This Is How To Set Up A Tarp Canopy (DIY Step-By-Step w/ Videos)

Are you looking forward to an upcoming camping trip?

Do you find yourself worrying about how to set up a tarp canopy during your time in the great outdoors?

Would you like to learn more about how to accomplish this task?

A tarp canopy is usually a tent-shaped structure that’s made out of a tarp, poles or trees, and ropes. This is a very simple and basic method of making shelter while camping, and although it doesn’t provide walls, it can provide a quick and easy roof over your head (or your food!) when a sudden rainstorm approaches.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to a couple of different ways to set up a tarp canopy. You’ll learn how to put one up if you have a couple of tall trees to work with, and you’ll also learn how to set up one of these quick shelters when there aren’t any trees around, too. By the time you finish reading this article, you should be ready to get out there and see for yourself just how easy it can be to set up a canopy from little more than a tarp and some sticks and rope.

To learn more about this fun and simple process, read on!

Materials

  • Tent tarp
  • Ropes for guidelines
  • Stakes
  • Tent poles or sticks

Directions

Tied to a Tree:

  • 1
    First, look for a couple of trees that are spaced apart nicely enough that you can hang your tarp canopy. You should look for trees with limbs unless you are very experienced at hanging tents without limbs.
  • 2
    Take your first rope and throw it over a high enough limb to support the top of the tent.
  • 3
    Wrap the rope around the tree a few times and secure it firmly. Use a pole to help adjust the rope as needed to get the right tightness.
  • 4
    Take the other end of the rope to the other tree and repeat the process there.
  • 5
    Spread out the tarp in between the two trees in the general area where you want it to go. Lay it on top of the rope that should be laying on the ground at this point.
  • 6
    Attach the tarp to the rope using another piece of rope or twine.
  • 7
    Move to the first tree and pull the end of the rope on that side tightly to pull the tarp up using the rope’s tension.
  • 8
    Repeat this process on the other tree.
  • 9
    Now, you should have your tarp hanging like a sheet over a rope that is suspended in between both trees.
  • 10
    Tie ropes to the four corners of the tarp and find other items in the area to tie these ropes to. You can use other trees, sturdy bushes, structures, or tent poles. Some people prefer not to use tent poles since they can get in the way of a more “natural” camping experience, but this is entirely up to you.
  • 11
    Secure all the ropes properly and make sure your tarp is at an angle so that rain water will run off of it instead of pooling in the center.
  • 12
    Congratulations! You have just set up a tarp canopy using trees.

Set Up on the Ground:

  • 1
    Either gather sharp sticks that are roughly the same length or use tent poles that may have come with your tarp or that you purchased separately.
  • 2
    Begin by spreading out the tarp you’re working with. Lay it in roughly the place where you want to set it up.
  • 3
    When it’s all spread out, you’ll be able to tell where your stakes need to go. Push the stakes down into the ground about a couple of inches away from the anchor points on your tarp. You should position them on either short side of the tarp, in the center, to help form a “backbone” for the tent.
  • 4
    Go around the tarp and hammer stakes into the ground on all four corners, about a foot or so away from the tarp, then hammer stakes about a yard or so away from the sticks or poles you have already put in place.
  • 5
    Take the guide line at one of your two tent poles or sticks and loop it around the stick. Stretch it down to the stake in the ground a few feet away from this stick and loop it around again. Put some tension in the rope, but not too much.
  • 6
    Repeat the process on the two corners on either side of the center pole you just attached.
  • 7
    Repeat the process on the remaining three stakes using the remaining three guide lines.
  • 8
    With all of the lines in place, you can go back around in the same order you just tied them in and tighten them so that they’re taut. You may need to make several adjustments to be sure you get everything tense enough to support the tarp.
  • 9
    Congratulations! You have just set up a tarp without a tree.

Conclusion

Are you ready to get out there and start setting up your tent tarp right away? This is a handy skill to have for anyone who plans to go camping in the great outdoors, but it can also be useful for backyard events where a sudden rain crops up without warning, too. With both options to pick from, you may be wondering which variation on tent structuring is right for your needs. Check out our tips below to help you figure that out.

Some of the pros of using trees instead of the ground include:

  • You can pitch the tent higher than you would be able to with the other method, giving you a better angle for covering tables and larger areas.
  • It can be easier to find an area with trees while you’re out camping than an area that’s clear enough for a tent.
  • You don’t necessarily have to have any stakes or tent poles on hand to hang a tent tarp this way.
how to make a tarp canopy

On the other hand, using the ground instead of trees may give you the following benefits:

  • This is a little bit easier for beginners to try rather than the slightly more complicated tree method.
  • It’s easier to get a good tension using stakes and tent poles than it is using trees and bushes.
  • This method is fun for the kids to get involved in, and even children can learn how to set up a tent this way.

As you can see, there are positives to both options, and it’s really up to you to determine which choice you want to go with. Of course, it may also depend on the area where you choose to camp, so be sure you have the supplies you need on hand to accomplish both options!

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