Tarpology is a set of skills and experience necessary to set up a shelter adjusted to our needs and conditions.
Lower Paleolithic Period
In the Lower Paleolithic Period men learned to make their own comfortable shelters using tree branches as soon as they had discovered that if properly arranged, they would provide enough space to serve as a protection against rain and cold winds. One of such first big shelters (4 x 8 m), reinforced with stones, was discovered in Terra Amata. It is estimated to have been constructed around 430- 380 thousand years ago.
It was only 1.5 km away from Terra Amata and some 200 thousand years later (about 160 thousand years ago) that the dwellers of the Grotto of Nazareth improved their shelter by covering it with animals furs. The use of animal skins significantly improved the air tightness and thermal comfort. That kept the dwellers dry and warm enough to survive during cold weather. This helped people survive the following severe winters. Finally encouraged them to move towards the north of Europe.
Upper Paleolithic Period
During the Upper Paleolithic Period humans began to construct shelters consisting of several rooms. The tarpology began :-). First, they were usually built from wood, animal bones and skins. Towards the end of the Ice Age (the Magdalenian culture around 18 thousand years ago),when organized collective, hunting became a common practice, people had to move from place to place and be able to establish their new camps quickly and efficiently. It was then that animal skins (and later the tarp and the tent itself) gained enormous popularity as waterproof portable shelters
Despite the fact that quite a long time has passed since those days, the waterproof tarp is still one of the most useful items wherever you need a lightweight all-weather protection against winds, cold and…heat.
It is probably the need for connection with the wild that makes part of human nature. We find ourselves drawn to natural shelters, at least in their original version.
(Some of us say they have a bee in their bonnet while others say they have the bushman’s heart…).
The first shelters were covered with leaves, which were subsequently replaced by animal skins, greased (and later rubberized canvas) and finally nylon materials. Now tarps are made from various hybrid materials where each side has different physical parameters.
THERMO TARP is a perfect solution.
If you have a tarp and some “tarpology” experience in using of the existing environmental conditions (such as trees, rocks, etc) and your equipment (a rope, poles, paddles or a bicycle), you can make a shelter tailored to your needs. In many situations, such shelters are better than tents. For example, a lightweight tarp shelter (700g) provides far more space than a tent of similar weight..
TARP- Type A shelter
This A-frame tarp shelter provides a good sunshade and protection against rains and winds. Jump under your tarp and wait out bad weather! You can even spend all night in your hammock or on the mattress.
The greatest advantage of this design is its simplicity and relatively large space under the tarp. You should realize however that tarps are drafty and they will not protect you against driving rain.
The best idea is to stretch the wall and the roof of the tarp on a rope between two trees. The minimum distance between the trees should be the same as the width of the tarp ~2m or poles. The height of approximately 140 cm (depending on the wall slope angle). Then hang the tarp over the rope in such a way that the grommets located in ¼ of the long side towards the free end match up the line of the rope. When you have constructed your tarp according to the following instruction, stretch it by running the rope through the loops and passing sticks through them. Finally adjust the height of the rope and stretch the wall of the shelter.
If your rope is too short, you can tie the ends of two shorter lengths of rope to the grommets. In such case, it is recommended that at least one rope should be tied by rubber tension cord. That will ensure the desired tension and flexibility of the tarp shelter..
With the use of two ropes, stretch the remaining section of the tarp to achieve a desired slope angle by anchoring the ropes to the ground, nearby trees, bushes, etc.
The basic variations of this design include the tarps with two sloping sides of different length or even the tarp pitched as a single sloping wall, assembled on or above the ground, depending on specific environmental conditions, such as weather and terrain.
If the day is warm and windless, suspend Thermo tarp relatively high with its silver side on the upwards. That will improve the air circulation and make the sunshine reflect, providing the pleasant coolness of the shade underneath.
In windy conditions prepare a relatively flat roof (with the silver side down) and two sloping sides of different length. The longer side should be placed upwind so that the wind could slip over the tarp.
In adverse weather conditions including rain or snow, prepare a steeply sloped roof. The rain or snow will run off the roof faster. The inwardly directed thermal insulation in close proximity could protect the user from hypothermia.
