Your Friend the Tarp

Tarp – waterproofed canvas,  tarpaulin

The term is also used for the thin wide and long sheets of waterproof plastic that often have grommets on the edges allowing the use of a rope to secure the tarp so that the wind does not blow the tarp away.

The tarp I believe handiest for the homeless folks are the type seen at Harbor Freight stores and many other stores selling articles of that type.

Silver and blue are common colors but camouflage styles are available.

cammo tarp

grommets are those round metal things on the tarp’s edge

If you do not have a vehicle to live in you may be forced to create a camp in a wooded, isolated area inside or near a town, city, whatever. The camouflage tarp will make it easier to remain hidden.

A tarp is good for repelling rain and snow and the wind. They can also be placed on the ground to keep you and your stuff off the ground.

The plastic tarps are not too heavy, especially the smaller ones, so you can carry it with you. Tarps can also provide shade when the summer heat hits. I have never had to use a tarp to assist in creating a living space thanks to always having a vehicle to live in when homeless.

If I am ever forced into homelessness without a vehicle I would ensure I had a tarp or two.

To assist in keeping bugs and rainwater off me I would create a floor with the edges raised into the air using the grommet holes and rope. The edges would be low enough to allow me to step over the raised part but high enough to hopefully reduce the number of unwanted bugs crawling across the ground from reaching me.

If flying bugs such as mosquitoes are a problem consider extending mesh across the top of your impromptu “tent” to keep the critters off you.

A regular purposefully made tent would be nice but the cost, weight and lack of portability may be a deterrent to its use. That and being an obvious “home” for one of those despised, often hated, homeless folks who may be that way merely due to economic bad luck with nothing other than that bad luck being a negative about them.

Tarps Plus has information about the various tarp types to assist you in determining what type is best for you.

Price may be the most important consideration then weight may be the next. Always take care with anything used to protect you from the elements, especially if there is open flame present, such as a burning candle in a can to provide heat. Tarps made of plastic-type materials can melt when burning and will stick to your skin making burns worse!!!!

ALWAYS be careful in everything you do!!!!  Think of all the bad things that can happen and prepare yourself. Never camp where a sudden rain can cause a flood condition. Avoid camping surrounded by dry brush, weeds, etc. that can catch fire and put you in danger. And always beware of people who may discover your camping spot and possibly attack you.

Every situation is unique so it is up to you to prepare yourself for bad things!!!

If you can find other homeless folks who possess morals and are good, decent, peaceful folks it may be wise to camp close to each other to present a united front if evil folks attack you.

CampMor has a set-up that shows what you can do to create overhead cover.

Tarp tent.

The shelter above is good for keeping the sun off you but a wind-driven rain requires sides to keep you dry.

You can use sticks, boards, anything strong enough to bear the weight and pressure of wind hitting your tarp to elevate your tarp.

If lucky there may be trees in your camping area that can be used to secure your tarp.

A large tarp can be draped over one rope with the edges reaching the ground and secured with pegs beat into the ground. There will still be 2 open ends but use some ingenuity to close those using 2 smaller tarps or something.

Use your imagination!!! Be creative. If you are part of a homeless couple both of you can carry a tarp and use them to make your homelessness as comfortable as possible.

A Google Image Search for “tarp shelter” shows several ways to create your “house.”  Notice how the green color tarp blends into the background better than the blue and other color types.

Tarp Shelter Images

If you create longer-than-temporary camp having your stuff stolen when gone is an ever-present fear. Camping with others can allow one or more folks to always be present to hopefully protect the cam from evil people. Pepper spray is likely a good thing to have if homeless. Personal protection and protecting those vital supplies and equipment needed to make life tolerable. What you can not protect yourself from are the lackeys of the ruling elites; law enforcement. They have the power of life and death over you. You can never win fighting the police. Do not even try. For self-preservation and to minimize the chances those jack-booted thugs will ruin your day, week, month or even years or decades always be polite and never argue. Use “please” and “thank you” and always listen and never interrupt when the cops are talking. You can only hurt yourself if you do. Be meek. Be nice. Do whatever needed to make yourself appear to not be a threat to anybody. It can be hard but this is the USA.

