After a close call last summer with getting stuck outdoors in the wilderness, I’ve been slowly but surely piecing together an emergency survival kit. One item on my list of basic survival gear is a simple tarp to provide shelter.
I’ve found a number of options, from simple blue tarps to rain ponchos that unfold into shelters. Here’s my list so far, in case anyone else is in the market for tarp shelters.
The duct tape of shelters. They aren’t light for their size, but you can’t beat the price of the good old blue tarp.
Weight: 11 oz.
Area: 48 sq. ft.
Made from a supple polyurethane-coated nylon, this is a step up from the blue tarp in quality – and cost.
Weight: 1 lb. 3 oz.
Area: 63 sq. ft.
This simple tarp is relatively cheap and would come in handy in a pinch. Kelty makes three sizes, the smallest of which is 972 square feet and design for up to three people.
Weight: 1 lb. 13 oz. / 0.82 kg
Size: 81 sq. ft.
This pancho can be unfolded into a tarp that lives up to it’s manufacturer’s name: it’s super light. It’s also very small, designed for one person.
Weight: 7 oz
Area: 42.3 sq. ft
Another poncho that turns into a tarp, made with silicone coated Cordura.
Weight: 12 oz
Area: 39 sq. ft.
This MSR tarp is about the same size as the Kelty survival shelter, but weights much less. It will protect two people from the elements.
Weight: 1 lb
Area: 81.8 sq. ft.