping in a hammock will help you protect you from water, insects and uncomfortable terrain that might make sleeping on the ground impossible. This is why you should spend the money on a quality tarp that can hold your weight.
Despite being a very simple piece of material, a tarp is an essential addition to your survival gear. Remember to keep one in your vehicle as well as your home because you never know when you might need it.