Despite the propaganda shoved into our minds from our earliest years the USA IS a class-based society with many institutions, bureaucracies and institutions created and operated to ensure wealth and power flows ever-upwards to the upper levels of the pyramid-shaped socio-economic hierarchy.

It is your duty to yourself and your loved ones to survive and to do so with as few negatives as possible. Avoid being arrested!!! Do what the jack-booted thugs say. If they tell you to move on say “Yes, Sir” and gather your belongings and search for a better place to survive. You may need to find a different, less hostile town or city to live in.

Here is a YouTube video for a fast portable tarp shelter. On the side of the page are other videos about using a tarp for shelter. Plan ahead, folks… this is the USA!!!  We’re NUMBER ONE!!!!

Unless you are at the upper levels of the socio-economic hierarchy you have little to no security. Many of us are mere days away from abject poverty, homelessness and dependent upon digging through trash or upon the generosity of others for food.

Even basic medical and dental care may be a luxury!!!!

But, everything is as it should be!!!!!  Our wealthy folks are doing fine and there is more than enough wealth to assist HUGE corporations to remain viable and pay their top employees more in a year than most of us earn in an entire lifetime of labor!!! And there is also BILLIONS of dollars available to keep our corporation’s and elite’s foreign wealth sources protected the the wealth flowing back to the USA unimpeded. There is also ample wealth to pay and equip our police to keep you homeless riff-raff away from polite society.

Sorry… I wandered off on a different tangent again.

You Tube Videos About Tarp Usage

Here is a video for a very portable quick-use shelter. Sticks could be used instead of rounding up aluminum legs.

There are many other aspects of using a tarp as a shelter. If forced to use one be creative. And be SMART!!!  Be discrete. Do not stand out… blend into the background. Keep the noise down and keep your area clean and tidy. If your living area appears to be where a decent person resides maybe the cops will ignore you and instead bother those folks living akin to pigs with trash tossed about, etc.

Being homeless does not mean you have to not have class!!!

Show your pride in yourself by showing pride in your surroundings.

Good Luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Dead link removed July 13, 2022


  1. Good article. I’m trying to find out when the tarp was first made available to the public, but your article was interesting so I read through. Nicely informative.

    Though I must point out that just as not every homeless person is “riff-raff”, not every police officer is a “jack-booted thug”. Judging an entire group based off a small part of that group isn’t fair to anyone and often leads to prejudice. And prejudice super sucks.

    1. Hello, Thank you for the comment. May tarp Nirvana be yours!!! You are correct in your view about law enforcement. Many in my family have been involved in law enforcement. My uncle was county sheriff for several terms, a cousin was a deputy sheriff, dad was a town cop and a second-cousin worked for the a federal agency as an undercover agent and was tortured to death by a Colorado motorcycle gang in the early 1970s.

      Sadly, I see evidence of a growing militarization among law enforcement and my uncle concurs.

      Anyway, there is good and bad in everything!!! And the homeless are particularly susceptible yo experiencing the negative parts of law enforcement.

      However, without police we would be facing anarchy and crime would run rampant so appreciating those who confront the true scum and evil of society is the best route to follow until individuals prove themselves unworthy of being in the law enforcement profession.

    2. A blog entry requires brevity and that, in turn, requires writing with sweeping generalities. I assume that most readers would understand that as you obviously do as revealed within your comment. Thanks for the comment that assists in training the readers lacking reading comprehension levels to allow those of us writing brief commentaries to avoid the lengthy, often boring, treatises to cover the multitude of aspects arising in even the apparently most simplistic topics that quickly expand to cover oh-so many sub-topics with the main topic being written about.

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