If severe weather is approaching, and you have still enough time to prepare a better protection, do not hesitate to opt for one of the designs described below.
TARP- Type B shelter
This easy to make, comfortable tarp shelter is a little similar to type A. It provides overnight comfort without a mattress.
This type of shelter is equipped with ” floor/mattress area” to provide an insulation barrier. It is necessary to clear the ground of any sharp objects before setting it up.
To set up this tarp properly, begin with unfolding the ”floor area” and anchor the shorter side and grommets located in the in the ¼ of the longer section on the leeward side of the shelter. In such a way, the floor area gets a comfortable width of approximately 75 cm.
It is a good idea to put a layer of leaves or moss under the floor so that it could serve as a mattress. Hang the wall and the roof of the tarp over the rope stretched between the trees. The minimum distance between the trees should be the same as the width of the tarp (or poles, paddles, etc). The height of about 70 cm (depending on the angle of the tarp’s walls). Hang the tarp over the previously stretched rope in such a way that the middle loops on the tarp match up the line of rope. Fix the remaining half of the tarp and tighten it with the rubber tension cords. Anchor them to the ground, nearby tree, bushes, etc.
In such a way, the longer windward wall is set at an angle of 30o which makes the wind slip over the surface without compromising the stability of the tarp.
This type comes with a comfortable bed insulated from the ground as well as enough storage space inside. Furthermore, thanks to the reflecting properties of thermal insulation foil, the tarp is easy to light up even with a weak torch.
TARP- Type C shelter
This is a great way to enjoy an overnight campfire – a truly unique summer adventure!
The type C shelter provides protection from wind and light rain as well as insulation from the ground.
Apart from protecting you from damp and cold weather, it can also serve as a mattress.
This shelter should be placed ”back” to the wind to protect the user and the campfire from the wind and the tarp from the sparks.
This option will enable you to sit comfortably under the roof and engage yourself in numerous camping activities.
While the heat from the campfire warms your body, the thermal insulation side of the tarp protects and reflects the heat from the campfire and the roof provides the best protection for you and your luggage.
This instruction describes only one way of setting up the type C shelter. You can introduce some modifications, depending on your invention, the conditions and available equipment (e.g. The length of the rope).
Before setting up the shelter, prepare the ground by removing all sharp objects from the camping area. Begin with unfolding the floor and anchor the shorter side and the grommets located in one quarter of the longer side. In such a way, the floor area gets a comfortable width of approximately 75 cm.
It is a good idea to put a layer of leaves and moss under the floor so that it could serve as a mattress.
Hang the wall and the roof of the tarp over the rope stretched between the trees or between the poles. The distance between the trees/poles should be at least the same as the width of the tarp. The height (depending on the angle of the tarp’s wall) will be approximately 140 cm . If you set up the tarp on the poles, make sure that they are well anchored to the ground..
Hang the tarp over the rope in such a way that the grommets located in one quarter of the long side towards its free end match up the line of the previously stretched rope. When you have constructed your tarp according to the following instruction, stretch it by running the rope through the loops and passing sticks through them, then stretch the wall of the shelter.
If your rope is not long enough, you can tie the ends of two shorter lengths of rope to the grommets In such a case it is recommended that at least one rope should be tied to rubber tension cord to ensure the desired tension and flexibility of the tarp shelter.
With the use of two ropes, stretch the remaining section of the tarp to achieve the desired slope angle by anchoring the ropes to the ground, nearby trees, bushes, etc.
TARP- Comfortable BUSHCRAFT’S tent
This system is a great alternative to a single tent with a vestibule, a camping mat or a mattress. It ensures protection from rain and wind on three sides.
The best places for pitching the BUSHCRAFT’S tent are flat camping areas. For example meadows, pastures, beaches or forest glades, where no supports, such as trees or rocks, are available.
Besides the tarp and two rubber tension cords (included in the set), all you need is a trekking pole, a paddle or any other object which can act as a pole (1 m high), a guy rope and pins/pegs to attach the shelter to the ground.
