December 9, 2011

DIY black plastic tarp

After getting tired of the cheapness of the cheap poly tarps you can get for $8-12 at any store, I went looking for a DIY project to make my own tarp on the cheap.

I found this video posted by chrispisciotta35. In it, he uses the black 4 mil plastic sheeting, which I got at Lowe's for $10. I also picked up some black duct tape for $7. I already had a grommet kit, but I think I paid like $4 for it at a surplus store.

The construction is pretty straight forward, as you can see in the video. I took my completed tarp camping not too long ago. That whole night, there were sustained winds around 35mph, gusting to over 40. The tarp, and grommets held strong throughout the night. I am really impressed.

The plastic is not as noisy as the poly tarps, and no where near as silent as the sil-nylon ones. But it is UV resistant unlike the poly tarps. And for around $20, you get 10'x25' of the sheeting. With all that, I can make two 10x10 tarps and one 5x10, or three 8x10 tarps, or five 5x10 tarps, or whatever other combination you can come up with.

I have plans to make a semi-permanent shelter in the woods where I normally travel. Having a shelter tarp at the shelter, but folded or rolled up at stored at the shelter site will allow me to have a place to hike to, unroll the tarp, attach it to the shelter frame, and be done with shelter building. These cheap, durable tarps could be the key to that.

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