How To Rig a Tarp With No Trees

Use paddles and rope to rig a tarp shelter when no trees are available

BY JIM BAIRD

Through the bulk of the whitewater section, we made good time with few obstructions and ample current on our side. We paddled 37 miles one day in this stretch of river, our best day of travel on the trip.

Prop a small stick under the back edge to create an opening, and keep smoke away.

Many of the best camps along the route were on beaches, or gravel bars, where there were no trees. We often used this method to rig a tarp without them and found it stood up to a good wind.

1. Peg one of the long sides of a rectangular tarp to the ground, or lay rocks on top of it.
2. Tie the tarp around the tops of paddles at the two front corners.
3. On both sides, run the rope down from the top of the paddle until it’s tight, and peg it into the ground.
4. Prop a paddle up under the middle to create more head space.

If you’re having a fire in front of the tarp, it can get smokey. Prop a small stick under the back edge that’s pegged to the ground to create a small opening. This will stop the tarp from creating a smoke eddy.

Well into September we pushing on towards the coast we experienced a couple cold nights. Shaking off the chill, we focused on the ocean paddle that lay in front of us. We were heading into very different and unforgiving country.

Each Wednesday, C&K will release a new episode of Lessons From the Trail, presented by Nova Craft Canoe and Brunton, makers of the TruArc compass.