At the bed head, the shelter is 1 m high and 1 m wide, which gives you enough space for your head and a convenient exit from the tent. Then the tent narrows and becomes gradually lower, which will prevent your feet from freezing.
You will not need a mat as long as you put a layer of grass or leaves under the floor.
The storage area of 1 m2 is next to the sleeping area. It means that your luggage is not only properly protected but also easily accessible.
Before setting up the shelter, prepare the ground by removing all sharp objects from the camping area. It is a good idea to put a layer of moss, leaves or sweet flag under your future ”mattress”. It is recommended that the rubber tension cords should be pegged at the diagonally opposite corners so that they could work effectively. When you prepare the ground according to the following instructions, fix the tent’s floor. Begin with the corners of the longer side and then the grommet located in the middle of the shorter side of the tarp. Fix the pole ~1 m in height in the free loop. It is located in the middle of unused long side of the tarp.
Stabilize the pole with a guy rope and by stretching the short side of the tarp. Attach the corner to the ground. Stretch the last remaining corner by connecting it with the loop in the remaining corner of the floor. In such a way a short wall at the bed head (1 m at the base) is formed.
Now it is time to check the tension of the walls, corners and guy lines. Correct it if necessary to make sure that your shelter is stable and its walls are sufficiently stretched.
TARP- Emergency bed
We are not always in need of the whole shelter. In caves, sheds or during nice weather, all we need is a bed. That will give us some comfort and protection against hypothermia at night.
Before unfolding your tarp on the ground put a layer of grass, moss or leaves underneath. Remember to remove all sharp objects from the area. If the surface of the earth is soft, you will not have to put any extra padding under the tarp. Unfold the entire half of the tarp on the ground.
Cover it with the padding and anchor the corners. If possible, the remaining grommets of the tarp to the ground so that the mattress wouldn’t ”break apart” during the night. Remember that the thermal insulation side of the tarp should face upwards.
From the remaining part of the tarp, form a blanket to cover yourself or your sleeping bag. Don’t forget that the free edge of the tarp should also be secured to the ground by means of guy the wires fixed at the grommet in the corner and in the middle of the free part of the blanket to prevent the cover from slipping at night. The upper free corner will allow for great comfort and freedom of movements. If you cannot anchor your tarp to the ground, at least tie down the grommets.
The bed prepared according to the following instruction is over 1 meter wide and from 5 to 10 cm thick. It allows for comfortable accommodation even for two persons. Remember not to roll yourself in the blanket too tightly because it is necessary to leave some ventilation gaps. It ensure proper air circulation and prevent condensation.
Warning: The thermal insulation layer should face the inside.
TARP- Storm shelter
In extreme weather conditions, this shelter is the perfect protection from rain, snow and wind. It also insulates you and prevents from getting soaked to the skin or hypothermia. The shelter created according to this instruction is relatively small and easy to heat and maintain warmth. The tent provides enough space for the users. They can sit or lie down waiting for the weather to improve as well as to protect their luggage.
Begin your shelter setup by anchoring the loop located in the middle of the long wall to the ground (on the leeward side). If possible, attach the guy line to the loop between the anchoring place and the loop (you can use a pin). That will ensure appropriate wall tension during the next stages of construction.
Place the pole on the leeward side. The pole and the guy lines should be secured to the loop on the other, longer wall. It is a good idea to insert a guy line between the loop of the tarp and the guy lines holding the pole. In this way, the whole thing will work dynamically and prevent your tarp and guy lines from overloading.
You can pitch a tarp with a pole, a paddle or a tree branch which should be at least 170 cm high. The height of the tent is 150 cm + the length of the loop, which is about 10 cm and another 10 cm for a rubber tension cord and a knot.
The tarp unfolded according to the following instruction, provides an ideal protection from driving rain. Now you can prepare the ground by removing all sharp objects from under the tarp.
The next step in the construction of the assault tent (shelter) is its floor. It is formed by folding up the sides of the tarp along the line running from the knot anchored to the ground to the free corners so that the sides and corners touch each other.
Like the floor, the entrance to the tent is formed by folding up the remaining two sides of the tarp towards the inside of the shelter. All four corners should fit closely to each other at the ground level.
