Do you know why a survival tarpaulin is so crucial to have in your survival gear? Because it fulfills more than a single role. Think of it as your multi-tool of the nylon world.
Or maybe even your Swiss army knife of tarpaulins. Whenever I see a product that performs several functions, I consider it a win.
Think of all the uses a Swiss army knife, or your regular multi-tool, performs. They are far more useful than each individual item they represent.
Rather than hold a knife, screwdriver, magnifying glass, corkscrew and can opener, this little tool does it all, and then some. And why is it so important for preppers to aim for items with more than one use?
Bug out bags are not enormous suitcases on wheels. They could be, I guess, but it wouldn’t be my number 1 choice. A comfortable backpack with several compartments and built from a tough enough material to keep it in top shape.
That’s what I hope for. There are some options in this article here. While bug out bags come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, the fact is they have one downside.
No matter what size bug out bag you choose, the space inside is always limited. Regardless of how many times you trim your survival gear, there is just never enough space for it all.
And if there is, then the weight becomes an issue. Bug out bags need to be light enough for you to carry over interminable distances. And that’s why every bit of kit matters.
What to Use a Survival Tarpaulin For
The magnificent thing about tarpaulins is that they have more than one use. And provided you follow a few of the following guidelines, you should end up with a quality piece of kit that you’ll use time and again in a large number of circumstances.
Of course, the following ideas are but a small sample of all the uses for a survival tarpaulin, so I hope you’ll share some on my Facebook Page.
- Poncho- wear the tarpaulin as a kind of poncho during bad weather to keep you and your equipment dry.
- Temporary Stretcher- use it with some boards or branches and turn the tarpaulin into a makeshift stretcher.
- Floating Device- when tied to enough containers, the tarpaulin can keep goods out of the water via the combination of equipment to build a makeshift raft.
- Camouflage- cover yourself or your equipment with the tarpaulin to hide from view. Also, useful to cover yourself and your light source at night to keep yourself hidden.
- Water Collection- use the surface area to catch water and run it into a suitable container.
- Signaling- stretch it out in plain sight, or tie to a branch and wave it to get someone’s attention.
- Shelter- turn the tarpaulin into a temporary shelter with boards, branches or simply suspended between objects.
Tips for Choosing a Survival Tarpaulin
When it comes to choosing the right kind of survival tarpaulin, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind. Hopefully, the following tips will point you in the right direction for your own suitable piece of kit.
Tip #1: Shape
While many options exist in this category, mainly for those acting as specific things like shelter or sleeping bags, my suggestion is to stick with the normal. Either square or rectangle survival tarpaulins work better in more situations than other shapes.
Tip #2: Tie-Points
Check the tie-points on your tarpaulin. Some only have them fixed to the edges by flimsy material. Quality tarpaulins have tie-points sewn into the tarp, providing a powerful point that won’t tear with the slightest breeze.
Tip #3: Size
Survival tarpaulins come in many sizes, some as small as a couple of feet wide. Given a limited amount of space in a bug out bags, my suggestion is to use one that’s between 8 feet x 8 feet, or 10 feet x 12 feet.
Anything larger may impact the space and weight of your pack, while anything smaller may not be large enough to fulfill its purpose.
Tip #4: Material
While a few different materials make up today’s selection of tarpaulins, the 2 main options tend to be nylon and polyester. Both have their pros and cons, so check to see which suits you better. One may be strong in some areas, while weak in others.
Tip #5: Coating
This will come down to what you intend to use the tarpaulin for, but some options to consider here are things like polyurethane and silicone.
Tip #6: Thickness
This will depend on personal choice. While thinner options may be lighter, will they be strong enough? Thicker may be stronger but will add more weight.
The final choice will come down to a decision based on the above specifications. While I can only point these out, it will come down to your own budget and needs.