Wow, always wondered how to make my tarp into a tent!

A couple of years ago I bought a 3 metre by 3 metre lightweight tarp from Canada. It is a great tarp, very lightweight, but also strong and waterproof. We used it on the South Coast Track in Tasmania as a shelter while we cooked in the rain. It also provided an excellent covering to leave in place at night. We stored our wet gear and other stuff that the possums would not trash under it overnight. Sometimes by morning, if the breeze was kind , some of the gear would be nearly dry!

I also used it one night , down at Lake Elizabeth in the Otways, but had set it up like a hutchie (slung between two trees as it was the only way I could work out to hold it up!). Unfortunately, I slid out the end and got my sleeping bag wet. The others in the party would have been much happier in the morning if I had set it up a long way away, as my alcohol assisted snoring had kept some of them awake. Being able to set it up free standing will now be a bonus!

So today I was wandering around the Simple Hiker blog and discovered this great video clip on Youtube demonstrating how, using a lightweight tarp and one hiking pole, you can set up a servicable 2 person tent.

Movie on how to make a tent from a tarp!

The finished product!

Now this tent doesn’t have a front door (or any door by that matter) but would be a great setup for summer if you were wanting a lightweight option. Check out the movie!

Update: If you are interested in tarps and using them as a light weight option, check out this post at Litehiker There is an interesting report on using a tarp in bad English weather……

While I was looking at the movie in You Tube, another movie was suggested as relevent, so I watched it hoping I would learn something about setting up a tarp as a tent. Well, I wasted 3 min 39 seconds of my life on this dumb video. You can too if you watch it, click below………

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More information on how to turn a trap into a tent


  1. Frank and Sue says

    Thanks Steve, You are correct, there is an AMAZING range of tent / shelter styles than can be produced from a tarp. Some of them look too complicated for my simple mind…..

  2. Mungo says

    Cool – I’d seen that video too. I have a pattern on my site for a tarp which may not be the most thrilling thing on earth – but hopefully it is useful to some!

    Tarp shelter



  3. says

    Really great read about what is popular in other countries. You kindof gave me a new idea for new post for my blog. Just have to think through, mby translate some lines from your post, as there is no other way to write it as precisely and understandable, than you did. Wish you good luck and success with your blog. Cheers

  4. Jesse says

    I got this design beat. First I use a big tarp(about 10 x 12), stretch it out and fold the long sides into the middle, overlap about six inches and duck tape it all the way down(this is going to be the ridge if you are thinking of it like a roof)now basically you just have a cylinder, turn it upside now(the ridge will be on the ground)now you are looking at the other side of the floor, take strips of duct tape and make some loops for rope that will go to you tent pegs, now turn it over and stake it down just like a pup tent, and put two tent poles inside just like a pup tent because it is a pup tent with a floor. You will now have a pup tent with two open ends. I should have mentioned not to put any tie offs too close to the ends but I didn’t so I’m mentioning it now. Now take a pair of scissors and cut from the bottom corners(do one end at a time)towards the middle of the tent (cut where the corner of the tent touches the ground for just a few feet making sure that both cuts are even. Fold one side of the bottom and duct tape it to the inside of one of the walls, do the same thing on the other side. You should have a wall on the end and some overhang from your roof. How much of the floor you cut determines how high you endwall is. One good option after cutting the floor for the endwall is to fold the end wall like the end of a paper airplane and use duct tape on the other walls so that you completely close the wall off or leave it partially open for ventilation. Here is why I make it like this. There has to be a seam somewhere. I prefer the roof(btw offset the seam at the top about 4-6 inches from the ridge, it’s better for keeping out the rain than right in the middle, exposure to weather can loosen the duct tape up, if it’s not that sticky and offset it probably won’t leak, if it’s not offset and not sticky it will leak. So you’re probably wondering why I don’t put the seam on the bottom. The answer is unwelcome roommates, specifically nasty little bugs like ants, ticks, scorpions, centipedes, you get the idea. The final product is a pup tent with a floor and two end walls.

    • Frank says

      Hi Jesse,
      Wow, great instructions! Have you got any photos of the finished product? Would love to share them here.


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