Now, all you need to do is to stretch the walls of the shelter by stretching and attaching the grommets located in the middle of the short edges of the tarp. The grommets should be secured to the anchor point by guy lines. It prevents thermal insulation from breaking apart and and make it easier to fix the shelter to the ground.
In order to close the tent, just tie the four corners together and possibly anchor them to the ground.
Warning: Don’t use the open fire inside the tent!
TARP – Diamond Tarp Shelter
Fast and easy to set up, this shelter gives enough space for two or even three users.
It provides excellent protection against wind and rain from both sides. The shelter produces a large living area but it has no floor.
If the storm is approaching and you desperately need a place to hide, all you have to do is to tie the leeward corner to a tree branch or stretch it on a long pole (approximately from 160 to 200 cm) and anchor the opposite windward corner to the ground. In this way, we are able to protect ourselves at least between the flaps of the tarp.
Anchor the remaining two corners so that the sides of the tarp were well stretched. That will provide comfortable and spacious protection from wind and rain.
It is recommended that the leeward corner should be fixed by means of a guy line which facilitates tensioning and protects the tarp from being torn by strong winds. If you place one of the walls vertically, the shelter can reach the height of two metres. In such a case the living area under the roof will be relatively small (about 1,5 m2). With the height of the shelter of about 1,5m, we obtain about 4 m2 of the living area.
In severe weather, you can further secure your tarp by anchoring the remaining grommets.
This tarp shelter is very fast and easy to set up.
The greatest advantage of this type of tarp shelter is that it has very few extra requirements. They include three anchor points, and a guy line for anchoring the leeward corner to the ground.
Warning: In order to protect the tarp from the fire damage, do not get the campfire too close to the shelter.
Simple, classic “banana type” hammock.
The biggest advantage of this design is fast and simple set-up between two trees.
2 m wide and 3 m long breathable tarp gives you the comfort of rest and sleep at the good weather.
Thanks to the thermal insulation layer does not need an additional sleeping matt like in classic hammocks. The breathable material provides adequate ventilation so that the skin does not sweat.
It is very simple: pick up the short side of the tarp in the palm of your hand and tie the rope on it – preferably using an anchor-knot, easy to tie and, as importantly, to solve. Assign the other end of the rope to the tree. Analogously, proceed with the other end of the tarp.
Before you lay down and rope up, it is good to pull the tarp corners slightly above the knots (about 10cm).
Thanks to this the hammock will take the shape of a comfortable cradle
Hammock and tarp all in one. Sometimes its not a best solution to set-up a tent on the ground. Rocky or swampy land makes it just impossible.
HaTa is a great alternative here. The “Bridge” hammock additionally protected from 3 sides from the wind and rain (or snow).
It guarantees safe and comfortable rest even the weather conditions is bad. Thanks to the thermo-insulation layer, there is no need for additional cover as in classic hammocks.
It’s just like a B-type shelter – but in the air!
Setting-up is possible only with the use of BUSHMEN Thermo Tarp S – therefore it is the best tarp on the market :-)
The loops located in the middle of the longer sides of the tarp are fixed to the trees. It will be the top line of the roof.
Tarp’s part (2m x 0,75m) is specially reinforced with tapes to make a hammock.
Tie the end of the cord to the loop that is the extension of the longitudinal reinforce. Then, loosely tie the cord to the tree and tie the other end of the cord to the corner loop of the tarp. Make the same operation at the other end of the hammock. Next, between the cords at the ends of the hammock we insert the crossbars. They may be, for example, trekking poles or just a simple sticks.
(NOTE – make sure the crossbar is straight and strong enough for your weight).
The safest way is to tie the crossbars. In this way, the hammock is lowered as far as the tarp (about 1/4 of the length of the tarp) is allowed.
From the other half of the tarp we make a roof. Two free corners are tightened by attaching them with cords to neighboring trees or just straight to the ground. It remains to balance the tension of the cords and check by carefully sitting down, if all is okay.
(Warning – the horizontal position of the hammock can be adjusted via the top roof cords!)