When it comes to expediency, a tarpaulin is one item that can easily top a survivalist’s list of must-haves. Tarpaulins have so many practical uses, there’s probably no limit to the number of ways it can be used in off-grid living.
Tarps come in different types depending on their thickness, durability and material. There are cloth tarps, canvas, vinyl, polyester, mesh, and the most modern type — the polyethylene or “poly tarps”.
Vinyl types are the kind used for heavy-duty industrial applications such as construction, farming and trucking. Lighter, breathable ones, such as those used in advertising, are perforated to reduce wind resistance. Mesh tarps, made of either canvas, vinyl or polyethylene, are threaded wide apart like screens to allow more wind and light to pass through. These are as often used as privacy screens, site barriers and awnings in construction sites to give partial shelter from the sun, wind and debris.
Of all the different kinds of tarpaulins, the poly tarp is the most common and popular worldwide, owing to its low cost and immense versatility.