Ultralight backpacking is a thrilling experience—an experience that brings adventure seekers closer to Mother Nature than many other experiences would. Tarp tents are a favourite shelter option for ultralight backpackers, and with good reason. If you're planning such an adventure soon or if you dream of becoming an "ultralight" pro in the near future, here are answers to two questions you're likely to have about tarp tents.
What Are Tarp Tents Made Of?
Cotton (among other fabrics) and polyethylene are perhaps the most common materials used to make tarps. Fabric tents are preferred for their commendable resistance to wear and tear, which explains their durability.
Unfortunately, cotton/fabric will let water seep through easily upon saturation. If you're to backpack during the summer, you might get away with using a fabric tarp tent. If you choose the rainy season for your adventure (or if you just don't trust the meteorological department and would rather not risk it), polyethylene should be your material of choice.
These tents are made of high or low density polyethylene with a protective plastic coating as a standard feature. The protective coating makes the tent material waterproof.
Why Tarp Tents?
Their small size blends in well with the unwritten rule that backpackers should have the fewest, lightest and least complex equipment required to guarantee their safety.
Tarp tents have a largely open design that allows for an almost unrestricted flow of fresh, cool air in and out of the shelter. It goes without saying that this is a double-edged sword. You'll love the cool fresh air during the day, but you'll dread the free access that insects and bugs will have into the shelter as you sleep and the possibility of a rainy night.
The seemingly "raw" interaction with nature under a tarp tent fuels the thrill often associated with backpacking, and it gets adrenaline rushing through the veins of seasoned ultralight backpackers.
Because you're less than seasoned, you might want to invest in a bug net or bug screen that will keep the bugs out during your 'ultralight' escapades. For protection against the elements, a tarp tent that has double-wall construction or one that features storm flaps should suffice.
Lastly, tarp tents are almost always more affordable than traditional tents. With all other factors remaining constant, a tarp tent offers shelter for your adrenaline-filled adventure for less. For more information, contact a local business such as Nans Tarps.