This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I'll earn a small fee at no extra cost to you.*
Preppers are excellent at finding creative ways to use ordinary items. Emergency supplies are expensive, and they can’t afford to have a bunch of one-hit-wonder items filling their shelves. The key to affordable emergency preparedness is to stock up on items that can be used in many different ways. Things like duct tape, trash bags, and milk jugs are just a few of the many things that have alternative uses.
Now it is time to cover another multipurpose item that is easy to store: tarps. Tarps come in many sizes and varying qualities, but all of them can be used in many different ways. If you haven’t included at least one tarp in your emergency supplies, hopefully this post will convince you to get one.
1. Tarps are obviously an easy choice for making shelters. A single tarp can be used to create an A-frame shelter, a teepee, or a lean-to.
2. A tarp can be used to cover a broken window or hole in a wall caused by a natural disaster or explosion. The tarp can help keep the weather out and allow you to keep your house warm.
3. In a wilderness survival situation, you can use a tarp as a ground cover. Depending on how many people need to be covered, you could fold the tarp in half or several times to create a thicker barrier.
4. Wrapping a tarp around you can help keep you dry in rain or snow. Depending on the size of the tarp, you may be able to cut it in half to protect two people.
5. A tarp can be used to create a shelter for livestock. Most animals will be okay in extreme weather if they can just get out of the rain.
6. Cutting a tarp into strips and braiding together is a great way to make durable cordage.
7. Digging a shallow hole and placing the tarp inside is a great way to catch rainwater. The tarp will act as a liner to keep out the dirt.
8. Roof damage caused by a storm or some other event can be temporarily fixed by covering it with a tarp.
9. A tarp folded in two can be hung from two trees to create a hammock. It is always better to sleep off the ground given the opportunity.
10. Use a tarp to cover firewood. If you don’t have a shed to store your wood in, you will need to do what you can to keep it dry.
11. An RV is an ideal bug out vehicle for a pepper. RVs are prone to leak. Cover the roof with a tarp to help prevent water damage.
12. Laying a brightly colored tarp flat on the ground is a way to signal for help if you need it.
13. A tarp can be used as a makeshift stretcher. Fold it in half to give it more strength.
14. A tarp can also be used in a hunting situation. A large animal is too heavy to drag back to your home or camp, but you can roll it onto a tarp and drag it with a little effort.
15. Use the tarp to give you some privacy when taking care of personal business, like showering or bathing.
16. Hang the tarp around your latrine to create an open-air outhouse that will give you privacy if you are in a camp situation.
17. If you have a raft, a tarp could be strung up and used as a sail. A small boat or even a disabled motor boat could be made useful again with a sail made from a tarp.
18. A tarp can be used to protect young plants in your survival garden. Make a hoop by using small sticks stuck in the ground along the row. Drape the tarp over the sticks and use rocks to hold it down. The tarp will protect the plants from a cold snap.
19. A tarp can make an excellent camouflage tool. Cover your vehicle or supplies with a tarp and then toss some branches, leaves and other debris to disguise it.
20. Create a blind of sorts. You will want to use a tarp that is the same color as the environment. If you have the ability to glue sticks or leaves onto the tarp, it will help it blend in more. The blind can be used for hunting or to hide from bad guys.
21. A tarp can be used as an emergency blanket. The plastic will help trap in body heat to keep a person from developing hypothermia.
22. Use a tarp to drag the harvest you get from your garden back to your camp.
23. Use a tarp to create a sack to carry goods you have managed to scavenge, or use it to carry your own supplies if you are down a backpack.
24. You can create an effective trap with the help of a tarp. Dig a hole big enough to trap whatever animal or human you hope to capture. Cover the hole with a tarp and cover with various debris so it will all blend in.
25. Use the tarp to create a solar still in a desert situation or a situation where you need to desalinate saltwater.
When you are shopping for tarps to add to your supplies, choose quality tarps in colors that are more likely to blend in to your surroundings. Green or brown tarps are preferable to the bright blue tarps in a survival situation where you want to conceal your presence. I recommend this heavy-duty 8’X10′ tarp from TarpsDirect.