If you have ever been outdoors at a campsite or a construction site, you have likely seen a large sheet of Tarpaulin, or better known as a tarp. But what exactly is this rigid material that is used in many outdoor environments?

Tarpaulin is in most cases a polyurethane coated canvas or polyester sheet, that is meant provide temporary coverage over a surface from moisture. In addition to moisture protection, it can be used in numerous capacities including separating dirt and other debris from ground cover, or in some capacities act as a windbreaker if its properly secured. Tarp sizes come in many different dimensions, but usually come in square dimensions, either a five foot by five foot, up to a twenty by twenty square foot sheet.

In addition to polyurethane, tarps can come in other materials too, however these other materials may not be waterproof. In some cases, you may have a canvas or polyester sheet that is not coated in polyurethane, that can still provide protection against some weather elements but won’t be waterproof. Alternatively, you can also have a tarp made of a vinyl material called Polyvinyl Chloride, which not only is waterproof but also an industrial grade surface that can resist acid, mildew, grease, and oil.

Tarps usually come in a specific range of colors, and usually the color indicates the thickness or strength of such tarp. Light duty tarps usually come in blue, while medium duty tarps come either in yellow, orange, or green. If you need a heavy duty tarp, usually they will come in silver, and the strongest tarps out on the market tend to be brown.

Tarpaulin as mentioned can serve numerous purposes, but generally are used for specific outdoor and construction activities. In construction, they are extremely useful for covering roofs during shingle replacement projects or house extensions where it is critical to not get any rain into a house during any kind of rain event. Also, in construction they can be used if a contractor needs to keep tools dry overnight or if he needs to place dirt somewhere without putting it directly on a lawn.

Tarpaulin is great for recreational outdoor activities such as a makeshift tent, shelter for cooking area, or wrapped around firewood to keep it dry. If you have a pickup truck and need to transport furniture, you can tie it down in the truck bed during a rainstorm, you can get great tarps for trucks here: LKW plane.

Bonus tip: If you own a pickup truck, you can also easily use your new tarp to build a tent. This is awesome and fun for young and old. It’s pretty easy to do as there are many youtube tutorials, like:

Professional grade Tarpaulins can also be used to print store signs and other marketing tasks in the outdoors such as banners and flyers.

Tarpaulin overall is a fantastic rugged material and its possibilities of use are endless.