Saturday, December 20, 2008

25 Uses for Blue Tarps and Paracord

Reading a comment from Ron at Survival Topics got me to thinking about the ubiquitous blue tarps that can be found just about everywhere. They are cheap, sturdy, and really quite useful. Toss in some 550 paracord and duct tape and then you can really get creative. Here's a bunch of uses for a simple blue tarp, paracord, and duct tape:
  1. String the paracord between two trees or poles and make a pup tent. Use rocks or sticks to hold down the edges.
  2. With a pair of scissors and a bit of creativity, you can fashion a rain poncho.
  3. Putting a tarp under your tent protects the bottom of your tent from stuff on the ground that could damage the floor.
  4. A temporary fix for a damaged or leaking roof.
  5. An emergency litter--place an injured person or deer carcass on the tarp, everyone grab a corner, and haul said victim out of the woods.
  6. To protect your floor from painting or woodworking projects.
  7. To cover your firewood until a better structure can be built.
  8. Kids entertainment...lay the tarp on the hill, let the hose run down the tarp from the top, and let the kids slide down it.
  9. As a way to signal if you are lost in the wilderness. Find an open spot and spread the tarp out on the ground so it can be seen from the air.
  10. To save the day at a picnic. Many a summer downpour has threatened a picnic outing; with a bit of rigging, you can cover at least the food area to keep everything dry.
  11. For instant shelter from the sun. Whether you are making an awning from the side of your mini van or the side of your home, this is a quick way to block out the sun.
  12. To make a quick backpack-type device. Put your stuff in the middle of the tarp, wrap it up in a tight roll, and with a weaving of paracord attached, you can carry it like a backpack.
  13. A make-shift sail if you are stranded at sea.
  14. To set up your own cubicle-type area at the flea market.
  15. With scissors and duct tape you can fashion a basket/bucket to carry water, vegetation, or other items.
  16. To make a kiddie pool (or bathtub) outside. Dig a reasonable sized hole, lay the tarp down so that all sides of the tarp are above the top of the hole. Fill with water and let the sun warm it up.
  17. To make a private area for outside showers or latrines.
  18. For covering an unstable hill so it doesn't slide away in a rainstorm.
  19. As a plastic toboggan for either you or your gear when you are crossing snow or ice fields.
  20. To wrap a body in. Not that I would do this but research shows this is a common use by people who need to dispose of bodies.
  21. Sections of the tarp along with duct tape can be used to prevent flooding around your home. Use these items to seal opening such as vents, windows, the bottom of garage doors, etc.
  22. In farming: to cover hay bails, to cover small crops prior to a hail storm, etc.
  23. To cover your car. This isn't a great way to conceal it but at least it offers some anonymity.
  24. To wrap up a hypothermia victim. Stick them in a sleeping bag then roll them in the tarp to help them retain even more body heat.
  25. Around the house: quick shower curtain, to cover storage areas in the garage, to divide the kids bedroom so each gets their own "room", etc.
Any other ideas?


  1. A tarp can be used to catch rain water and channel it to a storage receptacle or be the storage receptacle too.

    Can also be used as a component in a solar still and depending on the intensity of the sun and the volume of water, it might be able to reach a temperature that would sterilize water via SODIS - Solar Water Disinfection.

  2. Similar to the kiddie pool idea, dig a hole in the ground and line it with the tarp. Use as a pond to collect and store water for drinking and cooking.

    You can also set up the tarp to catch and drain rain water into containers.

  3. -Blue tarp is actually the Oregon State flag?
    -Blue tarp for a picnic blanket in Oregon
    -Blue tarp can be fashioned into a canoe.
    -Blue tarp can be substituted for Aladdins magic carpet.
    -Blue tarps can be used for camoflage at 30,000 feet.

  4. Wow thanks for giving this information. I was searching for information of using Paracord in different ways.

  5. I use my plastic tarps to make clothing that traps body heat in the winter. Also many pets such as my Prarie dogs love sleeping in piles of tarp. They also love playing with it and ripping it. In the winter rather than sleeping with heavy bedding that inhibits movement try sleeping with a sheet and a tarp over that to trap body heat. I eventually got use to the tarp noise when sleeping. Oh and instead of that worthless weed barrier stuff they sell at stores use tarp it won't break down and no more weeds. Just remember to cut the tarp hole bigger than your plant so it gets water. Make a curtain and valance out of tarp in the right room it's great especially for a guy and it blocks out the uv rays finally my next tarp project will be chaps to go over my pants and keep them clean and dry when doing messy work